The Anxieties of Idleness: Idleness in Eighteenth-century British Literature and Culture

Bucknell University Press, 2003 - 298 páginas
The Anxieties of Idleness: Idleness in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture investigates the preoccupation with idleness that haunts the British eighteenth century. Jordan argues that as Great Britain began to define itself as a nation during this period, one important quality it claimed was industriousness. However, this claim was undermined and complicated by many factors, such as leisure's importance to class status. Thus idleness was a subject of intense anxiety. One result of this anxiety was an increased surveillance of the supposed idleness of those members of society with less power to wield: the working classes, the nonwhite races, and women. Jordan analyzes how the "idleness" of these groups is figured, in traditional literature and in extra-literary works. Idleness was also a concern for writers of the day, as writing became a money-earning profession. Jordan examines the lives and works of two writers especially obsessed with idleness, Samuel Johnson and William Cowper.

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Six Days Shalt They Labor Idleness and the Laboring Classes
Whilst We Beside You But as Cyphers Stand Idleness and the Ladies
An Empire of Degenerated Peoples Race Imperialism and Idleness
Driving On the System of Life Samuel Johnson and Idleness
Under the Great Taskmasters Eye William Cowper and Idleness
Works Cited
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