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Useful Work versus Useless Toil

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Visionary English Socialist and pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris argued that all work should be a source of pride and satisfaction, and that everyone should be entitled to beautiful surroundings – no matter what their class.
Paperback, 94 pages
Published August 7th 2008 by Penguin (first published 1889)
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I found this short book fascinating. (Probably 4.5 stars rating)
Written around 130 years ago, you really get a sense of Morris's passion and unified thought in eradicating social injustice. It flows through all he does. Ornamental Art? The world of the 1870s, according to Morris, was producing crap, via machines and pointless work, to merely sell and make a few rich in the Commercialism system. People are supposed to love buying, selling and especially making things. They aren't supposed to toil
William Morris does a lovely (if obvious) job of breaking down class structure, and for me it was quite visual. He classifies what a good job is -- one that provides opportunity for rest, opportunity to make a useful product, and opportunity for pleasure in your work. What I love is the way he portrays the people not actually doing any work (the aristocracy) as burdens on the general population. To survive in this world, either we all have to work the same amount, or somone has to do the work of ...more
Quatro ensaios curtos sobre arte, trabalho e socialismo. Impressionante como o primeiro texto, que data do início da revolução industrial, ainda é extremamente atual: fala sobre como o bom trabalho é baseado na expectativa do descanso adequado, no prazer do que se faz e no reconhecimento de sentido e valor pessoal dado ao que se produz.
really love that I happened to find this version in a shop on Brick Lane, a great little bit of socialist propoganda to keep in my purse! :D
Alan Fricker
First part the most interesting
I had no idea that the wallpaper guy was such a Marxist. Such a lovely poetic flow to this piece. Worth reading for his distinction between work and toil.
Steve Mitchell
A much better defence of socialism than Marx and Engels managed of communism.
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William Morris was an English architect, furniture and textile designer, artist, writer, socialist and Marxist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his life. His best-known works include The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthl ...more
More about William Morris...
The Wood Beyond the World News from Nowhere and Other Writings News from Nowhere The Well at the World's End The Well At The World's End: Volume I

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“I cannot suppose there is anybody here who would think it either a good life, or an amusing one, to sit with one's hands before one doing nothing - to live like a gentleman, as fools call it.” 5 likes
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