Energy and the Literature of Moral Dilemmas

In this talk Helen Gavin and David Aberbach explore the moral issues surrounding energy use, using literature as a tool and a source of insight that can help us understand and explore current problems and the human factor, when sometimes bare facts and science cannot.

Helen will give an overview of energy issues, the use of different resources over time, progress since the industrial revolution and contemporary issues on access to energy, climate change, and the move towards renewable energy sources.

David will talk about literary views on the uses of energy. Energy can be construed as part of the age-old battle between good and evil, and this is a central and consistent theme in literature, particularly since the Industrial Revolution. David will use two English classics, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and William Blake’s poem, ‘The Tiger’, to show how energy is a force both of creativity and destruction, then and now.