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Shifting Gears Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America

ISBN-10: 0807841676
ISBN-13: 9780807841679
Edition: 1996
Authors: Cecelia Tichi
List price: $45.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Shifting Gears is a richly illustrated exploration of the American era of gear-and-girder technology. From the 1890s to the 1920s machines and structures shaped by this technology emerged in many forms, from automobiles and harvesting machines to  More...

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Book details

List price: $45.00
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 1/1/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 328
Size: 7.25" wide x 10.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Shifting Gears is a richly illustrated exploration of the American era of gear-and-girder technology. From the 1890s to the 1920s machines and structures shaped by this technology emerged in many forms, from automobiles and harvesting machines to bridges and skyscrapers. The most casual onlooker to American life saw examples of the new technology on Main Street, on the local railway platform, and in the pages of popular magazines. A major consequence of this technology was its effect on the arts, in particular the literary arts. Three prominent American writers of the timeErnest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and William Carlos Williamsbecame designer-engineers of the word. Tichi reveals their use of prefabricated, manufactured components in poems and prose. As designers, they enacted in style and structure the new technological values. The writers, according to Tichi, thought of words themselves as objects for assembly into a design. Using materials from magazines, popular novels , movie reviews, the toy industry, and advertising, as well as the texts of the nation's major enduring writers, Tichi shows how turn-of-the-century technology pervaded every aspect of American culture and how this culture could be defined as a collaborative effort of the engineer, the architect, the fiction writer, and the poet. She demonstrates that a technological revolution is not a revolution only of science but of language as well.

Cecelia Tichi is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She is author or editor of eleven books, including Exposes and Excess: Muckraking in America, 1900/2000, and was awarded the 2009 Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the American Literature Section of the Modern Language Association.

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