Conclusion. The Technological Imagination II: The Start of the Twentieth Century

  • Jonathan Potter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


This concluding section considers how the discourses of the nineteenth century were adapted or replaced as the twentieth century began to unfold. Here Georges Méliès’ short film, The Magic Lantern (La Lanterne Magique) (1903), is analysed alongside commentaries by Virginia Woolf and Walter Benjamin. Potter shows how the start of the twentieth century brought with it a host of new technologies that ultimately replaced those of the previous century. The panorama, the magic lantern, and the stereoscope gradually disappeared from popular culture as new technologies took their place. But some vestigial traces, however, still remain of these technologies and the discourses that surrounded them, even in the twenty-first century. Despite the profound differences between the historical contexts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at the point of technological reception, at the interface between individual and world, the fissures between individual and system, objectivity and subjectivity, singular and universal, remain broadly rooted in their nineteenth-century forbears.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Potter
    • 1
  1. 1.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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