Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Conversations from the Cullman Center: John Tresch in conversation with Simon Critchley


Former fellow John Tresch discusses his new book The Romantic Machine with philosopher Simon Critchley. 

In his vivid study of Romanticism and industrialization in Paris after Napoleon, Tresch explores the connections between these seemingly disparate movements, drawing on examples from art, literature, opera, scientific discoveries, and technological advancements.

John Tresch teaches in the department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. The Romantic Machine is his first book.

Simon Critchley is the Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at The New School, where he teaches courses on continental philosophy, phenomenology, the ethical and the political. His books include The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political TheologyThe Book of Dead Philosophers, and Impossible Objects.

“With The Romantic Machine, John Tresch fulfills the goal of most recent history of science: to show that when you follow scientific achievements you end up describing a whole culture, including its literature and arts”.  Bruno Latour Sciences, Po Paris

The Romantic Machine is a boldly original and riotously interdisciplinary essay in the history of science that reinterprets romanticism for our own era. Situated within a dense fabric of political, moral, aesthetic, and epistemological concerns, Tresch’s early nineteenth-century ‘mechanical romantics’ reject human mastery over nature as the goal of science, opting instead for limited regulation and sustainable coexistence.” - Jan Goldstein, University of Chicago