Book ID: CBB001211504

The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture (2011)


Ketabgian, Tamara Siroone (Author)

University of Michigan Press

Publication Date: 2011
Physical Details: xi + 237 pp.; ill.
Language: English

Today we commonly describe ourselves as machines that "let off steam" or feel "under pressure." The Lives of Machines investigates how Victorian technoculture came to shape this language of human emotion so pervasively and irrevocably and argues that nothing is more intensely human and affecting than the nonhuman. Tamara Ketabgian explores the emergence of a modern and more mechanical view of human nature in Victorian literature and culture. Treating British literature from the 1830s to the 1870s, this study examines forms of feeling and community that combine the vital and the mechanical, the human and the nonhuman, in surprisingly hybrid and productive alliances. Challenging accounts of industrial alienation that still persist, the author defines mechanical character and feeling not as erasures or negations of self, but as robust and nuanced entities in their own right. The Lives of Machines thus offers an alternate cultural history that traces sympathies between humans, animals, and machines in novels and nonfiction about factory work as well as in other unexpected literary sites and genres, whether domestic, scientific, musical, or philosophical. Ketabgian historicizes a model of affect and community that continues to inform recent theories of technology, psychology, and the posthuman. - See more at: Contents: Human parts and prosthetic networks : the Victorian factory and mesmeric forces -- Animal machine -- "Melancholy mad elephants" : affect and the animal machine in Hard times -- Brute appetites : labor and leisure in Mary Barton and early Victorian Manchester -- Psychic forces : steam, water, and mechanical perception in The mill on the floss -- "A musical steam engine" : sympathy, technique, and industrial community.


Description A cultural history of sympathies between humans, animals, and machines in novels and nonfiction.

Reviewed By

Review Daly, Suzanne (2012) Review of "The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture". Nineteenth-Century Contexts (p. 366). unapi

Review Pettitt, Clare (2012) Review of "The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture". Journal of British Studies (p. 1056). unapi

Review Zlotnick, Susan (2012) Review of "The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture". Victorian Studies (pp. 527-529). unapi

Review Endersby, Jim (2013) Review of "The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture". Journal of Modern History (pp. 175-177). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
MacLeod, Christine
Parham, John
Richter, Virginia
Kang, Minsoo
Coleman, Deirdre
Fraser, Hilary
Victorian Literature and Culture
19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Journal of Global History
Palgrave Macmillan
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
Cambridge University Press
University of Michigan Press
Science and literature
Science and culture
Technology and culture
Technology and literature
Human-machine interaction
Dickens, Charles
Darwin, Charles Robert
Donne, John
Kingsley, Charles
Jensen, Wilhelm
Wells, Herbert George
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
17th century
Early modern
Great Britain
Manchester (England)

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