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 time -- Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and William
Carlos Williams -- became 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
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.
Originally published in 1987.
A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the
latest in digital technology to make available again books from our
distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These
editions are published unaltered from the original, and are
presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both
historical and cultural value.