Productivism and the Vogue for "Energy" in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain

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In the late eighteenth century, vocabulary for work shifted away from terms emphasizing conscious effort (e.g. "industrious" and "diligent") and toward the term "energy." Although at this point "energy" lacked its modern thermodynamic associations, it already expressed a conception of work as natural and spontaneous activity that was especially dear to the British middle classes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-125
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Romanticism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1995


  • morality
  • energy
  • Aristotelianism
  • radicalism
  • poetry
  • writers
  • convulsions
  • electricity
  • scientific discourse
  • industrial productivity


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