Dreams of Steam: Fetishising an Age of Industry in Contemporary Steampunk Cinema

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    As the twentieth century drew to a close, a literary sub-genre known as steampunk developed into a movement and phenomenon that has since gained mass-cultural significance. Through fashion, art, crafts, music and more, steampunk artists, writers and ‘makers’ have constructed countless alternative histories where the technological developments of the nineteenth century veer wildly off their ‘proper’ course. These works offer a nostalgic vision of a Victorian past where piston-powered and steam-driven devices are capable of utterly fantastic and anachronistic effects. In this article, I will consider the role that cinema has played in popularizing the movement’s retro-futuristic romanticism for a bygone age of industry: reimagining the nineteenth-century through twenty-first-century advances. By evaluating the clockwork fetishisms of these millennial productions, I shall argue that steampunk uses its industrial histories as a means to interact with the technological dependencies of contemporary life, and reflect the intense process of digitization that film itself is undergoing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGolden Epochs and Dark Ages
    Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives on the Past
    EditorsAnna Antonowicz, Tomasz Niedokos
    PublisherWydawnictwo KUL
    ISBN (Print)978-83-8061-317-1
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2017

    Publication series

    NameStudies in Literature and Culture
    PublisherWydawnictwo KUL


    • Cinema
    • Hollywood
    • steampunk
    • technology
    • Neo-Victorian


    Dive into the research topics of 'Dreams of Steam: Fetishising an Age of Industry in Contemporary Steampunk Cinema'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this