Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

William Styron Harris Jr.

Committee Members

Isabel B. Stanley, Judith B. Slagle


Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy is a novel consumed with conversation. The conversations that the characters have with each other and the ongoing conversation between Tristram and the reader all address the importance of communication. This study examines the theme of communication as Sterne presents it in his novel. The first chapter explores the personalities of Walter and Toby Shandy with the assumption that an understanding of their eccentricities will illustrate the reasons for the difficulties they encounter when trying to communicate with others. The relationships between the sexes are the subject for the second chapter. Sterne recognized the opportunity that the barrier of gender afforded him in the development of his theme, and he utilizes these relationships to illustrate the consequences of miscommunication. The final chapter focuses on Tristram’s role as the narrator. His personality and conversations with the reader also speak to the role of communication in the novel.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.