Abstract: Two difficulties have long troubled the field theory of dielectric solids. First, when two electric charges are placed inside a dielectric solid, the force between them is not a measurable quantity. Second, when a dielectric solid deforms, the true electric field and true electric displacement are not work conjugates. These difficulties are circumvented in a new formulation of the theory in this paper. Imagine that each material particle in a dielectric is attached with a weight and a battery, and prescribe a field of virtual displacement and a field of virtual voltage. Associated with the virtual work done by the weights and inertia, define the nominal stress as the conjugate to the gradient of the virtual displacement. Associated with the virtual work done by the batteries, define the nominal electric displacement as the conjugate to the gradient of virtual voltage. The approach does not start with Newton's laws of mechanics and Maxwell–Faraday theory of electrostatics, but produces them as consequences. The definitions lead to familiar and decoupled field equations. Electromechanical coupling enters the theory through material laws. In the limiting case of a fluid dielectric, the theory recovers the Maxwell stress. The approach is developed for finite deformation, and is applicable to both elastic and inelastic dielectrics. As applications of the theory, we discuss material laws for elastic dielectrics, and study infinitesimal fields superimposed upon a given field, including phenomena such as vibration, wave propagation, and bifurcation.