Book: The Buddha in the Machine

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The Buddha in the Machine: Art, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West

R. John Williams, assistant professor of English

(Yale University Press)



From the turn-of-the-century Columbian Exhibition to the latest Zen-inspired designs of Apple, Inc., R. John Williams charts the history of the embrace of Eastern ideals of beauty to counter the fear of the rise of modern technological systems. In this work of synthesis, Williams examines Asian influences on book design and department store marketing, the commercial fiction of Jack London, the poetic technique of Ezra Pound, the popularity of Charlie Chan movies, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the design of the latest high-tech gadgets. Williams demonstrates how, rather than retreating from modernity, writers, artists, and inventors turned to traditional Eastern technê as a therapeutic means of living with — but never abandoning — Western technology.

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