The romance of the lowly clerk: recognizing the tradition of office intellectualism

Abigail Schoneboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines a literary tradition that promotes clerkdom as a refuge for sensitive writers and intellectuals. Recent scholarly work on the role of the novel in organization studies often treats the novel as something that might be introduced to employees by well-meaning scholars as a means of generating insight into their circumstances. In contrast, this study positions workplace literature as spontaneously discovered by, and largely produced by, office workers themselves as part of a tradition of office intellectualism. Focusing on the rich interface between the office and literature, this creative process is understood to be ongoing and self-sustaining, morphing alongside technological change into forms such as the blog. The article argues that the intellectual lives of workers deserve greater attention, positing high literature on lowly clerks as a rich soil that nurtures today’s over-educated office denizens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-846
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


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