Cash, Arthur Hill. Laurence Sterne. 2 vols. London: Methuen, 1975-1986. The definitive biography. The first volume follows Sterne’s life to early 1760 and offers many details about his role in the religious and political affairs of York. The second volume treats Sterne the author. Presents a realistic picture freed from Victorian strictures and romantic glosses. The appendices provide a series of portraits and of letters never before published.
Cash, Arthur Hill, and John M. Stedmond, eds. The Winged Skull: Papers from the Laurence Sterne Bicentenary Conference. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1971. A collection of essays on a range of subjects, including Sterne’s style, his reputation outside England, and his fictional devices. Includes some helpful illustrations.
Kraft, Elizabeth. Laurence Sterne Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1996. Gives a short biography, and then devotes individual chapters to specific works. Also includes a final chapter on Sterne’s changing critical reputation as well as a selected bibliography.
Myer, Valerie Grosvenor, ed. Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1984. Contains eleven essays on The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent., covering such matters as the nature of Sterne’s comedy, the intellectual background of the novel, and Sterne’s influence on the work of Jane Austen. Includes a brief annotated bibliography.
New, Melvin. “Tristram Shandy”: A Book for Free Spirits. New York: Twayne, 1994. After providing a literary and historical milieu for Stern’s most famous work, New explores five different methods of approaching Tristram Shandy: “Satire,” “Heads” (that is, intellectually), “Hearts” (that is, emotionally), “Joy,” and “Tartuffery” (as a humorous attack on hypocrisy).
Ross, Ian Campbell. Laurence Sterne: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. A well-researched biography that concentrates on the events of Sterne’s life rather than literary analysis of the works.
Stedmond, John M. The Comic Art of Laurence Sterne: Convention and Innovation in “Tristram Shandy” and “A Sentimental Journey.” Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967. Sterne’s novels highlight the comic distance between aspiration and attainment that is endemic in human existence. Provides helpful readings of the novels and an appendix recording Sterne’s direct borrowings.
Walsh, Marcus, ed. Laurence Sterne. New York: Longman, 2002. Sterne’s works are particularly amenable to post-structuralist interpretation; this collection pulls together a stimulating group of essays that take theoretical approaches to the work.