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Mechanical Occult: Automatism, Modernism, and the Specter of Politics
     

Mechanical Occult: Automatism, Modernism, and the Specter of Politics

5.0 1
by Alan Ramon Clinton
 

ISBN-10: 0820469432

ISBN-13: 9780820469430

Pub. Date: 01/28/2004

Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, technology and spirituality formed uncanny alliances in countless manifestations of automatism. From Victorian mediums to the psychiatrists who studied them, from the Fordist assembly line to the Hollywood studios that adopted its practices, from Surrealism on the left to Futurism and Vorticism on the right, the

Overview

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, technology and spirituality formed uncanny alliances in countless manifestations of automatism. From Victorian mediums to the psychiatrists who studied them, from the Fordist assembly line to the Hollywood studios that adopted its practices, from Surrealism on the left to Futurism and Vorticism on the right, the unpredictable paths of automatic practice and ideology present a means by which to explore both the utopian and dystopian possibilities of technological and cultural innovation. Focusing on the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Butler Yeats, Alan Ramon Clinton argues that, given the wide-reaching influence of automatism, as much can be learned from these writers’ means of production as from their finished products. At a time when criticism has grown polarized between political and aesthetic approaches to high modernism, this book provocatively develops its own automatic procedures to explore the works of these writers as fields rich in potential choices, some more spectral than others.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820469430
Publisher:
Peter Lang Publishing Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/2004
Pages:
225
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.03(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
1Conservative Modernism and the Automatic Response1
Introduction1
Flournoy and Smith9
Automatism as Automation12
Uses of Automatism16
Conductivity16
Power17
Artificial Talent22
The Beyond of Automatism33
Work35
Speed38
Disruptive Potential39
2The Mechanical Occult43
Oriental Specters43
The Rhetoric of Occultism48
The Case Against55
Occult Following57
Rogues Gallery: Marilyn Manson and Aleister Crowley61
What Now?70
3High Modernism and Hollywood in Deep Focus75
Introduction75
Ezra Pound: Cinematic Matching and Economic Coverage84
Zero Point of Cinematic Style: Yeats' Spectatorship98
How Eliot Forze the Dialectics of Chance and Control105
Conclusion111
4Two Cages: Second Thoughts at Pisa113
Introduction113
Canto LXXIV, I-Ching Toss: The Well116
From Precision to Mathematics119
Two Terms Equal a Third Meaning120
Canto LXXVI, I-Ching Toss: Army123
Canto LXXVII, I-Ching Toss: View125
Canto LXXVIII, I-Ching Toss: Gentle Wind126
Canto LXXIX, I-Ching Toss: Modesty128
Canto LXXX, I-Ching Toss: Obstruction131
Canto LXXXI, I-Ching Toss: Repairing Decay132
Canto LXXXII, I-Ching Toss: Revolution134
Canto LXXXIII, I-Ching Toss: Provision135
5Shuffling Eliot's Cards139
Introduction139
Eliot's Reading141
Basis of the Question141
The Center Cards150
The Action Cards154
6Revision the Rough Beast161
Introduction161
The Devil166
Queen of Cups168
Ace of Disks171
Ace of Wands172
Two of Wands173
Michael Robartes and the Dancer176
The Universe180
The Magus181
Four of Swords183
Six of Wands185
Princess of Wands187
The Hanged Man189
7A Posthuman Seance191
AppendixThe Rules and Functions of Divination Techniques199
Notes201
Bibliography213
Index221

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Mechanical Occult: Automatism, Modernism, and the Specter of Politics 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Henry_Berry More than 1 year ago
Clinton sees the automatism attracting much interest in late 18th/early 19th century society as combining the modernist social elements of spirituality and psychology with the modernism's development of machinery and regimentation of factory workers to maximize machinery's potential. For the automatists to access the spiritual realm, they had to follow quite rigid steps or techniques of mind control and bodily discipline. But Clinton takes the subject of early 20th-century automatism outside of its association with magic, kinds of parlor entertainment, and seances communicating with the dead to connect it to literature and broader social activities. Yeats is the writer most readily connecting to automatism. But T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound were also intrigued by automatism and to considerable degrees affected by it. Clinton does not just look for evidences of this influence in these major writers' works, but in how they created their works. The author sees similarities between these authors' work of creation and the techniques of the automatists. Social critics such as Freud, Adorno, and Horkeimer recognized the strong influence of automatism or something akin to it on modern individuals and the culture, including Hollywood in its early days. 'Mechanical Occult'--by an author who is a postdoctoral fellow in the Dept. of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Tech with published articles on the subjects in the book--is a fascinating cultural study of a phenomenon which readers will come to realize, is not a bygone curiosity, but a multifaceted cultural element which continues to have effects on society.