Book 5 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 has some great theorizing on drunkenness. First off, Fielding puts to bed the notion that people somehow gain opinions or inclinations when they're drunk that they don't have when they're sober. So often these days a celebrity or politician will get drunk and say awful things, and then pretend the only problem with what they did was that they got drunk. Well, Fielding didn't buy it, and nor should you.

Fielding also does some hefty theorizing as to why the English like to fight so much while drunk. He puts it down to their love of glory, rather than any inherent combativeness. See what he did there?

Anyway, Tom and Blifil get into it, because Tom's joy for Allworthy's recovery butts up against Bilfil's mourning his dead mother, though, of course, it could just be that Blifil is upset that Allworthy is all better, and is using the death of his mother to shut Tom down. We may never know.


AuthorMark Turetsky