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Obsolete Objects in the Literary Imagination
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Obsolete Objects in the Literary Imagination: Ruins, Relics, Rarities, Rubbish, Uninhabited Places, and Hidden Treasures

Francesco Orlando


Translated here into English is a work of literary history and criticism comparable in scope and achievement to Eric Auerbach's Mimesis. The author explores Western literature's obsession with outmoded and nonfunctional objects (ruins, obsolete machinery, broken things, trash, etc.). Combining the insights of psychoanalysis and literary-political history, he traces this obsession to a turning point in history, at the end of eighteenth-century industrialization, when the functional became the dominant value of Western culture. Roaming through every genre and much of the history of Western liter ... More

Keywords: Western literature, nonfunctional objects, ruins, obsolete machinery, broken things, trash, psychoanalysis, literary-political history, eighteenth-century industrialization, Western culture

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780300108088
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300108088.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Francesco Orlando, author