Victorian Work and Industry
DOI link for Victorian Work and Industry
Victorian Work and Industry book
The conventional view of the ‘Gospel of Work’ defines it as part of a rejection of the cultural and social authority of the ruling aristocratic classes in favor of an emergent middle class agenda. The term ‘noble’ very quickly shades into the term ‘painful,’ implying that work involves pain and suffering, even though it ennobles. The diatribes against trying to find ‘happiness’ rather than working have been replaced by direct threats that if inducing somebody to work is effective, then they must be compelled to work, or ‘forced into holy labor’. The word ‘industry’ itself shifted in meaning from the seventeenth century when it meant the application of skill to work, to the early Victorian sense in which it came to mean simply hard work undertaken assiduously and for an extended time. The emphasis on ‘industry’ as production skewed Victorian values in favor of material products and visible signs of industrial production.