I'm currently doing an MA in Creative Writing and I'm writing my academic dissertation on Steampunk. Specifically, on the cyborg-type horror elements, the fusion of man and machine.
Of course, 'Frankenstein' would probably be the first novel in this area. I can think of a lot of films that deal with this theme, but am racking my brains for examples in literature. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Cole, some very interesting thoughts. I agree with you that there is a lot of dualism in this issue, physically as well as philosophically. And yes, you're very right to bring up the issue of medical experimentation, dissection and lack of anesthesia. I think this sometimes gets overlooked in steampunk.
Wow, your site is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
The 'Eve' to Shelley's 'Adam' - some 68 years later :
La Mettrie: Medicine, Philosophy, and Enlightenment
by Kathleen Anne Wellman, page 171.
L'Homme Machine: A Study in the Origins of an Idea, 1748.
Machine Man and Other Writings
by Julien Offray de La Mettrie, Ann Thomson (transl.)
Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination
by Minsoo Kang
Philip Reeve has the Hungry City Chronicles which feature cyborg characters.
Soldiers are re-animated and fitted with replacement mechanics where the body was damaged. Not only are they physically remade, but the memory is wiped and emotions are negated as well. One character, not to give anything away, Striker, has died so many times that the psychological part of his reconditioning seems to fragment as he sporadically accesses emotion and memories.
You must also get hold of a copy of Steampunk Prime, edited by Mike Ashley. It's a collection of short fictions written as late as 1920 and as early as 1860's, though I'm not certain on either year and I've shared it with one of my former students. It's particularly interesting since Ashley provides a bit of socio-historical context as a preface to each selection.
And along these same lines, I also recommend:
Sympathy or the Devil: Renaissance Magic
and the Ambivalence of Idols
by Wouter J. Hanegraaff
Excellent discussion of the Classical practice of
~ and ~
Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions
on the Artificial Anthropoid
by Moshe Idel
Whitechapel Gods by S M Peters, features a disease called "The Clacks" where those infected become more mechanical.