Laurence Sterne graduated from Cambridge in 1737 and took holy orders, becoming a prebend in York Cathedral. His masterpiece,
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy made him a celebrity but ill-health necessitated recuperative travel and
A Sentimental Journey grew out of seven-month trip through France and Italy. He died the year it was published, 1768.
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy is a novel by Laurence Sterne, written and first published in 1768, as Sterne was facing death. In 1765, Sterne travelled through France and Italy as far south as Naples, and after returning determined to describe his travels from a sentimental point of view. The novel can be seen as an epilogue to the possibly unfinished work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and also as an answer to Tobias Smollett's decidedly unsentimental Travels through France and Italy. Sterne had met Smollett during his travels in Europe, and strongly objected to his spleen, acerbity and quarrelsomeness. He modeled the character of Smelfungus on him.