Sublime Dreams of Living Machines

Author: Minsoo Kang

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674059417

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 1619

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Kang’s central contention is that the automaton, a machine that can move by itself (better known today as the robot), is one of the essential ideas with which people in the West have pondered the very nature of humanity itself. In Kang’s telling, automata are mirrors of the ideas, fears, and anxieties of a given era, in that attitudes towards the machines have always been indicative of a moment’s zeitgeist. The book is historically sweeping, but not comprehensive; the focus is on what Kang takes to be key changes in the representations of and responses to automata. His main interest is on how Europeans in different periods of the past thought about the very notion of a self-moving machine that acted as if it were alive and how they used it for various symbolic and intellectual purposes.
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The Bronze Object in the Middle Ages

Author: Ittai Weinryb

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107123615

Category: Art

Page: 305

View: 2866

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This is a path-breaking contribution to the study of medieval metalwork and to the broader re-evaluation of medieval art.
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Anatomy of a Robot

Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People

Author: Despina Kakoudaki

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 0813562171

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 272

View: 2670

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Why do we find artificial people fascinating? Drawing from a rich fictional and cinematic tradition, Anatomy of a Robot explores the political and textual implications of our perennial projections of humanity onto figures such as robots, androids, cyborgs, and automata. In an engaging, sophisticated, and accessible presentation, Despina Kakoudaki argues that, in their narrative and cultural deployment, artificial people demarcate what it means to be human. They perform this function by offering us a non-human version of ourselves as a site of investigation. Artificial people teach us that being human, being a person or a self, is a constant process and often a matter of legal, philosophical, and political struggle. By analyzing a wide range of literary texts and films (including episodes from Twilight Zone, the fiction of Philip K. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go, Metropolis, The Golem, Frankenstein, The Terminator, Iron Man, Blade Runner, and I, Robot), and going back to alchemy and to Aristotle’s Physics and De Anima, she tracks four foundational narrative elements in this centuries-old discourse— the fantasy of the artificial birth, the fantasy of the mechanical body, the tendency to represent artificial people as slaves, and the interpretation of artificiality as an existential trope. What unifies these investigations is the return of all four elements to the question of what constitutes the human. This focused approach to the topic of the artificial, constructed, or mechanical person allows us to reconsider the creation of artificial life. By focusing on their historical provenance and textual versatility, Kakoudaki elucidates artificial people’s main cultural function, which is the political and existential negotiation of what it means to be a person.
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Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture

Artificial Slaves

Author: Kevin LaGrandeur

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 0415631211

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 207

View: 7954

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Awarded a 2014 Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Prize Honourable Mention. This book explores the creation and use of artificially made humanoid servants and servant networks by fictional and non-fictional scientists of the early modern period. Beginning with an investigation of the roots of artificial servants, humanoids, and automata from earlier times, LaGrandeur traces how these literary representations coincide with a surging interest in automata and experimentation, and how they blend with the magical science that preceded the empirical era. In the instances that this book considers, the idea of the artificial factotum is connected with an emotional paradox: the joy of self-enhancement is counterpoised with the anxiety of self-displacement that comes with distribution of agency.In this way, the older accounts of creating artificial slaves are accounts of modernity in the making—a modernity characterized by the project of extending the self and its powers, in which the vision of the extended self is fundamentally inseparable from the vision of an attenuated self. This book discusses the idea that fictional, artificial servants embody at once the ambitions of the scientific wizards who make them and society's perception of the dangers of those ambitions, and represent the cultural fears triggered by independent, experimental thinkers—the type of thinkers from whom our modern cyberneticists descend.
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The 1668

The Year of the Animal in France

Author: Peter Sahlins

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 1935408992

Category: History

Page: 492

View: 8468

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Peter Sahlins's brilliant new book reveals the remarkable and understudied "animal moment" in and around 1668 in which authors (including La Fontaine, whose Fables appeared in that year), anatomists, painters, sculptors, and especially the young Louis XIV turned their attention to nonhuman beings. At the center of the Year of the Animal was the Royal Menagerie in the gardens of Versailles, dominated by exotic and graceful birds. In the unfolding of his original and sophisticated argument, Sahlins shows how the animal bodies of the menagerie and others were critical to a dramatic rethinking of governance, nature, and the human. The animals of 1668 helped to shift an entire worldview in France -- what Sahlins calls Renaissance humanimalism toward more modern expressions of classical naturalism and mechanism. In the wake of 1668 came the debasement of animals and the strengthening of human animality, including in Descartes's animal-machine, highly contested during the Year of the Animal. At the same time, Louis XIV and his intellectual servants used the animals of Versailles to develop and then to transform the symbolic language of French absolutism. Louis XIV came to adopt a model of sovereignty after 1668 in which his absolute authority is represented in manifold ways with the bodies of animals and justified by the bestial nature of his human subjects. 1668 explores and reproduces the king's animal collections -- in printed text, weaving, poetry, and engraving, all seen from a unique interdisciplinary perspective. Sahlins brings the animals of 1668 together and to life as he observes them critically in their native habitats -- within the animal palace itself by Louis Le Vau, the paintings and tapestries of Charles Le Brun, the garden installations of André Le Nôtre, the literary work of Charles Perrault and the natural history of his brother Claude, the poetry of Madeleine de Scudéry, the philosophy of René Descartes, the engravings of Sébastien Leclerc, the transfusion experiments of Jean Denis, and others. The author joins the nonhuman and human agents of 1668 -- panthers and painters, swans and scientists, weasels and weavers -- in a learned and sophisticated treatment that will engage scholars and students of early modern France and Europe and readers broadly interested in the subject of animals in human history.
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The Story of Hong Gildong

Author: N.A

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698406613

Category: Fiction

Page: 128

View: 8159

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A new, definitive translation of the quintessential Korean classic: the Robin Hood story of a magical boy who joins a group of robber bandits and becomes a king *Selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and The Washington Post* The Story of Hong Gildong is arguably the single most important work of classic Korean fiction. A fantastic story of adventure, it has been adapted into countless movies, television shows, novels, and comics in Korea. Until now, the earliest and fullest text of this incredible fable has been inaccessible to English readers. Hong Gildong, the brilliant but illegitimate son of a noble government minister, cannot advance in society due to his second-class status, so he leaves home and becomes the leader of a band of outlaws. On the way to building his own empire and gaining acceptance from his family, Hong Gildong vanquishes assassins, battles monsters, and conquers kingdoms. Minsoo Kang’s expressive and lively new translation finally makes the authoritative text of this premodern tale available in English, reintroducing a noble and righteous outlaw and sharing a beloved hallmark of Korean culture. "Hong Gildong is an iconic figure in the Korean literary canon...He's the mythic center of a sometimes-delightful, sometimes-unsettling tale, and it's time the Western world gets to know him." —NPR "[A] marvel-filled swashbuckler...Besides being half fairy tale, half social protest novel, The Story of Hong Gildong possesses a profound resonance for modern Koreans." —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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