"Now, as it was plain to my father, that all souls were by nature equal,--and that the great difference between the most acute and the most obtuse understanding, --was from no original sharpness or bluntness of one thinking substance above or below another,--but arose merely from the lucky or unlucky organization of the body, in that part where the soul principally took up her residence,--he had made it the subject of his enquiry to find out the identical place."
— Sterne, Laurence (1713-1768)
Now, from the best accounts he had been able to get of this matter, he was satisfied it could not be where Des Cartes had fixed it, upon the top of the pineal gland of the brain; which, as he philosophised, formed a cushion for her about the size of a marrow pea; tho' to speak the truth, as so many nerves did terminate all in that one place,--'twas no bad conjecture;--and my father had certainly fallen with that great philosopher plumb into the center of the mistake, had it not been for my uncle Toby, who rescued him out of it, by a story he told him of a Walloon officer at the battle of Landen, who had one part of his brain shot away by a musket-ball,--and another part of it taken out after by a French surgeon; and, after all, recovered, and did his duty very well without it.
If death, said my father, reasoning with himself, is nothing but the separation of the soul from the body;--and if it is true that people can walk about and do their business without brains,--then certes the soul does not inhabit there. Q. E. D.
(II.xix, pp. 166-8)
See Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, 9 vols. (London: Printed for D. Lynch, 1760-1767). <Link to ECCO><Link to 1759 York edition in ECCO>
First two volumes available in ECCO-TCP: <Vol. 1><Vol. 2>. Most text drawn from second (London) edition <Link to LION>.
For vols. 3-4, see ESTC T14705 <R. and J. Dodsley, 1761>. For vols. 5-6, see ESTC T14706 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1762>. For vols. 7-8, see ESTC T14820 <T. Becket and P. A. Dehont, 1765>. For vol. 9, <T. Becket and P. A. Dehondt, 1767>.
Reading in Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism, Ed. Howard Anderson (New York: Norton, 1980).