Jean Le Moyne’s Itinéraire mécanologique: Machine Poetics, Reverie, and Technological Humanism


This article examines Jean Le Moyne’s ‘mechanological’ writings during the 1960s in order to analyze the encounter between the scientific and technical discourses and cultural institutions in Canada. Best known for his collection of essays, Convergences (1961), Le Moyne engaged in a series of projects in later years that sought to overcome the divide between humanistic and scientific forms of knowledge and expression. Central to this work was Le Moyne’s attempts to adapt the form of the reverie, as developed in the work of Gaston Bachelard, as a mode of writing and genre capable of providing an account of technology in which humans and machines stood on equal footing. This article situates Le Moyne’s writings on science and technology in the context of his career in Canadian letters and politics before turning to a description and analysis of the Itinéraire mécanologique he started to write in the 1960s. In the conclusion, we consider some of the generic and institutional reasons that Le Moyne’s proposals for the integration of science and technology have been written out of accounts of his career as well as histories of Canadian literature and culture.

This article “Jean Le Moyne’s Itinéraire mécanologique: Machine Poetics, Reverie, and Technological Humanism” originally appeared in Science & Canadian Literature. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 221 (Summer 2014): 56-72.

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