Book 13 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.

In the opening chapter of Book 13, much like all of the other opening chapters, Fielding takes a break from his story. Only this time, instead of a discourse on writing, he presents us with an invocation to his muse, tying the work that he's doing now down through the ages, tying his work into a historical narrative stretching all the way back to Homer. He also calls upon Genius, Humanity, Learning, and Experience to come to his aid in the creation of his masterpiece.

It's also fairly exhilarating, more than 260 years after the book's publication, to find Fielding writing about his modern readers:

"Do thou teach me not only to foresee, but to enjoy, nay, even to feed on future praise. Comfort me by a solemn assurance, that when the little parlour in which I sit at this instant shall be reduced to a worse furnished box, I shall be read with honour by those who never knew nor saw me, and whom I shall neither know nor see."

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AuthorMark Turetsky