Reproduction by DesignSex, Robots, Trees, and Test-Tube Babies in Interwar Britain

Reproduction by DesignSex, Robots, Trees, and Test-Tube Babies in Interwar Britain

Angus McLaren

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226560694

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Modernity in interwar Europe frequently took the form of a preoccupation with mechanizing the natural; fears and fantasies revolved around the notion that the boundaries between people and machines were collapsing. Reproduction in particular became a battleground for those debating the merits of the modern world. That debate continues today and this book draws on novels, plays, science fiction, and films of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the work of biologists, psychiatrists, and sexologists, to reveal surprisingly early debates on many of the same questions that shape the conversation today: homosexuality, recreational sex, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, sex-change operations, and in vitro fertilization. The book brings together the experience and perception of modernity with sexuality, technology, and ecological concerns into a discussion of science's place in reproduction in British and American cultural history.