Pandæmonium, 1660–1886: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers

Pandæmonium, 1660–1886: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers

Humphrey Jennings

Language: English

Pages: 435

ISBN: 2:00260639

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The book which inspired Danny Boyle's unforgettable Olympic opening ceremony, featuring an exclusive Foreword by ceremony scriptwriter Frank Cotterell-Boyce. A masterpiece of collage that reads like a novel’ The Times. Collecting texts taken from letters, diaries, literature, scientific journals and reports, Pandæmonium gathers a beguiling narrative as it traces the development of the machine age in Britain. Covering the years between 1660 and 1886, it offers a rich tapestry of human experience, from eyewitness reports of the Luddite Riots and the Peterloo Massacre to more intimate accounts of child labour, Utopian communities, the desecration of the natural world, ground-breaking scientific experiments, and the coming of the railways. Humphrey Jennings, co-founder of the Mass-Observation movement of the 1930s and acclaimed documentary film-maker, has assembled an enthralling narrative of this key period in Britain’s national consciousness.Originally published in 1985, Pandæmonium was the inspiration behind Danny Boyle’s electrifying opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Frank Cottrell Boyce, who wrote the scenario for the ceremony, contributes a revealing new foreword for this edition.

Pandæmonium, 1660–1886: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers is a book of contemporary observations of the coming, development and impact of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, collected by documentary film-maker Humphrey Jennings and published posthumously in 1985. The book takes is title from the first excerpt within it, the section in Book I of Paradise Lost (1660) in which John Milton describes the building of Pandaemonium, the capital city of Hell.
Jennings collated the excerpts between 1937 and his early death in 1950. Jennings' daughter, Mary-Louise Jennings, and a co-founder with Jennings of Mass Observation, Charles Madge, brought his work to publication in 1985. The first edition was published by André Deutsch Ltd, where Diana Athill was its editor. Reviewing Pandæmonium, the New York Times said "Many of the early milestones of industrialization and its effects have become textbook cliches, and a routine anthology devoted to the subject would hardly call for special attention. But Pandæmonium is far from routine; it reflects the deeply felt preoccupations of an unusual man", and said that through the texts selected, the book "conveys the heroic promise of industrialism as well as the devastation, the humanistic spirit of science as well the dehumanizing dangers".
Writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, a longtime fan of the book, said of it "When I first held this book in my hand, I swear I could feel it shaking with its own internal energy." Director Danny Boyle was working on a West End theatrical production of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which opened in February 2011, and Cottrell Boyce had given Boyle a copy of Pandæmonium to help inform the Industrial Revolution sequence in the play. At the same time, Boyle and Cottrell Boyce were developing the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics, with Boyle as its artistc director and Cottrell Boyce as the writer. Cottrell Boyce commented "Danny had a very clear idea that in the first 15 minutes [of the ceremony] you had to have a great, startling image that could go around the world. It had to climax with something that made people go, Oh my God!", and Boyle decided that "the journey from the pastoral to the industrial, ending with the forging of the Olympic rings" was that image. Boyle made Pandæmonium required reading for his opening ceremony team. The resulting section of the ceremony was named "Pandemonium", in acknowledgement of both Milton and Jennings' works.
Following an attempt to get the out-of-print 1985 edition published as an e-book, a new condensed edition of the book was published in October 2012, with a foreword by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It represents about a third of the original edition. Writing of the new edition, Diana Athill observed "[On its original publication in 1985] it received many perceptive and enthusiastic reviews, but it has taken Boyle to shift it from academic appreciation to the general readership for which it was intended and which it deserves."

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