Study Guide

Tom Jones Book 6, Chapter 1

By Henry Fielding

Book 6, Chapter 1

Of Love

  • We're in the middle of a love story.
  • So the narrator thinks it makes sense to stop for a bit and chat about love.
  • Specifically, the narrator is interested in the modern philosophy that love does not truly exist.
  • Why have modern philosophers decided that, because they can't love, no one else can?
  • Here is what the narrator is willing to admit:
  • (1) Many people (as individuals) may be unable to love.
  • (2) He's not talking about lust—that's just a kind of hunger.
  • (3) Even the higher kinds of love want to be satisfied. No one enjoys unrequited love—it is the worst.
  • (4) Love and lust work together, so that if you love someone (in a romantic way, at least), you feel a lot of lust for them.
  • With all of these things in mind, the narrator asks modern philosophers to imagine that human hearts can be kind.
  • What is it that these kind hearts feel towards their friends and relatives, if not love?
  • Some philosophers are arrogant enough to believe that their own, loveless minds must represent all there is in humanity.
  • The narrator addresses the reader: look at your own heart.
  • Do you feel love?
  • If so, then you are allowed to keep reading.
  • If not, then you can just give up right now—you've already missed the point of this book.