Sunday, June 4, 2023
HomeE-LearningThe March of Mind: Newspaper Cartoons Satirize the Perception in Technological Progress...

The March of Mind: Newspaper Cartoons Satirize the Perception in Technological Progress in 1820s England

Earlier than the Industrial Revolution, few had event to contemplate the influence of expertise on their lives. Just a few many years in, nonetheless, sure segments of society considered little else. That, in any case, is the impression given by the talk over what the English press of the early nineteenth century referred to as the “March of Mind,” a label for the apparently polarizing discourse that arose from not simply the event of commercial expertise however the dissemination of “helpful information” that adopted in its wake. Was this kind of training an engine of progress, or just of dysfunction?

The March of Mind’s most vivid legacy consists of a collection of newspaper cartoons printed within the eighteen-twenties. They depict a world, as Hunter Dukes writes on the Public Area Evaluate, the place “extravagantly dressed girls window-shop for pastel finery and forgo stairwells in favor of belt-driven slides” whereas “a toddler is moments away from being paved into the highway by a carriage at full gallop”; the place “males gorge themselves on pineapples and guzzle bottles on the Champagne Depot” and “postmen flit round with winged capes”; the place “even convicts have it higher: they embark for New South Wales on a gargoyle zeppelin, however nonetheless have panoramic views.”

Up to now, so Victorian. One may argue kind of in favor of the world described above, as rendered by artist William Heath. However sooner or later as envisioned within the cartoon on the high of the put up by Robert Seymour (now finest generally known as the unique illustrator of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers), the March of Mind takes on a flamboyantly malign side.

In it “a jolly automaton stomps throughout society,” writes Dukes. “Its head is a literal stack of information — tomes of historical past, philosophy, and mechanic manuals energy two gas-lantern eyes. It wears secular London College as a crown.” It sweeps away “pleas, pleadings, delayed parliamentary payments, and out of date legal guidelines. Vicars, rectors, and quack docs are turned on their heads.”

Practically two centuries later, most would aspect instinctively with the individuals within the March of Mind debate who noticed the availability of technical and scientific information to then-less-educated teams — ladies, youngsters, the working class — as an unambiguous good. But we may really feel trepidation in regards to the applied sciences rising in our personal time, when, to call a present instance, “artificially clever chatbots have fueled ongoing anxieties in regards to the mechanization of mental labor.” On daily basis brings new apocalyptic speculations in regards to the rise of highly effective considering machines working roughshod over humanity. If no artist at the moment is illustrating them fairly so entertainingly as Heath and Seymour did, a lot the more severe for our time.

by way of Public Area Evaluate

Associated content material:

Jules Verne Precisely Predicts What the twentieth Century Will Look Like in His Misplaced Novel, Paris within the Twentieth Century (1863)

How Futurists Envisioned the Future within the Nineteen Twenties: Shifting Walkways, Private Helicopters, Glass-Domed Cities, Dream Recorders & Extra

nineteenth Century Caricatures of Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, H.M. Stanley & Different Well-known Victorians (1873)

The Charles Dickens Illustrated Gallery: A New On-line Assortment Presents All the Authentic Illustrations from Charles Dickens’ Novels

Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His initiatives embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the e-book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments