La Revolte des Machines

ROLLAND, Romain. La Revolte des Machines.

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ROLLAND, Romain La Revolte des Machines Pierre Vorms, Paris, 1947

8vo; Beige paper wrappers with overlaid brown paper jacket lettered in black to upper cover and spine; illustrated with hands and geometrical shapes in rust colouring; pages untrimmed and partially unopened; pp. [8] 9-131 [7], illstrated throughout with bold wood-block prints serving as both headpieces and in-text illustrations, all by Frans Masereel; rubbing to spine tips as well as slight sunning, endpapers lightly offset; otherwise near-fine.
No 301 of 1500 copies. The first publically printed edition, after that of a 1921 publication printed in a run of 209 copies and not put into circulation.
The work of Nobel Laureate Romain Rolland, La Revolte des Machines, is a dystopian vision revolving around the concept of a world of machine supermacy and is complimented by exquisite woodcut illustrations from Belgium painter Frans Masreel. A novel subject more prescient than ever with its invocation of the distorted boundaries between the individual and technology, Rolland's narrative provokes cautionary quesitons about, not only the dangerous ramifications of evolutionary advancements in the technological world interfering with our autonomy, but also questions examining the essence of humanity itself.
Rolland was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915, "as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings". As well as being a stoic pacifist, essayist, mystic, art historian and novelist, he engaged in a number of interesting correspondence throughout his lifetime such as with German composer Richard Struass but with the most influential being his relationship to Freud. In a 1927 letter, Rolland coined the term "oceanic feeling", a sensation of being at one with the external universe, inspired by his delving into Eastern Mysticism. Freud would go on to write Civilisation and its Discontents (1929), within which he dwelled on the concept and attributed it to the mind of an 'anonymous' friend- Rolland. Their reciprocal admiration for one another lasted up until Freud's death in 1939.