Article ID: CBB190024071

Hybrids of the Romantic: Frankenstein, Olimpia, and Artificial Life (2018)

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Hybride der Romantik: Frankenstein, Olimpia und das künstliche Leben. Dieser Beitrag untersucht Vorstellungen über die Möglichkeit der Erzeugung künstlicher Lebewesen in der Zeit der Romantik und die damit verbundenen Ängste am Beispiel zweier fiktionaler Texte: Mary Shelleys Frankenstein und Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmanns Sandmann. Dr. Franksteins Monster und Dr. Spalanzanis Automat verkörpern – auf unterschiedliche Weise – die Möglichkeit einer Wendung wissenschaftlicher Produkte und insbesondere künstlicher Hybride ins Monströse. Ihre Geschichten thematisieren das Grauen, das vom drohenden Kontrollverlust ausgeht und als der modernen Wissenschaft innewohnende Gefahr selbst nach der Zerstörung der monströsen Kreaturen bestehen bleibt. Der Begriff des Unheimlichen, von Ernst Jentsch und Sigmund Freud mit Bezug auf Hoffmanns Sandmann formuliert und 1970 von dem japanischen Robotiker Masahiro Mori als Phänomen „des unheimlichen Tals“ (Uncanny Valley) weiterentwickelt, erlaubt weitere Einblicke in die Frage nach künstlichen Lebewesen und ihre Interaktion mit Menschen. Summary: Hybrids of the Romantic: Frankenstein, Olimpia, and Artificial Life. This essay analyzes fantasies and fears related to the possible creation of artificial humans in two influential pieces of Romantic literature, namely E.T.A. Hoffmann's Der Sandmann and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Both the automaton Olimpia and Dr. Frankenstein's monster are hybrid creatures. These dystopian figures represent the Romantic fear of the loss of control over the outcome of human endeavour, they symbolize the dangers immanent in modern science and technology. As hybrids, Olimpia and Frankenstein's monster are capable of breaking apparently unpenetrable boundaries, such as those between human and non-human, and between life and death. As such, these creatures become “unheimlich” (uncanny), a critical term developed by Ernst Jentsch and Sigmund Freud, who directly referred to Hoffmann's Sandman. The term “uncanny” was further developed by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in the 1970s. Mori's investigation of human responses to androids (“Uncanny Valley”), shows the persistence of doubts and fears surrounding artificial humans far beyond the Romantic times, and opens new questions related to the issues of creation, reproduction, hybrids, hubris and gender.

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Article Bettina Wahrig (2018) Critique of Science as Critique of Society: Literary Figurations of Techno-scientific Fetishism (Introduction). Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte (pp. 123-133). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Bailes, Melissa
Bewell, Alan
Bowerbank, Sylvia Lorraine
Sleigh, Charlotte
Hitchcock, Susan Tyler
Knellwolf, Christa
Journals
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
ELH: English Literary History
Acque Sotterranee
Publishers
Johns Hopkins University Press
W. W. Norton & Co.
Ashgate
Palgrave Macmillan
Pantheon Books
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Concepts
Science and literature
Romanticism
Science and culture
Science fiction
Frankenstein
Medicine and society
People
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Shelley, Percy Bysshe
Keats, John
Kingsley, Charles
Wells, Herbert George
Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus
Places
Great Britain
England
Europe
Italy
Times
19th century
18th century
20th century
21st century
Early modern
17th century
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