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Disappearing Through the Skylight: Culture and Technology in the Twentieth Century Paperback – December 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0140115826 ISBN-10: 014011582X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (December 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014011582X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140115826
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,870,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Armed with the opinion that technological and cultural trends are negating history and the idea of humanity itself, Hardison takes readers on a tour of the modern age. Described by PW as "by turns incisive and glib," this volume offers "engaging discussions of all manner of topics, from the British cracking of the Germans' Enigma code in WW II to automobiles as 'thin-steel sculptures.' " Illustrated.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Hardison, English professor (Georgetown), Shakespearean scholar, and amateur physicist, is always entertaining and often thought-provoking, as in Entering the Maze: Identity & Change in Modern Culture (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1981); here, he is very successful at placing the advent of technology within the context of our century. Through witty and elegantly written chapters on art, architecture, music, and poetry, he weaves a cogent and coherent theory on how the world left the domain of philosophers and classical artists and entered that of mathematicians and computer scientists. When our capacity to envision nature as solid and tangible "disappeared through the skylight," our ability to envision what nature and science consist of was irrevocably altered. Of the current titles that seem to address this subject, this is by far the best: Hardison illustrates, cleverly and vividly, by example. Challenging but highly readable, the book should spark discussion. Fascinating and well conceived.
- Mark Shelton, Columbus, Ohio
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on December 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
At first I didn't know what to make of this sometimes bizarre but always intriguing work. At some point I stopped trying to categorize it and decided to accept the thing as it was. It is true that subjects seem to vary but a careful reading reveals an underlying unity.
The essays are certainly not traditional but nevertheless they appeal and "work". It is culture and all its many facets that are explored in this book. From art to architecture to poetry (great chapter on Dada) to symbols, evolution, technology in all its many variants - eclectic essays accompany each. There are many diagrams, photographs, charts, etc that enhance the reader's pleasure. Some insights into the acceleration of evolutionary change are quite readable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By trick on December 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Hardison's book has been out of print for a few years now, which is really a shame. It tells the story of 20th century art, architecture, poetry and science. The author compares the curiosity of artists and scientists and how they influenced each other throughout the century. It is a real eye-opener, especially when you are familiar with 20th century art and architecture but want to understand more of it.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Talbot on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Enjoyment of Hardison's book depends on the purpose of your reading--for leisure or credit. I first read it as a requirement for a class I was taking and did not appreciate it on its face. It gives a picture of 20th century art, architecture, poetry and science. It offers up interesting comparisons of artist's oddities and scientists inquisitiveness and how each prejudiced the other throughout the century. It is an interesting picture. If you are familiar with 20th century art and technology but strive to gain a deeper understanding of culture and technological changes, this book is for you.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Bornus on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is about how man's environment has increasingly become abstracted from nature, or "disappearing" into various areas such as art, architecture, writing, music, technology, and even man himself. The first section summarizes the overall message of the book, the remaining sections are just expansions on the elements described in the first section.

There were some interesting ideas in this book, but overall it seemed to be pretty abstract and I didn't want to have to work that hard to "get" why this was important. This reminded me of the type of books you get forced to read in school, and I forced myself to complete it. I think some of the ideas, particularly in the last chapter, may have been off base in terms of predicting the future. This book was written before the online revolution took shape, and this book did not seem to anticipate the effects of the online revolution.

I give it four stars since it was well written and I'm sure it is good for you, like eating your vegetables.
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