chapter  3
38 Pages

Elegant Extracts or Fungous Productions?: Sterneana and Sentimental Fiction

An essayist writing in the General Evening Post in October 1785, who signs himself ‘Eugenius’, places Sterne at the centre of his critique of the literary activities attempted by many of his contemporaries: as suggested by the title of his piece, ‘On the Imitators of Sterne’, he differentiates this famous author from the nameless multitude of sad individuals who fail to heed the warning voiced by those critics who claim that Sterne is ‘inimitable’.1 Yet Eugenius’s piece does not just address the issue of Sternean imitation in general, but that belonging to a specific kind of writing that enjoyed considerable popularity at this time: sentimental fiction.