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New Romantic CyborgsRomanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine$
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Mark Coeckelbergh

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035460

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035460.001.0001

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Romanticism with the Machine (1): From Frankenstein’s Monster to Hippie Computing

Romanticism with the Machine (1): From Frankenstein’s Monster to Hippie Computing

(p.97) 4 Romanticism with the Machine (1): From Frankenstein’s Monster to Hippie Computing
New Romantic Cyborgs

Mark Coeckelbergh

The MIT Press

In chapter 4 it is argued that already in historical times the romantic relation to technology cannot be reduced to mere opposition. It is shown how in the early nineteenth century romantics were not only fearful of, but also fascinated by the new science and technology. Drawing on Tresch (2012) and Holmes (2008) it is argued that there was a current in Romanticism which viewed science and the arts as entwined, and which tried to fuse the organic and the mechanic, life and science. These material romanticisms are neglected by philosophers of technology who reduce romanticism to escapism, nostalgia, or anti-machine thinking. This brings us to our age, with its life sciences and its robotics that share these deeply material-romantic aims. First it is shown how in the 20th century there was a romantic science (Freud) and how technology and romanticism became very much entangled: not only in science fiction but also in reality: born as hippie computing in the context of the 1960s and 1970s counter-culture, there is a development of what we may call romantic devices.

Keywords:   Romanticism and technology, fusion of, Romantic machines, Romantic science, Cyborgs, Life Sciences, Robotics, Freud, Hippie computing, Steve Jobs, Romantic devices

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