Pandaemonium 1660–1886: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers
UK Publication October 2012
Page Extent 416
An extraordinary history of how the human imagination experienced the Industrial Revolution.
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, assembled an enthralling narrative of this key period in Britain’s national consciousness. The result is a highly original artistic achievement in its own right.
Thanks to the efforts of his daughter, Marie-Louise Jennings, Pandæmonium was originally published in 1985, and in 2012 it was the inspiration behind Danny Boyle’s electrifying Opening Ceremony for the London Olympic Games. Frank Cottrell Boyce, who wrote the scenario for the ceremony, contributes a revealing new foreword for this edition.
'Pandæmonium was the biggest single inspiration for the Olympics Opening Ceremony … the book is the equivalent of Pepys giving you a guided tour of the birth of electricity and the mechanical age – it’s brilliant, exciting and essential.' Danny Boyle
'Stimulating to mind and imagination ... a monument to one of the unique artists of our time, a visionary poet ... you will be illuminated and enriched.' Spectator
'A continuous narrative on the Industrial Revolution, woven from contemporary observations and opinions … a treasure-chest of quirky, unusual pieces'. Observer
'Pandaemonium is a fascinating and disturbing anthology … the extracts are brilliantly chosen … a very fine book'. Matthew Reisz, Times Educational Supplement
'A masterpiece of collage that reads like a novel' The Times
--------------Humphrey Jennings was educated in Cambridge at school and at Pembroke College, where he read English. He joined the GPO Film Unit in 1934. In 1936 he, Tom Harrisson and Charles Madge founded Mass Observation, and in the same year he exhibited at the International Surrealist Exhibition. He is best known for the documentary films he made during the war. He died in 1950.
See more books by: Humphrey Jennings