Book 6 Chapter 9 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.

This chapter deals with the fallout of Squire Western's learning that Sophia and Jones are in love. It contains about what you'd expect: Western vows to crush Jones, Sophia faints, Jones and Western unite over their love of Sophia, Western vows to crush Jones.

What's truly amazing about this chapter is an extended analysis of the phrases "to kick one's ass" and "to kiss one's ass." Yes, evidently, over 200 years ago, these two phrases were in use precisely as they are today. Someone threatens to kick someone else's ass, or someone invites someone else to kiss their ass. Even the other meaning of kissing ass shows up, with Fielding claiming that in the city, everyone is always kissing someone's ass, and without even being invited to do so.

Sometimes, things just jump out to us through history.


AuthorMark Turetsky