Yorick’s Congregation: The Church of England in the Time of Laurence Sterne
When Mr. and Mrs. Shandy stroll out to watch Toby and Trim march in formation to the Widow Wadman's house, they use a familiar occurrence to gauge the day of the week. The sight of Mr. Yorick's congregation emerging from the parish church tells them it is a Sunday; Mrs. Shandy provides the more specific information that it is Sacrament Sunday, which tells Mr. Shandy that it is the first Sunday of the month. Modern readers may slip over this brief exchange, but it is the gateway to a series of inquiries whose answers the original readers of Tristram Shandy would have taken for granted. Drawing on modern historical research and eighteenth-century texts, "Yorick's Congregation: The Church of England in the Time of Laurence Sterne" answers these inquiries.