CFP: Early Modern Automata (9/15/06; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Wendy Hyman
contact email: 

Early Modern Automata
Edited by Wendy Beth Hyman

Proposals sought for a new book of essays on Early Modern literary
"automata": inanimate objects of all kinds, brought to life on the stage
or the page. While several studies have examined the role of hydraulics,
pneumatics, and clockworks during the scientific revolution, this book
will take a broader scope, looking at the incredible fantasies of
animation that proliferated in an era poised between mysticism and
empiricism. Essays on the engineering triumphs that thrilled spectators
at court masques and Renaissance gardens are welcome, but equally welcome
are essays on the merely imagined automata of Renaissance literature: e.g.
Spenser's Talus, Ralegh's girl of "snow and silk," Shakespeare's Hermione.
 What does it mean to be human? What is the relationship between spirit
and matter, or soul and body? Although mimesis may be a goal of classical
aesthetics, how does one deal with the threat of art that is too real? Is
it the logical culmination of human technology and imagination, or a
dangerous expression of hubris? The animated statues, machines, and
succubi of the Renaissance inevitably prompt these and other philosophical
questions, at the same time as they refract the era's larger
epistemological uncertainties and existential longings.

This collection will approach these heterogeneous issues by bringing
together the perspectives of literary scholars, art historians, and
historians of science and technology. I welcome essays on any of these
general topics, particularly—although not necessarily
exclusively—addressing British and European automata c. 1500-1700.

If you are interested in contributing to the volume, please email an essay
title, a 500-word proposal, and a brief CV by September 15th to:

--Wendy HymanAssistant ProfessorDepartment of EnglishIthaca College319 Muller Faculty CenterIthaca, NY 14850(607) 274-1135 ========================================================== From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List Full Information at or write Jennifer Higginbotham: ==========================================================Received on Tue Jul 18 2006 - 17:44:08 EDT