Book 4 Chapter 2 of Tom Jones.

This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones over the course of four years.

Fielding's description of Sophia Western attempts to out-sublime the Sublime. In addition to calling the literary movement by name, he over-writes his description to the point of parody. Each component of Sophia Western's body is the paragon of all things, and in order to introduce her, he summons the wind gods Zephyrus, Eurus and Boreas, not to mention the goddess Flora herself. This has traces of the mock-epic, one of Fielding's preferred styles, wherein a poet would call upon his muse directly as an invocation of inspiration for the words to come.

As you can probably tell from my narration of this chapter, I had a ton of fun with it, making sure that I said "Sophia" always in a mock-awed hush.

And speaking of "Sophia," that's how her name is to be pronounced. Not quite like you'd hear it today, but it's accurate to the time period.

AuthorMark Turetsky