Artificial Men: From Albertus Magnus to the Blade Runner #84
A short history of robots
This is the second part of an overview of artificial men in literature and myth. Find the first part here.
The Far East has its own legends of artificial men. The Chinese book Liezi (列子), a Daoist text from the 5th century BC, contains the following passage:
“Who is that man accompanying you?” asked the king.
“That, Sir,” replied Yen Shih, “is my own handiwork. He can sing and he can act.”
The king stared at the figure in astonishment. It walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for a live human being. The artificer touched its chin, and it began singing, perfectly in tune. He touched its hand, and it began posturing, keeping perfect time. It went through any number of movements that fancy might happen to dictate. The king, looking on with his favourite concubine and other beauties, could hardly persuade himself that it was not real.