The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006)
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The Melancholy Android is a psychological study of the impulses behind the creation of androids. Exploring three imaginative figures—the mummy, the golem, and the automaton—and their appearances in myth, religion, literature, and film, Eric G. Wilson tracks the development of android-building and examines the lure of artificial doubles untroubled by awareness of self. Drawing from the works of philosophers Ficino, Kleist, Freud, and Jung; writers Goethe, Coleridge, Shelley, and Poe; and movies such as Metropolis, The Mummy, and Blade Runner, this book not only offers a range of sites from which to analyze the relationship between mind and machine, but also considers a pressing paradoxical dilemma—loving machines we want to hate.
“What makes Pinocchio sad? Eric Wilson’s twenty-first century anatomy of melancholy finds a rich psychological and philosophical nexus in imaginary androids, automata, golems, and mummies drawn from the annals of Western culture. In this provocative and wide-ranging meditation, the manufactured human becomes our understudy, enacting the age-old human tragicomedy of forever seeking—and failing—to connect with our mortal and immortal natures.” — Victoria Nelson, author of The Secret Life of Puppets
“This book asks questions central for ethicists, scientists, psychologists, technologists, literary critics, and philosophers. It will force us to better define our relationship to machines and nature and to consider the scope of our human boundaries.” — Glen A. Mazis, author of Earthbodies: Rediscovering Our Planetary Senses