Thursday, January 26, 2023

Overheard at Table 1: Cuckoldumb

"Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. It is, Sir, the great grandfather of cuckoldom."
— Henry Fielding

Short Bio
Henry Fielding (Sharpham, 22 April 1707 – near Lisbon, 8 October 1754) was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones.

Aside from his literary achievements, he has a significant place in the history of law-enforcement, having founded (with his half-brother John) what some have called London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners, using his authority as a magistrate.

Found on

Lo que es interesante de este quotación es el gran cantidad de comentarios que piensen que Sr Fielding hablaba en serio.  No sé si es así or no, pero busqué el fuente del quotación y descibrí que es de su primer drama, Love in Several Masques (1728)

  • Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. It is, Sir, the great grandfather of cuckoldom.
    • Act III, sc. vii

Pero hay muchas sitios que presentan este quote sin contexto, como así son los pensamientos del Sr Fielding su propio mismo.

Como el siquiente:

Henry Fielding, Arthur Murphy (1783). “The Works of Henry Fielding, Esq: With the Life of the Author. In Twelve Volumes. A New Edition. To which is Now First Added, The Fathers; Or, The Good-natured Man”, p.126 


In short, we tend to have a problem with pithy quotes.  For authors, what their characters say are often not what the author actually believes, but rather an observation that the author has of what others believe, usually in a contemporary social context.  Deprived of this context, when we simply look at the words, we tend to ascribe our own interpretations upon the author, which may or may not be wrong.

So, in short, was Fielding a prude who through dancing leads to sex with someone you shouldn't be having sex with?  I don't know.  Don't really care what his thoughts on the subject were.  What interests me most is the fact that others think he thought that way, which shows a severe lack of critical thinking, even among those who work mental puzzles, for those are the ones who are generally more astute and intelligent than the majority of people.



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