Reengineering modernity: cinematic detritus and the steampunk blockbuster

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    This article focuses on a wave of contemporary films that envision neo-Victorian pasts, presents, and futures where historical progress is reordered by the anachronistic presence of steampunk- machinery. As the inventors of steampunk fiction scavenge their worlds for the mechanical debris needed to construct their patchwork machines, the genre’s films similarly restructure pop-cultural icons of modernity: reengineering textual and mechanical histories for contemporary purposes. I consider how steampunk’s mainstream emergence coincides with dramatic shifts in cinema’s own industrial identity and has been used to mythologise the technological fears and fetishisms of twenty-first-century progress.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-37
    Number of pages23
    JournalNeo-Victorian Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2018


    • Blockbuster
    • Cinema
    • Hollywood
    • Modernity
    • Neo-Victorian
    • Steampunk
    • Technology


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