Pandaemonium: Narratives of Energy-System Change in Historical and Literary Perspective
- Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities
- University of Nebraska Press
- Volume 6, Numbers 2-3, Spring-Fall 2019
- pp. 26-52
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This essay asks what insights the experiences described, the views expressed, and the imagination of energy in Pandaemonium, Humphrey Jennings’s anthology of eyewitness accounts of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, afford into the processes and consequences of energy-system change, and it explores their significance for the transition to renewable energy today. Conceived as an experiment in interdisciplinary collaboration, this essay demonstrates how examination of energy narratives from the perspective of the historian (traditionally concerned with processes of change, including their causes, consequences, agents, and objects) and from that of the literary critic (concerned principally with matters of aesthetics, form, ethics, and the framing of issues through cultural tropes) can complement each other and contribute to research in energy humanities, by enhancing familiarity with historical processes and critical awareness of their framing in narratives.