Multiplying Worlds: Romanticism, Modernity, And The Emergence Of Virtual Reality

Hardcover | March 24, 2011

byPeter Otto

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Multiplying Worlds argues that modern forms of virtual reality first appear in the urban/commercial milieu of London in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century (1780-1830). It develops a revisionary account of relations between romanticism and popular entertainments, 'high' and 'low'literature, and verbal and visual virtual realities during this period. The argument is divided into three parts. The first, 'From the Actual to the Virtual', focuses on developments during the period from 1780 to 1795, as represented by Robert Barker's Panorama, Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, andJames Graham's Temple of Health and Hymen. The second part, 'From Representation to Poiesis', extends the study of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century virtual realities to include textual media. It considers the relation between textual and visual virtual-realities, while also introducing the Palace of Pandemonium andSatan/Prometheus as key figures in late eighteenth-century explorations of the implications of virtual reality. There are chapters on Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, Beckford's Fonthill Abbey, the Phantasmagoria, and Romantic representations of Satan. The book's third part, 'Actuvirtuality and Virtuactuality', provides an introduction to the Romantics' remarkably diverse (and to this point rarely studied) engagements with the virtual. It focuses on attempts to describe or indirectly present the cultural, material, or psychological apparatusesthat project the perceptual world; reflections on the epistemological, ethical and political paradoxes that arise in a world of actuvirtuality and virtuactuality; and experiments in the construction of virtual worlds that, like those of Shakespeare (according to Coleridge) are not bound by 'the ironcompulsion of [everyday] space and time'.

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Multiplying Worlds argues that modern forms of virtual reality first appear in the urban/commercial milieu of London in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century (1780-1830). It develops a revisionary account of relations between romanticism and popular entertainments, 'high' and 'low'literature, and verbal and visual virtual r...

Peter Otto is Professor of English Literary Studies at the University of Melbourne and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He teaches and researches in the literatures and cultures of modernity, from Romanticism to the new media of today and, amongst numerous administrative roles, has been Associate Dean of Informati...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:376 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:March 24, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199567670

ISBN - 13:9780199567676

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Romanticism, Modernity, and Virtual RealityPart One: From the Actual to the Virtual1. The Panorama2. The Panopticon3. The Temple of Health and HymenPart Two: From Representation Tto Poiesis4. The Castle of Udolpho5. Phantasmagoria6. Fonthill Abbey7. PandemoniumPart Three: Actuvirtuality and Virtuactuality8. Jerusalem9. Living Theatre10. Heterocosm11. Unpredictable Machines12. Unpredictable MachinesWorks CitedIndex