Social Energy
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"...I want to know how cultural objects, expressions, and practices-here, principally, plays by Shakespeare and the stage on which they first appeared- acquired compelling force. English literary theorists in the period needed a new word for that force, a word to describe the ability of language, in Puttenham's phrase, to cause "a stir to the mind"; drawing on the Greek rhetorical tradition, they called it energia5. This is the origin in our language of the term "energy", a term I propose we use, provide we understand that its origins lie in rhetoric rather than physics and that its significance is social and historical."

-Stephen Greenblatt
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5 George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith, 2 vols. (London: Oxford Unversity Press, 1904) 2:148. See, likewise Sir Phillip Sidney, An Apologie for Poetrie, in Smith, 1:201. The term derives ultimately from Aristotle's Rhetoric(33.2.2), as interpreted especially by Quintilian (Institutio 8.3.89) and Scaliger (Poetices 3.27).

FROM: Greenblatt, Stephen. "The Circulation of Social Energy," in Shakepearean Negotiations. Berkeley:1988.