Whilst a man is free – cried the Corporal, giving a ﬂourish with his stick thus –
Here is the line traced in the air by the Corporal, as depicted in Laurence Sterne’s narrative of 1762, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:
Like any other gesture, the Corporal’s ﬂourish embodies a certain duration. The line to which it gives rise is, therefore, intrinsically dynamic and temporal. When, pen in hand, Sterne recreated the ﬂourish on the page, his gesture left an enduring trace that we can still read (Sterne 1978: 743). The artist Paul Klee described this kind of line as the most active and authentic.