Friday, June 29, 2007

Sophie Gee

Sophie Gee is the author of the forthcoming novel, The Scandal of the Season.

From a Q & A at the publisher's website:

As an Assistant Professor of English at Princeton University, you specialize in a wide range of Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature. What made you want to write about these particular events and characters? What was it about "The Rape of the Lock" or Alexander Pope that intrigued you?

"The Rape of the Lock" probably marks the first moment in English literature when a writer gives a satirical, comic description of the habits and behavior of a privileged social world from which he himself feels excluded. I always think that Pope's poem gives us the feeling of an outsider looking in, noticing things and overhearing conversations that he ought not to be seeing. What we get in "The Rape of the Lock" is the beginning of English comedies of manners. The satirical attack on something from which the writer feels excluded is essentially the basis of all English comedy. So "The Rape of the Lock" is an instantly appealing poem from that point of view.

I discovered in Alexander Pope an unexpected, compelling protagonist. He begins as the underdog; he is the guy who comes from behind and wins the race. He's a sympathetic character: a cripple, a young man cursed by being a Catholic at a time of Catholic persecution in England, deeply ambitious, wanting to mix with the fashionable rich. We watch him taking on this world of power and money and very tight social circles as an outsider -- and we want him to pull it off. As readers of the book we begin as outsiders too, appropriately for a historical world that we don't yet know, but increasingly we are drawn further and further in with Alexander Pope, until the world seems very intimate and familiar.

Read the entire Q & A.

Also see Sophie Gee's interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

--Marshal Zeringue