Maillardet Automaton and The Invention of Hugo Cabret

I have not yet had a chance to see Martin Scorsese’s Hugo or read the book that it is based on, the Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. However, I do want to see the film, because I am fascinated by automatons, the forebears of robots. The New York Times has an article about the inspiration of Hugo here: Maillardet Automaton Inspired Martin Scorsese’s Film ‘Hugo’.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.

One thought on “Maillardet Automaton and The Invention of Hugo Cabret

  1. Hi, Jason. This is Chris McCracken. I’ve attended one of your workshops on multimodal assessment, and I’m technically (I guess) in the Neurosciences/Humanities reading group (though I wasn’t able to make it to any of the meetings this past semester (I’ll be sure to make it to any future ones, though)).

    Any-who: I enjoy reading your blog. I’ve yet to see Hugo, too, but it’s at the top of my to-do list. Your post brought this to mind: and I’d wondered if you’d heard about Vaucanson’s “Digesting Duck.” It’s a really cool piece of automaton-history that says a lot about people at the height of the automaton craze. Good, interesting stuff.

    Also, since you’re a science fiction/robots fan, I was wondering if you’d read any Karel Capek. He was an early 20th-century Czech writer who’s best known for his play R.U.R., in which he coined the term “robot.” I don’t read much sci-fi, but Capek is one of my all-time favorites. Highly recommended.

    Hopefully I’ll see you around campus and/or at one of the reading group meetings.

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