By S. Halliday
This leading edge e-book unearths the entire quantity of electricity's value in 19th- and early-twentieth-century tradition. Ranging throughout an unlimited array of fabrics, Sam Halliday exhibits how electrical energy functioned as either a way of representing "other" things--from love and unity to embodiment and temporality--and as an item of illustration in its personal correct. in addition to Hawthorne, Melville, Twain and James, the booklet considers different significant American writers equivalent to Whitman, Margaret Fuller and Henry Adams; English writers resembling Hardy and Kipling; and a galaxy of scientists and social commentators, together with mesmerists, physicians, conspiracy theorists, psychologists and theologians.
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Additional resources for Science and Technology in the Age of Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, and James: Thinking and Writing Electricity
By all the normal standards of human mortality, he is misplaced in time, having outlived his own lifetime by consuming that of other people. The Count TIME AND SPACE 27 is also, in a more figurative sense, an anachronism by virtue of his geographic origins; for in the oppositional system that structures the novel, his area of Eastern Europe is meant to seem “backwards” in comparison with the West (as, indeed, we have already seen from the example of its unreliable railways). Dracula’s nobility, meanwhile, aligns him with the feudal social order that has vanished from the West: a fact that he explicitly acknowledges when explaining to Jonathan Harker that a knowledge of the English tongue will help him exchange the honored status that he enjoys in his homeland for the anonymity of London (31–32).
Many things about this story are familiar. What William Holt has experienced, mutatis mutandis, is what Freud’s correspondent believes himself to have experienced in his “telepathic” dream. The difference, of course, is that Freud’s correspondent is “wrong” (at least on Freud’s reckoning), whereas William Holt is sadly right: the vision that he sees is an accurate representation of his family’s death, simultaneous with the actual event. ” Again, a supernatural accession of knowledge both resembles and outpaces its mechanical equivalent.
Twain’s embrace of contemporary technology is, however, somewhat grudging (in this essay at least), and does not prevent him from envisaging a future in which it can finally be abandoned. “The telegraph and the telephone are going to become too slow and wordy for our needs,” he forecasts: “We must have the thought itself shot into our minds from a distance; then, if we need to put it into words, we can do that tedious work at our leisure” (82; emphasis in original). For this, it is necessary to imagine the invention of a new technology, the “phrenophone,” whereby the presently unpredictable phenomenon of mental telegraphy will be “reduced to certainty and system” (81–82).