Humphrey Jennings: Pandæmonium, 1660-1886: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers (1985)

24 May 2014, dusan

Pandaemonium, 1660-1886 is a book of contemporary observations of the coming, development and impact of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, collected by documentary film-maker Humphrey Jennings between 1937 and his early death in 1950. His daughter, Mary-Louise Jennings, and a co-founder with Jennings of Mass Observation, Charles Madge, brought his work to publication in 1985. The book takes its title from the first excerpt within it, the section in Book I of Paradise Lost (1660) in which John Milton describes the building of Pandaemonium, the capital city of Hell. (from Wikipedia)

From the New York Times review (1985): “For Humphrey Jennings, Pandaemonium was a prophetic symbol of industrialism, and it provides not only the title but also the starting point of his attempt to chronicle ‘the imaginative history of the Industrial Revolution.’ This was best done, he thought, by letting those who took part in the process speak for themselves, and Milton’s lines usher in a collection of some 370 texts ranging from the 1660’s to the 1880’s – the testimony of scientists, artists, rich men, poor men and a great throng of miscellaneous witnesses. Between them, these passages (or ‘images,’ as Jennings preferred to call them) are meant to provide a composite picture of how contemporaries experienced the triumph of the machine, how it transformed both their outward circumstances and inner lives.” (Review)

The cover above is from the UK edition.

First published by André Deutsch. London, 1985
Edited by Mary-Lou Jennings and Charles Madge
Publisher The Free Press, New York
First American Edition, 1985
ISBN 0029164702
376 pages
via joandleefe

PDF (30 MB)

Richard H. Grove: Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (1995)

22 March 2014, dusan

Green Imperialism is the first book to document the origins and early history of environmentalism, concentrating especially on its hitherto unexplained colonial and global aspects. It highlights the significance of Utopian, Physiocratic, and medical thinking in the history of environmentalist ideas. The book shows how the new critique of the colonial impact on the environment depended on the emergence of a coterie of professional scientists, and demonstrates both the importance of the oceanic island “Eden” as a vehicle for new conceptions of nature and the significance of colonial island environments in stimulating conservationist notions.”

Publisher Cambridge University Press, 1995
Studies in Environment and History series
ISBN 0521565138, 9780521565134
540 pages

Reviews: Elvin (London Review of Books, 1995), Carruthers (H-Africa, 1996), Rangarajan (Telegraph, 1995), Harrison (British Journal for the History of Science, 1996), Hughes (Journal of World History, 1996), Harrison (British Journal for the History of Science, 1996), MacKenzie (International History Review, 1996), Luckin (Reviews in History, 1996).


PDF (28 MB, updated on 2015-2-21)

Catherine Pagani: “Eastern Magnificence & European Ingenuity”: Clocks of Late Imperial China (2001)

28 August 2013, dusan

“The period from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries was one of complex change for the Chinese. Europe was eagerly looking to the East with an interest in developing a China market, not just in commercial and diplomatic enterprises but in evangelical ventures as well. The resulting contacts produced significant cultural exchanges and appropriations, as well as misconceptions and stereotypes. Profoundly affected by these interactions were the areas of technology and the decorative arts. Europe became enamored of Chinese style, and a fashion known as chinoiserie permeated the decorative arts. In China, one result of Sino-European contact was the introduction of a new and important technology: the Western mechanical clock.

Called in Chinese zimingzhong, or “self-ringing bells,” these elaborate clocks were used as status symbols, decorative items, and personal adornments, and only occasionally as timepieces. Most importantly, they were signifiers of cultural power: Europeans, whether missionaries or ambassadors, controlled the introduction of both object and technology, and they used this control to advantage in gaining access to the highest reaches of Chinese society.

Through her focus on technology and the decorative arts, Catherine Pagani contributes to an overall understanding of the nature and extent of European influence in late Imperial China and of the complex interaction between these two cultures. This study’s interdisciplinary approach will make it of interest to those in the fields of art history, the history of clockwork and of science and technology, Jesuit history, Qing-dynasty history, and Asian studies, as well as to the educated general reader.”

Publisher University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2001
ISBN 0472112082, 9780472112081
286 pages



See also Volume 4-2 (part j) of Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China