Clockwork Rhetoric
The Language and Style of Steampunk

Edited by Barry Brummett

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 4 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index

978-1-62846-091-9 Printed casebinding $60.00S

978-1-4968-0975-9 Paper $30.00S

Printed casebinding, $60.00

Paper, $30.00


Contributions by David Beard, Elizabeth Birmingham, Joshua Gunn, Mirko M. Hall, Lisa Horton, Andrew Mara, John M. McKenzie, Kristin Stimpson, Mary Anne Taylor, John R. Thompson, and Jaime L. Wright

This unique book explores how the aesthetic and cultural movement "Steampunk" persuades audiences and wins new acolytes. Steampunk is a style grounded in the Victorian era, in clothing and accoutrements modeled on a heightened and hyperextended age of steam. In addition to its modeling of attire and other symbolic trappings, what is most distinctive is its adherents' use of a machined aesthetic based on steam engines and early electrical machinery--gears, pistons, shafts, wheels, induction motors, clockwork, and so forth.

Precursors to steampunk can be found in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. The imagery of the American West contributed to the aesthetic--revolvers, locomotives, and rifles of the late nineteenth century. Among young people, steampunk has found common cause with Goth style. Examples from literature and popular culture include William Gibson's fiction, China Mie?ville's novels, the classic film Metropolis, and the BBC series Doctor Who. This volume recognizes that steampunk, a unique popular culture phenomenon, presents a prime opportunity for rhetorical criticism.

Steampunk's art, style, and narratives convey complex social and political meanings. Chapters in Clockwork Rhetoric explore topics ranging from jewelry to Japanese anime to contemporary imperialism to fashion. Throughout, the book demonstrates how language in uences consumers of steampunk to hold certain social and political attitudes and commitments.

BARRY BRUMMETT, Austin, Texas, is Charles Sapp Centennial Professor in Communication and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas. He is the author of A Rhetoric of Style and Rhetorical Homologies: Form, Culture, Experience.

208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 4 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index