This collection of essays has a double focus: On the one hand, it consists of analyses of the metaphorical appropriation of technological inventions in literary discourse. How, it is asked, does literature come to terms with entirely new experiences that are caused by new technologies of mobility? What kinds of metaphors are being used to familiarize the unfamiliar forms and functions of machines that make possible movement through space at hitherto unheard-of speed? To answer these questions, the 22 essays in this volume analyse numerous poems on trains, cars, and planes from different phases in the popularization of the respective technologies.
On the other hand, the texts pursue a second, more theoretical aim. As early as 2001 Peter Stockwell called for a combination of Critical Discourse Analysis and Cognitive Linguistics. On a theoretical level, the present volume tries to test if such a combination is possible and whether or not it proves useful in analyzing literary texts. Mobility technologies are a promising field for such a test, because they provide the kinds of primary experience that are so central for Cognitive Linguistics and, at the same time, they have become an important part of what in Discourse Analysis is called the "System of Collective Symbols". This system, in turn, has a strong influence on the accptance of or resistance to technological innovation. Consequently, this volume will prove useful not only for literary and cultural scholars but also for historians of technology and everyone who is interested in the conditions under which innovative technology will or will not be accepted in a given culture.