By Nicols Fox

During this paintings, Nicols Fox examines modern resistance to know-how and locations it in a stunning ancient context. She illuminates the wealthy yet routinely unrecognized literary and philosophical culture that has existed for almost centuries, because the first Luddites - the "machine breaking" fans of the legendary Ned Ludd - lifted their sledgehammers in protest opposed to the economic Revolution. Tracing that present proposal via many of the maximum minds of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - William Blake, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, William Morris, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Graves, Aldo Leopold, and so on - Fox demonstrates that glossy protests opposed to consumptive life and misgivings concerning the relentless march of mechanization are a part of a desirable hidden historical past. She indicates to boot that the Luddite culture can yield vital insights into how we would reshape either know-how and glossy existence in order that human, neighborhood and environmental values take priority over the call for of the laptop.

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Extra resources for Against the Machine: The Hidden Luddite Tradition in Literature, Art, and Individual Lives

Example text

These machines not only allow one man to do the work of five but facilitate the wholesale destruction of the forests — which the American loggers recognized would eventually leave them with no jobs at all. The essence of their protest, then, was against the machine. In a similar spirit, protestors in Great Britain lived for extended periods in tree houses or excavated tunnels, risking arrest and physical harm, to block the construction of a motorway near Winchester that would destroy an area of special beauty and cultural importance.

Yet the failures have little deterrent effect on subsequent actions and may, in fact, raise the stakes. A few hours before dawn in late autumn of 1998, fires lit the night sky over Vail, Colorado, a resort town and a winter playground for the superrich. An e-mail message to the press followed: On behalf of the lynx, five buildings and four ski lifts at Vail were reduced to ashes on the night of Sunday, October 18. . Putting profits ahead of Colorado’s wildlife will not be tolerated. This action is just a warning.

There was no attempt to alleviate the social disruption the machines created, which governments today might consider a wise idea.

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