Faculty Advisor

Fisher, Amy

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2016


This research addresses the paradox found in Victorian and modern narratives of steam technology: was it indicative of progress and prosperity or oppressive imperialism? I use historians and philosophers of technology to give background regarding the relationship between technology (and Victorian technology specifically) and values. A brief investigation of the history of steam technology before the Victorian era contextualizes my research. I then address significant Victorian and modern Steampunk and Victoriana works that originate from or comment on three parts of the Victorian era: 1837-1851, 1852-1879, and 1880-1901. I argue that modern narratives of steam technology reflect the shifts in technological optimism and pessimism expressed by the Victorians themselves as the Victorian perception of the relationship between steam technology and suffering changed.


University of Puget Sound