Peripatetic Philosophy: Sterne and Cosmopolitanism

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Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey charts the whimsical tour through France of its narrator, Yorick. In doing so, it comprises an essay in cosmopolitanism that explores the tensions between patriotic feeling and divergent models of cosmopolitanism itself. Mediating universalizing and relativistic conceptions of inter-national engagement, Yorick’s cosmopolitan identity is periodically compromised by a faltering, insular, and self-interested social performance. Even as he immerses himself in French society and attempts to cultivate the polite manners associated with France, Sterne’s eccentric traveller exhibits unease about his (national) identity and about his security in a foreign land. Through this comic representation of anxious expatriation, A Sentimental Journey dramatises the contention between national affiliations and cross-cultural sympathies, along with the complex and often contradictory impulses of cosmopolitan travel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalTextual Practice
Issue number2
Early online date02 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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