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The Oxford Book of Work

ISBN 13: 9780192142177

The Oxford Book of Work

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9780192142177: The Oxford Book of Work
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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 deeply enjoyable anthology draws upon more than 500 writers from classical antiquity to modern times: poets, dramatists and novelists; theologians, economists and philosophers; social investigators and journalists; diarists, letter-writers and autobiographies. Charles Aickens, Adam Smith, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Washington Irving, Karl Marx, Tolstoy, George Eliot, Henry Ford, John Steinbeck, Primo Levi, Upton Sinclair, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Frost, Tom Wolfe, Harriot Martineau, Louisa Alcott, and Dorthy Parker are among the diverse and distinguished authors included in this volume.
While Keith Thomas explores many different forms of work--from ploughing a field to sailing the sea, from mining for coal to writing a poem, and from keeping shop to practicing medicine--he does not forget housework, schoolwork, and other forms of unpaid labor. All human life is here: young people starting work, the multitudes seeking employment, the old coping with retirement, and utopians seeking to eliminate work altogether. The delights of occupation and the harshness of compulsory labor 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 acievements of civilization. The publication date for The Oxford Book of Work is Labor Day--September 6, 1999.

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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.

From Library Journal:

Thomas (president, Corpus Christi Coll., Oxford; Religion and the Decline of Magic and Man and the Natural World) attempts to capture the many voices on labor in this anthology. Unfortunately, this gathering, weighted toward the voices of 18th- and 19th-century British male authors, is problematic. Given the preponderance of well-known works already indexed in other quotation sources, it is difficult to imagine much call for this resource. Aside from a scattering of poems and brief epigrams, most entries are longer excerpts that suffer from a lack of context, and the categories are inadequately focused and not supplemented by a subject or key word index. (There is an index of authors and sources quoted.) Additionally, the book's design makes it unwieldy; it is difficult to see where each entry begins and to locate its source. Recommended only for comprehensive reference collections in the literature of work and occupations.APaula Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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