Leroux's Pianotype

in The Romantic Machine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226812205
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226812229 | DOI:
Leroux's Pianotype

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Pierre Leroux, the founder, editor, and printer of the Globe, was a central figure in the early romantic movement in France, a leading proponent of association, and one of the coiners of the term “socialism,” which he intended as the opposite of individualism. He proclaimed his own philosophy based on German romanticism, Saint-Simonianism, the philosophy of the eighteenth century, and the history of religions, and in 1822 invented a device that would transform the entire process of printing: The pianotype. This chapter examines Leroux's philosophy, including his view of the printed word as a technological communion. His pianotype enabled typographers to read while they set type, making authors and printers the engineers of a new collective consciousness. Leroux saw “humanity” as an ideal, virtual being realizing itself in increasingly perfect social and intellectual orders; this view was an application of the philosophical anatomy of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire to the realm of society.

Keywords: Pierre Leroux; romanticism; France; pianotype; humanity; association; socialism; philosophy; printing; Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire

Chapter.  11671 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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