At the end of the Eighteenth century, British writers began to celebrate work in a strangely indirect way. Instead of describing diligence as an attribute of character, poets and novelists increasingly identified work with impersonal 'energies' akin to natural force. Chemists traced mental and muscular work back to its source in sunlight, giving rise to the claim (beloved by Nineteenth-century journalists) that 'all the labour done under the sun is really done by it'. The Work of The Sun traces the emergence of this model of work, exploring its sources in middle-class consciousness and its implications for British literature and science.
'Underwood unearths important manuscript sources as well as a wide range of little-known works in physics, chemistry, engineering, and political economics, and demonstrates considerable comparative prowess in using them effectively to contextualize key shifts in literary and economic sensibility during the centuries in question.' - Bruce Clarke, European Romantic Review