product description page

Medieval Robots : Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art (Reprint) (Paperback) (E. R. Truitt)

Medieval Robots : Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art (Reprint) (Paperback) (E. R. Truitt) - image 1 of 1

About this item

A thousand years before Isaac Asimov set down his Three Laws of Robotics, real and imagined automata appeared in European courts, liturgies, and literary texts. Medieval robots took such forms as talking statues, mechanical animals, and silent metal guardians; some served to entertain or instruct while others performed disciplinary or surveillance functions. Variously ascribed to artisanal genius, inexplicable cosmic forces, or demonic powers, these marvelous fabrications raised fundamental questions about knowledge, nature, and divine purpose in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Robots recovers the forgotten history of fantastical, aspirational, and terrifying machines that captivated Europe in imagination and reality between the ninth and fourteenth centuries. E. R. Truitt traces the different forms of self-moving or self-sustaining manufactured objects from their earliest appearances in the Latin West through centuries of mechanical and literary invention. Chronicled in romances and song as well as histories and encyclopedias, medieval automata were powerful cultural objects that probed the limits of natural philosophy, illuminated and challenged definitions of life and death, and epitomized the transformative and threatening potential of foreign knowledge and culture. This original and wide-ranging study reveals the convergence of science, technology, and imagination in medieval culture and demonstrates the striking similarities between medieval and modern robotic and cybernetic visions.

Edition: Reprint
Number of Pages: 255
Genre: History, Literary Criticism
Series Title: Middle Ages
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Univ of Pennsylvania Pr
Author: E. R. Truitt
Language: English
Street Date: November 21, 2016
TCIN: 52110307
UPC: 9780812223576
Item Number (DPCI): 248-41-4390
If the item details above aren’t accurate or complete, we want to know about it. Report incorrect product info.

Guest reviews

Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store & online. See our price match guarantee. See how a store is chosen for you.