French surrealist author Raymond Roussel’s novel Locus solus depicted a brain-in-a-vat apparatus in which the head of the revolutionary orator Georges Danton was reanimated and made to speak. This scene of mechanically-produced language echoes Roussel’s own method of quasi-mechanical literary production as presented in How I wrote certain of my books. Roussel’s work participates in a wider fascination in modern French thought with the fragile connection, or violent disjuncture, between the body and mind. This paper discusses a number of instances in which bodiless and reanimated heads played a central role in reflections on knowledge, art, and individuality. Roussel’s works offer a sidelong commentary on the notion of explanation in the sciences and the cult of reason in a technocratic society
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2004.03.009
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‘The Potent Magic of Verisimilitude’: Edgar Allan Poe Within the Mechanical Age.John Tresch - 1997 - British Journal for the History of Science 30 (3):275-290.

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Off with Your Heads: Isolated Organs in Early Soviet Science and Fiction.Nikolai Krementsov - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (2):87-100.

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