34 I CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnRevolution in Technology, the Arts, and Politicsnby James W. Tuttletonn”In the end physics will replace ethics just asnmetaphysics displaced theology. The modernnstatistical view of ethics contributes toward that.”n— Soren KierkegaardnShifting Gears: Technology,nLiterature, Culture in ModernistnAmerica by Cecelia Tichi, ChapelnHill: University of North CarolinanPress.nThe Futurist Moment:nAvant-Garde, Avant Guerre, andnthe Language of Rupture bynMarjorie PerlofF, Chicago:nUniversity of Chicago Press;n$24.95.nWhen the historical sequence ofnmen, of societies, of time andnthought failed Henry Adams —sequencesnthat might have yielded himnsome meaning about life — he remarkednin The Education that henfound himself in the Paris Gallery ofnMachines at the Great Exposition ofn1900, “his historical neck broken bynthe sudden irruption of forces totallynnew.” But despite such anxieties aboutnthe rise of machine culture, betweenn]ames W. Tuttleton is professor ofnEnglish at New York University.n1850 and 1925 in nearly every area ofnhuman activity a machine was introduced,nimproved, or perfected. Theninvention of the locomotive, the automobile,nthe airplane, the reaper, thendynamo, the telegraph, the telephone,nthe radio, the typewriter, and the sewingnmachine — together with constructionnfeats like the tunnel, the canal, thensuspension bridge, the steel tower, andnthe skyscraper — all of these transformednWestern culture, unarguablynfor the better. In A Connecticut Yankeenin King Arthur’s Court, Twainnwent so far as to name “the creators ofnthis world — after God” as Gutenberg,nWatt, Arkwright, Whitney, Morse,nStephenson, and Bell, the inventors,nrespectively, of the printing press,nsteam engine, cotton spinner, cottonngin, telegraph, locomotive, and telephone.nThe Yankee Hank Morgan,nwho can make anything from a sewingnmachine to gunpowder, is meant to bena composite of modern practical ingenuity,nthe Inventor-Engineer par excellence.nWhat was the effect on art andnculture of these machines and techno­nnnlogical developments? The simplestnanswer is that they provided artists withnimages and analogues for writing aboutnperfectly human and natural activities.nWhen Sherwood Anderson writes innWinesburg, Ohio that Wing Biddlebaum’snuncontrollable hands weren”the piston rods of his machinery ofnexpression,” it is clear that the organicnworld view of an earlier age — whennThoreau could write that a man “bearsna poem … as naturally as the oaknbears an acorn and the vine angourd” — has given way to a whollyndifferent matrix of machine images.nBut did the new technology really alternthe perception of writers and paintersnat the turn of the century?nThis question is at the heart of twonnew studies of technology and thenmodern artistic imagination — CecelianTichi’s Shifting Gears: Technology,nLiterature, Culture in ModernistnAmerica and Marjorie Perloff s ThenFuturist Moment: Avant-Garde, AvantnGuerre, and the Language of Rupture.nProfessor Tichi, who teaches Englishnat Boston University, offers a straightforwardnreading of the impact onnAmerican culture of what she callsn”gear and girder” technology — thenvisible machinery of wheels, pistons,ncogs, ball bearings, springs, and thenlike. From the foundries and factoriesnand their dynamic processes, she tracesnH.M-n