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Gospels and grit : subtitle work and labour from Thomas Carlyle to George Orwell Breton, Rob 2001

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GOSPELS A N D GRIT: W O R K A N D L A B O U R F R O M THOMAS C A R L Y L E TO GEORGE ORWELL by ROB BRETON B. A. , The University of Toronto, 1994 M . A. , The University of Toronto, 1995 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July 2001 © Rob Breton, 2001 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) Abstract This thesis examines a group of writers from Thomas Carlyle to Joseph Conrad to George Orwell. Though Orwell receives the majority of coverage, my argument has to do with the group: its character, or the attitudes these figures share that can justify the grouping. Carlyle, Conrad, and Orwell mostly, but also many other Victorians and post-Victorians (though, importantly, not the 'high' Modernists), preach the Gospel of Work. In turn, they vilify work rationalization, implicitly condemn the theory of disutility, and rage against economism. They extol the intrinsic value of work and imagine a moral economy. But these same thinkers deal pragmatically with the specific, concrete, historical conditions of modern work: with such practical issues as wages. 'Inside the Whale' of rationalism they struggle, but they also concede to the reality and size of the beast. The expression of that pragmatism, however, is kept far away from the Gospel of Work. The latter is treated as a point of transcendence, a refuge to withdraw into and thus bypass the real properties of society. In the texts I examine, the contradictions between a pragmatic concession to modern economic modes or relations and sermons on Work remain non-dialectical: neither of the two discourses is qualified or challenged by its opposite. They exist side by side, on paths set for a collision, but they do not encounter each other. Orwell epitomizes the split because he swings harder, faster, and farther than those before him between claiming the unqualified abstract and negotiating the problematic concrete, between representing work as subjectively good and objectively perverted. I make three major but interconnected arguments: one, about the anti-rationalist or anti-utilitarian tradition; two, about the relationship between economic theory and culture; and three, the most important, about the rifts, impasses, or glitches between moral and pragmatic work. I argue that those spaces primarily signify attitudes toward class, praxis, and moralism. T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iii INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER I George Orwell 33 Orwell and the Language of Labour 75 CHAPTER II Thomas Carlyle 82 Carlyle and the Rhetoric of Work I l l CHAPTER III Victorian Work 116 CHAPTER IV Joseph Conrad 155 Conrad and the Art of Work 178 CHAPTER V Modern Work 182 CHAPTER V I George Orwell Revisited 228 EPILOGUE Post-Industrial and Postmodern Work 257 WORKS CITED 274 i i i 'Work.' Not, work at this or that - but, Work. Dr. Arnold Introduction Preliminaries I'm not sure i f Uriah Heep ought to be exculpated for his passive-aggressive and fishy villainy because he was taught "from nine o'clock to eleven, that labour was a curse; and from eleven o'clock to one, that it was a blessing and a cheerfulness, and a dignity, and I don't know what all" (Dickens, Copperfield 829). Uriah's teachers, after all, were only reproducing a dichotomous and checkered history of European work. The lesson generally proceeds as follows. The ancient Greeks considered work a curse, a necessary evil unfortunate for slaves but antithetical to contemplation. Later, Medieval Christians followed them and the ancient Hebrews by also calling work a curse. Work was necessary because of original sin or to atone for original sin and score points towards salvation. It was treated as a punishing corrective to the body's urges. Luther and Calvin, however, began investing work with all sorts of value, though paradoxically advocating effort and renouncing the material gain that effort accrued. By the nineteenth century work had been lifted to the status of a Gospel and heralded as a blessing. Yet even then, i f we are to believe Uriah, besides the epithet that 'Satan finds work for idle hands' the idea lingered that ' in the sweat of thy brow shall thou eat bread.' The Victorian idea of work, following the ambiguous history of work suggested in the cursory survey above, was also and mostly split on secular grounds, making the ways work was conceived, perceived, approached, and defined more radically divided than at any other period of time. The paradox inherited from early Protestantism, which treats work - the origin of economies and social organizations - as a fiat to withdraw from the economic society, was only amplified as work was sanctified as a moral imperative, a substitute for religious skepticism, while rationalism1 in work, economic ideology, and society in general was becoming widespread. On the one hand, the most ardent and admired cultural critics and the most popular 1 On pages 26-30 I include a glossary of the terms, such as rationalism and capital ' W Work, I use in a special manner. 1 mythologies promulgated work as a value in itself. Full engagement was said to entrain self-definition, stabilize and satisfy the ego, form and affirm it, generate well-being, foster a sense of fulfillment and individuation, and lead to harmonious social integration. Though the idea that work constructs identity is far from a metaphysical notion, it retained its religious and especially Protestant overtones of signifying virtue, of dignifying or ennobling the practitioner no matter how humble its nature might be. Intrinsically valuable, independent of its product, and embedded in non-economic imperatives, or part of the 'moral economy,' it was also said to nurture ideas of mutual obligation and leave behind beauty, the integral workmanship of the craftsperson. The hard worker is morally superior to the idler, the craftsperson more trustworthy than the careless. Passages in life and adulthood are marked and certified by Work. More than anything, the nineteenth-century Gospel of Work was written to counter economic, rationalistic thinking: to provide alternative concepts to self-interest and maximizing not found in the rising science of economics. Work as a way of life, for its own sake, was not an activity circumscribed by paychecks, contracts, or time. On the other hand, the rationalization of work in the nineteenth century, widespread industrialism, and the redefinition of work into a purely economic context, as the means for extrinsic gain, transformed work into and assumed work were a curse. Subsequently, the same critics and popular discourses idealizing work had to vilify it in its prevailing shape. What we today call de-skilling, repetition, boredom, degradation, and alienation; clock-work over task-based work and the systemization of conduct; the growing separation between manual and mental labour, the division of labour, and the fragmentation of knowledge about production; the demarcation of 'work' and 'life' (with the relations of production, however, continuing to be imprinted on and to organize life outside of the workplace); the instrumentalizing of worker into or as subordinate to machine; and the ideological diffusion of the theory of disutility - all fitting under the rubric of. rationalism - could not be a blessing or lead to well-being. For traditionalist thinkers reacting to modernity, for Thomas Carlyle then, Joseph Conrad and George Orwell later, the rationalization of work made it a curse. For them this brand of work was contrary to both 2 intrinsic satisfaction and the hard toil producing sweat on the brow: for them it was exploitation and perversion. I refer to it, judged in this way, as labour, though I maintain that 'labour' has other meanings as well. Nothing in this bifurcation of the Gospel of Work and the censure of labour is inherently a paradox or a prima facie contradiction. Only the treatment of all work as i f outside the realm of labour, necessity, or economics in general - when extracted or represented as i f extractable from society - leads to paradoxes. The Victorian Gospel of Work, with roots in Romantic critiques of industrialism and their various histories in eighteenth-century German and French thought, should not be confused with the rhetoric of a work ethic found in utilitarian schools and echoed by capitalists profiting from industrial activity. Nor should it be reduced to Puritanism or a Protestant work ethic, though echoes of both can be found in it. The historical trajectory of Puritanism and Protestantism is more directly oriented towards the world of competitive business and individual success than it is to a largely conservative anti-utilitarian ethic. The work ethic of the rising managerial and capitalist class, generally speaking, was concocted only to motivate factory workers, mitigate guilt for the profits low wages generate (a rationalization of its own), or to defend its own success and present a moral and cultural challenge to a befuddled aristocracy. Even i f the Gospel of Work provided crucial support for employers, as it continues to do today, the utilitarian concept of work (not to mention the work itself) had nothing to do with intrinsic value. Accepting the tenets of classical economics, and especially the hedonist account of human nature underlying the theory of disutility, employers accepted that work was undesirable and intrinsically unrewarding, that wages buy out disutility. Under normative economic theory, wages justify egregious working conditions as workers are supposed to despise work. Instead of encouraging the obstinacy of the craftsperson periodically idealized by the Gospel of Work, extrinsic rewards were offered to induce obedience to the industrial subdivision of labour, to scientific and hierarchical management, to work rationalization. For the bourgeois themselves, compartmentalizing their ideas concerning industrial work, work meant individual striving for success, deferred gratification, diligence, punctuality, and the strict division and primacy of 3 public work over private life and earned over inherited income. Insofar as it promotes the value of work (for dubious reasons) and assumes that, by nature, 'man' only works in order to afford leisure (the theory of disutility), its contradictions are more blatant, twisted, and ideologically-loaded than the incongruities I focus on in this study between moral Work and economic labour. There are, however, many points of contact between the bourgeois, managerial, or capitalist work ethics and the Gospel of Work. The bourgeois valuation of both Work and labour, as one might say, further complicates and expands the multiple, competing concepts of work in this period. Though I concentrate on a dichotomy between Work and labour, and the assumptions buried in an undialectical approach to Work and economics, I try to recognize and incorporate the many meanings surrounding modern work. Before stating the argument of this project explicitly and in full, I want to clarify my approach to two other matters underlining the literary response to the rationalization of work. Rationalized work produces and reproduces rationalism in society while simultaneously being produced and reproduced by rationalism in society as a whole. Rationalism in work and society cannot be treated as i f isolated or isolable from each other. I am not overly interested in the chicken and egg question of which came first. The state of alienation where one feels that the dominant mode of existence is external to oneself is not unique to the workplace alone and a state of mind held outside of a workplace can bleed into a job site, and aggravate, compensate for, or remain unaffected by employment dissatisfactions. Donald Lowe, in The History of Bourgeois Perception (1982) argues that the factory system made it so "the rationality of economic action could prevail across space and time," that work rationalization greased the way for rationalism to become the way of knowing the world (20). But the world also shaped the factory. The theory of market rationality, that if restrictions on the market are minimized it will operate with maximum rationality (efficiency) and produce the maximum of utility, also spreads out into the realm of social relations, redefining 'freedom' to include subordination and making people identifiable in terms of their economic function. The children of homo rationalis and homo economicus turned the entire world into a linear system of input and output and argued that 4 i f everyone sought their own interests and was free to do so, and acted on an innate capitalist urge, then society would develop to its maximum at its maximum speed. Politics became grafted onto the economic, and culture became.a byproduct of the rationalist pursuit of self-interest. But politics, culture, and society are not passive agents. Furthermore, we should not treat the world as i f every part of it has strictly conformed to a non-stop totalitarian rationalism for the last one hundred and fifty years. If in this study I place too much emphasis on the way in which economic rationalism and work rationalization affect culture and freedom and not vice versa, it is only because I assume reciprocity and discern the need to focus more on the effects of comprehensible structures. Finally, in this study I assume and wish to confirm that meanings are given to work in specific historical realities. No piece of work has intrinsic meaning and no definition of work is ever fixed or static. The distinction between leisure and work, for example, is not inherent in an activity, say fishing or gardening, but in the context in which it is carried out. In fact, outside the economic frame, it is next to impossible to conclude where work ends and non-work begins. What constitutes 'work' is ordered by values and institutions emerging out of historical and dynamic conjunctures where infrastructure; organization, tools, time involved, geographical space, and remuneration (if any); class, gender, age, community, and ethnicity; and personal history or subjective outlook come into play. It is just as illusory to think of a double, split definition of work, paid or unpaid, as to think of a unitary one. As with definitions of work, the value of an activity includes what those involved take that activity to be. The value will depend upon specific circumstances and be interpreted differently by different people. But even i f those circumstances and interpretations are endless, as they are, the activity is never stripped of its political content, for there is political content in assigning work intrinsic value or measuring it solely by its extrinsic rewards - just as labeling an activity as work or non-work involves extra-personal judgments and has political reverberations (or expresses political interests). I am not so haughty and culturally monolithic as to be entirely satisfied asserting that subjectively rewarding work can be objectively degrading. I only insist that work always has a moral and an economic 5 or political dimension. To assume that 'work' equals payment is to have adopted the dominant values of capitalist society, that 'work' is paid labour and paid labour fixes social identity. To assume work is a supra-economic blessing is in itself to live secluded in the realm of freedom. A work ethic or satisfying work under such definitions becomes associated only with unpaid activity and the definition of labour as a disutility, as unsatisfying work necessary for pay and the wherewithal to live, gains acceptance. Argument In this study I am looking at a group of writers from Thomas Carlyle to Joseph Conrad to George Orwell. Though Orwell receives the majority of coverage, my main argument has to do with the group, its character, or the attitudes these figures share that can justify the grouping. Carlyle, Conrad, and Orwell mostly, but also many other Victorians and post-Victorians (though, importantly, not the 'high' Modernists), preach the Gospel of Work and vilify work rationalization, praise activity and implicitly condemn the theory of disutility, and extol the value of effort and rage against economism. These same thinkers, I maintain, have a .B-side, a side dealing pragmatically with labour and modern working conditions, largely in order to propose piecemeal reforms. When addressing the specific, concrete, historical, objective conditions of modern work, these writers mediate on behalf of those who labour, insisting on 'sound economics,' on fair wages and regulated working conditions. 'Inside the Whale' of rationalism they struggle, but they also concede to the reality and the size of the beast. Though the character of the struggle often stems from a conservative or reactionary, organicist (hierarchical) or authoritarian ideology, it is important not to dismiss its equally labourist, reformist orientation and the close proximity between that orientation and the immediate struggles of the working class. This pragmatic discourse reflects what Walter Houghton called the English " P R A C T I C A L BENT of mind": deep respect for facts, pragmatic skill in the adaptation of means to ends, a ready appeal to common sense - and therefore, negatively, an indifference to abstract speculation and 6 imaginative perception. (110) The expression of that pragmatic bent, however, is kept far and away from the Gospel of Work, even when the two discourses are in the same book, on the same page, or in the same paragraph. The Gospel of Work is treated as a point of transcendence, a mythical moral economy to withdraw into and thus bypass the real properties of society. In the texts I examine, the contradictions between a pragmatic concession to modern economic modes and relations, to labour, and sermons on the Gospel of Work remain non-dialectical: neither of the two discourses is qualified or challenged by its opposite. They exist side by side, or on paths set for a collision, but they do not encounter each other. One, responding to economics, accepts and negotiates labour; the other, responding to economism, to the exaggerated application of economic laws to every nook and cranny of society, idealizes Work.2 As antinomies they rest peacefully, but unless kept separated, the dialectic suppressed by isolating one from the other, they would either cancel each other out or undermine the cautious gradualism of the reformist strategies and the distant utopianism of the Gospel. The unified apotheosis of Work promulgated at one moment is thus cut off from the historical denial of that inviolability at another by the British 'practical bent of mind.' The potentially catastrophic collision between Work and economics is displaced by a series of structural dislocations and discursive dissonances. On the one side is the Gospel of Work, the ultimate expression of non-rationalism; on the other side is a pragmatic arbitration of rationalism, of the real conditions and economic imperatives which are part and parcel with labour. It is one thing for the discourse of Work to conceive of labour, work rationalization and economism, as its opposite, as exploitative and perverted, an unforgivable and nonnegotiable rationalism locked into a maximizing ideology. But it is another to treat economics and the realm of necessity as opposing terms to Work. The complete division between economics, the historical society, and Work, an ethical estrangement from society, is fundamentally dissimilar to and much more problematic than the ancient or classical division of contemplation and necessity. 2 Again, I clarify and justify my need for specialized terms such as Work and labour on pages 26-30. 7 . As with contemplation, Work can only take place in the realm of freedom, as i f outside of an economic context - but work is the very foundation of the economic context. Withdrawing into plain and simple work, made possible by the undialectical split between Work and labour, leads to the paradox of advocating and representing the intrinsic values of Work in the conditions of industrial labour and the context of necessity (or of instrumental rationalism), to overlooking class when class - working-class and bourgeois experience and perception - is most relevant. I do not deny that Carlyle, Conrad, or Orwell will point out the need to interconnect the Ideal and the real. I maintain, however, that moral Work and pragmatic labour, the Ideal and the real, are not brought together in a way which would allow a dialectical and polemical confluence. The dualism I am describing between Work and labour has many forms. The list below is incomplete; it provides examples of how I express the disjunction or describes some of the shapes that the disjunction actually takes. This set of opposites is not meant to either confirm or challenge binary structures, but rather to offer ways of considering a split in the perception of work: the discontinuous thought, discourse, and representations of a particular group of English writers as they react to work rationalization. Non-Rationalism and Work Rationalism and Labour Work Economics Homo Faber Homo Economicus or Homo Laborans Realm of Freedom Realm of Maximizing or Realm of Necessity Idealism Materialism Moralism Pragmatism Form "the essence of praxis Reform Finality \ consists in annulling that indifference of form towards Conditionality Totality content." Variability Withdrawal Concession Abstractness Lukacs, History and Class Concreteness Generality Consciousness. Specificity Intransitiveness Transitiveness Art Sociology 'Culture' 'Society' A Priori A Posteriori Wisdom Logic Subjectivity Objectivity 8 The subjects of my study are not locked into polarized habits of mind, but they do oscillate between withdrawing into Work arid its world and cautiously prosing on issues surrounding labour, namely economics. The glitches and silences in their texts, the fissures which emerge out of the division between Work and labour, point to a disengaged moralism: the idea that the individual can and must overcome the prevailing social formation. If a worker gleans the values of Work from labour periodically represented as unremitting, ubiquitous rationalism - in need of economic reform - then it is as if the worker's volition has enabled a withdrawal from objective reality to the quarantined hallowedness of Work by exploiting the division between Work and labour. This worker works as i f independently of economic rationalism. In other words, the space between Work and labour evidences the ordering and writing of subjectivity as i f disconnected from the production process, even though that process is often written as an all-determining rationalism, the 'real' only to be whittled away at through prudent gradualism. Work becomes simply an act of the will, performed for its own sake, and the issues of economic need and necessity, not to mention structure, are compartmentalized as i f Work and economics were entirely unrelated. The split and the lack of any middle ground between the split ensures that the problems raised by the impasse between a Gospel of Work and a sociology of labour do not surface. This belief in the sanctity of the inner, inviolable self, which I call moral individualism for reasons given below, corresponds in many ways to Protestantism and the ideology of self-sufficiency. But to be clear, it is not an individualism which ratifies the rationalist doctrine of self-interest. According to classical and neo-classical economic theory, the maximizing economic agent, sanctioned by the title of a rational agent, is driven by self-love. The moral individual is driven to withdrawal. Still/ the way in which the stable, uncomplicated bourgeois ego in that mythology, the 'self-made man,' is said to create an unselfish society because he has recourse to an inviolate caritas is suspiciously similar to the isolated, integral, autonomous self stepping at will from the rationalist world in which he or she participates into the world of Work. Both narratives might be read as versions of a Tom Jones, noble-by-birth story, claiming the 9 moral high-ground of an innate goodness. But the moral individual is governed by a deeper meaning of self-sufficiency than the rationalist maximizing which lies behind bourgeois individualism. Work in itself, for reasons that are non-economic and even counter-economic, is considered sufficient. The mythology of moral individualism, however, inextricably bound to male-centred ideologies of toughness, of persevering through harsh conditions, nonetheless treats Work (work) as i f separate from its context and its effects. Work is removed from the world of rationalized labour and modern economics, the exploitation of labour and capitalist gain. Workers are told to perform sacred Work in the conditions of labour, when their labour power, represented as the intrinsic value of Gospelized Work, generates extrinsic profits for capitalists. The paradox of withdrawal, treating work as the means to evade, surpass, or transcend rationalism, can come close to sanctioning back-door exploitation. The intermittent denial of labour, rationalized work or the economic function of work, also denies or dismisses necessity. Economic need becomes swept up with counter-Work, greed, or economic bamboozling. The Utopian outlook would obviate the same pragmatic economics which dominate during the intermittent denials of Work. That pragmatism, the discourse of labour, also has its attendant narratological configuration, what I call pragmatic realism. The pragmatic realist negotiates his or her day-to-day existence 'inside the whale' without reference to the non-economic rewards underlined by the Gospel of Work. Steady employment, wages, and a decent standard of living are all that his or her labour represents. Referring to Carlyle and the critique of capitalism in Past and Present, Georg Lukacs identifies the schizophrenia of the Carlylean subject - pragmatic realist and moral individual -1 try to understand. He argues that, In such accounts it is shown, on the one hand, that it is not possible to be human in bourgeois society, and, on the other hand, that man as he exists is opposed without mediation - or what amounts to the same thing, through the mediations of metaphysics and myth - to this non-existence of the human (whether this is thought of as something in the past, the future or merely an imperative). (History 190) 10 Pragmatic realism does not always go so far as to insist on the impossibility of humanity under rationalism, but it does concede to, work within, the conditions of labour. Moral individualism does not always 'oppose this non-existence of the human.' More often than not, it simply ignores, bypasses, surpasses, or is otherwise cut off from pragmatic realism. That the idealization of work reaches its zenith at the very moment when industrialization loomed largest, when the machinic systems of work rationalization threatened to become the values of the economic and social world, is both understandable and remarkable. Such a threat would provoke a reactionary outcry, the retreat into a traditional world; but validating a rhetoric of the intrinsic value of activity and duty when the only available work for the working class, for those who were actually doing work, was void of any potentially intrinsic value demands scrutiny. The tendency to buffer moral Work from the exigencies of labour is not peculiar to England: Emerson, the transcendentalists, and Tolstoy do the same. What is startling about the English situation is that it took place at the height of industrialism, in the most soot-soaked streets. To withdraw into hard effort, into mind-numbing and exhaustive toil, can be read as a noble gesture to overturn modern capitalist relations, to turn back time. But such an entreaty also greases the machines of rationalization in a way that withdrawing into something non-corporeal or entirely bohemian does not. Only the discursive split between Work and labour saves the writers examined in this study from condoning rationalist economics, the very system they castigate when upon the Work pedestal, the Work high horse. When valorizing work, the experiential features of labour are concealed in the same way that bourgeois and liberal ideologies conceal the labour of the working classes in order to insist on the naturalness and ethicalness of middle-class ascendancy. In both bourgeois and moral representations of work, volunteerism, hobbies, and appeals to intransitive work - "'Work.' Not work at this or that - but, Work" - occur at an astonishing rate. But the writers in my study, as opposed to ideologically bourgeois writers, just as vehemently as they valorize Work, rage against labour, rationalized work. I am not interested in flogging the Work high horse, but in understanding the implications, effects, and significance of dividing moral Work from economic labour, 11 generalizations from specifics, or vision from action. I am interested in the different and often contradictory arguments my writers raise about Work and labour according to or depending on the class they are addressing or considering. The most devastating effect of the split between Work and labour might be that it forgoes or precludes praxis. With Work and labour coexisting side be side on an undialectical, non-confrontational chasm, the union of ideal value and real action can never take place. Though the discourses of Work and labour would wipe out the coherent totality of Work or the piecemeal reform of pragmatism if the two were brought into dialectics, the clash between the approaches, values, and assumptions of each would also admit a Utopian movement towards reform or a reform movement towards totalized ends. The split is ironic and especially sad because Work itself, the source of the ideal value, involves real action of its own. In the following pages I do not rely on any one general theory. I assume, however, that the basic model of Marxist historiography, material dialectics, would be more than appropriately applied to the antinomies of Work and pragmatic labour. H H H In this study I. am interested in work as represented in English prose and fiction between approximately 1843 and 1949, from Carlyle's Past and Present to Orwell's last essays and novels. The dates are not arbitrary for they encompass the beginning and the apex of a marked pattern, though its character can be found outside of those dates. In this study, I make three major but interconnected arguments: one, about the anti-rationalist or anti-utilitarian tradition; two, about the relationship between economic theory and culture; and three, the most important, about the non-dialectical division between Work and labour. By the anti-rationalist tradition I am referring to an inheritance from Romanticism and the visionary, traditionalist reaction to industrialism and economism born in the Victorian period. Its thinkers are violently opposed to rationalism in work or society: to impersonal theories or laws, to systematic controls, to statistics, to specialization, and to the ordering of the world into a functionalized, calculable, consistent means towards a substantially unclear but maximized end. I refer to this tradition -12 and more precisely to the undialectical rift between discourses of anti-rationalism and pragmatism which it creates and distinguishes it - as English cultural socialism, a term adapted from Bernard Crick who uses 'English socialism' to describe George Orwell's ethical, anti-theoretical, non-Marxian, libertarian socialism. In fact, many Orwell scholars allude to Orwell's central place in a distinctly English socialist tradition: George Woodcock argues that its chief characteristic is that it looks back in time to shape its values {Crystal 234); Stephen Ingle relates it to a suspicion of intellectuals and the overvaluation of intellectual work (Political 95). Orwell also epitomizes the tradition by combining radical strands of reactionaryism and socialism, calling himself a 'Tory anarchist,' by generally blurring political orientations, and by maintaining peculiarly Victorian moral and pragmatic sensibilities. Marxists tend to dismiss the tradition as Arcadian or brotherhood nostalgia or identify it at best as "a preliminary form of a socialist critique" (Lukacs, Theory 19). Lukacs is referring to Carlyle's Past and Present, implicitly denying the tenableness of a prolonged "romantic anti-capitalism" and of a coherent socialist tradition outside of the Marxist fold. Though the term 'socialism' might raise some eyebrows when applied to Joseph Conrad and the more conservative thinkers I discuss, I use it partly to challenge the way in which the critical community fixes writers into categories, playing on the fact that a major attribute of anti-rationalism is its comfort with inconsistencies. But included in the defence of inconsistency is the confirmation of the totally independent worker, not merely the anti-rationalist refusal to see human beings as predictable or mechanistic. Even though the English 'cultural socialists' I study oscillate between defending moral and pragmatic conceptions of work, they tend to represent individuals as idiosyncratic: inviolate because they are not affected by the affective, violating world. I have called this moral individualism. I wish only to historicize the apparatus allowing for the representation of such independent individuals in the midst of rationalism - the dualism of Work and economics -believing myself that constructivist theories are often themselves hyper-rationalistic. I feel the same frustration today that E. P. Thompson expressed over twenty years ago, which might be a 13 characteristic of the British tradition of cultural studies and related no doubt to the anti-rationalism it interprets: We are structured by social relations, spoken by pregiven linguistic structures, thought by ideologies, dreamed by myths, gendered by patriarchal sexual norms, bonded by affective obligations, cultured by mentalites, acted by history's script. None of these ideas is, in origin, absurd, and some rest upon substantial additions to knowledge. But all slip, at a certain point, from sense to absurdity, and, in their sum, all arrive at a common terminus of unfreedom. Structuralism (the terminus of the absurd) is the ultimate product of self-alienated reason . . . in which all human projects . . . appear to stand outside of men, to stand against them, as objective things, as the "Other" which, in its own turn, moves men around as things. In the old days, the Other was then named "God" or Fate. Today it has been christened anew as Structure. (Poverty 345) So much more true in the age of post-structuralism. Thompson goes on to argue that theories of determinism "are the product of an overly-rational mind; they offer an explanation in terms of mystified rationality for «o«-rational or irrational behaviour and belief, whose sources may not be educed from reason" (Poverty 357). Indeed it is an impossibly academic business to, assume that we can know when workers should be subjectively alienated, when they suffer from false consciousness because they gain something resembling the values of Work from labour. Tutored by Freudians, Marxists who argue that there is a vampiric relationship between capital and labour, that the labourer / victim is complicit with or in some way wills and enjoys the capitalist / vampire's parasitical bite, enjoys surrendering selfhood to the system, should realize that their point of view sounds incredibly full-bellied. For all of its romanticism, English socialism tends to keep an eye on the need for labourers to make a wage. Still every social critic - including those of English cultural socialism - is aware of the world's effect on its inhabitants. I argue that the foremost characteristic of English cultural socialism is a split between a discourse of Work and the development of a gritty, political, and pragmatic socialism. The way in which it isolates Work from economics allows for the representation of moral, independent individuals in the midst of immoral and deterministic worlds. In the history of English cultural socialism is a 14 ferocious anti-rationalist bent but also the famous British pragmatic one. It is a history of not connecting its moral and practicable instincts, despite initiating the dogma of 'only connect.' The second objective of this study is to show that there is some direct correspondence between a prevailing economic theory and culture, though, again, I am not especially interested in proving which came first. A l l the economic theories taking precedence in the period I am discussing adopted a model of rationalism which assumed human beings are naturally driven to maximize their self-interest. The reaction to it from the anti-rationalist tradition of English cultural socialism is negative to say the least. But in these sections of my study I am interested in showing the fusion of specific economic theories and society, the formation of economic cultures, which provoke the protest. Classical and Neo-Classical economics, political economy, and economic schools and disciplines which rose simultaneously with the rise of quantifiable labour all define the maximization of self-interest as normative or 'rational.' Modern decision or rational choice theory continues to disregard non-maximizing economic activity, what is dismissively referred to as 'satisficing': it is not considered a rational choice. Economists who follow the classical schools are generally willing to admit that satisficing takes place, but dp not include it in their models.3 I argue that the models themselves have an impact on culture, on the behaviour of economic agents: that theories are normative as well as descriptive. The economic theories I investigate, themselves shaped by dynamic cultures - from technology to politics to the arts - generate, shape, develop, and legitimize theories of homo economicus which neuter subversive ideas about social organizations and privilege the importance of economic man, his reason, in order to justify and serve the ascendant or dominant capitalist class. I am interested in the ways in which English cultural socialism reacts to rationalist theories, especially through the anti-rationalist concept of work for work's sake and its defence of working-class culture. But I am also interested in the ways it comes to terms with rationalism and concedes to rationalist theory in order to respond to immediate crises. 3 See, for example, chapters 4 and 14 of George Stigler's The Theory of Price (1942). 15 The economic theories I examine, hedonist at root, consider it axiomatic that people prefer leisure to work (why wages are called 'compensation'). They cannot account for the desire to work for non-economic reasons, the widespread resistance to retirement, or the non-employment activity we might do with zeal - housekeeping, childrearing, volunteering, or gardening and such - but wouldn't do for pay. They cannot account for the fact that there is no relationship between the amount of disutility, the degree of undesirability in the work activity, and the size of the economic reward. By arguing that work is a disutility they deny that the context, structure, or organization of work is the disutility. They also argue that a rationalized workplace is acceptably alienating. These theories refuse to accept that people act non-rationally, without self-interest, without a goal: that people buy flowers for the hell of it. If we do, it is deemed a second order activity. Finally, they deny that ideology and collective forces manufacture desire (the leisure which supposedly drives us unwillingly to work), work ethics, or the maximizing strategies and conduct of economic agents. Economic agents might strategize, but such strategies are governed by patterns of perception and action indoctrinated into the agents by culture, to which economic theory is a large and weighty contributor. The third objective of this study, to theorize on a set of disjunctures under the rubric of Work and labour and to contextualize two distinct discourses which displace and would deform each other, I have already described. I disagree with Fredric Jameson that "the production of aesthetic or narrative form is to be seen as an ideological act in its own right, with the function of inventing imaginary or formal 'solutions' to unresolvable social conditions" (Political 79), but only insofar as one is more likely to find a lacuna than a 'solution' (however forced) to those social contradictions, at least in the texts and contexts in which I am engaged. It is not my intention to argue that those in the tradition of English cultural socialism never dialectically contrast Work and labour. Even Orwell, who I will argue epitomizes cultural socialism, has moments where he writes dialectically. He more than most also seems to recognize the contradiction in his approach: that 'George Orwell' was born of a tension, that " A humanitarian is always a hypocrite" (CEJL 2: 218). But Orwell, for the most part, swings harder and faster 16 between Gospelizing work and pragmatically addressing labour than those who shaped the tradition of cultural socialism before him. Perhaps more fervently than most of his predecessors, he also articulates a belief in moral change, that one has to change or perfect oneself before one changes or perfects the world, or despite the increasingly imperfect world. What makes Orwell so strange, why he epitomizes English cultural socialism, is that he, swinging in the opposite direction, also redresses that very aspect of moralism, as in his essay on Dickens, and because he virtually personifies defeatism or what I have called pragmatic realism. I hope, then, not only to contribute ideas to the growing discipline of 'work studies' from the perspective of a literary student but also to contribute to studies on Carlyle, Conrad, Orwell, and the Victorian and Modern literary periods in general from the perspective of an interdisciplinary work studies. The main subject of my study is not George Orwell, but the creation of 'George Orwell' from the tradition of cultural socialism. In other words, the main subject is the group itself - through the grouping I develop a theory of work. Raymond Williams finds Orwell "genuinely baffling until one finds the key to the paradox," and I too wish to "describe" the "paradox of Orwell" (Culture 279). Williams argues a "paradox of the exile," and I will argue the paradox of Work, a paradox of withdrawal that is quite different in its ramifications than exile. Since I look at a series of writers whose lives and writings interconnect, all of who seem to follow Lenin's dictum that the participant is the only true observer, I am also examining Work and labour with regard to their class attitudes and the different perceptual habits and frequencies of the classes. I am particularly interested in the discursive shift that takes place according to the social class the group is addressing or considering. On the one hand, the working class is related to the pleasures and virtues of Work. On the other hand, the middle class is told about or scolded because of the conditions of labour. The Gospel of Work is undoubtedly delivered to the middle class as well, but not in the same manner or with the same persistence as it is packaged for the working class. The middle class sermonizes unto itself its own variation of the Gospel. The working class, it seems, enjoys a special knowledge of Work, but is particularly oblivious to the 17 world of labour. The specific discourse of labour reserved for the middle class or paternalistically uttered when observing the working class from a distance - as opposed to participating in working-class culture - denies or negates the possibility of Work. The scope of this project is large, covering many years, many theories, and many writers. But not all theories of work are addressed and not every writer who fits into my model is discussed. I wish to show a tendency, a pattern, an approach to Work and labour that forms what I think is a unique and curious oscillation steeped in structural questions. I discuss gender and work, and nationalism and work, but in only a cursory manner. I hardly touch upon ethnicity or colonialism and work, or intellectual work, all huge subjects in themselves. I proceed inductively, using specific texts to construct a general theory. I do not think my theory ought to be treated as a comprehensive model and I do not do so myself. I try to follow the form of my own critique and dialectically oppose the specific texts I analyze to the general theory I then follow. Theoretical Background The main theories and definitions of work informing this study have been unabashedly borrowed, simplified, and reworked from, primarily, Hannah Arendt, Raymond Williams, and Max Weber in order to fit my own needs. In Arendt's The Hitman Condition (1958), she provides a definition of 'labour' as activity directed to satisfy biological needs and 'work' as producing objects which outlast the productive activity and which lend continuity to existence. They form the basis of my use of the terms, though I use 'Work' and Arendt uses 'labour' to denote self-objectification (Marx's concept of alienation is based on the idea that the worker feels lost when the self-imprinted object is taken away from him or her, the creator) and the way that the cycle of toil and rest can be a trans-economic, intrinsically-rewarding sensation. Still, her social critique and the anti-rationalism I focus on both lament the disappearance of 'work' products, products transcending consumption. Arendt writes, 18 The industrial revolution has replaced all workmanship with labour, and the result has been that the things of the modern world have become labour products whose natural fate is to be consumed, instead of work products which are there to be used. (Human 124) More explicitly than her, I use 'labour' (outside of its meaning as the antithesis of satisfying work) to mean economic activity (she uses 'labour' to mean answering necessity and ensuring survival, but not necessarily in an economic context) and use 'Work' to refer to activity understood to be intrinsically satisfying and treated as if outside of an economic context. M y definitions of Work and labour also correspond with Raymond Williams's analysis, in his eponymous book, of how 'culture and society' have been misdefined. 'Work' I associate with his understanding of the misused word 'culture,' suggesting that it is a most significant example of such an attitude towards 'culture': an abstraction and an absolute: an emergence which, in a very complex way, merges two general responses - first, the recognition of the practical separation of certain moral and intellectual activities from the driven impetus of a new kind of [industrial] society; second, the emphasis of these activities, as a court of human appeal, to be set over the processes of practical social judgment and yet to offer itself as a mitigating and rallying alternative . . . Further . . . in the formation of the meanings of culture, an evident reference back to an area of personal and apparently private experience, which was notably to affect the meaning and practice of art. (xviii) I treat 'Work' as almost synonymous with Williams's critique of 'culture'; that is, a point of transcendence from the nitty-gritty reality of economic life. The fascinating aspect of work, however, albeit represented as Work, and unlike 'culture' per se, is that it is the root and substructure of economic reality. I also argue that, while holding 'Work' in abeyance, the writers of English cultural socialism also tackle 'society,' economic reality and the realm of necessity. Like Williams, I believe that a general theory of work (his is a general theory of culture) should include grasping the relations between Work and labour (or culture and society) as a whole way of life. 19 I agree with Terry Eagleton (another critic who figures prominently in my study) that Culture and Society (1958) takes the Romantic 'radical-conservative' lineage of nineteenth-century England - and extractfs] from it those 'radical' elements which could be ingrafted into a 'socialist humanism.' . . . [Culture and Society] thus paradoxically reproduced the nineteenth-century bourgeois exploitation of Romantic 'radical-conservative' ideology for its own ends - only this time the ends in question were socialist. And it could do so, of course, because the working-class movement is as a matter of historical fact deeply infected with the Carlylean and Ruskinian ideology in question. It was a matter of the book rediscovering that tradition, offering it as. a richly moral and symbolic heritage to an ideologically impoverished labour movement, just as in nineteenth-century England that tradition became available as an ideological crutch to the industrial bourgeoisie. But I cannot agree with him that the 'radical elements,' moral work - tradition, community, organicism, growth, wholeness, continuity, and so on - were interlocked with the equally corporatist, evolutionary discourse of Labourism, so that the organicism of the one language reproduced and elaborated the organicism of the other. (Criticism 25) Williams, very aware and critical of the reactionary character of the tradition, argues that culture, as art, was conceived in opposition to society and Labourism. The Labourism Eagleton dismisses, betraying an affiliation to a transcendental culture of his own, is what I refer to as pragmatic economics and it is a complex - corporatist and conservative at points, reformist and activist at others - mixture of right and left-wingery, but nonetheless saturated in 'society.' In terms of the tradition Williams identifies, it is kept compartmentalized from the discourse of culture (or Work). If Williams was "haunted by an uncertain nostalgia for the 'organic,'" and i f "'Wholeness,' 'natural growth,' [and] 'total process' are keystones of the book's entire conceptual structure" (Criticism 40) to the point where the abstractions overwhelm, then Culture and Society would only be called Culture. Incidentally, one might hope that wholeness, natural growth, and total process are not dismissed as only reactionary. They are, as Williams suggests, 20 "an essential preparation for socialist theory, and for the more general attention to a 'whole way of life'" (145). From Weber I am borrowing a concept of rationalism.4 Weber uses the term broadly, but his distinction between formal and substantial rationality is central to my discussion of anti-rationalism. In Weber's sense, an action is deemed formally rational i f it is an efficacious means to a premeditated end and is governed solely by that end. I follow his use of the term "substantive rationality" to identify rationality from the point of view of an ethical end, which entails ethical means. From the point of view of formal rationality, equality, fraternity, community, and job satisfaction are non- or even irrational values. Modern, formal rationalism emphasizes a doctrine of instrumentality, systemization, and quantitative pursuit. It abolishes religious and customary restraints but stresses impersonal legal controls over any deviancy which might interfere with the predictability of society. Society is to passively await the benefits supposed to accompany the maximizing of personal wealth. It means economic preoccupation, ascetic self-control, and technological control over nature. Rationalism goes hand in hand with the model of free-market exchange: the deliberate pursuit of individual gain without interruption from the field of ethics, the restraint of emotions, the confusion of caprice, the ambitionless continuity of tradition, or the 'irrationality' of ideology. In my study, rationalism is also an approach to work where work is only the means to production and extrinsic maximizing or compensation. Workers are often the means themselves, a paradigm keeping formal rationality irreconcilably at odds with substantive rationality. Economic rationalism may have begun in the eighteenth or even the seventeenth century, but it was not until the growth of the study of political economy in the nineteenth century that it became systematically accepted. Although Weber introduces the work ethic as part of the trend towards rationalism and the rationalization of work, the work ethic in English cultural socialism 41 have little to say about Weber's or Tawney's theses on the relationship between Protestantism and the origins of capitalism, though the idea of a unitary work ethic seems too monolithic and the idea of its determining power seems too isolated to support their theories on the origins of capitalism. Though I will argue that Protestantism plays a part in the origins and schizoid development of English cultural socialism, the Gospel of Work (and capitalism) would have risen and did rise independently of a Protestant ethic. 21 is formally non-rational. It has nothing to do with extrinsically oriented strategies of exchange. It is substantively rational in that it is first and foremost to engender a moral end, personal stability, or community commitment: it expresses a traditionalistic resistance to the rationalization of work. Weber thinks only of the capitalist, the 'self-made man,' when he links rationalism to the work ethic. Such a unitary work ethic, however, is not likely even within the capitalist class or its understood Protestant / Puritan innovators. A s a sociologist, Weber simply reports on modern rationalization. But one is not remaining entirely neutral i f one sees capitalist rationalism as an "abomination to every system of fraternal ethics" (Economy 1: 637). Weber's concern was over the disjunction between formal and substantive rationality; i.e., a modern indifference to substantive ends. Sti l l , Weber only challenges unchecked r a t i o n a l e . He recognizes the benefits of modernizing and the futility of acting as i f the overturning of modernity would ipso facto increase human happiness, justice, and comfort. English cultural socialism and especially Orwell makes the same recognition, but the compliance to and rejection of modern rationalism is not organized by an attempt to explain it as with Weber's thesis, but rather emerges out of a Victorian and traditional ethos deeply engaged with modernity. The result is a hard division between moral Work and economic labour. Weber's analysis of rationalism best lends itself to my thesis in its intersection with Marx. Marxists generally hold that the rationality of individual economic agents attempting to maximize profits conflicts with what is rational for the capitalist system as a whole (Glyn 107). Private ownership inevitably leads to the malfunctioning of capitalism itself. Weber emphasizes that what is formally rational for economic agents is not rational for those same agents in terms of their lives as a whole. The 'early Marx, ' who looms throughout my pages, approaches rationalism from both a structural and a moral perspective. If I at points seem antagonistic towards Marx it is only because any discussion involving Work and labour has to respond to him and move outwards from him. His criticism of Hegel's 'universal notion of work' (and of non-materialism in general) could model for my criticism of the withdrawal into the Gospel of Work common to English cultural socialism. His concept of alienation (essentialist, for one has to be 22 alienated from something and for Marx it is the species essence, homo faber), the estrangement of people in competition with one another or of people separated from the products they invest themselves into, could model for my criticism of pragmatism. That alienation is endemic to the relations of private property, to the division of labour, to the stupefaction of the industrial worker, and to bourgeois instrumentalism, goes far to dialectically oppose Work and labour, to confront Work with labour. His inversion of the intellectual hierarchy between thought and action, the model of materialist dialectics, is implicit in my critique of a lack of praxis and dialectics in English cultural socialism. His assertion that it is not (individual) reason but (communal) work that distinguishes human and animal (and subsequently that there is a heed to separate work from private rewards and turn it into an end in itself) is behind my sympathy for the anti-rationalist tradition. His critique of political economy - that it shapes, accelerates, and legitimizes industry and not only theorizes upon it - is central to my argument about the relation of theory to economic behaviour, as is some of his work on the ideological content of morality, a product and reflection of social structure. My critique of the failure to 'only connect' the passion and the prose, the Ideal and the real, in so much of English literature ultimately comes from Marx's insistence to see society in a dialectic totality. Hannah Arendt criticizes Marx on the basis that in all stages of his work he defines man as an animal laborans and then leads him into a society in which this greatest and most human power is no longer necessary. We are left with the rather distressing alternative between productive slavery and unproductive freedom. (Human 105)5 5 Arendt questions the 'contradictions' in Marx's thought as follows: If labour is the most human and most productive of man's activities, what will happen when, after the revolution, 'labour is abolished' in the 'realm of freedom,' when man has succeeded in emancipating himself from it? What productive and what essentially human activity will be left? If violence is the midwife of history,' and violent action therefore the most dignified of all forms of human action, what will happen when, after the conclusion of class struggle and the disappearance of the state, no violence will even be possible? How will men be able to act at all in a meaningful, authentic way? Finally, when philosophy has been both realized and abolished, in the future society, what kind of thought will be left? ("Tradition" 27) 23 Such criticism is unfounded because Marx does not define man as animal laborans but as homo faber reduced to animal laborans. Marx was looking forward to a time when economic necessity would no longer be the reason we work, not to a time when people no longer work. In The German Ideology (1846), he imagines when everyone would be free "to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner" (Reader 160). Behind Marx's future society, in fact, is not idleness, but the productivist illusion common to the age he inhabited, the assumption that society under the realm of freedom would see more material production than all previous societies, that social and material progress were twinborn. Still, the young, visionary Marx does not let go of economics when articulating the promises of Work, always seeing Work and labour as clashing, contradicting forces. My grievance with Marx in this study has to do with his abandoning a model of Work as he moved towards Capital (1867). Though alienation from intrinsically oriented Work is always implicit in his later writings, he more and more treated work in a narrowly economic sense, as solely a matter of labour power and so forth. He implicitly contradicts himself by suggesting all morality is sheer ideology and bourgeois mystification. 'Morality,' for the young Marx, includes non-alienating Work. By taking for granted that the economic was a first order activity given to fixed laws, his ideas mirror the political economy of his day. I am not suggesting that Marx-as-scientist was unimportant. Ron Bellamy makes the point that Ricardo shows a lack of a scientific curiosity by accepting the idea that capitalists get the profits of labour power as a matter of course. But since "science requires an answer to the question: why and how do they get it" and Marx asked that question through his queries into labour power and surplus value, Marx was the better scientist (44). My. complaint is that Marx the scientist divorces himself from Marx the moralist, creating a separation remarkably similar to the one central to English cultural socialism, except that Marx retreats into abstract economics, not abstract Work. E. P. Thompson suggests that Marx's economism, and the treatment of "Marxww as Science," places Marx and Marxism besides Utilitarians, Malthusians, Positivists, Fabians, and structuralist-functionalists 24 (Poverty 360). A l l fetishize science, but in the case of Marx and Marxism, this undermines the anti-rationalism in work and economics that the Marxist state would be based upon. Georg Lukacs might provide the needed link between anti-rationalism and economics, between the spiritual ideal and the real, between Marxism as a religion and as a science - a conflation enabling praxis. Terry Eagleton links Lukacs's anti-scientism to Raymond Williams, to the emotionally driven cry for a synthesis of culture and society, though not appreciating that they share a "theoretical idealism" and "aesthetic predilections" (Criticism 36). Lukacs emphasizes the different ways classes relate to objects and reality. The worker sees the object as knowable, as a process, as something built (in turn leading to a consciousness of the world, to history as something built). The bourgeois sees the object as a mystery, as static, as i f capitalism itself was eternal (a "rationalism," Fredric Jameson adds, that "can assimilate everything but the ultimate questions of purpose and origins" [Form 185-86]). Lukacs ties life experience to perception in such a way as to suggest that vital art and meaningful notions of culture, even notions of Work, express a social process at every level. Behind my critique of the separation of Work and society lies his theory of art and society, just as his analysis of reification informs my own anti-rationalism. SI SI SI I am limiting my study to a critique of the rationalism emerging out of nineteenth-century industrialism and economism, but rationalism is to be found well before that. Though Ruskin castigated Renaissance rationalism, today the Enlightenment receives the brunt of the attack. Implicit in my study, then, though by no means central to it, is a critique of the Enlightenment. I follow, in this critique, Horkheimer and Adorno: The prognosis of the related conversion of enlightenment into positivism, the myth of things as they actually are . . . and that which is inimical to the spirit, has been overwhelmingly confirmed, (x) That the Enlightenment brought on an 'administered world' can be seen in a hodgepodge of changes leading into the nineteenth century. The development of a linear, highly-regulated and 25 rule-governed menu or the specialized rooms which replaced large medieval halls (McClintock 182), for example, can and have been attributed to the Enlightenment fetish for structure. Barthes and Foucault have argued that rational management led to the ordering of everything from religion to the body and sexuality. Victorian liberals such as Leslie Stephen, in The History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century (1876), and John Morley, in Critical Miscellanies (1886), approvingly trace Enlightenment skepticism to laissez-faire doctrine, ratifying the rationalism (whether it be in work, human reason, or the free market) at the core of the ideas. At the same time, Gerald Graff correctly argues that The 'reason' of most classical, Renaissance, and Enlightenment thinkers is moral and evaluative and objective. It bears little resemblance to the value-free, instrumental, purely calculative reason of positivistic science and industrial engineering. This change in the concept of reason reflects a transformation of the structures of social authority in which reason (and other concepts denoting authority) seem, in the eyes of many, to have been objectified. (28) I am not joining the bandwagon demonizing the Enlightenment. 'Man' was thought to have an unalterable nature well before it. Anthropocentricism, as an alternative to a God-centred universe, is in itself quite defensible, as long as it is the valuation of reason and not rationalism (or solipsism). Centres are also in themselves far from inherently evil. Marx implies that work is the centre of 'man,' a social species. And many have connoted that work, or making things and seeing in oneself the power to make things, is a healthy centre for human beings, insofar as it was the first step towards breaking a slavery to mysticism and gods (as the makers of all things). Terminology As I have already implied, I find it absolutely necessary to fashion my own vocabulary by using certain words and phrases in a specific, narrow maimer. In order to be as clear, precise, and understood as possible I am providing an up-front glossary. I will be consistent in my use of these terms unless otherwise indicated. 26 Work: Capital ' W Work refers to intrinsically satisfying work, albeit hard and demanding: to the Gospel of Work or Carlylean Work. It refers to work which is said to be good in its own right, performed for its own sake, for 'wellbeing' or other non-economic incentives. It implies a non-historical, non-specific, almost transcendental experience - although as work it is a very real and historical, concrete, and involved one. It signifies a withdrawal into an inviolate world kept isolated from the world of economics. It is identity fixing, ego stabilizing, and community-bonding activity. It often has aesthetically pleasing rewards and suggests a qualitative, individuated aspect in the work process. But production is not its central value, whereas effort for effort's sake is. A lower case 'work' refers to activity which is not necessarily marked by either intrinsic or extrinsic rewards in order to suggest that the values associated with Work (or labour) are constructed, not inherent in the activity itself. Upper case Work is the activity performed by homo faber. Labour: Refers to work performed for extrinsic or economic reasons, work which is important for its instrumental utility. In one sense (Arendt's), I use it to suggest what is necessary to sustain life, but in another sense I want to suggest that it is the opposite of Work. In this sense, it refers to dissatisfying or industrial work: quantitative, boring, repetitive, and alienating. When performed by the middle class for economic reasons (the realm of gain), it is the activity of homo e'conomicus. When performed by the working class for economic reasons (the realm of necessity), but in alienating conditions, it is the activity oihomo laborans. Labour is work under the criteria of rationalism, the real. * * * Moralism: Though an unpopular word today in academic circles, I find it nicely applies to the nineteenth-century concept of Work. Moralism belongs to the idea of Work and its values: moral work is Work, that which transcends rationalism. More specifically, I use it to identify the tendency to believe in the individual's need and ability to change - change oneself, not the world - despite the context of rationalist work, to supersede economics or work rationalization. It implies, as Woodcock said of Orwell and Orwell said of Dickens, that a moral and not a J 27 structural problem belies England. Moralism also implies a generalizing and abstracting modus operandi. Pragmatism: I do not use pragmatism in William James's sense or for that matter in any philosophical sense. I use it to refer to a non-philosophical negotiation with the world of labour, to specific and concrete responses to the demands of the immediate economic world. In English cultural socialism, it can be linked to reform and gradualism. * * * Culture: Though I use the term in its modern sense as a set of activities and beliefs shared by a particular group of people, I also use it to identify the Utopian world created by compartmentalizing labour and the need for pragmatism. I rely on Williams's analysis of the word in order to suggest a transcendent order appalled by and withdrawn from the everyday practices of society. Society: Again I use the word in its dictionary definition, but I also use it, in Williams's sense, as the opposite of 'culture.' In this way it has associations with labour, just as culture has associations with Work. * * * Rationalism: I use rationalism to mean the overextended application of formal (in Weber's sense, see above) rationality in the economic, political, social, or private realm. There can be religious and non-religious rationalism, its basis being that human reason, not empirical data, leads to truth. To act rationally is to act on the basis of knowledge and it is not what I mean by rational ism: rationalism refers to a calculating, instrumentalizing orientation with the outside world. Rationality is a huge concept rooted in Greek philosophy, but I use ra t ionale to identify the idea that to maximize the means to an end (and to disregard the end) is human reason. As Williams explains in Keywords (1976), the nineteenth-century "Idealist use of Reason as the transcendent power of grasping first principles" was met with the utilitarian attempt to appropriate the word in order to defend its own principles (211-12). I use the word in its appropriated sense. I am also interested in the relationship between work rationalization and 28 rationalism in society and the reciprocal way in which they familiarize functionalism in discourse and social interaction. Work rationalization, or rationalized work, is work geared toward quantitative production using systematic mechanisms such as the division of labour: in this way it constitutes the realm of labour. It is important to point out that work rationalization was not born with the invention of a machine or the articulations of one Adam Smith in the pin factory. Work rationalization, the division of labour for example, was present at its own making. But until the acceptance of rationalww, work rationalization was not organized to the point of human alienation or held as a value in itself. Economic rationalism is the maximizing of self-interested gain for the sake of gain: in this way, the way of homo economicus, it is also in the realm of labour. It can be, I am very willing to admit, when it comes to the necessity of extrinsic gain, a matter of pragmatic economics. I use rationalw/w to emphasize the exaggerated belief in specialized, linear, formal procedures at the expense of substantive, Work values. Non-rationalism or Anti-rationalism: As the realm of Work, it refers to the contrary of rationalism. It is non-instrumental activity emphasizing substantive rationality (the ends as opposed to the means). The term ought not to be confused in any way with the irrational. * * * Moral individualism: I use the term to refer to the representation of Work as wrested from labour (from rationalized, alienating work and the world of economics). Gleaning Work from a non-Work context implies the individual, subjectivity, is impervious to objective conditions: that the individual has the internal resources to nullify what is often represented as a dehumanizing environment or to reverse the effect of that environment through an individuated assertion of will . I also use intransitive moralism to refer to this phenomenon in order to emphasize that the labour turned into Work has to be and is stripped of its object, its specific nature. I sometimes use self-sufficient moralism in place of moral individualism to insist that displacing labour for Work also involves a refusal of economic rationalism, of maximizing. Being impervious to the outside world implies a belief in self-reliance, but it also implies that the values of the inside 29 world are antithetical to the maximizing rationalism, the instrumental character, of homo economicus. Pragmatic realism: The term will be applied when the writers I examine admit or concede to the world of labour. At such intervals, the concept of Work is either ignored or, in Orwell's case, ridiculed. The idea of pragmatic realism, insofar as it elaborates on the idea of 'labour' and is the flipside of moral individualism, becomes most important when discussing Orwell's fiction. I use it only sparingly until the chapter 'George Orwell Revisited.' * * * English cultural socialism: A term I use to identify a line of thinkers who Gospelize Work but pragmatically negotiate labour. In this group I identify many thinkers, the most important in their eras being Thomas Carlyle, Joseph Conrad, and George Orwell. Orwell epitomizes all that which took place in English cultural socialism before him. I have borrowed the term from Bernard Crick's essay on George Orwell, "English socialism" (1988). He points out that A characteristic of English socialism, in contrast to Marxist socialism, has been to recognize that there are some areas of life which have to be preserved from politics . . . Only an English socialist could talk, as Morris, Tawney, and Orwell did, about the importance of privacy in the good life. (16) I have added 'cultural' to the term in order to emphasize that the ground preserved from politics (economics, I would suggest) constitutes a withdrawal from society in the way that Williams shows that 'culture' was used as an oppositional term to 'society,' to transcend society, in the tradition of writers he identifies (and the writers I refer to are often the same as his). As Crick argues, there are two distinct sides to English (cultural) socialism: On the one hand a sensibility and perception that is close to observable experience and intensely practical, but on the other hand Pilgrim with his eyes raised towards Zion, head-in-the-air while feet necessarily tramp through the slough of Despond and Vanity Fair. But perhaps only the plodding Pilgrim could sustain the idealistic Pilgrim through the hard work and daily disappointment that gradualism is heir to. (19) 30 I am interested in the undialectical gulf between the sides and the assumptions which lie latent between them. Methodology I begin with a chapter on Orwell's prose and finish with a chapter on his fiction. Beginning with Orwell, I can discuss English cultural socialism as an anthropologist might, with the composite item (Orwell's prose) of a hundred years of influence enlarged and exaggerated in front of me. I then go back to historicize the formation of the lineage that led to 'Orwell.' I hope to contribute something to both Orwellian criticism and to the study of the historical development of the idea of work. I end by returning to Orwell, not in order to show differences between his prose and fiction, but to come full circle and revisit my argument about the formation of 'George Orwell' after an examination of his intellectual influences and their contexts: of Carlyle, Victorian approaches to work, Conrad, and Modern approaches to work. Though I jump between examining individual writers and the periods of writing they belong to, I never proceed as i f obliged to linear time. I treat Arnold as a Modern and Kipling as a Victorian and include them respectively in those chapters because I argue that Arnold's attitude is Modern and Kipling's is Victorian. Though by no means do I avoid 'canonical' texts, as with my approach to chronology I move freely inside and outside the canon, discussing Jewsbury or Eliot when they are relevant. I discuss these writers not only because they are relevant, but also, I ' l l freely admit, because they are familiar to me. I don't want to get hung up on discussions of linearity or the canon. My sections on women's work and on historically prevailing economic theories are too short, for they are subjects deserving books of their own. The focus of my study is mostly literary: literary responses to the Gospel of Work and the rationalization of labour. As a sort of appendix to each of the chapters on a particular writer, I include a short section on the language of work (on Carlyle's discourse of Work, for example). My intent here is to understand from that language the tensions, inconsistencies, and conventions in the attitudes toward work and to analyze how style and subject matter correspond or contradict. Finally, I say again that I 31 am not attempting a survey on work, or on work and literature, nor am I claiming that my theory about Work and labour is applicable to every British piece of written word between 1843 and 1949. Rather, I am attempting to identify and contextualize a tendency, not a movement, at the intersection of conflicting historical forces. 32 Chapter One George Orwell Introduction Of all the critics seeking to identify the inconsistencies in George Orwell's life and writings, including both his apologists and adversaries, few point out that an author of a column entitled "As I Please" would intentionally flaunt antinomies. George Woodcock, who understands Orwell well, Cis an exception. He thinks Orwell "tended to glory in his contradictions and in the unsystematic nature of his thought" (Crystal 55). Head-spinning inconsistencies, so much the more audacious for being very clearly stated, preclude automatic allegiances to Orwell the man, forcing discussion to organize itself over ideas, perhaps over the idea of 'Orwell.' But Woodcock also reads the inconsistencies as a "shift in his attitude which took place whenever the subject moved from the abstract and general to the concrete and personal" (Crystal 56). The implication is that Orwell's contradictory style gets away from him, that it is deeply rooted in an epistemological discontinuity. Dan Jacobson has recently re-formulated Woodcock's analysis of an a priori / a posteriori shift by noting that Orwell, when generalizing, ridicules homosexuals, vegetarians, and middle-class intellectuals, for example, but supports "them in directly political terms" (4). Most critics can agree that guided by a private code of action, Orwell defends individuals persecuted by organized factions even as he derides what they represent. That is, he thinks differently depending on his proximity to people and events. When speaking in abstract terms Orwell resists the strictures of rationalism - rejecting technology, depicting work as a good in itself and money as the root of all evil, defying authority, and attesting to the sanctity of tradition. When speaking in concrete terms he concedes to rationalism - admitting the necessity of technology, ridiculing the representation of work as anything but a means to satisfy economic need, and money as anything but the root of all good, defending authority, and vilifying a romanticized past. In this chapter I try to show that the contradiction in Orwell's prose, especially in Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), between Gospelizing Work and pragmatically negotiating labour, 33 between vision and revision, is never brought into dialectics and remains unresolved. The gap allows Orwell to withdraw into a landscape of inviolate Work, which, in its turn, creates the paradox of locating a transcendental order in Work (work) and initiates moral individualism, the self-determination of reality. Orwell's withdrawal from society (from economics and the real conditions of labour) into the communal values of Work, represented through a ragged collection of idiosyncratic independents, follows from the division of Work from labour. Williams describes Orwell's refuge from the real world as self-exile, as finding "virtue" "in an assertion of independence" (Culture 279). Though I agree with him that Orwell defines himself against society, in his chapter on Orwell in Culture and Society Williams downplays the fact that Orwell was, on the other hand, also very much involved with 'society,' the day-to-day economic struggles of the poor and working class. In this chapter I hope to show a concentrated expression of the bi-polarizing impulse common to English cultural socialism as it reacts to the structural clampdown on the meanings - and therefore the actual form - of work. I realize, however, that there is a danger in partitioning Orwell's thoughts between Work and labour, between a vehement non-rationalism and a pragmatic concession to rationalism. First, though it may be true that he denies rational/,™, he never abandons reason, promotes mysticism, or psychologizes for a return to behaviour guided by instinct. Second, when I say he concedes to rationalism, I do not mean to imply that he abandons fraternal ethics or endorses free-market economics, far from it. In that 'concession' is Orwell's engagement with, and most often a reaction against, capitalist rationalization. But it is a reaction from 'inside the whale' as opposed to a denial of or a withdrawal from the modern world. Third, to argue that only his resignation to rationalism, his cynicism towards work ethics for example, is a 'concrete' response to the modern organization of work, or society, is to imply that his resistance to it is merely an antiquated, Utopian idealism. His resistance to rationalism is only Utopian insofar as it is not opposed to his pragmatism. Negotiating the terms of rationalized work does not own a monopoly on the down-to-earth. Orwell the work theorist is clearly right to argue that the unemployed need work for non-economic reasons. He also says that the unemployed need only 34 money. These views compete under the single category of the 'concrete,' the real needs of a particular individual. To apply the abstract / concrete distinction unconditionally and suggest that only arbitrating the details of labour is real would be to ratify the assumption that the resistance to a rationalization of work is not 'useful,' a utilitarian and capitalist tautology. This would be to prejudge Orwell's contradictions from a fully rationalist point of view. It is also to dismiss the relevance of the contradiction. At the same time, the distinction between Work and labour, moralism and pragmatism, is fundamental to any analysis of Orwell's contradictory attitudes. Most critics point out an inconsistency. For Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton Orwell's "double vision" (Orwell 19), or the "tensions and contradictions" (Exiles 86) in his work, reveal the untenable assumptions of his conservatism. For Daphne Patai he is not merely contradictory, but "equally simplistic and extreme at each end of the spectrum" (7). For Richard Hoggart the "contradictory mixture" includes a "toughness in manner" and a 'warm,' 'gentle' tolerance ("Introduction" 37). Beatrix Campbell comes close to my own formulation of the dualism when she concludes that "Orwell moves between these great moral virtues and the private common sense morality of decency" (218). Alok Rai identifies a "schizoid affiliation" to middle-class literati and their notions of aesthetic value and an aesthetic and moral bond with the people he wrote about (31). In a similar way, Stephen Ingle argues that Orwell "continuously switches from identifying with the poor and writing about society from their point of view to identifying with 'society' and writing about the poor as a social problem" (Political 25). Some critics judge Orwell's writings by the standards of coherency, treating the contradictions in themselves as evidence of artistic and theoretical failure. More often than not this comes across as purely evaluative and formalist, ideological and self-defensive attempts to expose inauthenticity, dishonesty, or a lack of decency and deflate what Orwell's popularity might represent. Orwell's vacillations go beyond the quasi-aristocratic, individualistic whimsicality of a title such as "As I Please," the general / concrete split, or the superficial vagaries coincident with non-partisanship. Neither can the cause of the contradictions be reduced to a various 35 occupational history or his interaction with different social classes. Orwell was a revolutionary and a traditionalist; a radical and a conservative; an ironist and a sentimentalist; he wore political labels and was anti-sectarian; he was a propagandist of feel-good optimism, a hater of Jeremiahs, and a gloomy pessimist; "dominator and dominated" (Williams, Orwell 19); authoritarian and rebel; a moralist who believed change begins with the individual and a socialist who contributed to a theory of constructivism; synchronic and diachronic; a liberal and liberalism's critic; and finally, a humanist and someone who envisioned the ultimate collapse of human subjectivity. Orwell's thought was both inside and outside the whale: caught between history, specificity, and variability on the one hand and the desperate plea for the final knowledge of 'culture' on the. other. The paradox of Orwell's inconsistency is best seen as he rocks back and forth between adopting a Romantic vision of Work and integrating himself into a pragmatic labourism. Both attitudes can be seen as defending and legitimizing, but also ready to shape and define a bifurcated working-class culture, yet in their divergence either exalt work as i f innocent of its purpose, origin, and effects or reduce it to its instrumental purposes, origins, and effects. Before demonstrating this divergence with reference to Orwell's prose I should point out that it is also impossible to simply bypass the defence of inconstancy in that prose. Instead of claiming that contradictions vitiate his thought (which I do not), or that a "deficiency resides in the fact that he was not a theoretician" (Kubal 50; see also Williams, Orwell 27; and Karl, Reader's 159), we should accept Orwell's "perfect horror of a dictatorship of theorists" and "absurdly consistent" integristes (CEJL 1: 532; Road 156). Inconsistency is still the best weapon against accusations of ideological prescriptions. Whether 'ideology' means systematic partisanship, a cultural worldview, or mystified tractability, inconsistency eats into the basic idea of conformity. It is also a tool which checks idealizing, the dream of a Utopian wellness, for it provides a reminder of the specificity and complexity of any human situation. In this study the inconsistent has special relevance as it is the product of Work, displaying individualized thought, just as Ruskin claims inconstant Gothic architecture displays a non-mechanical, non-rationalist, free expression of the worker's independence. Variation, again, is in itself irreverent towards 36 systemization. Orwell condemns theory as grossly totalizing; as imposing on and limiting human behaviour (not merely analyzing it) for the sake of neatness and a latent rationalism; as experientially void; casuistic; impotently discursive; elitist; alienating; and private (empiricism would be public). For Orwell, any categorical allegiance, philosophical or ideological absolute, any organizing grid (any organization), or any orthodoxy creates sectarian values elevating the sect over the circumstance. Theory itself rationalizes, it thematizes, reducing centrifugal elements to calculable exigencies and distorting spontaneous irregularities into the logical and predictable forms of an organizing principle. Orwell treats theory as Ruskin treats rationalized work. By (ex)claiming that "only the 'educated' man . . . knows how to be a bigot" (Road 156), Orwell may idealize the working class and his own autodidactic independence, but he also situates himself primarily as a moralist against organized morality. Education for Orwell paradoxically engenders both ideological partisanship and freewheeling relativism, both of which preclude argumentation and pragmatic activism. The blatant Orwellian contradiction asserts an independence of mind even as he admits that he has internalized middle-class values. He twists the tension between his affiliation to working-class values and his filiation to the middle class into a proud contradiction that galvanizes and reconfirms autonomy or the ability to think outside class prescriptions. Yet, even when taking into account his objection to the "absurdly consistent," Orwell, to an extent greater than his predecessors in the tradition of English cultural socialism, vacillates between hard and firm approaches to Work and labour. His traditionalistic link to a moral conception of Work is loudly pronounced, especially considering the poverty-ridden time in which he wrote. But Orwell, with a sociologist's eye for detail, also outlines the value of work as a means to make money, period. Though a vaguely discernible sense that Eric Blair was comfortable constructing a Janus-faced George Orwell might provide an out against both formalist and politically-mandated critiques of the contradiction, the flagrant split between Work and labour is itself consistent with the two strains of thought which frame or underlie English cultural socialism. 37 The Narrative of Work It is the pride of the drudge. Whether or not Orwell began to believe that decency was particular to the working class because his parents forbade contact with it, was somehow related to the desire to expiate the guilt of Burma, or i f the belief originated in Paris, London, or Wigan, he certainly represents its members as possessing special virtues. His portrait of Wigan shows the drudgery of work in an industrial town, especially the impossible hardship of mining, the physical decay of the workers, the degradation of menial work and poverty, and the economic stress accompanying unemployment. Yet these images are of a piece with a celebration of Work and an insistence on the moral superiority of the working class partly because they maintain dignity, humanity, volition, a sense of domesticity and community, and an overall 'basic decency' while shuffling through the ugliness of industrialism. Labour and Work are effectively isolated. At various points, mining in The Road to Wigan Pier represents working-class Work. Mining matches endurance and durete against great odds, involves an organic setting, and allows for a confrontation with the basic elements. One of the basic concepts of Work to which Orwell subscribes is that Work occurs when a subject encounters something outside himself or herself from the natural world which first withstands and then yields to effort. There is joy in Work because one feels victorious in overcoming the resistance offered by the external object. The environmentalism central to the concept of Work is not only based on an aesthetic reaction to industrialism, but also on the idea that the subject is in a state of dependence on nature as it provides the objects which are the source of his or her joy (Applebaum 462).1 Mining has a special place in the arts (Zola, Lawrence) because it is central to both labour and Work: it was the keystone to industrial development but is also rich in metaphorical or figurative potential. The image of mining, more visibly than in other occupations, opens up to a display of symbolic self-determination, the hammering-out of identity through a physical encounter with nature. 'Herbert Applebaum has a complete description of this (Adriano Tilgher's) and other definitions o f work in his helpful survey The Concept of Work (1992). 38 Orwell's miner seems to "complete himself in a world that he has created" (Marx, Reader 76). Working the miners become "hammered iron statues" (21). The grueling, back-breaking conditions they endure, conditions which are rightly a fact of labour, become the opportunity to show how tough and virile the workers are, how stable and decent because they can and do 'take it.' I am not suggesting that physical work does not confirm a sense of identity demanded by either external (cultural) or internal forces. People look for hard work outside of their employment all the time, especially i f their employment doesn't allow them the opportunity to use their hands. But Orwell's narrative of Work, confirming the miner's physical and moral strength - "the arms and belly muscles of steel" and "the extraordinary courtesy and good nature" (31, 65) - displaces the case he makes about the conditions the miners endure as labourers. By emphasizing the "most noble bodies," the "splendor of their bodies," and by representing the polite, patient, kind humanity of the miners - "the people, not the scenery" (21, 32, 65-66) - Orwell counters the Marxist dictum that alienation occurs in harsh, alienating conditions or when the worker is robbed of the product created and the right to control the productive activity. His miners have the capacity to resist alienation, a capacity which seemingly comes from the work itself. For both Marx and Orwell alienation is the opposite and negation of self-realization because the worker cannot "affirm himself in his work." Work thus becomes labour, "not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labour"; "not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to [the labourer]" (Marx, Reader 74). Neither Marx nor Orwell is distinguishing between biological needs and cultural prescriptions, between needs and norms. At other times, both identify the philosophy behind the intrinsic need to Work as the machinations of the ruling class. The concept of alienation presupposes an internal, natural need 2 Marxists have come to recognize the deficiency in insisting that objectively alienating conditions, labour working for capital, always alienate. Michael Burawoy, a Marxist, could almost be explicating Orwell when he writes that "following Marx, twentieth-century Marxism has too often and too easily reduced wage labourers to objects of manipulation; to commodities bought and sold in the market; to abstractions incapable of resistance; to victims of the inexorable forces of capitalist accumulation; to carriers, agents, or supports of social relations. It has been left to industrial sociology to restore the subjective moment of labour, to challenge the idea of a subjectless subject" (Consent 77). 39 to work. If there was not that need, alienated workers ought to reconcile themselves to alienating work, quit protesting except for increased wages and job security, and renounce any desire for better working conditions and work-fulfillment. The difference between Marx's and Orwell's attitudes toward work is that the latter represents intrinsically valuable, self-realizing Work, without the worker being duped or suffering adaptation, in a rationalist / capitalist economic system, and Marx does not. Orwell, in fact, often points his blaming finger at Marxist-Socialism instead of at the managers and owners of the mines who profit from exploiting the vestiges or accoutrements of Work in the conditions of labour. At other times, describing in detail the low standard of living; the cruelty of the slumlords; the Corporate houses; the haughty middle-class discrimination which deprecates the miners on a daily basis; the impossible, unsafe, monotonous, and dehumanizing labour that the miners do for the benefit of others; and the 'system' in general, he adopts a unified discourse of labour. His indebtedness to The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), or at least his genealogical ties to Engels's classic, underscores a suspicion of Work. But he treats the effects of the 'system,' of infrastructures and superstructures alike, of economics itself, as something foreign to the workers. Every time Orwell shows a "pang of envy for [the miners'] toughness" (20) and represents their steadfast decency or the artisanship of their Work, their elaborate and specialized skills, he separates the miners from their labour. Reflecting on the working class, representing it from the outside, Orwell adopts an analytical, specific, labour-oriented discourse that refutes or dismisses the concept of Work. But when adjacent to the working class, when attempting to share its experiences, he embraces a generalizing discourse of Work. His critique of working conditions is not made when in close proximity to the working class. Orwell's worker can then be instinctively decent despite the work environment. It is as if he is a moral Worker first and a paid employee, a wage earner and a labourer, a distant second - and even then, only through Orwell's mediation. Even when Orwell recognizes the rationalized economic structure, argues that the workers are underpaid arid that the work is over-taxing, the Workers he represents don't complain. Orwell's discourse of labour, spoken on behalf of the miners, is cut off from the representation of the miners who 40 Work. They are mute when it comes to low wages, unfair treatment, or unsafe working conditions. The reader is forced to accept that the miners, insofar as they are at all conscious of it, view the roughness of their work as only confirming a manliness or resoluteness of character, that hard work is their lot, or that they ought to have a very humble sense of self-entitlement. There is little evidence, on the contrary, to suggest that the working class ever in fact embraced this isolated idea of Work. In fact, never in John Burnett's collection of working-class journals does a miner or for that matter a housemaid refer to the internal rewards of Work. Union members are especially notorious for downplaying Work. Jack Barbash reports that "there probably is not a single [union] that refers to the 'work ethic'" (197). Though Orwell would probably respond by saying that a union member is not the right person to survey, that the unemployed would have a different answer, his miners act as i f above and beyond the realm of need, or as i f dependent upon an external (and paternal) voice to deal with the messy economic matters. (Orwell's tendency to protect the workers from hard economics explains his chivalric, indeed his erotic language when describing the miners - a language reminiscent of a man admiring a woman's impeccable beauty.) Besides denying that the miners might have an interest in their own labour, Orwell fails to express that "there are economic conditions for the awareness of economic conditions" (Bourdieu 56). Pierre Bourdieu's "old-fashioned peasant" and his "sub-proletariat" share a good deal in common with Orwell's working-class worker, especially in their traditionalistic resistance to rationalism. But in Bourdieu's anthropological reading of working-class activity he argues that It is only because profitable work is closed to them that the sub-proletarians renounce economic satisfaction and fall back on occupations whose principal, i f not exclusive, function is merely to provide justification in the eyes of the group. Everything takes place as i f they were forced by circumstances to dissociate work from its economic result, to understand it not so much in relation to its product as in opposition to non-work. (42) 41 Orwell's working class also dissociates work from its economic context and creates codes which measure success in non-economic terms. But Orwell does not offer an explanation of working-class culture and behaviour that references economics. In fact, he offers no reason for working-class traditionalism that cannot be attributed to super-historical virtues. If indeed the miners were focused on Work to the point of being ignorant of their labour, then, according to Bourdieu, there would be economic forces driving that preoccupation with Work. Orwell also recognizes the forces that generate or indeed attempt to cultivate Work instincts (or, alternately, that neuter a consciousness of labour), but not when immersed in working-class culture. It is not my intention to assert that the miners could not be content and unmystified: I only want to establish that the narrative of Work Orwell creates for them is divided from Orwell's discourse of labour. The miners Orwell depicts were carefully selected not to reveal signs of alienation and to embody the non-rationalized values he sought to promote. Both Raymond Williams and Kay Ekevall, independently, point out that many of the miners Orwell represents were in fact socialists, i f not confirmed Marxists (Orwell 51; Wadhams 59). Orwell's miners are not representative and mining is not a sociologically accurate overview of the work which takes place in an industrial town if only because of the unique strength of their union (Crick, Life 291; Hoggart, "Introduction" 39). The miners' interest in the labour they do, their economic negotiating, is not represented in The Road to Wigan Pier. But in its physicality, its demand for total engagement, its social usefulness, its community, its demand for 'manly' strength, its direct involvement with the land and solid materials, and in the image of self-realization it confirms, mining encapsulates non-rationalized Work, an idea Orwell needs to isolate and protect. Mining also provides a sharp contrast to the economic maximizing of bourgeois work or the cerebral work of the intelligentsia. That Orwell includes himself in the latter effete group, saying " i f there is one type of man to whom I do feel myself inferior, it is a coal-miner" (Road 102), ought not to detract from the central point that physical, non-rationalized Work for Orwell is real work. Despite being slightly disingenuous (the reader is constantly reminded that the writer's authority comes from his proximity to the work), by 42 dissociating himself from the working class and the Work it does, Orwell confirms the moral superiority of non-rationalist, Carlylean Work with proper biographical humility and shelters Work from his own critique of labour. SI SI SI Despite Orwell's expressed attempts not to idealize the working class, the absence of any mimetic representation of violence in the home or the pub, for example, as opposed to the diegetic references to its toughness and what its members would do to interfering middle-class observers, undermines that effort. Orwell means to validate a specific kind of English socialism, a 'cultural socialism' which clings to non-rationalist, organicist, and traditionalist values - such as an emotional, visceral understanding of the difference between right and wrong. He contrasts the 'self-made man' with only "a talent for making money" (Road 101) to the working class in order to show that the values of non-rationalism belong to the working class. Frederick Karl argues that Orwell turns the structure of the nineteenth-century bildungsroman, especially as mastered by Dickens, "upside-down" (Reader's 147). (If not strictly of that genre, Orwell's prose is certainly concerned with the education or development of a central figure, most often Orwell himself.) Instead of the moral growth of the hero corresponding to economic improvement, verifying the bourgeois code of self-starting industriousness and frugality, Orwell shows the decency of those who do not grow socially or financially. In fact, he reserves a particularly vicious invective for those of the working class who attempt social mobility - in spite of his Dickensian belief in effort, the will, and the individual (we are better off to distinguish the Orwell of The Road to Wigan Pier from the later Orwell of Nineteen-Eighty Four). The miners resist bourgeoisification partly because of their geographical distance from the urban entrappings of fast-paced commercialism and partly because of the work that they do, work that in itself satisfies their needs and furnishes its own substantive justification. By representing a working class indifferent to making money, and in order to discredit bourgeois desire, he has it validate Work. Orwell's working class lives qualitatively; a rationalized conception of work - whether 43 that means economic maximizing (or even 'satisficing') or acknowledging the conditions they work in - is alien to the best of them. In Down and Out he suggests that society "despises" the tramps only because they do not make money and "Money has become the grand test of virtue" (155). Society is rationalized, judging its subjects by their capacity for "profitable" activity. But Orwell counters the notion that 'work' is only paid work and that paid employment is the only source of value. It is important not to blow off this notion as mere ideology or mythology. Patrick Joyce, a work theorist who recognizes that the meanings of work are historic or "socially produced," still accepts that "At all levels of skill, even the lowest, work may denote special meanings, such as those to do with rites of passage, with handling danger, and with testing identity . . . workers in 'menial' jobs may attach the utmost significance to their work" (14, 22). But there can only be therapy or satisfaction in hard work i f all other things, economic things, are right. At this point I am only describing the length to which Orwell goes in order to resist rationalism. In other sections of his writing he concedes to the everyday world, arguing that tramps tramp only because they cannot find paid work, and that they are ready to fill the imperative of earning a living and taking "a respectable place in society" (184). Nonetheless, Orwell insists that tramping is "work" (Work) and as such it equips tramps with morality, with a basic decency. In Down and Out he describes the abject conditions of poverty and the decency flourishing within those conditions by segregating a discourse of Work from one of labour, just as the workers of The Road to Wigan Pier are immune to their surroundings. The "envious" tramp with a "jackal's character" is nevertheless "a good fellow, generous by nature and capable of sharing his last crust with a friend" (136). Throughout the text Orwell manages to find a code of decency - camaraderie, generosity - among the decay. This code is inextricably interwoven with the survival of 'character' or personal identity. No matter how debilitating poverty, underemployment, or degrading work may be, Down and Out represents highly individuated, non-rationalistic, and idiosyncratic 'characters' connected by a common code of 'decency.' Bozo, the screever (sidewalk painter), asserts, "that poverty did not 44 matter" (147), that with the moral and spiritual (or psychological) confirmation of a willed work ethic he could survive the indifferent world. He may be an "exceptional man" but it is precisely that quality, which Orwell admires and which constitutes moral individualism. Those who break the code are secretly bourgeois or merely ideological fundamentalists: Jules, who hates work and sounds like Paul Lafargue, echoes the worst kind of Marxist rhetoric. Maintaining a personal identity, the more eccentric or non-rational the more personalized, is to maintain decency, as i f selfhood is a moral virtue in itself. The code nourishes both a sense of individuality and solidarity. When Boris gets work he walks three kilometers after a twelve hour shift, says to Orwell "we're saved," shares his food, and makes plans to steal more for them the following day. When Orwell receives some money while tramping with Paddy, he is overcome by an instinctive urge to share it. Later, when Paddy finds some money, he does the same (48-49, 161, 166). Nevertheless, it is a provisional code that can be subordinated to the demands of necessity. At least at one point in Down and Out, Work and labour do clash. Orwell's "first lesson in plongeur morality" is to drop his scruples while interacting with "quite merciless" employers and learn that he cannot "afford a sense of honour" (53-54). Instead of a clash, however, most of the time when he describes the actual nature of the work taking place, the discourse of Work abruptly disappears, is sealed off at the introduction of labour, or politely stands by. At other times, when describing the working class as a participant, Work dominates. The point of Down and Out is not that abject conditions make for abject morality or that middle-class notions of the sanguine worker easily crack when tested. The point is that self-imposed regulating codes of behaviour survive: one for plongeurs, one for cooks, one for waiters, one for tramps. Down and Out is a history of Orwell's initiation into various codes, the idea of the code itself amounting to inviolate Work, to individual morality sustaining group morality and vice versa. The workers who abuse each other at work, drink and sing together at the end of the shift. Reprising cliche imagery of an earthy, rough and ready, carnivalistic working-class fraternal code does its part to attempt the reconstruction of an age when workers did not consider their labour solely as a commodity, or a rationalized activity, but as a self-defining, community 45 building expression of meaningful living. The work itself, the endless hours spent dripping in slime while scrubbing pots for the bourgeois, is swept up into a folkloric tradition of vague resistance and dissent: a snub against economic activity and the rationalisms behind it. Part of Orwell's subscription to the act of physical work in itself stems from a quasi-Puritan, post-Protestant tradition. His anti-hedonism, his fear of centralized power, and his championing of the underdog also relate to a Protestant heritage. When Orwell identifies Dickens as being "part of the English puritan tradition, which is not dead even at this day," he is certainly, as Woodcock first noted, demonstrating similarities between Dickens and himself. Is it Dickens or Orwell "who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open"? Who is a "liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls"? (CEJL, 1: 429, 460). Alan Sandison argues that this is the image of Protestant individualism, the heretic. Orwell, says Sandison, "out-Protestants the Protestants" insofar as he disparages half-hearted commitment, avoids institutions and prefers simple truths, favours self-sufficiency, and believes that work in conjunction with the physical world is the means to, i f not a spiritual end, a non-rationalized end (6). But Orwell's celebration of the folksy rough-and-tumble habits of working-class culture suggests that his ethos was also made up from traditions far removed from Puritanism and Protestantism. Protestantism, according to Weber and Tawney, also lends itself to individual ambition and the cult of success. The Work glorified by Orwell and English cultural socialism, preached especially to the working class but also seen as particular to the working class, is certainly not. It is in as many ways antagonistic towards Protestantism and the course of its development as it resembles Protestantism. H H H The images of camaraderie also incorporate and endorse a tradition of male bonding which functions to ratify Orwell's nostalgia for an understood rigidity in gender roles. I will discuss issues surrounding Orwell's androcentricism later, treating it in the meantime as a symptom of his traditionalism and his traditionalism as an aspect of his resistance to rationalism, 46 especially work rationalization. The Road to Wigan Pier, however, is less about work and socialism than unemployment. Yet interpolated between documenting the economic conditions of the 1930s and emphasizing that work is the means to obtain the wherewithal needed to live, Orwell represents work with a Carlylean belief in intrinsic value. He states: "Cease to use your hands, and you have lopped off a huge chunk of your consciousness" (173). This not only echoes Carlyle's belief that physical work is the expression of an independent human spirit and the means to secure psychological stability, but also echoes his rhetoric. In response to the efforts made to combat unemployment (occupational centres),3 Orwell suggests that a man be allowed the opportunity of "using his hands and making furniture and so forth for his own home"; he proposes to give the unemployed "a patch of ground and free tools" so they might "have the chance to grow vegetables for their families" (75). Even i f one disregards the fact that carpentry and gardening were two of Orwell's most cherished and sought after pastimes (Crick, Life 411), the opportunity for simple, physical, self-governed Work represents a traditional, independent, and essentially ideal life attainable for the unemployed, for those outside the sphere of rationalized work. By suggesting that the moral and psychological effects of unemployment are "far worse than any hardship" (77), worse, that is, than financial burdens or the struggles endemic to poverty (which, of course, Orwell had experienced), Orwell again offers a temple of Work as an asylum from the realm of necessity. By no means do I mean to belittle the psychological effects of unemployment. Rather, I wish only to point out the problematic consequences of dividing moralism and pragmatism, in this case having the unemployed define work in other terms than employment. The unemployed individual "needs work and usually looks for it, though he may not call it work." 'He,' apparently adopting the Conradian view that Orwell also shares, recognizes that "life has got to be lived largely in terms of effort" (173). At this point, 'he' ignores or can ignore that life, certainly when unemployed, is lived in terms of needs. The 3 Orwell is "torn both ways" over the centres: his anti-rationalist side rejects the notion as liberalist planning, answering all social problems through organization, or as a means to prevent working-class consciousness; his pragmatic side recognizes that something immediate and concrete need be done. 47 unemployed in the London of the 1930s might question the usefulness of a 'patch of ground and free tools.' Orwell is right to answer his own question of "what is work and what is not work?" by suggesting that one person's work is another person's leisure. But the separation of the psychological from the economic effects of unemployment is a permutation of the disjunctive schism between Work and labour that reinforces self-sufficient moralism at the expense of the unemployed Orwell means to support. Orwell, offering gardening to the unemployed, also means to curb the definition of work as exclusively an instrument for economic gain. He reproduces John Beevers's hyper-rationalized approach to work in order to take the stuffing out of it. Beevers writes: It is so damn silly to cry out about the civilizing effects of work in the fields and farmyards as against that done in a big locomotive works or an automobile factory. Work is a nuisance. We work because we have to and all work is done to provide us with leisure and the means of spending that leisure as enjoyably as possible. (168) Beevers's attitude is hedonistic and bourgeois. Again, according to a Hedonist account of human nature, which underlies utilitarianism and classical economics . . . the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain are the sole motive forces of human life. Work involves painful exertion and the deferral of gratification, we undertake it only because we are forced to, as a means to satisfy our [external] needs. (Sayers 723) Orwell resists the gap between private (leisure) and public (work) selfhood. He resists the idea that work is a burden. He resists the idea that life is about the pursuit of pleasure and that work is a mere means, not 'life.' From this Carlylean or Conradian attitude towards Work, Orwell challenges rationalized definitions of work that restrict it to pure marketable production, to exchange, or to the means to ensure consumption. But in doing so he makes Work an opposing term to economic activity, an especially problematic tendency when addressing unemployment. a ® a 48 Orwell also ridicules Beevers because the latter "claims, or rather screams, that he is thoroughly at home in the modern mechanized world" (168). Orwell is clearly not. Orwell's adulation of the home and the family is another expression of a traditionalism fundamental to his concept of Work. In The Road to Wigan Pier, he draws together patriarchal, communal, familial, and non-rational values, Work values, by representing an inviolate working-class home. Woodcock is correct to identify the relationship between Orwell's vision of an ideal home and stock Victorian scenes of blissful domestic life (Crystal 63). Actually, both Orwell's workers and Woodcock's Victorians wax nostalgic over a pastoral retreat where "the old communal way of life has not yet broken up, tradition is still strong and almost everyone has a family" (Road 71). I am thinking especially of Esther and Allan Woodcourt's cottage getaway in Bleak House, but one can find examples in Richardson, Wells, T. S. Eliot, and many others from the seventeenth century onwards. The difference between the pastoral trope and Orwell's retreat is that Orwell escapes from the speed and transience of an encroaching modernity but remains in industrial Lancashire. This is not the only instance in which he appropriates middle-class Victorian values and re-locates them in the working class of the twentieth century. And this is not the only instance in which Work and labour exist side by side without recognizing each other's existence, without being embroiled in conflict. Many things have been said about the romanticized working-class home in The Road to Wigan Pier, most of them have been appropriately critical. Here again is the home: In a working-class home - I am not thinking at the moment of the unemployed, but of comparatively prosperous homes - you breathe a warm, decent, deeply human atmosphere which it is not so easy to find elsewhere. I should say that a manual worker, if he is in steady work and drawing good wages - an ' i f which gets bigger and bigger -has a better chance of being happy than an 'educated' man. His home life seems to fall more naturally into a sane and comely shape. I have often been struck by the peculiar easy completeness, the perfect symmetry as it were, of a working-class interior at its best. Especially on winter evenings after tea, when the fire glows in the open range and dances mirrored in the steel fender, when Father, in shirt-sleeves, sits in the rocking chair at one 49 side of the fire reading the racing finals, and Mother sits on the other with her sewing, and the children are happy with a pennorth of mint humbugs, and the dog lolls roasting himself on the rag mat - it is a good place to be in, provided that you can be not only in it but sufficiently of it to be taken for granted. This scene is still reduplicated in a majority of English homes . . . (Road 104-105) Bernard Crick's defence of this scene, on the basis that it illustrates "fraternal virtues which contrast vividly with both middle-class acquisitiveness, competitiveness and propriety and with the restless power-hungry arrogance of the intellectuals" (Life 288), correctly identifies Orwell's resistance to rationalism, but does not actually examine the scene itself. Lisa Jardine and Julian Swindells point out that the scene "wipes women from the landscape of class, poverty and struggle" (188). Woodcock calls it "impossibly idyllic" (Crystal 65). The sentimentality and unreality of the scene is hardly mitigated by the stipulation that the man must be in work, that it underlines the effects of unemployment. Here, as in most of Orwell's writings, the representation of the ideal is completely cut off from his political and critical discourse. As Crick says, the home is meant to censure the ambitions of the middle class (this is one way to read 'completeness'), but the contrast between the appeals to permanence (another way to read 'completeness') and the stated intention of the book to expose the hardships and insufferable conditions of the working class, including their living conditions, augments the problematics of splitting moralism from pragmatism, giving the moral individual a physical sanctuary. Orwell's home obviates change at both abstract and concrete levels of work. The same is true for Orwell's direct aggrandizement of Work: both Work and the concept of the working-class nuclear family remain entirely isolated from history and politics, from time and technology, from labour. Orwell's working class is remarkably similar to Richard Hoggart's traditional working class in The Uses of Literacy (1957). Both Orwell and Hoggart emphasize cozy warm homes with well-defined gender and age roles. Hoggart characterizes working-class culture as stressing tightly knit communities, solidarity, and home cooking. It is replete with emotional life, gregariousness, rituals, superstitions but common sense, and anti-intellectualism. Because the 50 working class adopts a general "acceptance of life as hard, with nothing to be done about it," they seek immediate gratifications, have their "sights fixed at a short distance" (78, 77). Hoggart's working class do not save money or plan out their lives. Nor do they have a "pressing sense of the larger situation" (86). Neither Hoggart's nor Orwell's working class, absorbed in custom and traditional living, have any consciousness of the world of labour except to passively accept the idea that life is based on struggle. If that is evidence of a pragmatic side, and it is only insofar as it entails a suspicion of "principles over practice" (Hoggart, Uses 79), working-class 'pragmatism' is suffused in defeatism. There is no sense of injustice within the working class itself, no sense of economics beyond short-term consumption and the need to endure. There is also no sense of the ideological formation of its consciousness in Hoggart's or Orwell's commentaries. In Orwell's case, working-class traditionalism is represented as an alternative to bourgeois acquisitiveness to the point where his working class become oblivious to or would deny its own economic conditions, precisely what is taking place in his representation of the 'average' working-class home. At other times, Orwell starkly represents those conditions and will remark that there are other long-term economic conditions which create the Work-related ideology that 'life is a struggle' - and that capitalist agents embrace the ideology for their own ends - but not when he blankets himself in working-class culture and is bent on juxtaposing it to middle-class ascendancy or its preoccupation with economics. Even the representation of the new "monstrously inhuman," "ruthless and soulless" homes and gesellschaft social organizations built for the miners, disrupting and destroying "communal life" (Road 63-64), does not bring together moralism and modernity in such a way as they would clash. Just as I do not suggest that the juxtaposition of Work to alienating work is always and necessarily part of the disjunctive split between the exaltation of an ideal tradition (which includes the vilification of the spoilt real) and a pragmatic approach to the real, I don't think contrasting traditional homes and communities to rationalized homes and planned neighbourhoods constitutes a contradiction. Without the contradiction there is not even the possibility of a dialectic. The distinction between the gemeinschaft and the gesellschaft, between 51 a spontaneously arising, organic and harmonious community and a rationally developed, mechanistic and impersonal society, is one central to English cultural socialism as it confronts and repudiates rationalization. Yet none of the writers in the tradition, despite their grandiose ideas about gemeinschaft communities, mutual obligations, and the communal values generated by Work would ever conceive of or favour a 'Blithedale' commune. Their pragmatic, anti-romantic sides would, in fact, deflate any gesture of easy social harmony. But Orwell's response to the gesellschaft is not necessarily 'pragmatic' In The Road to Wigan Pier and in some of his shorter essays, Orwell draws on the distance the pub is from a newly-built gesellschaft organization in order to demonstrate that the "trend of the age is away from creative communal amusements and towards solitary mechanical ones" (CEJL 3: 43). In "The Moon Under Water" (1943), he describes his favorite pub's architecture as "uncompromisingly Victorian," with plenty of "woodwork" and the "solid comfortable ugliness of the nineteenth century" (CEJL 3: 45). The pub - the social organization - he desires is working-class Victorian a la Punch or Cruikshank, it is not a pragmatic response to the whale of rationalism. In the pragmatic 'mode,' Orwell lists the benefits and argues in favour of "rationalizing the interiors of our houses" with machines. Here he looks forward to machines that would make for "very little work" (CEJL 3: 330). It is a completely different attitude then the one shown by fearing a future of "no manual labour," every household thing cold and made of rubber (Road 105). In that section of The Road to Wigan Pier, "poverty" is listed among dogs and big families as a traditional thing of value disappearing in the rationalized world: In that age when there is no manual labour and everyone is 'educated,' it is hardly likely that Father will still be a rough man with enlarged hands who likes to sit in shirt-sleeves and says ' A h wur coomin' oop street.' And there won't be a coal fire in the grate, only some kind of invisible heater. The furniture will be made of rubber, glass, and steel. If there are still such things as evening papers there will certainly be no racing news in them, for gambling will be meaningless in a world where there is no poverty and the horse will have vanished from the face of the earth. Dogs, too, will have been suppressed 52 on grounds of hygiene. And there won't be so many children, either, i f the birth-controllers have their way. (105) This is not his political, pragmatic 'mode' which addresses the problems of labour. Orwell may not romanticize poverty, but he invests in images of struggle and hardship the capacity to signify anti-rationalist value, a strategy which contradicts his more concrete side that details the ills of poverty in order to suggest ways to cope or to initiate a critique of underlying structures. In the 1945 "As I Please" article where he accepts 'rationalizing,' he is searching for practical solutions to the labour involved in "washing up": o Like sweeping, scrubbing and dusting, it is of its nature an uncreative and life-wasting job. You cannot make an art out of it as you can out of cooking or gardening. What, then, is to be done about it? Well, this whole problem of housework has three possible solutions. One is to simplify our way of living very greatly; another is to assume, as our ancestors did, that life on earth is inherently miserable, and that it is entirely natural for the average woman to be a broken-down drudge at the age of thirty; and the other is to devote as much intelligence to rationalizing the interiors of our houses as we have devoted to transport and communications. I fancy we shall choose the third alternative. (CEJL 3: 330) When in his Work, non-rationalist, moral 'mode,' Orwell will explicitly make the case to simplify, as he does describing the working-class home in The Road to Wigan Pier, or he will adopt the Conradian position that life is inherently hard and tragic, as in his representation of the miners' attitude towards their lives. The world of Work, of non-rationalism, competes for space with the world of labour, the need to pragmatically respond to labour, but without confrontation. Not unexpectedly, the traditional home in The Road to Wigan Pier is directly related to Work. Both represent qualitative living, not quantitative pursuit, and a refuge away from the alienating and atomizing effects of rationalization. Patrick Joyce confirms that by the late nineteenth century, as "Satisfactions and needs were increasingly identified as coming out of non-work time . . . the cult of the family and home became established" (24). As the assent to economic rationalization became naturalized, the home and work were more and more 53 differentiated. But for Orwell, the values generated and needs satisfied in the home are exactly the same as those generated and satisfied by Work. What he says about the working-class home corresponds to what he says about Work. Orwell's home is also designed to equate the sanctity of homelife, the notion that "the Englishman's home is his castle," to liberty (CEJL 3: 11-12). Connecting the home and freedom argues that property, ownership, and privacy form the basis of freedom and individuality. Orwell's equation is less a valorization of private property than it is a valuation of an establishment that supposedly separates individuals from consensual habits, just as non-rationalized Work supposedly promotes self-realized and personal identity. But the image of a home with "sane" and "perfect symmetry" appeals to order and hierarchy, not liberty, or at least not liberty for all. The representation of the home with the man firmly lionized by his having employment echoes Engels's concept of the family in capitalism. Engels writes, "As wealth increased, i t . . . gave the man a more important status in the family than the woman" and in "the family, [the man] is the bourgeois; the wife represents the proletariat" ("Origin" 735, 744). The difference is that whereas Engels condemns a Victorian middle-class family, Orwell condones a working-class one. For Engels, "the last remnants of male domination in the proletariat home have lost all foundation" because there is "no stimulus whatever here to assert male domination" ("Origin" 742).4 Orwell and Engels are involved in very different kinds of idealization. Orwell superimposes middle-class Victorian imagery onto the twentieth century working-class home in order to recover rigid Victorian morality and epistemology and locate them in the working class, the class which is to model for his brand of socialism. Orwell, though by no means in dialogue with Engels, is also counteracting the heavily ascetic Marxist assumption that the working class has been led to "moral ruin" (Engels, 4The Engels of the earlier The Condition of the Working Class in England has a view of women and the family which better corresponds with Orwell's. In "The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State" (1884), working-class women at work disrupt patriarchy; in the Condition (1845), a working-class woman at work "breaks up the family" (165). When Engels suggests that a wife at work and an unemployed husband is a "reversal of all relations within the family" (Condition 167), he assumes the same given system of relations that Orwell means to make normative through his home. 54 Condition 71). Basically, Marxists take this position because they believe that with capitalism so with its conscripted constituents: "it is not possible for a single human sentiment or opinion to remain untainted" (Engels, Condition 275). According to rhetorical convention, working-class homes in The Condition of the Working Class in England and The Road to Wigan Pier reflect their occupants. Engels observed "decency" but emphasizes squalor. Orwell, though not consistently, meets squalor and emphasizes decency. Whereas Engels represents the effects of 'the system,' Orwell represents moral individualism, the individual rising above that system. What Orwell admires in the working-class home, why the middle class "can learn a great deal" from it (Road 103), is its resistance to change, or that it is less susceptible to change (it is not clear that the working classes play an active role in preserving their culture). Orwell's working class is closer to the Gospel of Work than any other class. Its values are the values of Work, from a lack of whining when faced with rough work, an instinct to sacrifice themselves or at least approach a task with as much effort as possible, to an enthusiasm for home life and traditional morality. Finishing up his description of the home he says, "our age has not been altogether a bad one to live in" (Road 105). 'Our age' is not 1937, the year of The Road to Wigan Pier. It is apparently not an era of rationalism but a largely imagined Victorian age of Work. But Orwell is also very much integrated into the real politics of his age. As an observer, from an analytical point of view, he represents the working class as only labouring because of necessity, insisting that those would be the reasonable parameters of its thought, that pragmatics is simple decency. Under that modus vivendi - a manner of living based on practical compromise - Orwell treats Work as baloney, as a mystification, blinding ideology which attempts to mitigate a consciousness of extrinsic, economic needs. Still, Orwell's attraction to the working class comes down to his understanding that it is "generally more conservative than the bourgeoisie" (Road 114). Orwell's conservatism is a strange, unsteady creature that irks conservatives. In general, it relates to his traditionalism and a reluctance to accept rationalization and modernization. This makes for an odd confluence of ideational habits, but one typical of English cultural socialism. To resist rationalism is to 55 combine conservative and non-conformist ideas. I said earlier that Orwell is more likely to resist rationalism when speaking generally and abstractly than when speaking personally and concretely. Paradoxically, when Orwell distances himself from working-class culture, when he speaks analytically about the specific, day-to-day lives of the working class from an economic point of view, he also speaks in 'personal' terms. When he speaks as i f in or of the working class, he speaks in general and abstract terms. Orwell is a 'conservative' when he speaks in a general mode, and a reformist when he speaks in personal terms. When he speaks in personal terms is also when he thinks inside the whale of rationalism. The identity he creates for himself is the exact opposite of the so-called armchair Marxist or parlor-room rebel who is anti-conformist in theory, when speaking generally, and vacant in practice. IS E H It is with Work that Orwell best expresses his nostalgia for traditional things and his rejection and denial of the positivistic, quantitative, impersonal, and functional aspects of rationalism. Modern rationalism begins or is always coincident with an approach to work for work is the means to the fetishized, maximizing end. Rationalized work, i f not setting the stage for functionalism in society, for utilitarianism and economism, for systematizing in thought, is in collusion with other clinical rationalisms (scientism, positivism, business). Yet it is with work that we see the other side of Orwell's dual habit of mind, the side that pushes away Romantic images and concepts of Work and deals pragmatically with the terms of a rationalist social order. Orwell demonstrates a degree of faith in the intrinsic value of Work and the work ethic that needs to isolate Work from the issues surrounding labour, the realm of necessity and the real. But he also maintains that one cannot separate work from external necessity and to do so would be to perpetuate a sham myth that romanticizes work for the benefit of the ruling class and conceals the inexorable realities of the rationalized world which the working class have to accept. Richard Rees identifies this competing loyalty as different Orwells, the "rationalist Orwell, the tenacious heir of eighteenth-century Eclaircissement" and the "romantic" Orwell, "a lover of the past . . . of old-fashioned customs and old-fashioned people" (6). The 'different 56 Orwells' are best identified at sites in which non-economic (moral, psychological, social) and economic imperatives would clash, should clash, but do not. Rather, a disjunctive, either / or split between moralism and pragmatism precludes a truly dialectical confrontation. The Discourse of Labour A job of work Contrary to his representation of Work, a dissimilar Orwell argues that the last word on work has to consider survival, "the really basic thing" (Road 82). Much of The Road to Wigan Pier and Down and Out is thus devoted to nutrition rather than abstractions, notes on shelters rather than general ethics. He elides the concept that the worker needs work for its intrinsic value by saying that the stigmatization hovering over the unemployed is entirely socially constructed (Road 78). He insists that modern work is tolerable i f "your spare time is your own" (CEJL 3: 12), differentiating a leisure-self from a work-self and confirming the idea that work is a disutility, or acceptable as one. At one point in Down and Out, he identifies a 'solution' to pauperism, the social apparatuses which would allow the homeless to lead a "settled life." Though other parts of the text are by no means a defence of nomadism, the invocation to bourgeois stability jars against the idiosyncratic portraits of the tramps - the dignity of their social marginality, the legitimacy of the effort they give and the work they do, their community and their spirit of sharing, and their prerogative to impish, anti-social peccadilloes. He derides the work ethic, the sanguine attitude which steadfastly posits that the cure for social or psychological ailments is to "get our shoulders to the wheel." He calls it "pernicious rubbish" (Road 141). He cannot separate the act of work from the act of paid employment. In "Charles Dickens" (1940), Orwell understands that when Dickens's Snodgrass '"purchased and cultivated a small farm, more for occupation than profit'" it is not "work" but a "sort of radiant idleness" (CEJL 1: 446). This is an altered Orwell, not the one who equates rough hands to self-realization and idealizes the miners because they are economically disinterested. This is an Orwell engaged in concrete economic realities, who is only concerned with the struggle against the specific but 57 inevitable aspects of the rationalized world, not the struggle against economism or a general and inevitable struggle with life, given 'life is a struggle.' It is a reformist Orwell who calls for "better wages and shorter hours and nobody bossing you about... justice and common decency" (Road 154). Long-run considerations are suspect i f there is no immediate effect or benefit. By no means do I wish to imply that by yielding to material relations Orwell wrongly apostatizes. The desire to seek immediate economic justice is in itself a solidly ethical motivation. Pragmatic realism, to resign oneself to the whale of rationalism (such as with Gordon Comstock in Keep the Aspidistra Flying [1936], or the 'common stock' in general) is only as problematical as its isolation. Still, the mandate of immediate reform in itself is in striking contrast to Orwell's non-rationalist ideas about Work. In Down and Out he protests that only "comfortably situated people" would claim that "work in itself is good" (106). The rhetoric of work as its own end allows for the capitalist class to reap the benefits from the workers' surplus value, it increases the surplus. Turning a full 180° from his own idealization of work, he argues that the dominant social voices "have made a sort of fetish of manual work." The ruling capitalist class calls "hard and disagreeable" work "honest" in order to mobilize the workers to endure their agenda (Down 104). That agenda is to cultivate power, not necessarily for economic gain (and here this Orwell differs from the Marxist tradition). The issues of power will be dealt with elsewhere; here I only want to emphasize Orwell's dual habit of mind. Orwell epitomizes English cultural socialism not because he splits Work and the realm of necessity - that is, I argue, central to it - but because when he turns towards economics and pragmatics, he actually mocks the concept of Work and the moralism surrounding it. In "The English Tradition" (1944), Orwell contends the work ethic is "forced upon the working class" in order to "get more out of him [the working man] for less money" (CEJL 3: 10). In contrast to the representations of a morally fit working-class, in a 1944 "As I Please" article he writes "that this business about the moral superiority of the poor is one of the deadliest forms of escapism the ruling class have evolved." The article is brilliant, but it contradicts all of what we have seen in 58 Orwell's attitude towards Work. The ruling class, by means of the popular media, convinces the working public that as a result of their poverty "you are superior to your oppressors" (CEJL 3: 197). The rich man in popular art is always the 'bad' man. Orwell calls the formula whereby the good poor man defeats the rich bad man a sublimation of the class struggle. So long as you can dream of yourself as a 'strong hard-working garage hand' giving some moneyed crook a sock on the jaw, the real facts can be forgotten. That is a cleverer dodge than wealth fantasy. (CEJL 3:198) But we have seen in The Road to Wigan Pier and in Down and Out that Orwell himself idealizes the manual worker - the strong hard-working hand - and represents Work as a source of identity and pride. He even invests poverty with a moral cachet. Despite the fact that the restaurant workers are "underpaid workmen" drinking in order to compensate for abject working conditions, there is the "pride of the drudge." Enjoying the "frantic" restaurant work, Orwell insists that a "sense of honour" accompanies "the man who is equal to no matter what quantity of work" (Down 70). The 'pride of the drudge' is not represented as inurement or ideology: it is a thrill, a non-rational emotion. But Orwell also describes a lack or an impossibility of pride when working in degrading conditions. The employees at the Hotel X who "take a genuine pride in their work" are the same ones who only provide "an imitation of good service" (67, 71), as they themselves proliferate filth. The Work ethic, the pride of the drudge, manifesting itself when Orwell participates among the working class, is at best a private affair. A n employee might Work, but that is an individual matter; the employees are labourers, and labour is a self-estranging activity excluding pride. The shift from labour to Work allows subjectivity, the moral individual, to be preserved. Still, Orwell's alliance to Work always ends abruptly. Distanced from the people and the events, observing the working class critically, identifying immediate needs, relating minute details through charts and diagrams, and addressing wages, expenses, and standards of living, he denies and derides Work. The two distinct and competing systems of thought and discourse, his disjunctive reasoning and the hard and fast swing within it, the change in attitude depending upon his proximity to the working class, the way in which he strictly 59 disavows any value that might inhere in work when he addresses labour in its economic details, and the huge gap between a mimetic representation of Work and a diegetic analysis of economic conditions amount to an extreme configuration of cultural socialism. a a a Part of the reason why Orwell feels "contentment" as a plongeur is that it is accompanied by admission into a solidarity, a 'scene,' or a boys' club.5 The feeling is also relative to the devastating poverty he previously endured. But the stupefying work and lifestyle of restaurant work - wash, bistro, sleep - nonetheless satisfies. Comparing himself, a Worker, to an exhausted "well-fed beast" (Down 81) has greater implications than the Hardyesque tropes of 'the harder the work the heavier the sleep' and 'time off is enjoyed when there is little of it.' The goodness of physical labour is problematic in that in a non-dialectical relationship with pragmatism it sweeps in a program for the working classes to remain uneducated, economically obtuse (whether it's abstract or concrete economics), and incapable of autonomy: to remain' virtually unconscious. This is exactly the dupe he accuses the ruling class of perpetuating. Though Orwell calls him who raises his consciousness while continuing to work, "one of the finest types of man we have" (Road 143), Work and education are emphatically polarized. He echoes Carlyle's admiration for the "stupid," "thickest-skinned," and conservative John Bull threatening the feeble Man of Theory (Past 159-66). The boy is "manly" and "happy" because he chooses "real work," and the man is "unmanly," "sickly and debilitated," because he chooses to study (Road 104). Orwell follows the formula whereby intellectualization fosters rationality, a disenchantment with non-scientific claims to knowledge. Gone are the feelings of morality and intrinsic Work satisfaction. He also privileges manual work which brings about intellectual 5Despite the fact that a 'boys' club' of workers existed, Orwell marginalizes or ignores women's work to a greater extent than that 'club' may have. Daphne Patai's devastating critique on Orwell's male-centredness fills in the gaps. The only unfortunate side effect of her statistical attack on the discrepancy between Orwell's lack of female workers and their historical participation is that it makes it appear as if misogyny was specific to. Orwell's representation. Still, though Orwell is alternately sympathetic and empathetic to subordinated workers, women do not seem to figure in his text. The equalization of social roles taking place after work (when plongeurs and cooks drink together) is an aspect of working-class life he admires, but it does not include women. 60 limitations because he understands the manual worker will retain a basic 'decency,' be weary of new ideas, and will not harbour secret desires to accumulate power i f he remains simple. For Orwell, any social advancement in a rationalized economic and political structure is cause for suspicion. Reflecting on his experiences in Burma, he says, At that time failure seemed to me to be the only virtue. Every suspicion of self-advancement, even to 'succeed' in life to the extent of making a few hundreds a year, seemed to me spiritually ugly, a species of bullying. (Road 130) Though Orwell's pragmatic realist is cleared of that suspicion, Orwell himself developed an unflinching support for the underdog as long as he remained the underdog. Contentment with social position, satisfying needs and not maximizing gains, are qualities he sees in or projects onto the English working class. Because the impetus to maximize financial gains is the same as the drive to maximize power, he amplifies his already substantial rhetoric of satisfying needs, the rhetoric of non-rationalist Work. If England is not to fall to fascism, Work for Work's sake. Only the educated, the rationalist, and the ambitious can abstract the irrationality of fascism into something that looks decent. His often harsh attitude towards Marxists stems from his understanding that they had no mechanism to account for the psychological network that desires power or to internally check their own motives. By claiming that the working classes were better off uneducated and at Work, Orwell was also expressing a fear of its "bourgeoisification." The Dickens novel goes "wrong" when it abandons traditional values and professes the "gospel according to Smiles." Orwell speaks of David Copperfields last chapters as vitiated "by the cult of success" (CEJL 1: 458); self-aggrandizement and self-helping bucaneerism are not to be part of the working-class ethos, of a cultural socialism. The rags to riches story is best to collapse before the riches, as it does in Orwell's stories. Raymond Williams for one would not be satisfied with this answer to Orwell's valorization of the supposed simplicity or intellectual shortcomings of the working class. He would probably be unsatisfied with Crick's analysis of an Orwell who "never seemed to ask too much of ordinary people" as well (Life 19). (Though if Crick is hinting at a paternalistic attitude 61 towards the working class, he may in fact be quite close to Williams's view of Orwell.) Williams argues that Orwell saw the working class as "stupid, strong, and kind" - proles incapable of shaping their own future. Orwell says as much when he argues that the middle class is necessary to lead them into a new society. The model for this society is a working-class, not a middle-class culture, with a working-class attitude towards Work. Despite some sadness accompanying his belief that the working class cannot write their own future, he does not see that it is his own rhetoric of a content and uneducated working class which insists on its dependency and lack of revolutionary initiative. The problems of treating Work as a welcomed agent of stupefaction are all the more complex because Orwell himself underwrites the unwelcomed consequences of servility and stupefaction, of work that gets workers "trapped by a routine which makes thought impossible" (Down 104). The thrilling adventure of Work and the satisfied exhaustion it offers is laid aside and in its place is the argument that the "instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob" (Down 106). Nothing has changed in the nature of the work which once brought pride, but now it is labour, a tool for social engineering, and deemed "useless." In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell suggests that unemployment centres are a device to keep the unemployed quiet and give them the illusion that something is being done for them. Undoubtedly that is the underlying motive. Keep a man busy mending boots and he is less likely to read the Daily Worker. (74) Later Orwell rages against temperance societies and in Down and Out against the Salvation Army for bribing the desperate and hungry with bits of food in return for their pacification, humility, servility, and abdication of a right to overthrow systems of repression (including those very societies). He shows how the unemployed are taught to blame themselves for being out of work whereas in reality unemployment is endemic to capitalism (Road 76-77). He pulverizes the middle-class myth that the poor have grown accustomed to menial work, that they "don't mind that kind of thing" (Road 56). Finally, he says that i f it is not the institutions of the social net which "press a working man down into a passive role" (Road 43), it is the working class who 62 internalize the idioms which paint it as deservedly servile. Tramps especially become "docile," allowing themselves to be repeatedly swindled. These are critiques that disappear during the representation of Work, the kind of work which denies introspection and reflection, the kind of Carlylean work he endorses at other times. On the one hand, the capitalist class is seen to strip away any pleasure or intrinsic benefit in work by overworking labourers with humiliating and useless work in order that the "mob" becomes a stupefied "flock" and in order for labourers to learn that work is a drudgery, the first premise of classical economic theory. On the other hand, Orwell shows that demanding, even burdensome and stupefying Work is a good in itself. Orwell never advocates for working class servility, recklessly promotes an intransitive 'duty,' or calls for a dumb acceptance of harsh working conditions. But Orwell inherited certain ideas from the Victorian idealization of Work that clash with the rationalized world in which he found himself. The suppression of that potential dialectic is the central feature of cultural socialism. Orwell writes about character, about individuals being individuals in a setting that disallows individuals - a setting which he underlines. The contradiction between moral Work and the effects of rationalist labour is never resolved. The lack of any real tension between the two allows for.moral individualism, turning labour into. Work. Work and Manliness A Mary Ann In this chapter I have made reference to Orwell's attitude towards women and his linking of Work and masculinity. That Orwell was male-centred is "almost too obvious now for comment" (Jardine 117). My interest is in the manner in which Orwell's male-centredness relates to his resistance to rationalism. Since a gender ideology mediates his representations of non-rationalized Work, that male-centredness must be related in some way to Work. It does not follow that rationalized work is gender neutral. 63 Daphne Patai correctly identifies Down and Out and The Road to Wigan Pier as "narratives of a process of masculine self-affirmation" (54). Boris and Mario are admired for their soldierly approaches to poverty and over-taxing work, and the miners are stronger - not management more culpable - for facing life-threatening dangers. Orwell also celebrates in working-class culture the idea that a worker can work all day and have all the more energy for doing so. The Arabs in Down and Out are. "lucky men" because they "had the power of working all day and drinking all night" (81). When he is bonding with the working class, Work and manliness become synonymous. But when Orwell discusses issues surrounding labour he dismisses the mythology that a difficult life corresponds to sexual strength. The two "great evil[s]" of a tramp's life are "enforced idleness" and the loss of the "sexual impulse" (Down 181; see also 136). Relating the loss of sexual energy to poverty counters Zolaesque romanticism and operates to undo the myth of lower-class sexual stamina. A non-repressed libido (a close proximity to nature) is supposed to compensate for or complement a lack of worldly goods (also a close proximity to nature) and suggest an advantage over the bourgeois who care too much about appearances for any sexual pleasure. Orwell's analysis also counters the Marxist idea, used to warrant their asceticism, that the lower classes "concentrate their whole energy" on sex, thereby guaranteeing an unconsciousness of their class position (Engels, Condition 153). When observing the working class from an outsider's point of view, a position that is amenable to the world of labour, he deflates the idea that being of the lower class engenders good sex. Notwithstanding the argument that poverty amounts to a loss of the sexual appetite, Orwell prefers the exclusion of women from men's lives. . Feeling pleased because he had been called 'mate' for the first time by one tramp who recognizes another, he immediately comments that women "shudder away" from the poor because of their appearance. He had just expressed enjoyment about having that appearance (Down 115). Not only are men the centre of all activity, all reality, but Orwell is not even comfortable with women on the margins. The non-rational tradition, the tradition Orwell paints as a working-class tradition, pivots on patriarchy. Because rationalism or capitalism, in theory, would bypass any regard for gender (or ethnicity), 64 maximizing profit overriding all prejudice (the idea that economics, the free market, is blind), anti-rationalism digs deeper into traditional patriarchy. Resisting the dehumanizing effects of an advanced rationalization of work becomes a resistance to the largely imagined sissifying effects of modernity. Orwell's fear of softness was deep. When he initially speaks of the emasculating effects of poverty, of his own experience, he moves the narrative from the first to the second person (Down 15-18). Moreover, it is likely that he entrenched himself in the harsh climate of the Hebrides when he was very i l l because it represented to him the opportunity to get stronger. It is more likely than the theory that Orwell's trip was part of a suicidal impulse or a masochistic streak. He deliberately sought hardship to prove to himself that he could 'stand it' and because he believed it would make him stronger. His tramping was in fact part of a continuous attempt to satisfy a psychological need or an existential calling to test himself in extreme situations. Yet, the affirmation of self based on toughness contradicts his stand against the 'survival of the fittest' mentality which dominated laissez-faire capitalism, power politics, and imperialism (CEJL 4: 27). His machismo, an attitude inseparably linked to Work, is mitigated when he thinks in concrete political terms, the terms of 'labour.' But Orwell admires physical work because it prevents men from getting 'soft.' He fetishizes the miner's "toughness," how they "look and work as though they were made of iron" (Road 21). Though Orwell would never indulge in the kind of soft/female/mine -hard/male/worker imagery or any of the kinds of phallocentric imagery which came so easily to Lawrence (he often expresses distaste for Lawrentian imagery),6 he does share Lawrence's awe of the ostensibly transcendental, subsequently structuralist, connections between archetypes, the earth, and 'naturally' prescribed human roles. Though he admits that it "seems a little unfair" that an unemployed man would not help with the housework, he uses the 'fact' that both husbands and wives "feel that a man would lose his manhood if, merely because he was out of 6See, for example, The Road to Wigan Pier (147) or his 1945 "Review" of The Prussian Officer and Other Stories (CEJL 4: 32). Orwell, in contrast to Lawrence, also shudders at any mobilization of the "savage combative instincts" (CEJL 4: 41). 65 work, he developed into a 'Mary Ann, '" to naturalize gendered relations (Road 73). Apart from being tautological and speaking of those relations as i f sanctioned by commonsense, Orwell ignores that what ought to be at issue are not the 'facts' but the factors which create those feelings and perpetuate those states of relations. By revisiting Lancashire, Beatrix Campbell discovered that Orwell in his day suppressed the participation of women in the workforce, in fact suppressing history - relations of production, social hierarchies, social constructions and attempts to challenge those constructions, and so on. She also argues that, "the equation between work and masculinity depends on an exclusion - women" (99). Orwell's exclusion of women is not accidental. Orwell, however, does represent women working and women in poverty. The portraits of female workers are made with feelings of authentic - patriarchal and paternal to be sure, but genuine - sadness, indignation, and concern. Emmie works for starvation wages in a mill only to return to the "bondage" of housework (Road 11). The 'slum-girl' sees Orwell and makes Orwell see in himself that the greatest difference between them is that he can escape the "drudgery" and she cannot (Road 16-17). The housewife of Lancashire is always "muddling among an infinity of jobs" (Road 52). He replaces a "horribly bullied" female dishwasher (Down 62). But such representations only illustrate victimization: they do not insist that the women also need to realize themselves through effort, confrontation, and activity. Orwell never idealizes the workplace - it is a rationalized site. The male worker is idealized; he is non-rational (he works because work is a good in itself, using the separation between Work and labour as i f to turn labour into Work). The female worker is a victim of rationalization, not a hero despite of it, not engaged in an ennobling struggle against it: she cannot be the moral individual. Orwell can sympathize with the working woman, but simply cannot empathize with her. 66 Work and Technology The Swindle of 'Progress' The linking of Work and identity, manliness, is bound to be followed by a censure of technical 'progress.' It also follows that Orwell would connect the mechanistic historical narrative of socialist doctrine, the "pea-and-thimble trick" of dialectical reasoning, to a faith in machine technology (Road 155). Socialism, according to Orwell, is yoked to a "completely mechanized, immensely organized" rational thought-machine (Road 165). Orwell's primary complaint with Marxism is that it is mere economism: an overemphasized, cold, rationalist scientism and the child, however recalcitrant, of classical political economy. When submerged in a discourse of labour, his complaint against Marxism was that lost in abstract economics it had no direct effect on workers' lives.7 Poverty, unemployment, or the specific conditions that the working class were forced to endure were not abstract issues nor could they wait for capitalism to self-destruct or demise through attrition before they were properly addressed. In other words, the established left was just too rationalistic in every way except in its failure to deal directly with the rationalized world. The identity born of competing cultures of reformism and Work embodies a socialism developed with Marxism (and the later Marx) standing only, i f at all, at the fringes. But when Orwell says that "the Socialist is always in favour of mechanization, rationalization, modernization" (Road 176), he is speaking of the nuts and bolts machines which sever humans from the need to Work. Machines "frustrate the human need for effort and creation" (Road 176). The demise of homo faber means nothing short of the demise of humankind. Carlyle's interjection is the same as Orwell's: "human things do require to have . . . some soul in them" (Past 190). But for Orwell "machine-civilization is here, and it can only be criticized from the inside, because all of us are inside it" (Road 192). Only "romantic fools" and "the he-man" attempt to live outside of the rationalized world. The contradictions fueled by his 7 When Orwell says "A humanitarian is always a hypocrite" {CEJL 2: 218), he is referring to left-wingers whose ability to intellectualize depends upon, in a most basic way, the hard labour of miners or those who produce the means for modern comforts. 67 resistance to rationalism while inside the rationalist whale, contradictions between abstract and concrete points of view, between traditionalism and pragmatism, Work and labour, are never as evident as they are in Orwell's attitudes toward the machine. Orwell's argument with machines is that they make "a fully human life impossible" (Road 167). Again we are asked to reduce 'human' to 'man.' Orwell repeatedly associates machines with the making of softness and physical, real work with "monstrous men with chests like barrels and mustaches like the wings of eagles" (Road 88). He asks "Where are the monstrous men?" in what appears to be an attempt to echo Yeatsian machismo, imagery, and the poet's glorification of the past via a lamentation of the genetic deterioration of the male physique in the present. Sharing with Yeats a fear of "some frightful subhuman depth of softness and helplessness" (Road 176), a yearning for a previous age, for manliness, for things natural and handcrafted, and for the soil (especially of a particular country), perhaps contributed to Orwell's rather soft criticism of him. 8 Orwell's forgiving attitude towards Yeats, and modernism in general, relates to a mutual appreciation of traditional systems of order, cultural stasis, a tough and neatly violent past, and a dislike of new, urban things. The binary Orwell creates excludes any admission of degrees: either the man is "safe and soft" or "brave and hard" and life ought to be "harder instead of softer" (Road 170, 184). Peter Stearns points out that the coal mine was "one of the real tests of nineteenth-century masculinity" (39). Not only would men be drawn to mining because of its relatively secure pay, the strong union, or the lack of alternatives in a mining town - three items Orwell fails to mention in The Road to Wigan Pier - but they would also pursue mining because it provided a challenge by which notions of masculinity could be tested. Stearns also argues that mechanization lightened the tasks demanded of the physical labourer, but heightened the rigidity and importance of gender roles because men feeling bossed around by employers, and now machines, tried to preserve their threatened masculinities more aggressively outside of the 8 Conor Cruise O'Brien argues that Orwell seems ready to apologize for Yeats in his essay on him, that he "implies a degree of innocence in Yeats which cannot be reasonably postulated" (42). 68 workplace. Orwell fears and predicts just the opposite, that when work becomes easier men will become less manly in all situations. Instead of seeking alternatives to the 'test' of work in their leisure activities, they would seek safer lifestyles, they would seek "safer cars" and so on. This is an appeal to moral individualism, for men to express their manliness at all times - while the attributes of manliness are reduced to violent self-determination (as with mining), to hardness, and to the rejection of softness - because it is becoming increasingly impossible to do so. The implied attack on women and the feminization of the world is coupled with an explicit one. on socialism, for socialism is accused of encouraging all forms of mechanization. Orwell's attack on socialism is so angry that it is easy to forget that he is arguing in favour of it. In order to attract the decent, traditional, machine-resisting working class, socialism has to lose its misguided legacy of mechanization, and embrace the values of Work. But Orwell also attacks socialism by way of a typically Marxist-socialist argument: the dangers behind technology come down to the public's inurement to the Tightness of technology. Mechanization is to be resisted because it infiltrates and overtakes subjectivity. Mining or tramping, non-rationalized Work, keeps the worker shielded from internalizing automatism. Not so, just the opposite, with mechanization. Though Orwell derives his critique from the tradition of Carlyle, who also complained about "the Age of Machinery in every outward and inward sense of that word" ("Signs" 226), and though the content of that critique is usually based on a conservative rejection of modernity, the form of it is radically left wing. Orwell points out that the shortcoming of Victorian critiques of industrialization, such as Dickens's Hard Times, is that they were located in moral and aesthetic values, because industrialization was "cruel and ugly" (Road 167). At times, Orwell's anti-rationalism generates moral and aesthetic judgments as well. At other times, he admits the reality of modern rationality and bases his criticism of it and modern work environments on immediate issues such as wages and safety. But he also echoes Lukacsian criticism, that rational mechanization extends into the worker's 'soul,' reordering subjectivity and rendering it 'reified' (History 87-103). He does not use materialist terminology and his criticism is based on a belief in a vitalistic individual rather than a deterministic infrastructure, 69 but the force of his argument is towards identifying and circumscribing a construction of consciousness. The problem with machines is not that they are "ugly" but that they produce "warped lives" (Road 97). Thus when faced with a "job of work" the modern "habit of mind" (Road 180, 182) is to look to technology. The trend towards making life safe has the "status of an instinct." Not only does technology mean technocrats and an elite class of experts, but it also allows for the conditions in which individuals blindly begin to follow leaders. By extension, people automatically repeat what they hear, be it a 'worn-out metaphor' or a slogan inculcated through a megaphone. "Mechanization has itself become a machine," whose primary function is to be "habit-forming" (Road 182, 178), to overtake subjectivity for the sake of overtaking subjectivity. At the same time, he fears the machine because it cuts individuals off from the time when hardship was endured and people knew that life was laborious (Road 180). This is profound traditionalism, close to a Puritan ontology mixed with a Conradian sense of the human tragedy. It petrifies Work absolutely and forever as non-amenable to the arbitrations of labour. Since Socialism aligns itself with the machine, the true working-class reaction will be a "spiritual recoil from Socialism" (Road 164). The 'spirit' comes from Victorian epistemology; Orwell again is attempting to marry the working class to a distinctly nineteenth-century refusal of rationalism. He fears the machine because it undermines craftsmanship and manliness, because it ushers in a "paradise of little fat men" (Road 169), because it means a society oriented towards the consumer and not producers,9 and because it cuts one "off from the chance of working - that is, of living" (.Roadl 73). But Orwell has to accept that the "machine has come to stay" (Road 178). The Orwell who concerns himself with concrete, material problems and not abstract and moral ones, recognizes that machines make for greater economic freedom and safer conditions. In any case, 9I examine the shift from the productivist ethic of the Victorians (of Marx, Mill, and classical economics) to a twentieth-century consumerist ethic of neo-classical economics in the chapter on modern work. The greatest parallel between this shift and the on-going entrenchment of rationalism is the increasing dismissal of the non-economic relevance of work. 70 the machine is here, it "has got to be accepted" (Road 178). Regardless that it ought to be accepted "grudgingly and suspiciously" - he is not a Luddite - in order to have an impact on how the machine is used Orwell cannot simply dismiss it. In "Inside the Whale" (1940), itself a defence or apology for pragmatic realism, he criticizes Lawrence on the grounds that "what he is demanding is a movement away from our mechanized civilization, which is not going to happen, and which he knows is not going to happen" (CEJL 1: 507). At the end of The Road to Wigan Pier he throws a spanner into that work by saying, i f you give me to understand that in some subtle way I am an inferior person because I have never worked with my hands, you will only succeed in antagonizing me. (201) He even adopts the cynical overtones of the twentieth-century rationalist when he pursues the anachronistic place of the call to Work in the modern age: Deliberately to revert to primitive methods to use archaic tools, to put silly little difficulties in your own way, would be a piece of dilettantism, of pretty-pretty arty and craftiness. It would be like solemnly sitting down to eat your dinner with stone implements. Revert to handwork in a machine age, and you are back in Ye Olde Tea Shoppe or the Tudor villa with the sham beams tacked to the wall. (Road 175-76) Orwell negotiates rationalism, and derides Work, because he is taking into account the daily routines of the modern. The two sides of Orwell, the one glorifying Work and the other coming to terms with labour, are not forced to confront each other. Against the "frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanization," the "fish-and-chip standard" of the lower classes, is the recognition that a cheap consumer goods "compensates you for a great deal" (Road 179, 79-80). Orwell rejected the idea of the cultural improvement or education of the working class, which liberals from George Eliot to Jeremy Bentham have used as a direct refusal to recognize working-class 'society' as 'culture.' But rationalisms meet and confirm each other when he says that "cheap palliatives" have the beneficial effect of placating the masses into rejecting "insurrections," beneficial because insurrection only means being massacred by the police (Road 80). These are the same cheap goods, lottery tickets, and what-71 have-yous that the ruling class uses to "hold the unemployed down" (Road 80-81). The two contradictory positions exist side by side because they are never dialectically opposed. In a discourse of Work, he rants against the cheap goods produced under the tactics of rationalism, quantity over quality. But when under a discourse of labour, he moderates his confrontational tactics and goes along with the short-term benefits accrued by the fast production of consumer goods because the working class would and do appreciate a real - concrete and tangible -change, a substantially improved standard of living. Under such a position, capital and business make enormous profits and wealth continues to be unfairly distributed; such a concession, in fact, as with the 'growth agreement' between labour unions and capital, the labour / business truce, allows for capital (and capitalism) to renew itself and even gain ethical credibility. But Orwell looks toward the immediate and real conditions of the worker, the lower class, the underdog - an aspect of the tradition of English cultural socialism he more than all others stood hard by - as much as he embraces the rarified rejection of capitalism which looks toward Work. E E S Orwell argues that behind socialism's dependence on mechanization lies a desire for an "ordered world, an efficient world," and "liberty and efficiency must pull in opposite directions" (Road 166; CEJL 4: 49). Yet Orwell himself sees the need for them both. Rejecting education or slandering the elites for power worshipping follows from an anti-authoritarian impulse that also contributes to his suspicion of established organizations, of governments, and of partisanship. Still expiating guilt for his role in Burma, he dislikes police. He hated the trend in philosophy to attack weakness, regarding it as a symptom of fascism. In an article on Jack London, Orwell saw a "Fascist streak" in his precursor's admiration of "toughness wherever he found it." But i f London's exaltation of "struggle, toughness, survival - shows which way his inclinations pointed," towards "fascism" (CEJL 4: 25, 27), what do we say of Orwell who uses these themes as the starting point for so much of his prose? Not only did he fear 'softness,' he also defended authority, discipline, tough laws, and a tougher enforcement of them. In The Road to Wigan Pier he argues that, "In any state of society where crime can be profitable you have got 72 to have a harsh criminal law and administer it ruthlessly" (Road 128). Though Orwell often treats efficiency as a moral imperative, a predictable legal system is the keystone to a rationalist economic order. In order to achieve optimum efficiency, capitalist enterprise requires the disciplined control of the population (Weber, Economy 2: 1394). It is also easy to detect, though again it does not necessarily betray a concession to rationalism, a lineage to Carlyle, Ruskin, Conrad, and Shaw insofar as Orwell seems nostalgic for a ruling class that rules. One factor -common to English cultural socialism - which might mitigate the inconsistencies between his collusion with authority and his defiant disposition is Orwell's belief in mutualism, that everyone ought to do a share of work. Another might be that rules, order, and discipline are alien only to the privileged classes and Orwell, embracing working-class customs, would want to avoid sounding like an intellectual poser glibly discounting all the authority he relies upon as a matter of course. At the same time, the disjunction between a down-to-earth realism which calls for clearly manifested social authorities and a non-rationalist, shoot-for-the-moon optimism which sympathizes with anarchism is reducible only to non-dialectics: a non-rationalist sensibility fully engaged in a rationalized world, but attempting to isolate itself from that world. H H ® Orwell was a nostalgist forcing himself to face harsh modern realities. Those realities offered no support for his hypertrophied traditionalism, but could not be ignored or denied, only compartmentalized. Contradictions occur frequently because he adamantly documents life 'inside the whale' of rationalism but had charged into it, and thus saw it, with a great deal of Victorian moralism and Work sentimentalism in tact. One final example: speaking in general terms, in idealist terms, Orwell admonishes the working classes for a diet that "rejects good food almost automatically" (Road 89). But answering the question of why it is that the lower classes do not eat better he changes his position: "the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing" (Road 86). Orwell rarely moralizes against the lower classes and makes every attempt to accommodate their culture intact, though it often goes against the grain of his own culture. Bad dietary habits, however, cause harm to workers. When hearing about an 73 institution designed to teach the lower classes about nutrition and the best way to organize on a limited budget, he is "torn both ways" (Road 89) - and not for the first time. The ongoing contest and crossover between a refusal of rationalism and a pragmatic acceptance of it, primarily a contest over the nature of work, comes out more clearly in Orwell's writing than at any other point in English cultural socialism because there is always the sense that Eric Blair was shaping George Orwell by reflecting on a contradictory history. Underlying Orwell's antagonism towards socialism is that it is "glued to economic facts," that it is impersonal, trans-individualized, scientific, rationalized. It assumes "man has no soul" or character or idiosyncratic vigour (Road 188). But "poverty is poverty" (Road 201): immediate material realities must guide any sociology, economics, or politics. The impulse to step in and out of the whale is not reducible to Orwell's personal history. Rather it is an intensified expression of the contradiction proceeding from the transition between non-rationalized views of Work and a rationalist economy, a contradictory position which began with the Victorians. That position is at the origins of English cultural socialism. In the next chapter, after a brief section on Orwell's language, I explore what I think are at the roots of that brand of socialism, Carlyle and his Gospel of Work, but also the way in which he, Carlyle, in a secondary discourse, comes to terms with work rationalization. 74 Orwell and the Language of Labour The purpose of these short appendices on Orwell, Carlyle, and Conrad is to show that the tensions and inconsistencies in their representations of work have a counterpart in their language, rhetoric, and style. Since so much has been written on Orwell's language (and Carlyle's, and Conrad's), I only focus on it in relation to work. I argue that i f there is a gap between the treatment of labour and Work, 'between the scientific point of view of the historian and the moral point of view of the prophet,' to use Edmund Wilson's famous phrase, it ought to materialize in style. Yet this formal split between a grammar of labour and an aesthetic of Work is never as pronounced as the thematic split between the negotiation of labour and the apotheosis of Work. Orwell's style, for example - concrete, specific, and direct - nearly always has the attributes of a pragmatic approach to labour, and Carlyle's style - deductive, generalizing, and sermonizing - nearly always has the attributes of a Gospelized approach to Work. But though the shift in rhetorical character is minuscule compared to the thematic shift, it nonetheless exists, evidencing not only a split in attitude, knowledge, and social history, but also cracks in the premeditated persona of the writer. For Orwell, encountering the concrete is a value in itself. If the sections of Down and Out and The Road to Wigan Pier that deride Work and negotiate labour or economic circumstance argue any one thing it is the value of the specific and material. His prose style, famously lucid, non-jargonistic, precise, and direct, imitates and amplifies his focus on the concrete. He insists on using words that "point to any discoverable object" (CEJL 4: 132). The themes of anti-intellectualism, empiricism, pragmatic politics, confrontation, and the everyday lives of everyday people are all paralleled in the stylistic emphasis on physical detail, journalistic fact, and demotic bluntness. His style conveys the importance of having a direct impact and i f it does not necessarily suggest the virtues of physical or material acts in themselves, it accents the importance of discussing concrete and immediate social,.economic, or political facts. Orwell uses mostly short, exclamatory, basic words and avoids euphemisms and grandiose words: he describes things as 'good' or 'bad' and 'right' or 'wrong.' The violence or abrasiveness of his 75 rhetoric, its urgency, its transitiveness, straightforwardness and unapologetic detail, correspond to recognizing the inexorable world of labour. The diction and the rhythm of his sentences are informal but not particularly casual: they abide to laws of clarity and hypotactic syntax. Typically, Orwell begins a passage with a personal experience, places it in a sequential and causal narrative, and then develops an argument based on the description. He undoubtedly would have rejected Marcuse's dictum that language constantly employing images "militates against the development and expression of concepts" (One 95). Orwell presents detailed and elaborate images and then develops them into purportedly objective or sociological snapshots of the day-to-day experiences of the working and lower-middle class, focusing on minute-by-minute accounts of their labour, unemployment, and street life. He uses description as a way into prescription and pragmatic criticisms. His social critique is often made through a personalized attack on an identifiable enemy or wrongdoer. George Woodcock notes that Orwell's concrete point of view also forms the basis of his literary criticism. Orwell, he suggests, "can never resist thinking of another writer as a person and trying to see him in his mind's eye" (Crystal 332). Orwell finds in Dickens an "impressionistic touch" because Dickens, he thought, did not have a firm grasp on how people make a living (CEJL 1: 443-45). He saw Dickens living comfortably. Grounded in the realism of pragmatic labour or economic necessity, Orwell sought concreteness in his images and language. His rhetoric,.for rhetoric it is, punctuated with statistics, appeals to 'transparent' veracity, specific and itemized 'case studies,' statements of historical data, and the anti-theoretical materialism of prices, wages, living conditions and so on, repeats the step-by-step, piecemeal reformism of Orwell's pragmatic negotiation with labour. Orwell's language of labour would be frustrated by suspicions that representation cannot be objective or made from neutral ground with neutral language. Orwell defends objective truth, first and foremost, to insist on a distinction between language which leads to equivocal, duplicitous argument and graphic, gritty language which leads to pointed argument, assertions of injustice (that injustice or cruelty truly occur), and a changeable object. In "Why I Write" 7 6 (1947), Orwell maintains that his "starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice" (CEJL 1: 6). Objectivity does not mean suspending one's biases or suppressing the urge to editorialize and argue a point of view. Objectivity in Orwell's school of thought means disclosing your objective to your audience (and yourself) and, as he said several times before Nineteen Eighty-Four, that 2 + 2 = 4. Using numbers or an equation to express the case for empirical truths speaks to the non-essentialist, non-Carlylean character of his truths and the centrality of Orwell's pragmatic, liberalist, or near-utilitarian inclinations. The idea that truths can be independent of language and are not merely the function of the rest of one's beliefs is an essential presupposition for the pragmatic reformer who sees things politically. Orwell's language is not only political; it is grounded in realpolitik. His main argument against unnecessarily complicated, abstract language and particularly nomenclature, apart from alienating 'everyday people,' is that power-mongers and the politically or ideologically orthodox use it to deny brutal truths. Nearly everything Orwell said about the political content of language, from Newspeak to how language will construct "your thoughts for you" (CEJL 4: 135) to Professor Laski's pomp, has the left wing's flirtation with totalitarianism and Russia as a definite point of reference. Still one of the most important critics of "the automatic way in which people go on repeating certain phrases" (CEJL 3: 145), his argument that language precedes knowledge does not contradict his argument that language can express clear truths when it itself is clear. Because he thought politically before he thought aesthetically (or historically), he feared how language could create meanings as opposed to being tantalized by the fact. His argument about the politics of language, despite the emphasis on precision, directness, and rules, expresses the same kind of support for a linguistic subversion of and dissent from centralized systems of discourse as Bakhtin's theory of the novel articulates. H E ® On the other side of Orwell's logical categorizing and bottom-line utility scrutinizing is his high valuation of aesthetic language. I will not argue that Orwell slips into purple passages when discussing Work and its attendant moralism, or even when discussing his love of nature 77 and dislike of technology. He is more likely, however, to qualify, hesitate, circumscribe, specify, and be characteristically Orwellian when he speaks about economic matters than when he apotheosizes Work. When negotiating labour he refers to statistics, makes charts, and lists the incomes and expenses of the working class. He takes account of the minute details of their experiences as a social scientist might. He also grudgingly accepts technology and rejects, for example, Morris's romanticism. But when speaking from an involved, generalizing perspective that embraces Work (and wholly rejects machine production), he follows Carlyle and Conrad in rejecting statistics, scientific facts, and compromises. Woodcock reproduces three passages from Orwell's prose and fiction to show that Orwell progresses towards a greater and greater degree of blunt, unadorned, political (or labour-centred) diction as he matures as a writer. His point is valid and confirmed by Orwell himself who wrote in 1947, "of late years I have tried to write less picturesquely and more exactly" (CEJL 1:7). As Orwell matured as a writer he spent less time directly participating in working-class culture and thus spoke less in a language of Work. One can, however, notice a shift in tone and style when looking at two passages from the same text or written in the same year. Here are two scenes from Down and Out. In the first, Orwell is a participant, celebrating working-class culture and the accoutrements of Work (the camaraderie that follows 'the pride of the drudge'). The second example is of Orwell summing up his social experiment. The brick-floored room, fifteen feet square, was packed with twenty people, and the air dim with smoke. The noise was deafening, for everyone was either talking at the top of his voice or singing. Sometimes it was just a confused din of voices; sometimes everyone would burst out together in the same song - the 'Marseillaise,' or the 'Internationale,' or 'Madelon,' or 'Les Fraises et les Framboises.' Azaya, a great clumping peasant girl who worked fourteen hours a day in a glass factory, sang a song about, "II a perdu ses pantelons, tout en dansant le Charleston.'' Her friend Marinette, a thin, dark Corsican girl of obstinate virtue, tied her knees together and danced the danse du ventre. The old Rougiers wandered in and out, cadging drinks and trying to tell a long, involved story about someone who had once cheated them over a bedstead. R., 78 cadaverous and silent, sat in his corner quietly boozing. Charlie, drunk, half danced, half staggered to and fro with a glass of sham absinthe balanced in one fat hand, pinching the women's breasts and declaiming poetry. People played darts and diced for drinks. Manuel, a Spaniard, dragged the girls to the bar and shook the dice-box against their bellies, for luck. Madame F. stood at the bar rapidly pouring chopines of wine through the pewter funnel, with a wet dishcloth always handy, because every man in the room tried to make love to her. Two children, bastards of big Louis the bricklayer, sat in a corner sharing a glass of sirop. Everyone was very happy, overwhelmingly certain that the world was a good place and we a notable set of people. (82-83) This is description for description's sake. It is deliberately atmospheric and visual: half sentimental, half sensationalist, and probably a quarter factual. Insofar as there is an objective in this passage, it is to enjoy the setting. The sentences are elaborate, the diction less than plain. Nearly every noun is modified by an expressive adjective. Compare it to the language of labour: To sum up. A plongeur is a slave, and a wasted slave, doing stupid and unnecessary work. He is kept at work, ultimately, because of a vague feeling that he would be dangerous i f he had leisure. And educated people, who should be on his side, acquiesce in the process, because they know nothing about him and consequently are afraid of him. I say this of the plongeur because it is his case I have been considering; it would apply equally to numberless other types of worker. These are only my ideas about the basic facts of a plongeur's life, made without reference to immediate economic questions, and no doubt largely platitudes. I present them as a sample of the thoughts that are put into one's head by working in an hotel. (108) The sentences are shorter, the diction more terse, direct, analytical, and dressed down. It is especially important to note that he had explicitly referred to immediate economic questions but denies it in order to emphasize the shortcomings of a non-sociological point of view. In this passage Orwell appeals to reportage, objectivity, and to the impossibility of the grand, omniscient vision (the kind of vision he has in the earlier passage). One might also examine the linguistic shifts in The Road to Wigan Pier, from lyrical passages on the miners' strength and the gushing descriptions of working-class homes to statistical passages on unemployment, and the 79 standard of living in Lancashire. Orwell writes differently about the working class and its culture depending on his proximity to it, on whether or not he directly experiences it. Even in "Such, Such Were the Joys" (1947), which comes relatively late in his career, Orwell oscillates between elaborately descriptive passages couched in narrative - when caught up in the moment of representing his childhood - and argumentative statements in response to those scenes -analytical observations about the effects of childhood or the point of reminiscing. Still, the split is not exact or final: Orwell's style favours the concrete and precise, which is an attribute of negotiating labour, not a feature of intransitive Work. Even the whimsical " A Nice Cup of Tea" (1946) proceeds in a methodic and orderly fashion. It includes a list of "eleven rules" on how to make a nice cup, making it is easy to forget that the point of the whimsicality is to censure utilitarian writing (CEJL 3: 41). The split seems larger than it actually is, however, because Orwell himself frequently commented on it (or on variations of it). In "Why I Write" (1947) he wrote: I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience . . . So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is of no use trying to suppress that side of myself. (CEJL 1: 6) John Rodden thus talks about Orwell's "split se l f (175) and Simon Dentith identifies "varying emphases in the course of [Orwell's] writing, allowing him at one time to praise good writing as an independent value, and at other times to suggest that he sees it as no more than a frill tacked onto the real business of getting the meaning across" (205). In Orwell (1971), Raymond Williams, following the argument of Culture and Society, argues that Orwell shifts between thinking that all important writing is a form of journalism or pamphleteerism and praising it precisely for its lack of utility. Orwell, he suggests, was caught in the struggle which defines English cultural history between writing about something, as Orwell would put it, and the 80 'higher' art for art's sake movement which desired to distinguish itself from utilitarianism and commodification - between 'society'. and 'culture' (29-40). Williams and the others are not wrong, though I think it is important to point out, as I do in my formulation of this divide as determined by an oppositional approach to labour and Work, that Orwell primarily favoured what he called 'political' language. Carlyle, who I will argue also oscillates between poles of labour and Work, favours the other side, the side of Work. The difference between the two writers is,one of degree, or sides, not of kind. Both of them embrace a discourse, the language of labour or the language of Work, without squaring off one lexicon against the other. 81 Chapter Two Thomas Carlyle Introduction Orwell's publisher, Victor Gollancz, commissioned The Road to Wigan Pier as a sequel to Down and Out which would tackle unemployment instead of tramps (Crick, Life 279). Despite Gollancz's socialist predilections, this was in effect asking Orwell to write a 'Condition of England' book and participate in a very middle-class, basically liberalist tradition. After engaging with or considering the lower classes, the convention is for the writer to inveigh against life in industrial regions on moral and political grounds by converging vivid description with urgent, but usually moderate prescription. Thomas Carlyle gave birth to it and inadvertently coined the phrase 'Condition of England' ("Chartism" 168); Past and Present (1843) and "Chartism" (1839) also adumbrate the grittiness which Realism and Naturalism would inject into the form. Carlyle, not a liberal, spoke with a directness about the gravity of England's condition which was more attuned to Victorian sensibilities than the self-exiled, hyper-subjective Romantics before him. For that reason, his voice has become synonymous with the convention and with the inception of social criticism in the modern age. Orwell never admired that voice, the style, the power worshipping, the authoritarianism, or Carlyle's brands of conservatism and nationalism. Yet both writers precipitate support from the political left and right, a detail of more than trivial importance. They both promote activism, but are suspicious of radical action; appeal to tradition, manliness, and simplicity; are ironists but not cynics; belong to a very English group of social reformers who argue the need to "Descend where you will into the lower class" (Past 9); oscillate between speaking on abstract and concrete matters; and write about the virtues of Work in periods of high unemployment and job insecurity. They both complain that governments, official institutions, 'extreme' social critics, and modern societies in general lack "soul." Thus they both are reluctant to come to terms with modernity, retreating to and ensconcing themselves in conservatism, idealism, or nature. Yet they both, in alternate discourses, grudgingly accept modern society and seek its reform. 82 But again, Orwell did not admire Carlyle. The trajectory from an outspoken Carlyle to an outspoken Orwell, himself brimming with Victorian values, reveals a shift in foundational assumptions about final and conditional knowledge, though the basic division between moralism and pragmatism remains firmly intact. At the same time that Carlyle's rhetoric of Work is final, complete, and evangelical, a great deal of interpretive work, circumspection, and equivocation -a discourse of labour - takes place as well. In this chapter I am again looking at a non-dialectic division between Work and labour and a treatment of Work as i f divorced from its content, context, and details. ® H H Carlyle's attitude towards work is pronounced through a tension between final and contingent knowledge. The division parallels the tension in Orwell's thought between the abstract and concrete, between a romantic vision and pragmatic reformism: they are forms of the dualism, the isolated strands of thought, which give English cultural socialism its shape. Carlyle speaks of Work as i f with a single vision of it, of the work ethic, of the opportunity for self-realization, and of non-economic imperatives. But he also recognizes class, class struggle, wages, Corn Laws, and the need for legislation almost as i f he recognized a difference between 'Work' and 'labour' - almost as if he accepted, with Orwell, that the idea of any final determination is unfeasible when measured against concrete experience. Carlyle's treatment of Work will be the subject of the first section of this chapter. I will develop it in the following sections by examining the double theses embedded in Past and Present. A simultaneous but undialectical confirmation of spiritual and material values, of 'culture' and 'society,' or of homo faber and homo economicus sets up a tremulous balancing act for the (S)age. In his a priori, intransitive, generalizing voice, Carlyle echoes both humanistic and theistic doctrine, interchangeable despite their original opposition. In his concrete, transitive voice he subordinates human nature to a human condition, philosophy to history, and the Gospel of Work to the matter of wages. 83 The non-dialectical allegiance to spiritual (moral) and material (pragmatic) values finds Carlyle objecting to the domination of political economy and the spiritual malaise of the age, but embracing industry. Though Carlyle denies it, industry is genealogically tied to political economy, rationalized work to rationalism. The moral Carlyle attempts not only to re-introduce feudalistic working relationships and disengage industry from political economy, but to re-appropriate the concept of 'rationalism' from the clutch of economics. This ends in him assigning rationality to spiritualism, an act only possible in an era dominated by the language of instrumental reason. At times, Carlyle seems as if he would be the last Victorian to embrace 'rationalism' or its language, but when illustrating the validity of life beyond the economic, he frequently adopts the terms most convenient to political economy and most credible in a vaguely secular society seeking the certainty of non-contingent temporal knowledge. A Philosophy of Work For the Unseen Carlyle's philosophy of work in the 1840s resembles the Marx of the same period. Both conceive humankind in relation to material activity: in willed work human beings objectify or project themselves onto a creation and thus become real and knowable to themselves in a sense which exceeds basic materiality (corporeality). Both reject the dichotomy which forever separates materialism from essentialism. The idea that work initiates a process of reciprocal alteration, the subject alters the world and the world alters the subject, firmly establishes the place of history in philosophy. They both would overturn the philosophical tradition assuming the primacy of contemplation over activity. Marx and Carlyle, then, contribute to the secularization of the age, countering the idea that what humans do will never equal what the Kosmos will do - that which exists in eternity or beyond history. They also agree that industry manifests homo faber, that returning to a premachinic golden age is both impossible and undesirable, but that the relations and conditions of production in contractional / exchange systems alienate individuals from themselves and each other. 84 They differ insofar as Marx emphasizes the idea that work offers humankind the opportunity to prove itself as a "species being" whereas Carlyle stresses that "a man perfects himself by working" (Rosenberg, Seventh 60-61; Carlyle, Past 196). Jonathan Mendilow argues that in Sartor Resartus (1833) Carlyle treats work only as an enabling activity for a private regime (120). Work is Teufelsdrockh's answer to personal and spiritual problems, such as depression and doubt. Even i f Carlyle's despondency was brought on by an anomic epidemic and self-help is a public medicine, work's agency confirms selfhood regardless of society. Past and Present manifests an awakened public consciousness. To an extent, the shift parallels Marx's reworking of Hegel. According to Hegel, saturated in Idealism, work is not a specific economic activity but the way in which the self shapes the world under the guidance of the spirit: a middle point between 'man' and the world. For him "alienation" or self-objectification is the end of philosophy's interest in work. For Marx, "self-objectification" is the starting point of philosophy. In history, objectification becomes "alienation" and "estrangement," a reification largely endogenous to capitalism. Even though Carlyle's emphasis in Past and Present is elsewhere, on Work as a good in itself and on final knowledge, he pulls himself towards a materialistic theory and concrete subject matter.. But only to an extent: the discourse of labour can be found only in pockets, compartmentalized and ghettoized. A greater difference between Marx's and Carlyle's philosophies of work would be that work providing a mirror to selfhood, for Carlyle, also reflects the worker's bond to a cosmic, anti-historical determination. Philosophically, Carlyle is somewhere between Hegel and Marx. Marx sees history as the interplay of economics with other forces; Carlyle sees history as the interplay of the cosmos with other forces (including economics). As a result, Carlyle pushes himself away from material and towards axiological theory. In Carlyle, ethics govern social relations (and modes of production): modes of production do not govern ethics (or social relations). Conclusive, universal ethics are readable, he says; they are simply not being heeded. SI Bl SI 85 Carlyle's interpretation of work is principally anagogic. Beyond giving it a literal (production), allegorical (self-objectification), and moral (therapeutic and socially valuable) reading, he invests it with mystical and spiritual meanings. Productive work is "appointed by the Universe" (Past 144) to bridge subject and object, the individual and the pantheistic external. The paradox in locating a transcendental order in work (albeit represented as Work) has a near parallel in archetypal / structural criticism and the paradox inherent in locating anagogic mysticism by the way of a very scientific orientation. Carlyle answers Victorian doubt with a philosophy of Work. Religion takes faith. Work demands that same faith because before work there is no way to know the object being worked upon. Work seems to be "impossible" for the object of work is "as yet a No-thing": one performs work "for the Unseen" (Past 205). For Carlyle, the religion of Work is not contrary to material history. Through Work subject and object are grafted together, with the individual's part in a World Spirit becoming knowable because located in the material object of his or her work. Eloise Behnken points out that this is proto-existentialist reasoning insofar as the spirit cannot know itself unless it is translated into external works - i.e., existence precedes essence (27). Though it is true that with Carlyle action precedes knowledge, the subject does not create selfhood or a purpose, she or he finds them. As with Hegel, the spirit is historical because human forces can and do frustrate it: history delays its predestined course. In Calvinist theology the Elect work because success at work is a sign of providential approval. Carlyle's Calvinist upbringing reappears in the idea of a world spirit vaguely dependent upon (or at least not independent of) human history. Through Work universal meanings and transcendental laws demonstrate themselves. Carlyle mixes the traditional idea of truth as revelation and the modern, productional idea that knowledge is limited to what humans make. Work compensates for the absence of God, but also manifests God's presence, "bodies forth the form of Things Unseen" (Past 205), in its elaboration of the ontological experience. Both sides of this paradox lead towards a unified vision of Work as compulsory activity for spiritual gain. Carlyle compounds other paradigmatic meanings in his representation of 86 work, such as the expressing of cultural and national identity, but the point is that despite obstacles, he forges a coherent, final theory of Work: a deus ex machina in the playing out of a moral universe. ISS1S] The greatest threat to that vision of Work is industrial capitalism and the social relations it produces. Marxists tend to argue that any intrinsic value gained from work is coterminous with the mode of production and the organization of working relations. Sociologists sometimes object to this formula by documenting subjective aberrations. Most work theorists today more and more treat aberrations as the norm. But all are suspicious of the promotion of work that takes place irrespective of its content and purpose. Carlyle's Gospel of Work is undoubtedly disturbed by industrialism, a word he coined in order to differentiate between an acceptable social fact (industry) and an unacceptable, asocial way of life. He speaks of "Genuine Work," of a golden age before the "Steam-Demon has yet risen smoking into being" (Past 71), and implicitly distinguishes between work in the realm of freedom and work in the realm of necessity. Yet Carlyle was not anti-industry, nor does he speak at length about the deplorable conditions in mines and factories (especially in comparison to Engels, his contemporary). In 1842, a particularly gruesome parliamentary blue book made working conditions, not work, the subject of public scrutiny (Altick x). In 1843, with Past and Present, Carlyle moves toward re-cloaking work. Many Victorians were able to make the super-philosophical distinction between 'labour' and 'work,' even i f they never articulated it as fully or as clearly as Hannah Arendt. In Arendt's philosophical distinction between labour and work, 'labour' denotes activity which satisfies biological need, sustains life, whereas 'work' organizes a social environment and aestheticizes. Her super-philosophical corollary is that labour in modernity is activity performed solely for extrinsic gain, money. 'Work' becomes the activity of the hobbyist, the craftsperson, or the artist: it is that which both Carlyle and Arendt lament is being subsumed by a culture of labour. But in an industrial society, 'labour' first and foremost means factory and machine work, the 87 activity of the 'working class,' and that which results in alienation. Carlyle's frequent failure to discriminate between labour and Work appears as a refusal to acknowledge industrial working conditions. It appears as an attempt to mobilize society towards productivity and to level class interests into bourgeois interests. Such a society could purport to achieve the coherency and solidarity previously thought unique to Christianity.1 Carlyle insists the aristocracy, the Captains of Industry, and labourers Work. That amounts to insisting labourers toil for extrinsic gain only, while defending low wages by affirming that work's reward is intrinsic ('labour' is not a good in itself). . Though Carlyle argues in favour of fair wages and for better (paternalistic) working relations, he is ignoring or deluding labourers when he declares, "Work, and therein have wellbeing" (Past 201). He is asking the labourer to find within himself the strength to glean the intrinsic values of Work from intrinsically (and extrinsically, the two are rarely separable) valueless labour. He desires the psychic health of labourers only insofar as it corresponds to social stability and precludes social and industrial disobedience. Besides "Doubt, Desire, Sorrow, Remorse," and "Despair," Work also stills the labourer against "Indignation" (Past 196). He attacks Chartism and the nascent movement of working-class protest (as opposed to artisanal protest), especially because it focused on wages and piecemeal reforms but was not headed by an intellectual vanguard. He slyly censures the negotiation of wages by conflating it with the calculation of statistics, a rationalist enterprise. He suggests that wages "are but one preliminary item" leading to well-being, just as a utilitarian fetish of numbers is an incomplete and over-exaggerated explanation of what constitutes human motivation, justice, or happiness ("Chartism" 172). Carlyle speaks of Work as i f it too did not contribute to labour, to the economic gain of capital or to the industrial conditions considered deplorable in his own day. The labourer would have needed an enormous moral - self-shaping - reservoir to accrue well-being. Carlyle, in a period of blatant industrial tyranny, assures all sectors of society that "No man oppresses thee . . . from all men thou art emancipated: but from Thyself (Past 216-17). This is not the same 'Gertrude Himmelfarb notes that before industry became widespread in urban England, it had "been the poor who were blessed, who were of the kingdom of God. Modernity had changed that. Work was now salvation" (206). 88 Carlyle who argues, "without proper wages there can be no well-being" ("Signs" 186) and who is enraged by 'injustice.' By prescribing an almost unqualified therapy of Work and a uniform imperative, Carlyle preaches Work to labourers. He adopts a completely different discourse, one deploring how work has become laborious, when addressing the middle class or the aristocracy. By dividing a discussion of work from the issues of class he effectively wars against working-class consciousness and the need for reform. When he admits "how much better fed, clothed, lodged and in all outward respects accommodated men now are, or might be, by a given quantity of labour" - obviously referring to the working class - it is from the point of view of a moralist complaint against the accompanying "internal and spiritual" decay ("Signs" 227). In other words, instead of seeing the pragmatic value of food or clothes as Orwell would, regardless i f they are mass-produced, he sees little victories in the working-class standard of living as contributing to the overall greed of the age. Regarding work, the only clear distinction he makes is between Mammonism and 'noble' or 'true' Work. The latter is "sacred" "were it but true hand-labour" because it posits faith in the Unseen (Past 202). Assembly-line work cannot be 'true' in that sense and labour does not have the opportunity to Mammonize, to hoard wealth. The negation of labour, of working conditions, expresses a steadfast commitment to categorical over conditional knowledge. Beyond that, by relating labour to blessedness, Carlyle validates obscene working conditions and the kind of alienation which accompanies the sub-division of labour and profits the capitalist class. It is indeed troubling that the idolization and subsequent mythology of work, largely motivated by Carlyle, proceeds simultaneously to industrialism. Such ironic timing, however, does not necessarily indicate bourgeois machinations. The celebration of Work's intrinsic values is an implicit challenge to industrialism, a posting of its shortcomings, even i f it is imminently redundant and highly suspicious. To collapse Work and labour into a sanctified Work is to confront and defy utilitarianism, its non-contingent, foundationalist assumptions and their cultural implications, and its objective to collapse all Work into labour, thereby arresting all meaningful satisfaction until after labour. Utilitarianism 89 imposes a narrow definition on work: it is all labour, disutility. Carlyle does the same, but offers the opposite one which defines all labour as Work. Political economy also identifies satisfactions and intrinsic needs as coming from beyond paid employment. Its parameters limit the cultural context in which activity, time, identity, and status (or subject-position) are defined and regulated, either as work or non-work. Political economy makes a distinction between work and non-work (for example, a hobby) that is not inherent in the activity itself but solely in the act of payment. Carlyle attempts to refashion the cultural contexts toward what inheres in the action. He attempts to elide the binaries set up by political economy between work and non-work, labour and craft, or extrinsic and intrinsic need. The result is a unified vision of Work at a historical moment which ought to be impossible for a social critic with Carlyle's specific knowledge. H IS H Before examining Carlyle's recourse to both teleology and practicality, I want to consider his aggrandizement of the Abbot Samson's work. The story of the Abbot provides a model for aristocracies, governments, and managers -for individual husbands and entire societies. Alternatively, it provides a critique of modern relations of production. To begin with, however, as R. E. Pahl makes clear, "there was no pre-industrial golden age of satisfying work" ("Introduction" 9). Reproducing the myth of Merrie England underlies an attempt to synchronize modernity with an invariant and thus 'superior' past. It underlies an attempt to check the ever transforming present by referring to an 'established' ("invented") tradition (Hobsbawm 1-9). In Carlyle's parable, the Abbot creates an "ordered world" out of "chaos" through vigilance, a mission mentality, discipline, asceticism, and thrift. A l l his methods are a product of 'the work ethic' Although it appears as a ruling class or managerial ideology in which the worker internalizes a mandate to sacrifice his or her labour power for the 'greater good' of the company, as it certainly does today with every 90 manager's motivational discourse circulating around it, Carlyle's work ethic emphasizes commitment by owners, managers, and workers alike. Undoubtedly sensing a movement away from social organicism in the contemporary present, Carlyle paints a picture of cohesion and molecular harmony in the past. The Abbot's order is not mechanically controlled from the outside, but emotionally driven from within. He has a "thoughtful sternness, a sorrowful pity: but there is a terrible flash of anger in him" {Past 96). The picture is framed by a patriarchal and feudalistic nostalgia for paternalistic work relations. Elsewhere in Past and Present he speaks of the lost bonds of guardianship that "Gurth born thrall of Cedric" (244) had enjoyed and in "Signs of the Times" (1829), Carlyle demands that governments operate as a "father" (233). The Abbot's demeanor and energy, meanwhile, imply a critique of the aloof, passive, and unproductive habits endemic to aristocratic property owners. Antonio Gramsci also speaks of a "European tradition" of aristocracies "with no essential function" and thus "purely parasitic": "pensioners of economic history" (281). He notes that in the United States even the richest millionaire maintains the pioneering, active spirit despite having no financial need (305). In some ways this is a different spirit than the one Carlyle wants to re-kindle in the European aristocracy, the universally sanctioned paternal spirit. But the subtext behind Carlyle's criticisms of a "Phantom Aristocracy . . . not in the least conscious that it has any work longer to do" {Past 142) juxtaposes the spirit of active capital to passive property and it is not accidental. By attempting to synthesize divine fiats, organic and hierarchical communities, and economic projects Carlyle reflects, but also contributes to the rise of a competition-oriented nationalistic consciousness. Orwell shows the imprint of Carlylean nationalism when he argues that the English people "must breed faster, work harder, and probably live more simply." But in the same article, "The English People" (1944), Orwell also 2The 'flexible capitalism' of today in which corporate workers are expected to tolerate fragmented and short-term 'projects' seems to be an attempt to erase the idea of commitment from the concept of a work ethic once and for all. The Harvard School of Business currently tells its students to work from the 'outside' as consultants, as opposed to looking for a place of work (Sennett 25). 91 shows his difference to the Gospelizing Carlyle by arguing that the English should not listen "to those who tell them that the England of the past can return" (CEJL 3: 37). The story of the Abbot, however, is far from being a manifesto on the virtues of capitalist England. Under political economy the idle aristocracy elude criticism. If work is associated only with economic incentives, with disutility and no intrinsic or social benefit, then wealth excuses idleness. Under the theory of political economy only the poor and unemployed are charged with the opprobrium of idleness. Moreover, the cooperation in the Abbot's workplace is a criticism of laissez-faire just as the representation of authority and obedience is a calling and model for active managements and peaceful workers. The monastery also contradicts the hedonistic underpinnings of utilitarianism by demonstrating that a society functions best when it refuses to treat work merely as a means to secure pleasure. In the abbey, 'work' and 'life' are not confined activities. But the most significant criticism of all political economy is the correlation of spiritual and economic order. Before the Abbot arrives, the abbey is in spiritual and economic turmoil. The success ensuing from the blurring of theology, good economy, morality, productivity, diligence, spirituality, bookkeeping, ritual, efficiency, and faith is a snub against the strict demarcation (and privileging) of homo economicus by political economy from the plurality of what constitutes humankind in any of its activities. Eternal laws, for the economically astute and triumphant Abbot, are always "interpenetrating the whole of Life" (Past 72). Economic savvy can go hand in hand with Work, but only when it is made not to contradict the concept of Work. However, considering the asceticism and obedience pressed upon the monks, the workers, their "whole of life" is somewhat limited. That which seems to be or is represented as a diligent work ethic, a self-effacing absorption in a task, can always be the product of a worker's fear of employer tyranny - a line that neither the Abbot nor Carlyle has problems crossing. In "Chartism" Carlyle represents not only the violence of the working-class movement, but also the awakening of their class-consciousness as a crisis. He shares the trans-historical, traditional, tragic sensibility often accompanying a belief in Work. To be human, homo faber, is to Work, to 92 struggle, to face self-defining challenges and not to negotiate the details of labour. For homo faber, struggle is a moral issue. But the idea that " A l l men submit to toil, to disappointment, to unhappiness; it is their lot here" ("Chartism" 188) can easily be shaped into a defence of worker self-denial or of the. indefensible wages and working conditions which produce unhappiness. Again, Carlyle does not seem to hesitate from transgressing the line between inevitable toil and domination. The working class might agree that the world is tragic, but as the pragmatic Orwell would point out - that is, from a remote, analytical perspective - they come to that idea from an economic point of view, from the point of view of being dominated. The emergence of a rationalist economic theory, the rise of the bourgeois, and the proliferation of religious skepticism had made for the theoretical possibility of the end to controlled systems of authority. But the institutionalized religious revival was immediate, powerful, and saturated with appeals to authority and duty. Carlyle's non-institutionalized religious zeal contributed to the evangelical spirit. Carlyle witnessed the factory becoming a place of order, discipline, regularity, and authority that could act to substitute any understood absence of transcendental law. His doctrine of Work allows for that substitution by insisting on Work's wholesale domination of social relationships so that the hierarchies in the workplace would be reproduced outside of it. At the same time, his Gospel of Work counteracts political economy by guaranteeing stability in accordance with universal truth, an order sufficiently authoritative, though moral as well. Both approaches amount to validating liberalist notions of progress through free (but autocratic) industry. Positive change, as the example of the Abbot is meant to demonstrate, comes from 'above.' Carlyle approves of the Abbot's stubborn unruliness but insists that the subordinates, even as they themselves become artisanal, remain obedient. The entire notion that human beings are social beings is predicated on a directive to obey "God-made superiors" {Past 283). Ironically, one of the reasons Orwell rejects Carlyle is the same reason why he rejects Marxists, that they overlook the fact that power corrupts even good men. Orwell's pragmatic side would also contest the way in which Carlyle offers no mechanism to find or develop such benevolent 93 leaders. Carlyle assigns mental functions to owners and managers, those who "can articulate," whereas "almost stupid" must labour (Past 23). That is, definitive character ratifies the functional division of labour rather than being determined by the conditions and fact of that division. E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class (1963), which shows that the union movement in England began with artisans and not 'proletarians,' brings out a major contradiction in Carlyle's attitude towards work. Carlyle would recreate labourers into Workers, artisans. But he would restrict their obstinacy, their trade-union-mindedness, which follows. In other words, he desires workers to counteract political economy, but needs labourers to get on with the business of production at hand. He delivers two distinct Gospels of Work. He instructs the middle-class Captains of Industry to Work and be obstinate; he instructs the workers to Work and be submissive. The Gospel of Work A small Poet every Worker is. The apportioning of historical relations to intuited eternal law is in step with the always-present temptation to withdraw that Carlyle inherits from the Romantics. But instead of granting poetry or art the authority to confirm that intuition or to express the spirit which industrialism was threatening as the Romantics do, Williams's 'culture,' Carlyle invests in a transcendental idea of Work: "a small Poet every Worker is" (Past 205). Work becomes the validation of that which was, as Chris Vanden Bossche says, "absent from or even destroyed by newly dominant discourses like political economy" (vii). But work, to pick up Williams's argument in Culture and Society, becomes independent; it gets separated from everyday political life, just as the Romantics treat art (or 'culture') as i f in a "superior reality," a different realm than the organization of 'society.' In that way, Work and political economy, or Work and labour, become unrelated items - the Benthamite nods in approval, and political economy reaches its privileged position of the 'real' and 'rational.'3 Williams is surely not wrong when he says that the "idea of 3 Arendt ' s model o f labour * work * (political) activity articulates a classical distinction between work, labour, and 'society. ' She argues that against action or 'society' is the "conviction of homo faber that a man's products may be 94 culture as the whole way of living of a people receives in Carlyle a marked new emphasis." But the emphasis is on a spiritualized idea of work, which in a much more immediate way than 'culture' or art is interfused with 'society.' Work (Williams says "culture") is "the ground of his attack on Industrialism: that a society, properly so called, is composed of very much more than economic relationships" (Culture 83). The Worker (Williams says "the artist") becomes a "special kind of person" (Culture 43), divorced from the problems of labour or 'society.' Ironically, by attempting to make Work / culture a 'whole way of living,' Carlyle routinely dislodges it from the discourses of economic and social theory. That is, he dehistoricizes, withdraws into, and finalizes Work. Carlyle's temple of Work periodically extends into a clear rejection of political reform. Not only does eternal law obviate political action, but any systematic school of interpretation or etiological solution dislocates the concept of reform, of reforming the conditions of production. Carlyle judges society against "Eternal Facts," a heuristic 'reality' that transcends change and reveals the inadequacies change brings to the contemporary world. To say that the narrative of Past and Present is a longitudinal material history would be to concede that Carlyle's solutions to contemporary problems are anachronistic. History at best is the pejorative details of essential law. Solutions to its waywardness from the predestined course lie in the unfettering of that law rather than in "bursts of Parliamentary eloquence" (Past 19). Carlyle was also a moralist, as was Orwell, and as such thought that one had to change oneself before one reformed the world. Believing that a moral and not a structural problem haunted England, he derides reform as 'Morrison's Pills.' Paradoxically, all measures for reform more - and not only more lasting - than he is himself, as well as the animal laborans''firm belief that life is the highest of all goods. Both, therefore, are, strictly speaking, unpolitical, and will incline to denounce action and speech as idleness, idle busybodyness and idle talk, and generally will judge public activities in terms of their usefulness to supposedly higher ends - to make the world more useful and more beautiful in the case of homo faber, to make life easier and longer in the case of animal laborans" (Human 208). 'Society,' in turn, disregards or undervalues work (art). The vita contemplativa rejects work, labour, and 'society.' Though the modern age has overturned the classical ranking of contemplation and action, albeit towards individual action ('labour'), the conventional distinction between thought and labour (the mind as opposed to the body, the 'natural' functions of the classes) continues into the current corporate age with the strict cultural division of time into non-work (the weekend) and labour, leisure and labour, or 'culture' (Arendt's 'work') and routine (her 'labour'). 95 are equally untenable because they are partial. Carlyle may call for massive change, but without falsifiable reforms the only means to implement change would be through revolution, a course he specifically censures. Orwell was right to challenge Carlyle as an "intellectual." A social critic's refusal to specify social policy discloses intellectual detachment (Rosenberg, Seventh 35). However, offering overarching, non-contingent criticisms and few practical, i f incomplete or temporary ideas that would necessitate political action - deferring to absolute law - is nonetheless political. Carlyle dismisses political activity but is unmistakably political in a different way when he argues that the wages "of every noble Work do yet lie in Heaven or else Nowhere," and certainly not in "Owen's Labour-bank" (Past 203, 204). He does not believe that toil under Mammonism provides its own rewards, but because he attempts to satisfy a Victorian epistemological desire for closure by appealing to final knowledge, he holds in abeyance the historical contexts which at other times receive his unmitigated wrath. Strategy or otherwise, the result is political. The idea that "money alone is not the representative either of man's success in the world, or of man's duties to man" (Past 179) strikes out against political economy and supports the cause of labour by integrating it with the case for Work, notwithstanding the suspicion it may justifiably arouse from the point of view of labourers. But "the brave man has to give his Life away"; "Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness"; and "Who art thou that complainest of thy life of toil? Complain not" (Past 204, 197, 202) are absurd and dangerous sentiments which surreptitiously transform 'final knowledge' into silence. The Grammar of Labour That question of work and wages Carlyle writes on the borderline between unmediated intuition and conditionality, universal wisdom and social fact, or 'cultural' disinterest and pragmatic commitment. There is a second side to Carlyle, a side which is transitive, concrete, historical, reformist, and modern. As 96 with Orwell, critics find that Carlyle "combines attitudes generally held to be antithetical" (Rosenberg, Carlyle 116) and oscillates between dealing in generalities and constructive politics. At this point I will examine the side of Carlyle which admits knowledge cannot be enclosed but must rather integrate itself with day-to-day political life in such a way as to necessitate involvement: the kind of gritty, bread-and-butter perspective that also dominates Orwell's pragmatic side. Faced with an England on the brink of widespread violence, Carlyle calls for specific types of reform. As Corn Laws drove up the price of bread, Poor Laws and workhouses made for more corruption than what they replaced, angry Chartists gathered, parasitic aristocracies withdrew, and the industrial sector found Mammon, England's future was quite clearly either in reform or violence. In Past and Present Carlyle proposes government legislation to regulate and inspect factories, mines, wages, and bureaucracies; in addition, he proposes they establish control over sanitation, emigration, pollution, education, and housing. These are, by his own standards, Morrison's Pills. Still, he stands against the Corn Laws and for some of the more moderate objectives of Chartism. He cautiously suggests that workers could become part owners with "permanent interests" in their manufacturing companies. Though they would be without real, comparative agency in relation to the Captains of Industry, the idea is to allow for labour's bargaining power even in periods of a surplus labour force. Carlyle advocates for governments to enforce feudalistic systems of management in order to remove workers from the uncertainty of the market. In "Chartism" he outlines a plan for "Universal Education" and "general Emigration" (228-38). He would also introduce recreational parks for the working-class family and frequently repeats a "Fair day's-wages for a fair day's-work," a very political stance indeed as it was also the slogan of the craft-unions (Perkin 232). These are significant arguments to make in the 1840s when it was increasingly understood that humanitarian projects could be left to volunteers and were not the responsibility of government (Brantlinger 2). Addressing the middle class, speaking on behalf of but not to the working class, he considers issues surrounding labour, issues which preclude trumpeting Work. 97 Carlyle bids government to address "that question of work and wages," not the "Wealth of Nations, Supply-and-demand and such" (Past 26). Yet he also gets his own hands dirty in the macroeconomic mud by advising British manufacturers to "egwa/-sell" rather than undersell their goods (Past 184). The idea is that i f the textile industry were to 'satisfy,' not maximize profits, it might stabilize the market and thus wages as well. This is a far cry from an intransitive entreaty to Work and for industrial decency. Again in "Chartism" he attacks "Paralytic Radicalism," or those who assume "nothing whatever can be done in it by man, who has simply to sit still, and look wistfully to 'time and general laws'" (227). Finally, as Williams points out, Carlyle's disparagement of democracy was "a most relevant criticism" of the influence or "political arrangement" of laissez-faire (Culture 80). Unlike Arendt, Carlyle does not distinguish between action and work. Both entail that the subject transcends himself or herself by interacting with an environment. This is one of the meanings behind his appeal to "Think it not thy business, this of knowing thyself. . . know what thou canst work at" (Past 196). Though he mystifies and depoliticizes action by conflating it with Work (work as a social activity but also as an interaction with the cosmos), his emphasis is on a lack of self-interest and thus is a direct attack on the utilitarian ethic. If a conservative like G. K. Chesterton finds fault with Carlyle for coming to terms with industrialism, because he "never contradicted the whole trend of the age as Cobbett did" (23), one might conclude that Carlyle, like Orwell, recognizes that history cannot simply be undone through attrition or nostalgia. Though involvement in contemporary social debate, besides jarring against the Gospel of Work, is only "in partial conflict with bourgeois hegemony," as Terry Eagleton argues, because it "seeks to accommodate itself within it," objections to such involvement also demand scrutiny - especially as an all-or-nothing approach has proven itself to be quite accommodating to the ruling class. Eagleton makes it next to impossible for the members of the "Culture and Society tradition," shy of revolutionary action as they are and intermittently addressing specific historical contexts as they do, to engage in any social criticism whatsoever. If their "labourist ideologies" capitulate to "bourgeois state power," their "Romantic" ideologies preserve "it by 98 displacing political analysis to a moralist and idealist critique of its worst 'human' effects" {Criticism 102). Help us out here. H H H By and large, however, Eagleton is right: Carlyle backs reform because it promises wealth for England. The emigration he favours means a developed commonwealth and thus increased trade. The Captains of Industry would revitalize the economy and challenge foreign competitors. England "shall be well" i f it works "better than all people" (Past 185). The manorial principles Carlyle wishes industry to adopt would fraternize the factory floor but they would also enforce the ideology which holds that the interests of labour and capital are the same, thereby precluding unrest and ensuring production. Building parks for labouring families is an "excellent investment" because it would discourage "mutiny" (Past 276). Once when Carlyle suggests that a fair day's-wage is necessary, he notes that it keeps "your worker alive that he may work more" (Past 203). Carlyle also fails, for the most part, to document the details of his activist 'program' and, in general, obfuscates.his reformist proposals by yoking them to inevitability. Any "philosophy of praxis" posits historically-determined relations because they are the only ones changeable (Gramsci 133). Williams understands that "Carlyle is for practical beginnings," but that he retracts from pragmatism because he considers it essentially inadequate (Culture 81-82). In order for work to be an effective therapy it must be meaningful, the type of Work which brings self-objectification, not alienation. Carlyle never suggests, as did Morris, how factory work could be changed in order to foster that necessary sense of creation which occasions salutary effects. Carlyle has two very different attitudes towards work. To the working class he urges the need to work for work's sake and to all other classes he urges the need to reform the condition of work. The tendency to alter one's attitude towards work depending on one's proximity to the working class or one's consideration of them is common to Orwell and indeed all English cultural socialism. While Orwell is up close to and sharing experiences with the working class 99 he associates them to the world of Work; when he reflects upon his experiences, distancing himself from them, he discusses the working class in terms of its labour - their wages, expenses, and so on. Carlyle, when reaching out to or taking account of the working class - "Awake, ye noble Workers . . . It is to you I call" (Past 271) - or more specifically when proselytizing to his middle-class readers the best way to consider, speak to, or treat the working class, xhe speaks intransitively, unconditionally about the virtues of Work. When appealing to the majority audience of Past and Present, the middle class, he raises issues surrounding labour. When he does preach Work to the middle and upper classes he advocates artisanal obstinacy, pride, and independence; to the working class he recommends subservience and self-deprecation. The two discourses of Work and labour never confront each other because they are addressed in different directions. Sometimes Carlyle attempts to include both reform and transcendence, to lend reformism the authority of corresponding to a moral universe. In "Signs of the Times," discussing the Ideal and the Real, he argues that To define the limits of these two departments of man's activity, which work into one another, and by means of one another, so intricately and inseparably, were by its nature an impossible attempt. Their relative importance, even to the wisest mind, will vary in different times, according to the special wants and dispositions of those times. Meanwhile, it seems clear enough that only the right co-ordination of the two, and the vigorous forwarding of both, does our true line of action lie. Undue cultivation of the inward or Dynamical province leads to idle, visionary, impracticable courses, and especially in rude eras, to Superstition and Fanaticism . . . Undue cultivation of the outward, again, though less immediately prejudicial, and even for the time productive of many palpable benefits, must, in the long-run, by destroying Moral Force, which is the parent of all other Force, prove not less certainly, and perhaps still more hopelessly, pernicious. This, we take it, is the grand characteristic of our age. (237-38) But Carlyle, as with Mathew Arnold here pre-echoed, would only conflate the Ideal and the Real within bourgeois circles. In fact, seeing a non-contest between the ideal and the real assumes 100 identical class interests or uniform ideals and 'reals.' The resolution and union he imagines, or the injection of Moral Force he prescribes, is premised on disregarding what is real for the working class, and what might be ideal for them, and on bypassing the most salient and real conflict that divides Work from labour - bypassing the conflict between Work and labour. Occasionally, as in Past and Present, he interrupts his political discourse on, for example, the need for permanent labour contracts by appealing to 'higher values' - "I am for permanence in all things" (277) - but so much transcendental rhetoric suffuses Past and Present and is generally kept so far apart from the details of labour, that critics such as Gertrude Himmelfarb can "wonder how Carlyle proposed to operate an industrial system without some cash-payment mechanism" (206) even though he is quite straightforward when discussing the minute intricacies of wages. Carlyle's reformism is ultimately vague and limited. Philip Rosenberg argues that readers are drawn towards doing, not withdrawal (Seventh 2.1). But doing what? - Carlylean Work is predominantly intransitive and in any case, unaffected by the dominant character of work in that period. A n anonymous reviewer in 1843 criticized Carlyle for reducing social problems to that which can be "attributed solely to the want of a right spirit in the breasts of capitalists" (also Orwell's criticism of Dickens and Woodcock's criticism of Orwell), but concludes by softening that criticism in light of the fact that the "object" of Past and Present is "a well-conducted scheme of emigration" (Trela 144). It is arguably not. The critic was closer to the mark with his first observation. Past and Present conveys the idea of practical activity; it is just not clear of what kind it ought to be. Carlyle is not disingenuous when he says that the "Ideal always has to grow in the Real" (Past 63). Only he represents the Ideal and the Real without forcing them into a dialectical confrontation: a confrontation which would undermine the Gospel of Work and the business of reform. 101 Carlyle and Industrialism Ultimate genuine Aristocracy Outside of the culture / society dichotomy is Carlyle's acceptance of industrialism. Production was part of Victorian culture. Though Carlyle condemns uncontrolled mechanization and the "proposition of utility as the source of value" (Williams, Culture 63), and even though his almost Manichaean worldview divides phenomena into the consummate blessed and the pragmatically reformable, he does not assume a permanent rift between 'cultivation and civilization.' But he never mixes spiritual, Ideal values together with an industrialist, entrepreneurial idea of society in such a way as to dialectically oppose them, which I argue is in fact to segregate them. Carlyle reads points of continuity between creativity and industrial expansion and even between homo faber and homo economicus. Society had only to restore the proper balance between the spiritual and the material, to ordain hieratic leaders, and to channel individual interests into the interests of the nation. The role of government was to ensure the practice of individual morality. At the bottom of Carlyle's thought is the idea that complete human beings change institutions and not vice versa. With only an improvement of the "moral-sense," Plugson of Undershot can fulfill his destined role in the "Ultimate genuine Aristocracy" (Past 193-4). The anti-capitalism of Carlyle and most of early nineteenth-century social consciousness is marked and profound, but it is in response to particular crises thought repairable through an awakened moral sense; it is not a condemnation of industrialization, but of the fetishization of industry into an isolated activity independent of all 'cultural' activity and, in turn, into a business mentality. Still, Lukacs is right to argue that there are two Carlyles: one who denies it is "possible to be human in bourgeois society," who maintains that "what morality we have takes the shape of Ambition" ("Signs" 243), and the other who asserts that "man as he exists is opposed without mediation . . . to this non-existence of the human" (History 190), who claims that people have never been guided by "Profit and loss, for any visible, finite, object; but always feel some invisible and infinite one" ("Signs" 235). 102 Contrasting it to Dilettantism, Carlyle welcomes Mammonism, Plugson, "anything we are in earnest about . . . were it even work at making money" (Past 148). His attitude towards Mammonism explains why he could become so popular a figure in bourgeois England. Mammonism is attuned to nature insofar as it embraces work, needing only to augment its instincts with selflessness or a national consciousness in order to fall into "the inflexible Course of Things" (Past 290). Because he argues that industry is compatible with universal law, Carlyle presses himself into thinking that it would not need to be regulated by human law. It is "above all by their own shrewd sense [that the Captains of Industry will be] kept in perpetual communion with the fact of things, [and] will assuredly reform themselves" (Past 179). Still, at the same time that Carlyle would allow industry the freedom to balance morality and profit, he would introduce a "law-precept" because it had failed to do just that (Past 208). But by making the Captains of Industry the heroes of Past and Present, "virtually the Captains of the World" (Past 268), and relegating blame for the condition of England to a temporary moral failure, Carlyle ultimately confirms free enterprise. In the long run, that is, those who control the industrial development of England will enroll themselves into the 'Course of Things.' Labourers must also participate in this course, but would be "forced to find out the right path, and to walk thereon" (Past 211-12). Carlyle is modernizing and totalizing Calvinism: taking it out of a denominational context, resituating it on class lines, and rebuilding it as to vehemently shepherd a national flock. Labourers only lack the technology unique to the new 'greater Elect,' the Captains of Industry, to find their "task set by God" and a "definite field in which to work," Weber's summation of the 'calling' (Protestant 29). Commentators from Froude onward have outlined Carlyle's lingering Calvinism, but the ideas of a predestined social function and a vanguard of industrial captains proceed from it, St. Simonism, German Idealism, and, less abstractly, nationalism and the desire to defend the industrial grade. This is not to say that Carlyle's acceptance of industry entrains a capitulation to the central arguments of political economy. He treats the yoking of it to utilitarianism as accidental. The validating of their present-day industry and denigrating of the business which surrounds it is 103 a basic contradiction, rarely approached dialectically, which vitiates the thought of many nineteenth-century socially-conscious writers and will be taken up in the next chapter. For Carlyle, utilitarianism, an economically centred, rationalized mode of social functioning, supplants the normative mode of society, albeit industrial. A proper society refuses to treat economic laws in isolation from value-giving imperatives. For Carlyle this means that the relations of production, economically centered relations, are necessarily reified by a value-giving society (or cosmos). His argument with economic reasoning was that it erases all paternalistic, feudalistic, and moralistic relations within inevitable social hierarchies. The reformist discourse of Past and Present could illustrate that material impulses alone do not dictate behaviour and, equally, that political economy cannot resolve crises in day-to-day relations. But the first priority for Carlyle is always to refer to absolute laws, inevitable hierarchies, because the contest in the nineteenth century between capitalism and 'culture' was being waged in terms of final truths. 'Freedom,' as Kenneth Burke confirms, was appropriated by early capitalists as "the God term" (God being wholly free) and used synonymously with "humanism, laissez-faire, free markets, price systems, industrialism, [and] capitalism" (350-54). Carlyle is so adamant to banish laissez-faire that he correlates all principles of freedom to "Atheism" and economic individualism. Thus, utilitarianism replaces an inflexible moral authority setting universal interests as its goal with an egotistical "freedom": the '"Liberty to die by starvation'" (Past 211). Political economy in any form circumscribes or rewrites relationships outside of any absolute standard and into (theoretically) variable relationships based on the relativity of exchange value, but it does not override the idea of 'final knowledge.' It claims that all relationships, all phenomena, have a functional basis or at least can be explained in terms of instrumentality (or a lack thereof). The unknown, the difficult, and the unsystematic become problems to be resolved through rationality, science, and the finalizability of knowledge. As political economy proceeds, vitalistic concepts of a superadded life force are explained away in 'positive' terms (positivism), and spiritual values, art, and the humanities are relegated 104 (notwithstanding that they relegate themselves, at least in public declarations) to the useless, superficial end of a bourgeois-artist split. Political economy asserts that the 'rational impulses' of homo economicus are the final laws governing human behaviour. A society ruled by the precepts of political economy is no less based on absolutism than Carlyle's ideal society, but it "alters the base of domination by gradually replacing personal dependence . . . with dependence on the 'objective order of things'" (Marcuse, One 144) as established by the 'rational' economic laws of a free market. I quote Marcuse because his work shows how industrial rationality and social theory merge into a fixed and final "instrumentalist horizon of thought." It immediately follows that "rationality is a political process" (One 165, 168). Carlyle and Rationalism This is not Theology, this is Arithmetic. Carlyle attacks skeptical-rationalism with a vengeance. It fosters solipsism, self-centredness, materialism, secularism, liberalism, the "din of triumphant Law-logic" (Past 15), and contractionalist thought (or the "rationalistic tendency to hypostatize society" [Rosenberg, Seventh 55]). Rationalism emphasizes a clear division between reason and intuition, the objective and subjective, thought and feeling, utility and art, economics and specializations, work and leisure, etc. Carlyle understands political economy as the discourse creating the division; that until its widespread acceptance practicality and imagination, facticity and intuition, etc., were not oppositional terms but free to intertwine. The juxtaposition of rational and intuited (or traditional) knowledge is doubly a false opposition because rational knowledge is never purely objective (nor subjective); i.e., it has its tradition (or ideology). Rationalism is at the root of liberalism, insofar as individuals are said to reach conclusions through independent inquiry (and that no one using rationalism will vary in their conclusions). It rejects empiricism and relying on nature for knowledge: it assumes reason is an independent source of knowledge and the very substance of reality. Its activity is deliberately 105 directed towards a premeditated end and governed only by that purpose. The Rationalist-liberalist therefore rejects authority that is not its own, tradition, systems of faith, or any other potential impedimenta. It is easy to see why Carlyle would reject it wholesale. But he does not. Carlyle adopts a discourse of rationality, even as he attempts non-contingent or final knowledge. In his pragmatic 'mode,' where a concession to modern rationalism, to technical advances, might be somewhat expected, he again vindicates it, though distinguishing between the rationalist design of industry and injustice. However, he is more likely to appeal to rationality as a property of the metaphysical. He does not rely on an argument of faith, insisting rather that eternal laws are knowable, i f not to the empiricist then to the rationalist. Besides affirming the link between asceticism and rationalism (the irrationality of creatureliness, etc.), Carlyle attempts to wrest and rescue the language of rationality from political economy because it was the lingua franca of Enlightened Victorian epistemology. Even though rationality as the pursuit of ends is antithetical to his moralism, all evaluations being equally non-rational, he adopts its logic, its language, and demands to see its evidence. That is, in order to show that rationality is not fixed forever by a stipulated convention as political economy would have it, Carlyle points to the 'Facts' of eternal law, the "practical apex" of hero-worship, the "rational, giant" embedded in the Gospel of Work, the "irrational" aspects of Mammonism and the "rational soul of it not yet awakened," and the "Book-Keeping" of the "Mother-Destinies;" he claims that his philosophy "is not Theology, [it] is Arithmetic" (Past 39, 171, 207, 190, 229). The examples are so numerous that it is highly unlikely he is merely or always using sarcasm to deflate the pretensions of utilitarianism. At times, Carlyle takes part in the industrialist's adoption of rationality, insisting that the "immethodic," "waste" and "Disorder," be transformed into the "methodic, regulated . . . obedient and productive" (Past 201). That he surrenders the term 'freedom' but subverts political economy's presumption of a privileged affiliation to 'rationality' captures a distinct allegiance to industrial production. He also fights for 'rationality' because the public, and he himself, encouraged by political economy, apotheosize it, paradoxically giving it the status of a 106 religion. Carlyle's universe and its eternal laws are nothing i f not rational. His conquering heroes, national leaders (industrial captains and inventors), governing World-Urge, and vitalistic universal laws assert the rationality of history (despite his belief in its meshed thickness).4 In terms of later twentieth-century thought, Carlyle often seems to be plugging into the irrational. But to argue 'might is right' because only a rational universe would give the 'right' strength enough to succeed is not entirely different from a neo-liberalist doctrine which merely substitutes 'market' for 'universe.' For Carlyle, political economy and laissez-faire are temporary glitches in rationality. He saw that modern rationality under utilitarianism meant the marginalization of ethics, irrationality, chaos: that what is is not right. In Marcuse's words, "Contrasted with the fantastic and insane aspects of its rationality, the realm of the irrational becomes the home of the really rational - of the ideas which may 'promote the art of life'" (One 247). Political Economy and Utilitarianism Victims of a misguided and perverted humanity (Lord Brougham, 1841, on advocates for factory reform) Utilitarians, Benthamites, and Political Economists claim a special connection to rationality and its language. Before turning to the Victorians in the next chapter, I want to outline the rise of nineteenth-century economics into prominence and the development of homo economicus rationale into the standard measure of human character. The word 'economy' originally described the management of households. As working relations became rationalized with the shift from feudal to contractional systems, 'economy' came to designate public, non-personal exchange systems. At that time, "economy emerged as a distinct discourse that could become the foundation for other discourses" (Vanden Bossche 5) and in turn, other non-economic practices (moral, social, and even psychological: capitalism creates its own distinct psychosis). Adam Smith was the first in Britain to adopt and unfold the 4Hegel's historiography also challenges the possibility of linear development while simultaneously maintaining "the rational necessary course of the World-Spirit" (10). Both Hegel and Carlyle are trying to dissociate 'progress through process' from 'becoming.' 107 concept of laissez-faire from French Physiocrats.5 In The Wealth of Nations (1776), Smith represents the division of labour as a principle of social cooperation, whether it occurs on the factory floor or in the market place. Though Smith was a moralist, his economic theory posits a self-sufficient system: labour competes to sell itself and merchants compete to sell goods in a self-regulating system. Liberals would later object to any external, social or political, interference in the realm of the economic. It was thought that such a self-enclosed, self-adjusting system would develop its own ethics and values (no one promoting laissez-faire economics ever argued that it was value-free) according to the laws of supply and demand, private property, and market rationality. Yet immediately after economic science proposed that the market was best left isolated, utilitarian and Benthamite rationalism treated it as having greater moral and social reach. Political economy maintained its ethical laws need only be generated and organized from within. But there can be no ethical law with 'market rationality,' the idea that minimizing the influence of non-market factors in exchange systems will ensure the system operates with maximum rationality (efficiency in the pursuit of ends). Utilitarianism inferred this and then stepped in to say that i f society wished to be rational, economic law must govern social and moral law. Utilitarianism is an economized moral theory. Every action is judged by its consequence and no action is ever right or wrong in itself. Consequences are judged by their ability to bring about the greatest happiness to the greatest number, a principle adopted from political economy's 'market rationality.' A free market is said to produce the most rational effects, the maximum of utility. Alasdair Maclntyre argues that "Bentham did not flinch from the notion that he was as-signing a new status to moral rules" (60). To integrate the ideas that an action ought to be judged by its end, i f it maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain, and that 'freedom' (the absence of regulation) is essential to maximization with the idea of the greatest happiness of the greatest number is to impose specific, class-driven interests on the aggregate. Every class represents its 5At this point my interest in Smith and early economic theory is only with the growth and influence of an economic epistemology. 108 interests as the common interest, the rational interest. , The class which most successfully imposes its rationality on the epistemological habits of the other classes becomes the ruling class. By representing economic theory as moral theory, conflating economics and ethics, middle-class liberals, the rising economic power in the nineteenth century, could shape a unitary notion of morality that would require all of society to collaborate in the pursuit of its own ends. That is, the Bourgeois could organize a social theory basically declaring that ascendancy independently reached needs no justification (though state laws ensure cooperation from the rest of society). The liberalist assumption of or insistence on a harmony of interests, an essential sameness, is the effect of an initial spirit of competitiveness. Laissez-faire precedes and is the foundation of the greatest happiness principle. Other moral systems were thought to be vitiated by superstitions, a lack of self-dependency, unpredictability, and incalculability. The idea of right and wrong in the nineteenth century slid into that of efficiency, of the productive and unproductive, but with all the discursive authority of a moral imperative coupled with the bourgeois assertion of a special, technical claim to rationality. Carlyle understood utilitarianism was "sanctioned by able computations of Profit and Loss" (Past 139). He also understood that behind its rationalism lay the idea of 'Progress.' He is among a select few who, i f inconsistently, could distinguish between 'Progress' as an ideology and 'Becoming' as a philosophy. That he read the modern day notion of Hell as "Not succeeding, of not making money, fame, or some other figure in the world" (Past 148) is in some ways simply theological and spiritual and in some other ways simply traditional (lamenting that business, advertising, and profit-seeking had replaced craft, quality, and care). In still another way, however, he is resisting the fetishization of economics and 'Progress.' But Carlyle endorses industrial progress almost as urgently as he demands entelechy. He combines various strands of Victorian developmentalist belief with a refusal to passively accept the visible direction of the development. But he does not dialectically oppose his Gospel of Work to his negotiation with labour. In other words, Carlyle stands silently - and the irony cannot be missed 109 - at a point where Qualification rudely interrupts the even flow of Final Knowledge: a break, signally, between labour and Work. 110 Carlyle and the Rhetoric of Work It is not unusual for critics to refer to Carlyle's style as dense, "grotesquely inflated" (Levine 47), deliberately unconventional, circuitous, or "tantrum prose" (Frye 328): it is all that and more. His prose dramatizes an attack on political economy and its language of instrumental rationality and utility (methodical, systematic, impersonal, exact, non-emotional, and 'functional' diction). In order to antagonize the language of rationality he combines the topoi, tropes, and conventions of the sermon, the romance, and the epic. Carlyle's style also simulates good Work; it is the language of action and creation as opposed to rule-governed, mechanical production. When he speaks against "jargon" he is pointing to technical and business language and when he speaks against "ornamental" prose he is pointing to commercialism and the discourses of advertising. Both Carlyle and Orwell call for "earnest" speech and both find political significance in the use of language. Carlyle says, self-consciously of course, the "kind of Speech in a man betokens the kind of Action you will get from him" (Past 153). As historians, Orwell and Carlyle are conspicuously anti-scientific, but rather moralistic, prophetic, and opinionated. The comparison between the two writers, however, ought not to be taken too far. In speaking on work, Carlyle's language also picks up all the corollaries of Carlylean Work, creating authoritative, violent, religious, and universal tones which can be perceived in Orwell but are mitigated by his demotic idiom and his deferment to specificity and variability, the struggle with the absolute declaration. Carlyle's language and the attitude it conveys remain fairly consistent as he shifts from lambasting concrete labour to glorifying abstract Work, though a more substantial change in tone occurs when he moves from that heightened discourse to a discourse which negotiates labour and speaks on behalf of, not to the working class. Still, the change even then is hardly dramatic or unmistakable. Orwell's style heavily favours a nitty-gritty discussion of labour: he very rarely adopts an elevated, intransitive Work discourse even when he speaks as a participant and generalizes about the Work and culture of the working class. The exact inverse situation holds 111 true in Carlyle's case. Carlyle, and the same goes for Ruskin, is somewhat incapable of writing guarded, even-keeled, detached, and non-universalizing prose. He rarely adopts the subjunctive mood or conditional tense even when discussing economic policy. (For example, he does not say 'emigration would resolve the problem of a labour surplus.') Rather he sticks to the imperative and descriptive: "Canadian Forests stand unfelled, boundless Plains and Prairies unbroken with the plough" ("Chartism" 237). The exaggerated use of capitalization (exaggerated in a time when the upper case was used frequently), italicized words, superlatives, ("feeblest, trivialest" [Past 159]), inculcation, accusation, and the compounded Biblical references keep his rhetoric at an exhaustingly intense pitch. His performative utterances, verbal nouns, exclamatory phrases, alliterative diction, and repetitious rhythms - "Dalai-Lamaism, even Dalai-Lamaism, one rejoices to discover, may be worth its victuals" ("Chartism" 205) - underline his defence of action (or motion) and his belief that writing itself, his job, is Work. His distrust of statistics and logic, when it isn't explicit, emerges in his use of coinage, narrative, and chaotic syntax. The convoluted sentence construction acts as if to continuously interrupt and redirect cause and effect sequences and reasoning. I have already shown that Carlyle contradicts these appeals to the language of Work by referencing a "rational giant" and the "practical apex" of hero-worshiping -"This is not theology, this is Arithmetic" (Past 171, 39, 229). But even when he borrows the antiseptic or scientific terminology of calm consideration he does not become coolly analytical. Rather, he maintains the unabashedly dogmatic, pigheaded, passionate, explosive, original-for-its-own-sake, and meticulous (but never mechanical) craftsmanship of the artisan. Some of the more characteristic examples of Carlylese include constant hypostatizing, personifying, and labeling. As with Orwell, Carlyle favours things over words. If Orwell tries to achieve the status of a tangible thing in his prose - through precision, clarity, and directness -Carlyle does the same through the density of his prose, as i f in its entanglements his prose collects weight and becomes material. Personified - and it's fair to assume that Carlyle would think of his writing as a kind of character who has mass and achieves action - Past and Present, for example, would be a bully: 112 How one loves to see the burly figure of him, this thick-skinned, seemingly opaque, perhaps sulky, almost stupid Man of Practice, pitted against some light adroit Man of Theory . . . The cloudy-browed, thick-soled, opaque Practicality, with no logic-utterance, in silence mainly, with here and there a low grunt or growl, has in him what transcends all logic-utterance: a Congruity with the Unuttered. (160-161) Carlyle's bully, his Mr. Bull, might be illiterate and silent whereas Past and Present personified would be articulate to the point of splitting eardrums, but Carlyle flirts self-consciously with stupidity in the bald, bulldozing directness and aplomb of his discourse. Such a pose is not self-deprecating when one's "stupidity is wiser than their [politicians', reformers' et al] wisdom" (162). At the same time, Carlyle without doubt praises the absolute moron, the "ox" who never complains about working conditions, because the "slow" man is a prerequisite for a return to feudalistic hierarchies and elites. One of the consequences of bringing the serf - the man "insensible to logic" (163) - back to life is that the serf, and by extension the working class, does not negotiate his, or its, labour. Carlyle writes archaically in order to downplay the need for economic negotiation: Past and Present, then, lords above the mute English workingman. The authority in Carlyle's voice might act as a reminder that Carlyle's discourse is not so much playful as it is 'Workful.' Today we tend to associate play with spontaneity, creativity, freedom, and innovation while we associate work with routine and circumscribed activity. But for Carlyle, Work represents what we today call 'play,' with the added emphasis on the rules involved. In fact, Work for him is 'playful,' and his style is fittingly playful, in Johan Huzinga's sense of the word: spontaneous but disciplined, creative but heavily structured, and, moreover, indicative of a kind of contest or a challenge. Carlylean Work corresponds to Huzinga's 'play' insofar as it accommodates rules and subordination on the one hand and (artisanal) autonomy, stubbornness, independence, and a challenge to utilitarian (or bourgeois) order on the other. Carlyle's rejection of the utilitarian fetish for mechanical structures may have led him to Gospelize work, but it is nonetheless remarkable that he writes about Work in such an abstract manner. Carlyle's preference for concrete things does not extend into his representation of 113 actual work. Statistics may lack 'soul,' but work is never an intransitive experience: one always works at something. Carlyle ignores the context, content, and effects of work - "Work, and therein have wellbeing" - as he glorifies it; that is, when directly appealing to the working classes to keep on working and to deny the injustice they suffer. When he addresses the middle class, Utilitarians, and Unworking Aristocracy, the intransitive mood hardens into vivid descriptions of what work had in fact become (what I call 'labour'). At that point Carlyle explodes upon those same injustices. Elaine Scarry argues that language expressing the abstract comes easily, that the abstract accommodates language, whereas language expressing the concrete and immediate "can seem inappropriately quick and cavalier" (3). It is possible, I would think, for the exact opposite to be true. A contract between an employer and an employee, suffused in legalese, is hardly 'quick.' However, language expressing the abstract does come easier to at least Carlyle who needed to add metaphysical ideals to material ideas in order to introduce an economic materialism that would accommodate the unshakeable hierarchy and order of feudalism. He could not have argued for a return to feudalistic systems by referring to pragmatism or the finer points of economic history. Even so, Carlyle conspicuously minimizes the language of labour, the specific and almost pedantic language of the reformer. He adopts the rhetoric of Work when addressing the working class. He shifts that discourse to one that berates the upper and middle classes when speaking on what they have done to Work - but the language of Work is still active at these points. When discussing economics - emigration and education policies, wages, Corn laws - he does not shift to the language of economics as might be expected. It is possible to detect a slight decrease in the impulsiveness of his diction, but he certainly does not resort to numbers, hard facts, or the political tones we hear in Orwell when he discusses everyday life from an observer's perspective. Carlyle, the Writer / Worker, is permanently a participant. This is not to say that a shift in attitude or subject matter is in any way less dramatic than in Orwell, but only that Carlyle, to a much greater extent than Orwell, does not struggle with his absolutism, that he does not see it as being at odds with his economic and social mandate. He was more at home in the 114 language of Work than the language of labour because the everyday life he envisioned includes the systems of absolutism (absolute authority, order, and so forth) that were amenable to his language of Work. 115 Chapter Three Victorian Work Introduction Although coupled with the purportedly autonomous system of political economy, rationalist economics offered itself to nineteenth-century society as an organizing principle. The basic themes of The Wealth of Nations - the division of labour (most importantly between work and the home), "self-love" as the primary motive power, liberty, and the sanction of an "invisible hand" - have applications that reach far beyond the market. Smith, as I have said, does not sever economics from other branches of social philosophy or treat questions of exchange solely on the basis of rationalized calculation. But with the ascension of market culture in the nineteenth century and the concurrent emergence of a new societal consciousness, agents of economism (the exaggerated application of economic reasoning to all areas of thought) moved to define society in accordance with the principles of rationalist self-interest. The urban, modern social structure was conceived as a byproduct of inviolable economic laws. The introduction of economics as a model of (for) social behaviour meant more than freedom of contract, minimum taxation and tariff, and a rationale for individualism, competition, and acquisitiveness: more than the policies of the Manchester School. Economism is the idiom of maximizing. In terms of production, industry is further rationalized into a linear, accountable process of cost and profit, input and output. The purely economic organization of manufacturing fragments the work process, reduces workers' control over it, and alters the meaning of work from being a dynamic process tied to non-economic factors (loyalties, intrinsic satisfactions) to revolving around the calculation of quantifiable, static objects (the workers, their output, and their pay). Economism reaches politics as a liberalism shored up by the paradoxically twin values of science and freedom. John Locke's marriage of protected property (land) and individuality is overwhelmingly confirmed. In the juridical realm, it means laws to protect economic action and property. But the deepest effect of economism occurs by way of a template for society, restricting consciousness, at the very least, to the contours of rationalist values. The 116 cultural work of rationalism cannot be underestimated, though it is not as easily quantifiable as paid labour. Public character is expected to conform to the logic of an instrumentalist practice, the systematic pursuit of self-advantage that respects others only in competition or function. Instead of acting the same way economically as in normative relations, the assumption and expectation of pre-capitalist economics, homo economicus is presumed to rationalize as a matter of course. By way of its extension beyond economics, 'rationalism' (maximizing efficiency in the. pursuit of maximized ends) formed Victorian 'reason' (common sense). Raymond Williams shows that the Victorians carved out a new use for rationality to distinguish it completely and forever from emotion and feeling (Keywords 213). Benthamism or utilitarianism were only the most pronounced arrangements of economics circulating as a widespread social philosophy. The advocates of an economic culture did not assume, however, that all society was rational. Economics was a first-order principle, but not all activity was categorized under purposeful logic and maximized utility. Instead, economic thought reinforced a system of oppositions under a rubric of rationalisms and non-rationalisms. Under the aegis of economism, divisions were hardened between: cognition/feeling business/friendship public/private obj ective/subj ective logic/spirit active/passive things/words science/art hard/soft numbers/words Science/Humanities male/female labour/Work applied science/ideas fact/opinion paid time/free time1 inventions/abstractions model/story The immediate consequence of dividing the world into disjunctive, either / or indices is that it restricts any interaction between the concepts (such as friendly business). Limiting the imagination to strict alternatives also hypostatizes both ends of the opposition. The result is the strict division of 'sides' - a masculine side and a feminine side - which only ratifies non-variable, non-dialectical constructions of thought. Society emerges as being composed of static 'in Great Expectations (1860-1), Wemmick has a drawbridge separating his home from the world of work. 117 types, even i f the individual subject performs more than one role. To make final the separation between rationalist and non-rationalist constructs is also to place a premium on the former. This is evidenced in part by the emotional clampdown for which the Victorian period is uniquely famed. English cultural socialism was not determined by economism (except as a reaction to it) and though affected by a binary ideology, placed its stock in non-rationalism. 'Rationalism' is an empty, floating signifier: a rationalization. Rational choice theorists today argue that individuated agents calculate utility in order to maximize i f not the possession of material goods, then social status (as in Veblen's conspicuous consumption) or something else. One can always be said to be 'after something,' to be motivated by self-interest, i f evidence is selected after the fact and in accordance with elastic definitions. That is the point of rationalist economics: to show that self-interested gain is the only motivation and that society exists or must exist in order to organize gain. The economic estimation of rationalism is a self-validating principle which is only internally consistent. Genocide can be reconciled with rationalism if it is said to be calculated in order to maximize results. Carlyle understands that the "counting-up and estimating [of] men's motives [as] . . . . adjustments of Profit and Loss, to guide them to their true advantage" is untenable because "those same 'motives' are so innumerable, and so variable in every individual, that no really useful conclusion can ever be drawn from their enumeration" ("Signs" 234). Economism, on the other hand, associates rationalism only with maximizing self-interest, acting for and by oneself, and splitting formal from substantial rationality so that the pursuit of an end might be named rational even if the end is not. The construction of homo economicus, man as maximalist, as M . H. Dobb pointed out in 1937, is "a description of how the system worked ipso facto [which] became a presumption as to how it should be allowed to work" (quoted in Bellamy 43). By evolving homo economicus into dominance and marginalizing non-rationalized behaviour, nineteenth-century economism restricted the imaginative order. It is that restriction which, by and large, the socially conscious movement in Victorian writing challenges. But not all writers who disagree with the description of how the system works (the definition of man as a self-interested maximalist) disagree that the 1.18 system should be allowed to work that way. The fine, untrodden line between the denial of rationalism's content and effects and the acceptance or negotiation of its form and activities is a permutation of the specifically English socialism that separates Work and labour and of the paradox which locates a transcendental order in work. The anti-utilitarian, literature of the Victorian period continues to assign a special knowledge of Work to the working class and reserve the world of labour and economic negotiation for itself, the middle class. Following Carlyle, it observes two Gospels of Work: a middle-class Gospel of ascendancy through thrift, perseverance, and effort (Carlyle's obstinacy) and a working-class Gospel of endurance (Carlyle's subordination). But it also separates representations of middle-class moral Work, and its attending values, from the certification of that same class' own unique access to economic acumen and its business or industrial imperatives. In this chapter, I am interested in the way in which the incursion of rationalism and the spread of economic theory into a form of social engineering was recognized, resisted (especially against representations of homo faber), and endorsed. The Reaction to Economism (or The Anti-Utilitarian Tradition) Married! married!! The ignorance of the first principles of Political Economy Dickens The Chimes Dickens's The Chimes (1844) directly responds to economism, specifically a June 1844 review of A Christmas Carol (1843) in The Westminister Review. The critic asked, "who went without turkey and punch in order that Bob Cratchit might get them - for unless there were turkeys and punch in surplus, someone must go without" (quoted in Russell, Novelist 13). In The Chimes, Mr. Filer reprimands Trotty Veck for eating tripe, "the least economical . . . article of consumption," by saying, "You snatch your tripe . . . out of the mouths of widows and orphans" (100, 101). In concert, the Benthamite Filer, the unnamed conservative (who repeats that the "good old times" were vastly superior to anything "now-a-days"), and Alderman Cute (who would jail the suicidal and dispossessed) pessimistically allot every action to a value and seek a predictable regularity in behaviour. Filer's Gradgrindery, his facts and Malthusian logic, most 119 obviously exemplifies the genre of hard, utilitarian rationalism. But nearly every righteous, rigid, all-knowing would-be-disciplinarian in Dickens's worlds borrows something from the > rationalism of the age. In contrast to characters claiming systematic knowledge are self-effacing doers such as Little Dorrit and Esther Summerson. Wil l Fern and Stephen Blackpool are Carlylean workers trying to realize themselves against, respectively, Do-Nothingism and Mammonism: ultimately against societies built upon utilitarian rationalism. But by juxtaposing Joseph Bowley's false Carlylese, his call to "feel the Dignity of Labour" and "exercise your self-denial" (Chimes 111), to Wil l Fern's readiness and gratitude for genuine paternalism, Dickens gestures that it is only the lack of sincerity in work relations which precludes worker 'realization' and warrants scrutiny. He parodies what at other times he promotes (the Dignity of Labour and exercising of self-control) because his invective is almost uniformly directed at self-absorbed and delusional manipulations of evidently fine economic systems. Dickens's insistence on "a change of spirit rather than a change of structure" (Orwell, CEJL 1: 427), what Orwell and so many others find objectionable, expresses a liberal nostalgia for a 'moral economy,' albeit now capitalist. The line between liberalism and conservatism is here quite thin. G. B. Shaw points out that Dickens "adopts the idealized Toryism of Carlyle and Ruskin, in which the aristocracy are the masters and superiors of the people" ("Hard" 338). In its treatment of the working class, the anti-utilitarian tradition is as conservative and reactionary as it is liberal and bourgeois. Dickens, in other words, does not turn a blind eye to the propagation of Economic Man, but his ideal role for the working class, to Work, is not the same role that reformers / leaders are to have, which is to control the conditions of labour. Shaw continues to observe that, "Nowhere does he appeal to the working classes to take their fate into their own hands and try the democratic plan" ("Hard" 338). In Hard Times (1854), it is a variation of the working class, the circus folk unaffected by the world of labour, who know about, who live, who have mastered, and who can impart the value of non-rationalism. The circus members are not represented as 'working class' by the standards of labour. They are not seen to earn wages or do not make a 120 living in industrial conditions; but they are working class insofar as they belong to a class. Sharing the carnivalesque camaraderie of Orwell's bistro workers, and the simple 'decency' of all his workers, they have special insights into the world of non-rational Work. Again, that knowledge of Work, that working-class endowment of an anti-utilitarian consciousness, acts as i f to preclude an economic consciousness. When the middle class demonstrates its anti-utilitarianism, it does not forgo economic knowledge or activity - it just compartmentalizes them. From within the circus tent, with their knowledge, economism, the view that "the whole social system is a question of self-interest" (218), appears as completely unnatural, an insufficient summary of human vitality, and an attempt to dull the moral imagination. Igor Webb, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and many, many others criticize Dickens for making the circus literally and figuratively peripheral to the factory, making play and work or fancy and fact unrelated items (Webb 96; Himmelfarb 477). The structure and central metaphor of the book, however, is somewhat misleading. If the failing of Coketown is an all-intrusive utilitarianism, Dickens is probably not suggesting that spontaneity has its time and place. Rather, he represents play as a de-homogenizing supplement to rationalist organizations and thought. In any case, Sleary's circus shows up on "the neutral ground upon the outskirts of town, which was neither town nor country" (8), and it is Coketown's rationalists who insist on severing it from their turf. Gradgrind tells Sissy that i f she comes with him, "it is understood that you communicate no more with any of your friends who are here present" (29). Dickens's comment that Mr. Gradgrind only "overdoes" "reason," that "by dint of his going his way and my going mine, we shall meet at last in some halfway house" {Letters 354), is not backsliding. As in Wuthering Heights (1847) before it and Howards End (1910) after it, there is a sense in Hard Times that the circus and the Utilitarians need to only connect in order to facilitate real social restructuring. As it is overrun with rationalist thought, Coketown needs to connect with circus thought. The connection between the "wisdom of the Heart" and the "wisdom of the Head," however, which Gradgrind comes to see as the source of true value (170), is never written in the 121 terms of a potential conflict. Though caritas and efficiency are set up as hard alternatives to each other - "the Good Samaritan was a Bad Economist" - the conflation of moral decency and pragmatic expediency, apparently, would proceed without ripples. Moralism and pragmatism are effectively compartmentalized. The values associated with Sissy Jupe are not in the end in conflict with or antithetical to Gradgrindery, but rather amenable to it and vice versa. The easy unity of an oppositional set of values which do not fully cohere, as with the non-conflict between Work and labour, gives way to or is symptomatic of self-sufficient moralism. Even in Hard Times, a novel which perhaps more than any other in Dickens's canon demonstrates the effects of systems and isms on subjectivity, the galvanizing of the final morality of man is simply a matter of awakening to instinct and holding the once ubiquitous systems, systemization itself, in abeyance. Dickens also entreats for compromise when regarding political economy, finding it to be "a mere skeleton unless it has a little human covering and filling out" ("On Strike" 381). In Dombey and Son (1848), a story treating finance as Hard Times treats industry, Mr. Dombey is to be forgiven for his monomania because "vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess" (914). Industry is not censured in Hard Times, only the seepage of work rationalization into social relations (what Lukacs calls reification) and the repulsive aesthetic residue of production. Stephen's problems arise from his wife and his union, not his job. By ignoring the process of industrial production in his most industrial novel, Dickens argues the non-relationship between industrial (rationalized) work and the widespread instrumentalizing or rationalizing of human relations which he despises. Having fallen into the pit, when Stephen does address working conditions, not his own but mining conditions, he downplays any potential conflict between morality and economy which would arise by pointing his finger at rationalist industry. He had read about, as onny one might read, fro' the men that works in pits, in which they ha' pray'n and pray'n the lawmakers for Christ's sake not to let their work be murder to 'em, but to spare 'em for th' wives and children that they loves as well as gentlefolk loves theirs. 122 When it were in work, it killed wi'out need; when 'tis let alone, it kills wi'out need. See how we die an' no need, one way an' another - in a muddle - every day. Amazingly, for someone like Bounderby is responsible for and rich because of the mine, he says his piece "without any anger against any one. Merely as the truth" (207). Even Dickens's 'pragmatism' tends to or attempts to devoid itself of political content. Dickens writes for the individual underdog and against unionism, equating unionism and utilitarianism as equally dangerous to human relationships. He correlates rationalist economics and amorality, but also confirms that industrial interests are collected, national interests: that the "interests" of masters, men and the entire nation "must be understood as identical" ("On Strike" 381). With Gaskell, Disraeli, Eliot, and Kingsley he treats industry, commerce, and ambition ambiguously, as either vulgar or noble depending on the motivation, the degree of self-interest or goodwill behind the activity. They all fashion a social ethic which discourages egotism to be compatible with work ethics, career ethics, and progress ethics which quietly elevate individuals into prosperity. Myopic rationalz's/w and industrial/^ are censured but the alternative validation of traditional morality stays clear of the imperative to produce. Discourses of Work (or anti-utilitarianism) and labour are altered in order to keep moral issues removed from the world of industry, the world that enabled the ascendancy of the middle class. Without a hard division between economic and 'human' values, labour and the imaginative (decontextualized) realm of Work, the ensuing dialectics would topple both the appeal to pragmatism and moralism. B H H The readiness to see a non-affinity between business, the rationalization of human relations, and industrial production, the rationalization of work, testifies not only to a wall between moral and pragmatic investigation but also to a delight in modern inventions. The classic formula for the Victorian novel that involved itself with the 'Condition of England question' recognizes business as an anti-social activity per se, but accepts that the social effects of industry depend upon the state of the individual factory. Industry itself was exonerated and removed from the reproduction of human relationships and character. It is not the industrial 123 mode or the subsequent relations of production which lead to John Barton's 'monsterish' brutality, for example, but ultimately a cognitive "misunderstanding." In Mary Barton (1848), the refusal of unions to accept and a "want of inclination" of capitalists (Mr. Carson) to demonstrate the parallel interests between the classes, or the law of supply and demand, suffice to explain the antagonism between employee and employer. The failure lies in not teaching the laws of political economy (which is precisely Gaskell's project, despite her claim in the "Preface" not to know those laws). The failure to communicate circles back to a lack of understanding and brotherliness. It is also important to note that John Barton has a first-rate attitude towards Work but becomes disoriented and violent when he attempts to approach issues surrounding his own labour. On the one hand, the assertion that human (moral, social) relations will remain fluid, free, and beyond instrumentalist rationality regardless of economic roles is a prescription to keep the systems of homo economicus from overwhelming all aspects of life (in and out of the factory). On the other hand, with that assertion the writer denies social conditioning, neglects to situate the roles which do exist, and sustains the assumption that there are universal wisdoms and collective interests behind the profit motive. But from dislocating class issues it does not follow that Gaskell, for example, was insensitive to the problems of industry. In North and South (1855), Thornton awakes to the need for employers to transcend the cash-nexus, but also concedes that strikes are an inherent feature of industrialism. In Cranford (1853), Gaskell turns entirely against political economy, striking out at its principles of maximization and self-interest. Economic relations in the community of females, or of 'female principles,' run on mutual respect, moderate ambition, and the pursuit of modest happiness. Financial exchanges defy the laws of political economy, undermining Smith's famous definition of society. Smith wrote: It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our ' dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love. (Wealth 27) 124 Miss Matty's teashop provides subsistence and satisfaction, despite the fact that she gives away goods and refuses to compete with Mr. Johnson (who then sends her clients). In light of the trust she shows the coal men by not weighing their deliveries, they give her excess amounts. (Mary's constantly suspicious father is skimmed of a thousand pounds per year.) Men, but specifically political economists, have been removed from Gaskell's Utopia. Still, it is a Utopia and the practical problems surrounding the rationalization of work which Gaskell tackles in North and South remain as unrepresentable as the business which undoubtedly surrounds Sleary's circus. The finality of the moral act is not represented as i f in conflict with pragmatism, or with the economic society in general, but besides it, removed from it, or beyond it. Even when Gaskell apologizes for political economy, she is not its publicist as is Harriet Martineau. Martineau's Illustrations of Political Economy (1834) judge all social events from an economic viewpoint. She didactically tells the working class to resign itself to the economic laws of supply and demand, wages, rent, scarcity, and hardship. According to Malthusian logic, governmental or philanthropic interference in the market produces only additional suffering for all. She has what Karl Polanyi calls a "mystical readiness to accept the social consequences of economic improvement, whatever they might be" (33). She thinks in terms of a visual rationality that considers productivity to be a real value in itself, sure to absolve any injudicious side effect. Her work is extreme, but characterizing unions as parasites and emphasizing the benefits of working-class obedience to employers, or telling the working class to Work while explaining political economy to the middle class, are common features of the 'industrial novel,' including Gaskell's. But Gaskell's place in the history of cultural reactions to economism is much closer to J. S. M i l l . M i l l protests against the one-sidedness of economic reasoning, not that it is intrinsically flawed. In Mil l ' s words, the shortcoming of the utilitarian perspective, of Benthamism, was that it was "cut o f f from "many of the most natural and strongest feelings of human nature" ("Bentham" 96). Gaskell's use of the 'only connect' theme in North and South, to marry emotional to industrial (and business) values, in some ways dramatizes Mil l ' s critique of 125 Bentham, which would marry Coleridge to Bentham. Terry Eagleton reads M i l l "mechanistically harnessing Coleridge to Bentham" as one of the "palpable instances" of the "Culture and Society tradition," containing a Romantic, humanist, and "idealist critique of bourgeois social relations, coupled with a consecration of the rights of capital" (Criticism 103, 102). Eagleton is largely right, though Mil l ' s desire to introduce some non-rationalism into Benthamism is much more emotionally wrenching than mechanistic. Mil l ' s tempering of his uncle's entire legacy was - though not simply - a tremulous rebellion against his own childhood education. It is interesting that he called Bentham "essentially a boy," as i f intersecting with the values surrounding non-rationalism, such as play, made M i l l a grown-up ("Bentham" 125). SIS! SI Whereas M i l l apologizes for utilitarianism, Gaskell primarily backs industry. In North and South, industrialists "defy the old limits of possibility." The text, subsequently, attempts to squeeze