“Visual Editions gives Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman the loopy graphic treatment it deserves.”
– Fast Company
Nominated for Design of the Year, 2011, London Design Museum
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (or, just Shandy, for short) was first published in the late 18th century in nine volumes and is still, by far, one of the most contemporary books around. When we say contemporary, we mean in terms of how it looks and reads. The thing is, though, Shandy has long been relegated to the realm of cheap and nasty classic editions and has lost its magic and lustre along the way.
When we briefed design studio, A Practice for Everyday Life, we asked them to breathe new life into the book’s design, adding new visual elements, while staying faithful to the original spirit. We also asked Will Self to introduce the book, and that he did, with typically irreverent brilliance.
Born in 1713 in Tipperay, Ireland, and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge University, Laurence Sterne was ordained a priest in 1738 and lived in York for most of his adult life. He self-published the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy in 1759, aged forty-six. Urban myth has it that Sterne’s body was exhumed days after his burial and sold to a Cambridge anatomy professor, who recognised Sterne mid-dissection and had the body returned to the grave.
Book design by London-based design studio A Practice for Everyday Life
Published September 2010
What They Say
“Visual Editions’ Tristram Shandy is filled with visual jokes: a closed door is illustrated by a folded page; beads of sweat by spots of varnish; and the famous “black page”…replaced by two pages on which the text is over-printed in black.” The NY Times
“Visual Editions gives Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman the loopy graphic treatment it deserves.” – Fast Company
“Ripe for a visual re-imagining” – Creative Review