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Machines Like Us: Modernism and the Question of the Robot

March-Russell, Paul (2020) Machines Like Us: Modernism and the Question of the Robot. In: AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 165-186. ISBN 978-0-19-884666-6. (doi:10.1093/oso/9780198846666.001.0001) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:81002)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198846666.001.00...

Abstract

This chapter examines the technophobia of modernist literature towards the question of machine intelligence. The chapter takes Edmund Husserl’s ‘Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man’ (1935) as its starting point, in terms of the tension between a vitalistic conception of what defines the ‘human’ as opposed to the apparent sterility of machine technology. Husserl’s lecture is contextualized alongside critical thinkers Walter Benjamin, Gustave Le Bon, and Georg Simmel, and literary writers Albert Robida and Emile Zola. The second section concentrates upon Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872), with its satirical depiction of machine intelligence, in contrast to H. G. Wells’s grotesque rendering of the Beast Folk in The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) as a form of cyborg life. The final section, focusing upon representative texts by modernist authors such as E. M. Forster, Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Raymond Roussel, and Karel Čapek, argues that they respond variously to the templates of Butler and Wells.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/oso/9780198846666.001.0001
Uncontrolled keywords: Modernism, robot, automation, consciousness, technophobia
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN851 Comparative Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Comparative Literature
Depositing User: Paul March-Russell
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2020 00:07 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2020 08:54 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/81002 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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