Trending aesthetic style explained in new anthology
Barry Brummett, chair of the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, recently revealed portions of a forthcoming anthology he's compiling that covers the subject of "steampunk," titled, "The Rhetoric of Steampunk."
Steampunk is an aesthetic style grounded in the Victorian era, age of steam or Industrial Age which uses such devices as steam engines, mechanical works, locomotives, gears, pistons, induction motors and goggles. Much of steampunk style has been seen in the American West and made famous by individuals such as authors Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
The idea of steampunk imagines how the world would look if steam had continued to be the major source of power since the Industrial Revolution and not replaced by the internal combustion engine.
"I've been interested in rhetoric and aesthetics for some time and steampunk specifically floated into my awareness maybe two or three years ago," said Brummett. "It imagines an alternative universe overlaid on our own. It asks us to see our own era through the lens of Victorian industry and society – it's bold and fascinating to imagine worlds that are new, although still familiar to us."
While many individuals are unaware of the style, some follow it with a cult-like reverence. Acting not only as a sub-genre of science fiction for media, steampunk is also an artistic style, clothing and jewelry fashion, music, culture and community.
Examples of steampunk in popular culture include many of the films by Tim Burton such as "Edward Scissorhands" and "Coraline," and the action movie "Wild Wild West."
The University of Mississippi Press will publish the anthology with an expected date of 2014. Brummett said the current collection has approximately 15 chapters, some of which are written by others in the Department of Communication Studies. He expects the book to number around 250 pages once complete.
The full-length video version of Brummett's lecture titled, "Jumping Scale in Steampunk: One Gear Makes You Larger, One Duct Makes You Small," can be viewed here.
Nick Hundley, (512) 471-7209