The Oxford Book of Work

The Oxford Book of Work

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Description

Primal curse or sacred duty? Painful drudgery or the only sure route to human happiness? Work has always evoked conflicting reactions. Yet whether we view it as a tedious necessity or embrace it as a compulsive addiction, it remains an inescapable and endlessly fascinating part of the human condition. To illuminate the changing experience of work, this anthology draws upon a huge range of writers from classical antiquity to modern times: poets, dramatists, and novelists; theologians, economists, and philosophers; social investigators and journalists; diarists, letter-writers, and autobiographers. It explores many different forms of work, from ploughing a field to writing a poem, not forgetting housework and other forms of unpaid labour. The whole of human life is here: young people starting employment, the redundant searching for jobs, the old coping with retirement, utopians seeking to eliminate work altogether. The delights of occupation and the harshness of compulsory labour are contrasted with the pleasures of rest and idleness. Keith Thomas's magisterial compilation and scintillating introductory essay show that work does not just provide us with the means of subsistence; it also makes possible all the pleasures and achievements of civilization.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 640 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 37mm | 671g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • indexes
  • 0192825313
  • 9780192825315

Table of contents

I THE NATURE OF WORK; I. The Primal curse; II. Compensations and Rewards; III. All in a Day's Work; II KINDS OF WORK; IV. Woman's Work and Child Labour; V. Working the Land and Sea; VI. All Manner of Occupations; VII. Head Work; III THE REFORM OF WORK; VIII. Dissatisfactions; EPILOGUE; IX. Life after Work; Acknowledgements; Index of Authors and Sources Quotedshow more

About Keith Thomas

Sir Keith Thomas is President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and a former President of the British Academy. He is the author of Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971), Man and the Natural World (1983), and many other writings on the social and cultural history of early modern England. He is General Editor of Past Masters and Oxford Studies in Social History.show more

Review quote

"A phantasmagoric mixture of wit and witness."--Edward Rothstein, The New York Times"An instant classic.... These hundreds of thoughtful passages...represent the total spectrum of the complicated feelings we have about our jobs.... There's genuine wisdom and thoughtfulness on all of these pages about nothing less than our roles and responsibilities as human beings living in societies."--Forbes"An amazingly varied collection of poems, snippets of novels, newspaper articles, diaries, socialist denunciations and capitalist celebrations about the experience of working, from the farmers of ancient Greek times to modern office workers.... Thomas makes labor come to life by charting a stark, great historical conflict in the value given to working, a conflict between those who believe work is degrading and those who believe we fulfill ourselves through our jobs."--Richard Sennett, The Los Angeles Times Book Review"Some of the most vivid and insightful writings about work"--Baltimore Sun"An incredible chorus of voices...all single-mindedly devoted to telling what work has really been about over the centuries."--The Chicago Tribune "A phantasmagoric mixture of wit and witness."--Edward Rothstein, The New York Times "An instant classic.... These hundreds of thoughtful passages...represent the total spectrum of the complicated feelings we have about our jobs.... There's genuine wisdom and thoughtfulness on all of these pages about nothing less than our roles and responsibilities as human beings living in societies."--Forbes "An amazingly varied collection of poems, snippets of novels, newspaper articles, diaries, socialist denunciations and capitalist celebrations about the experience of working, from the farmers of ancient Greek times to modern office workers.... Thomas makes labor come to life by charting a stark, great historical conflict in the value given to working, a conflict between those who believe work is degrading and those who believe we fulfill ourselves through our jobs."--Richard Sennett, The Los Angeles Times Book Review "Some of the most vivid and insightful writings about work"--Baltimore Sun "An incredible chorus of voices...all single-mindedly devoted to telling what work has really been about over the centuries."--The Chicago Tribune "A phantasmagoric mixture of wit and witness."--Edward Rothstein, The New York Times "An instant classic.... These hundreds of thoughtful passages...represent the total spectrum of the complicated feelings we have about our jobs.... There's genuine wisdom and thoughtfulness on all of these pages about nothing less than our roles and responsibilities as human beings living in societies."--Forbes "An amazingly varied collection of poems, snippets of novels, newspaper articles, diaries, socialist denunciations and capitalist celebrations about the experience of working, from the farmers of ancient Greek times to modern office workers.... Thomas makes labor come to life by charting a stark, great historical conflict in the value given to working, a conflict between those who believe work is degrading and those who believe we fulfill ourselves through our jobs."--Richard Sennett, The Los Angeles Times Book Review "Some of the most vivid and insightful writings about work"--Baltimore Sun "An incredible chorus of voices...all single-mindedly devoted to telling what work has really been about over the centuries."--The Chicago Tribune "A phantasmagoric mixture of wit and witness."--Edward Rothstein, The New York Times"An instant classic.... These hundreds of thoughtful passages...represent the total spectrum of the complicated feelings we have about our jobs.... There's genuine wisdom and thoughtfulness on all of these pages about nothing less than our roles and responsibilities as human beings living insocieties."--Forbes"An amazingly varied collection of poems, snippets of novels, newspaper articles, diaries, socialist denunciations and capitalist celebrations about the experience of working, from the farmers of ancient Greek times to modern office workers.... Thomas makes labor come to life by charting a stark, great historical conflict in the value given to working, a conflict between those who believe work is degrading and those who believe we fulfill ourselves through our jobs."--Richard Sennett, The Los Angeles Times Book Review"Some of the most vivid and insightful writings about work"--Baltimore Sun"An incredible chorus of voices...all single-mindedly devoted to telling what work has really been about over the centuries."--The Chicago Tribuneshow more

Rating details

9 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 44% (4)
4 22% (2)
3 33% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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