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26 Aug 2011
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£56.00
|Hardback In Stock
  
9780230232020
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DescriptionContentsAuthors

This book explores automata or early robots as performers on the stage of theatre history. Automata are precursors to our digital culture, demonstrating that our spectacular culture of machine-based entertainments has numerous historical precedents. Automata are surprisingly saturated with intellectual and cultural history. Chapters examine topics like English Reformation Iconoclasm's fear that art might surpass God's nature in Elizabethan moving statues; the influence that hydraulic garden automata had on Descartes' mechanical philosophy; automata as ideal objects of the aristocracy in eighteenth-century Europe; theatrical productions focussed on that alluring automaton Olympia; and a case study of R.U.R., the drama that coined the word Robot. At its heart, this study examines automata as both performative objects of mimesis and metaphors for the period in which they are explored.


Description

This book explores automata or early robots as performers on the stage of theatre history. Automata are precursors to our digital culture, demonstrating that our spectacular culture of machine-based entertainments has numerous historical precedents. Automata are surprisingly saturated with intellectual and cultural history. Chapters examine topics like English Reformation Iconoclasm's fear that art might surpass God's nature in Elizabethan moving statues; the influence that hydraulic garden automata had on Descartes' mechanical philosophy; automata as ideal objects of the aristocracy in eighteenth-century Europe; theatrical productions focussed on that alluring automaton Olympia; and a case study of R.U.R., the drama that coined the word Robot. At its heart, this study examines automata as both performative objects of mimesis and metaphors for the period in which they are explored.


Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Reformation Iconoclasm
Descartes' Mimetic Faculty
From Aristocrats to Autocrats: The Elite as Automata
Olympia's Legacy
Death of the Automaton, Birth of the Robot Draft
Epilogue
Bibliography
Index


Authors

KARA REILLY is a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is a theatre historian, theorist and dramaturg. Her work has appeared in New Theatre Quarterly, American Drama, Theatre Journal and Contemporary Theatre Review. This is her first book.