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The Automaton in English Renaissance Literature

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Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Wendy Beth Hyman; Part 1 Creations, Creatures, and Origins: Descartes avec Milton: the automata in the garden, Scott Maisano; 'To me comes a creature': recognition, agency, and the properties of character in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Justin Kolb; Antique myth, early modern mechanism: the secret history of Spenser's Iron Man, Lynsey McCulloch. Part 2 Motion: Orpheus and the poetic animation of the natural world, Leah Knight; The mechanical saint: early modern devotion and the language of automation, Brooke Conti; Arrow, acrobat, and phoenix: on sense and motion in English civic pageantry, Michael Witmore. Part 3 Performance and Deception: 'More than art': clockwork automata, the extemporizing actor, and the Brazen Head in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Todd Andrew Borlik; 'Mathematical experiments of long silver pipes'; the early modern figure of the mechanical bird, Wendy Beth Hyman; Desire, nature, and automata in the bower of bliss, Nick Davis; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Wendy Beth Hyman is an assistant professor of English at Oberlin College, USA. Wendy Beth Hyman, Scott Maisano, Justin Kolb, Lynsey McCulloch, Leah Knight, Brooke Conti, Michael, Todd Andrew Borlik, Nick Davis.


'An exciting collection...the essays cover a stimulating and appealing range of topics, nationalities, major and minor texts, approaches, and subject matter...it is particularly nice to see essays here that pursue representations of automata in literature conceived more broadly than as representations of real-world machinery or attitudes to technology only, the focus of much critical literature to date. This is a welcome expansion and reorientation of our ideas about the issues raised by early modern automata.' Lara Bovilsky, University of Oregon, USA and author of Barbarous Play: Race on the English Renaissance Stage. '... contains several worthy contributions...' Renaissance Quarterly 'The essays collected here offer refreshing insights into the occurrence of automata in early modern literature and culture... the collection brings new insight into the texts and phenomena through this frame of reference of automation in the early modern period.' Sixteenth Century Journal '...[offers] skilful, often original interpretations of English Renaissance literary works in which some of the most delightful, disturbing and downright bizarre automata (and related fantasies of animation) can be found.' Seventeenth-Century News

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