Book 4 Chapter 1 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.

Well, well, well! We've survived another book, and here we are with yet another discursive opening chapter.

Here, we get Fielding's narrator holding forth about how to introduce a major character into a work. He compares the writing of his book to the setting of a play (a form with which Fielding was quite familiar, having been a playwright earlier in life). He basically says you really need to get the procession, the music and everything right, so that the audience will know right away what to think about the character being brought out.

He also theorizes about consuming one's literature in the same circumstances as its author, and strongly hints that the reader enjoy some beer while reading (hence this week's graphic of one of William Hogarth's happy residents of Beer Street).

Anyway, this is all just the lead up that he ended the previous book with, about introducing the heroine of the book. Funny thing is, Tom Jones gets next to no introduction, description, or anything of the sort!

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AuthorMark Turetsky