Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art


Product Details

University of Pennsylvania Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.8 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author

E. R. Truitt is Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.


"Engagingly written and thoughtfully researched, Medieval Robots will be of value to specialists in the intellectual and literary history of the Middle Ages, as well as to more general readers. . . . Truitt's suggestive and nuanced account both firmly establishes the importance of medieval automata in the wider development of Western thought about the relationship of science, technology, and the imagination and opens the door to further research."--American Historical Review

"The first comprehensive work of scholarship on European automata of the Middle Ages, Medieval Robots systematically and chronologically works through themes such as the transition from the magical to the mechanical and the liminal status of robots between art and nature, familiar and foreign. Well researched and well written, the book does an excellent job of showing the wider cultural significance of automata within medieval history and the history of science."--Pamela O. Long, author of Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance

"Medieval Robots is not only a remarkably evocative book, but it also breaks new ground by virtue of being the first survey of its kind in the English-speaking academic world, relocating our discussion of the legacy of ancient automata to novel chronological coordinates. It is reasonable to hope that Truitt's book will lead to a reconsideration of 'Abbasid patronage of science, magical hermetism, and the nexus of technology and ethnography, among many other themes, not to mention to our understanding of the Middle Ages itself."--Reviews in History