Dark Light
19%
off

Dark Light

3.45 (44 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?

Description

The modern world imagines that the invention of electricity was greeted with great enthusiasm. But in 1879 Americans reacted to the advent of electrification with suspicion and fear. Forty years after Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, only 20 percent of American families had wired their homes. Meanwhile, electrotherapy emerged as a popular medical treatment for everything from depression to digestive problems. Why did Americans welcome electricity into their bodies even as they kept it from their homes? And what does their reaction to technological innovation then have to teach us about our reaction to it today?
In Dark Light, Linda Simon offers the first cultural history that delves into those questions, using newspapers, novels, and other primary sources. Tracing fifty years of technological transformation, from Morse's invention of the telegraph to Roentgen's discovery of X-rays, she has created a revealing portrait of an anxious age.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 357 pages
  • 148 x 200 x 24mm | 358.34g
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0156032449
  • 9780156032445
  • 1,109,218

Review quote

PRAISE FOR DARK LIGHT "An utterly idiosyncratic romp, a poetical humanist's inquiry, a chronicle not so much of gizmos and inventors but of their effects on the public imagination . . . Hypnotic."-NEWSDAY
show more

Back cover copy

"Dark Light is a unique analysis of that time when homes were first illuminated with incandescent light. An era of rapid technological innovation amid media predictions of the utopian benefits of electrification, it was also a time when the average citizen was more comfortable having electrodes attached to private body parts than turning on a lightbulb. . . .A penetrating study of the rise in depression and nervous anxiety that hovered over these decades of progress." --Philadelphia Inquirer
"[Simon] does a brilliant job here chronicling the early and sometimes dark days of electricity." -- San Diego Union-Tribune
In 1879, Americans approached the newly invented electricity with suspicion and fear. Forty years after Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, only 20 percent of American families had wired their homes. Meanwhile, electrotherapy emerged as a popular medical treatment for everything from depression to digestive problems. Why did Americans welcome electricity into their bodies even as they kept it from their homes? From Morse's invention of the telegraph to Roentgen's discovery of X rays, Linda Simon draws a compelling portrait of an anxious age.
Linda Simon is a professor of English at Skidmore College. She is also the author of four biographies, including Genuine Reality: A Life of William James and The Biography of Alice B. Toklas, as well as the editor of three books. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.
show more

Flap copy

A revelatory cultural history of electricity's introduction in the last half of the 19th century -- and our surprisingly strong resistance to it
The modern world imagines that the invention of electricity was greeted with great enthusiasm. But in 1879, Americans reacted to the advent of electrification with suspicion and fear. Forty years after Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, only 20 percent of American families had wired their homes. Meanwhile, electrotherapy emerged as a popular medical treatment for everything from depression to digestive problems. Why did Americans welcome electricity into their bodies even as they kept it from their homes? And what does their reaction to technological innovation then have to teach us about our reaction to it today?
In Dark Light, Linda Simon offers a vivid cultural history that delves into those questions, using newspapers, novels, and other primary sources. Tracing fifty years of technological transformation, from Morse's invention of the telegraph to Roentgen's discovery of X rays, she has created a revealing portrait of an anxious age.
show more

Rating details

44 ratings
3.45 out of 5 stars
5 16% (7)
4 34% (15)
3 36% (16)
2 7% (3)
1 7% (3)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X