- At this point in the novel, the narrator has been promising, for hundreds of pages now, to tell the story of Uncle Toby's amours with the Widow Wadman (which took place before Tristram was born). Now at last he can digress no longer but has to start the narrative, which will take him through to the end of the novel (we'll read Volume IX for Thursday).
- Uncle Toby lives next door to Walter Shandy, with his loyal servant, Corporal Trim. Toby and Trim spend their days building miniature military fortifications on the grounds of the Shandy manor (you will recall that it was their need of metal to melt down that caused the weights and pulleys to be removed from the window that fell, circumcising wee Tristram).
- Uncle Toby was prompted to this labor in part by the number of people asking him, as he convalesced from the groin wound that ended his military service, "Where did you get wounded?" The question is motivated by prurient curiosity: people want to know if his genitals are still whole and potent. Toby, however, who is modest and clean-minded, interprets the question to mean "Where on the field of battle did you get wounded?" He's found maps and diagrams inadequate to explain--hence the miniature fortifications.
- Note the "Reading Guide" linked to over there under "Required Reading" in the sidebar! It has an outline of the chapter.
1. What kind of commentary is Sterne making on fiction in general and love stories in particular?
2. What's going on with The Story of the King of Bohemia and His Seven Castles?
3. How would you describe the advice Sir Walter give his brother in the letter he writes him on p. 536 - 538? What does it tell you about Sir Walter?
4. What questions do you have?
5. Would Tristram agree with the sexist humor of the image below, which has been circulating on Facebook?
Deadline: Tuesday (11/15), start of class.