The idea of life rambling discussed in Tristram Shandy is not unlike the comedic artistry of WC Fields so many years before. In The Bank Dick, for example, Fields is hired to direct a film, but then the entire plot of the film takes a sudden unexpected new direction based on chance. Parts of Field’s genius then, is to be so otherwise entertaining that we really don’t care about the plot or lack thereof. These great old comedies then are quite useful in that they can help us learn to “chill out.” And in that, Tristram Shandy is doing a little bit of the same. Differences to be discussed elsewhere.

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