The Melancholy Android

On the Psychology of Sacred Machines

By Eric G. Wilson

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Paperback : 9780791468463, 180 pages, August 2006
Hardcover : 9780791468456, 180 pages, August 2006

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Table of contents

1. The Melancholy Android
2. The Mummy
3. The Golem
4. The Automaton
5. The Sadness of the Somnambulist

Explores the cultural significance of androids.


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.

Eric G. Wilson is Associate Professor of English at Wake Forest University and the author of Coleridge's Melancholia: An Anatomy of Limbo and The Spiritual History of Ice: Romanticism, Science, and the Imagination.