The book which coined the word "robot"
R.U.R. Rossum's Universal Robots.
Prague: Vydalo Aventinum, 1920.
1st Edition. Soft cover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003647
8vo (222 x 150 mm). [1-7] 8-96 [97-100] pp. Original printed wrappers, uncut, unbound/unsewed as issued with gatherings loosely inserted (first and final leaves glued to wrappers), professional paper restorations to portion of spine (loss of 3 letters) and wrapper edges, upper wrapper with minor edge chipping. Very little age toning of text and very minor edge soiling and creasing. Provenance: "Jenda" (signature in red crayon on front wrapper and first flyleaf). A very good, clean and fresh copy. ----
FIRST EDITION OF THE BOOK WHICH COINED THE WORD 'ROBOT', AND EXCEPTIONALLY RARE WITH THE ORIGINAL PRINTED WRAPPERS. Capek's dramatic exploration of advancing automation, and the near-universal fear of machines supplanting humans, was an immediate worldwide success. R.U.R. premiered in Prague early in 1921, was performed in New York in 1922, and issued in English translation in 1923. It was eventually translated into all the major languages.
The word "robot" is derived from the Czech "robota", which means "drudgery" or "servitude." The word was coined by Capek's brother Joseph, a novelist and painter. Both were the best-known literary figures in liberated Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1939. Though the word "robot" now connotes a mechanical device capable of performing work on its own, Capek's "robots" were quasi-human figures fashioned from an artificial substitute for protoplasm, and formed in a "stamping mill." Capek's play, which reflected his concerns about advancing technology and automation, was an immediate worldwide success. In the play, robots are produced on robot-run assembly lines to do work that humans do not want to do. They remember everything but cannot think of anything new or experience emotion. Frustrated with the limitations designed into them by their human creators, they eventually revolt against the humans, killing all but one. A major reason for the huge success of Capek's play may have been its dramatic exploration of the possibilities of automation technology and the nearly universal fear that machines would replace people, perhaps not in their lives but in their work. Thus the term "robot" came into our language reflecting both the promise and dangers of automation. References: Origins of Cyberspace 249. - Visit our website to see more images!
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