Paper Houses: Originality, posterity, lineage and celebrity in Laurence Stern's marbled page and Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill House by Imelda Dooley Hunter
Laurence Sterne and Horace Walpole are popularly thought of as two of the great originators of the eighteenth century – Sterne a precursor to contemporary ideas of the non-linear narrative, and Walpole the founder of a certain English Gothic style. This article will explore the narrative performativity that shapes the reputations of these two men as creators of taste, arguing that their apparent originality is wholly grounded in tradition. Laurence Sterne’s well-known marbled page in Tristram Shandy becomes a springboard for the discussion of a narrative temporality that is inseparable from the novel’s trajectory towards its characters’ mortality. This provides a rich parallel with Horace Walpole’s use of his ‘castle’ and collection to curate (and create) ancient lineage for himself, all the while being conscious of his ‘paper’ House’s acute ephemerality.