By K. Reilly
The automaton, recognized this present day because the robotic, may be obvious as a metaphor for the ancient interval within which it's explored. Chapters contain examinations of Iconoclasm's worry that paintings may perhaps surpass nature, the Cartesian mind/body divide, automata as gadgets of courtly wish, the uncanny Olympia, and the progressive Robots in post-WWI drama.
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Extra info for Automata and Mimesis on the Stage of Theatre History
But long before Descartes explored questions of subjectivity and epistemology, he was fascinated by natural philosophy. In the early seventeenth century, science and philosophy had not yet become separate disciplines. Descartes also had an interest in theatre. As a young man he often used theatrical metaphors: Actors, taught not to let any embarrassment show on their faces, put on a mask. I will do the same. 1 Here, Descartes identifies his decision to be more active in his life with that of an audience member transforming into a dynamic masked actor, mounting the stage of the theatrum mundi, and unmasking the mysteries of the natural world.
94–6). Religious statues were often kissed as signs of devotion, but Leontes’s desire to be 38 Automata and Mimesis intimate with the statue is stopped only by Paulina’s insistence that the paint is still wet. ’ Now quite certain of the group’s enchantment with the statue, Paulina promises her audience more wonder: I’ll make the statue move indeed, descend And take you by the hand: but then you’ll think, Which I protest against, I am assisted By wicked powers. iii: 104–110) Paulina promises that for those who are brave enough to remain she will bring the statue to life.
Iii. 83 Among its many referents, this faith refers to the once close relationship between belief and images that was banned because of Iconoclasm. Within the romance logic of the world of The Winter’s Tale, Hermione transformed into a statue 16 years ago, and it is only through the old Catholic faith in the power of images that art’s cold, stone statue of her can be transformed into the warm life-blood of nature once more. Michael O’Connell has astutely written about the importance of Iconoclasm to the closing moment of the play, suggesting that the scene realizes ‘the worst fears of the anti-theatrical writers’: it presses the audience into idolatry, at least for the moment we assent with Leontes to whatever reality the statue may mysteriously Iconoclasm and Automata 39 possess.
Automata and Mimesis on the Stage of Theatre History by K. Reilly