By Catherine Liu
Literary Theory/Cultural reports Explores literary theory's worry of and fascination with the mechanical. Anxieties approximately solving absolutely the distinction among the man or woman and the mechanical copy of the person, the automaton, are as outdated because the first visual appeal of the computer itself. Exploring those anxieties and the efforts they brought on, this e-book opens a window on essentially the most major, if sophisticated, ideological battles waged on behalf of the human opposed to the laptop because the Enlightenment-one that maintains within the wake of technological and conceptual development this day. A sustained exam of the automaton as early smooth computer and as a curious ancestor of the twentieth-century robotic, Copying Machines deals prolonged readings of mechanistic photos within the eighteenth century in the course of the prism of twentieth-century statement. In readings of texts via Lafayette, Molire, Laclos, and los angeles Bruyre-and in a bankruptcy at the eighteenth-century inventor of automatons, Jacques Vaucanson-Catherine Liu offers a desirable account of the way during which figures of the automaton and of the preindustrial computing device hang-out the mind's eye of ancien rgime France and constitution key moments of the canonical literature and feedback of the interval. Catherine Liu is assistant professor within the division of Cultural reviews and Comparative Literature and within the division of French and Italian on the collage of Minnesota. Translation Inquiries: college of Minnesota Press
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Extra info for Copying Machines: Taking Notes for the Automaton
In his reading of Hoffmann, Freud identifies the encounter as one that results in a paralyzing, disjunctive recognition. In anthropomorphizing the gaze of the machine, Nathanael falls in love. 5 If he invites us to trade in the text-as-body for text-as-machine, he refuses to accept a certain description of literary criticism that is based on projecting a humanizing or even intellectual outlook that might emanate from any text. 8 This refusal has far-reaching consequences in the debates over the constitution of the literary object, and the terms of literary interpretation, but it most immediately produces an affectual detachment that calls up deep suspicion.
Theoretical study of literature and literary objects brings about the other aberration that David Lehman ﬁnds so deplorable: literature departments are suddenly open to studying film and other forms of contemporary popular culture. ” (between ﬁlm and literature, theorist and humanist, automaton and human being) offers up a challenge to any traditional search for meaning in and outside of literature. The ﬁlm Blade Runner allows us to frame the de Manian question by allegorizing the representational apparatus itself.
In Derrida’s reading of Freud, we can see how the machine allegorizes a psychic apparatus that is always on the defensive—on the verge, if not in the process, of approaching paranoia. ” Representation is always about a process of transformation and substitution: it is tricky, relying on contrivances and stratagems (machina, machinor). ” What is the distance between the representation of reading and the reading itself? This distance is both difference and différance, or the spatiotemporal deferment of allegory.
Copying Machines: Taking Notes for the Automaton by Catherine Liu