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Title:Ingenious Devices: Engineering Fictions and American Technophilia, 1900--1940
Author(s):Morrison, Elisabeth Shaw
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Berube, Michael
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:The condition for the emergence of this fiction, paradoxically enough, was the widening cultural rift between scientists and non-scientists. Because few members of the general public understood the material they were appropriating, their educational experiences and social concerns largely determined their disparate conceptions of science and technology. Educated writers and readers who identified with the eroding genteel tradition in American letters often eschewed science and technology as threats to their cultural authority. In response, they crafted escapist fantasies which often identified intellectual writers with research scientists. Members of the middle class encountered science and technology primarily through the new, mass market advertising campaigns, and most accepted the promise that cutting-edge consumer products would simplify their lives and advertise their ascendancy without significant cost or risk. Yet when the growth of corporations and cartels began to challenge the cherished American myth of professional autonomy, middle-class writers betrayed their anxiety in myriad compensatory myths. Science and technology thus provided a culturally charged playing field on which different social groups projected a host of unrelated anxieties.
Issue Date:1999
Description:411 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9953094
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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