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Useful Work versus Useless Toil

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  135 Ratings  ·  12 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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Nov 27, 2012 Stephen rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2009 Meghan rated it really liked it
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
Jan 31, 2014 H.d. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: filosofia
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.
Mar 07, 2009 Barbara rated it it was amazing
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
Morris wrote before the socialist and Communist revolutions of the 20th century, and the ensuing disaster for the "working classes", as well as the middle classes.
Morris's vision was an essentially romantic one, where equality prevails and where ordinary people do productive and satisfying work, and live in humane and beautiful communities. This is not the same vision as that of the modern left, as there is a certain "conservatism" in Morris. Therefore this book is a real mix, but is nonetheles
Neil Johnstone
Sep 14, 2016 Neil Johnstone rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book i think because it re-enforces most of my I ideas on modern work just for the sake of working. And how if you are not creating anything you feel somewhat worthless and many people feel that within their jobs.
So taking from this book and from successful people, you must try to create something everyday drawing is usually my go to thing but every a page of a diary something that you decided is important other than selling your presious time for 'useless toil.'

The second h
Rebecca Worth
Jun 11, 2016 Rebecca Worth rated it really liked it
Shelves: labour
This book presents four essays; Useful Work versus Useless Toil, Gothic Architecture, The Lesser Arts and How I Became a Socialist. Of the four, the first is the most current. In it, William Morris defines the nature of 'good' work – being the hope of rest, the hope of useful product and the hope of pleasure in the work.

Given that a third of our lives is spent working, we can assume it significantly influences our general happiness. And it makes me wonder what social problems could potentially
Oct 15, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, school
Morris clearly and beautifully outlines post-industrial class divisions, defines what characteristics make work pleasurable, and offers a prescription for a new society with shared and equal responsibility for work, more leisure time, and less waste. Seems more relevant than ever in an era where inequality is increasing entrenched and extreme.
Oct 11, 2015 Suzammah rated it really liked it
Anarchic sanity.
Mar 17, 2013 Eyre rated it it was amazing
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.
Alan Fricker
Aug 25, 2014 Alan Fricker rated it really liked it
First part the most interesting
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 Steve Mitchell rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 6 likes
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