ISBN-10:
0262731908
ISBN-13:
9780262731904
Pub. Date:
04/11/2008
Publisher:
MIT Press
Notes on the Underground: An Essay on Technology, Society, and the Imagination / Edition 2

Notes on the Underground: An Essay on Technology, Society, and the Imagination / Edition 2

by Rosalind Williams
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Overview

Real and imagined undergrounds in the late nineteenth century viewed as offering a prophetic look at life in today's technology-dominated world.

The underground has always played a prominent role in human imaginings, both as a place of refuge and as a source of fear. The late nineteenth century saw a new fascination with the underground as Western societies tried to cope with the pervasive changes of a new social and technological order. In Notes on the Underground, Rosalind Williams takes us inside that critical historical moment, giving equal coverage to actual and imaginary undergrounds. She looks at the real-life invasions of the underground that occurred as modern urban infrastructures of sewers and subways were laid, and at the simultaneous archaeological excavations that were unearthing both human history and the planet's deep past. She also examines the subterranean stories of Verne, Wells, Forster, Hugo, Bulwer-Lytton, and other writers who proposed alternative visions of the coming technological civilization.

Williams argues that these imagined and real underground environments provide models of human life in a world dominated by human presence and offer a prophetic look at today's technology-dominated society. In a new essay written for this edition, Williams points out that her book traces the emergence in the nineteenth century of what we would now call an environmental consciousness—an awareness that there will be consequences when humans live in a sealed, finite environment. Today we are more aware than ever of our limited biosphere and how vulnerable it is. Notes on the Underground, now even more than when it first appeared, offers a guide to the human, cultural, and technical consequences of what Williams calls “the human empire on earth.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262731904
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 04/11/2008
Series: The MIT Press
Edition description: New
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author


Rosalind Williams is Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology.

What People are Saying About This

Thomas P. Hughes

Rosalind Williams has brilliantly and eloquently explored the too often ignored, but salient, concept of the underground in past and present.

Leo Marx

Notes on the Underground artfully demonstrates the triumph of the modern imagination, at once literary and technological, in exploring the least-explored sector of our habitat: the mysterious depths beneath its hard, seemingly impenetrable, surface.

From the Publisher

Rosalind Williams has brilliantly and eloquently explored the too often ignored, but salient, concept of the underground in past and present.

Thomas P. Hughes, author of Human-Built World, and Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

Endorsement

Rosalind Williams has brilliantly and eloquently explored the too often ignored, but salient, concept of the underground in past and present.

Thomas P. Hughes, author of Human-Built World, and Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

Bill McKibben

How good to have a new edition of this classic book. Rosalind Williams describes one of the great transformations of the human world, and hence the human psyche—a transition still underway, and still hidden in plain view.

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