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"This is life before Nudge. Automatic represents a major step forward in showing how modernists conceptualized the corporeal mind. Perhaps its greatest contribution is demonstrating how a certain breed of materialism in the soft sciences feeds through the culture we think we have today stumbled upon, but that is, in fact, a direct outgrowth of the modernist era. Exercise your free will—you do have other options—but I'd strongly suggest you read this book."

"Automatic takes aim at the default settings of modernism by giving us a captivating new account of how literature and criticism from the period contended with the body's power over the mind. Required reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century literature, the history of science, and the politics of social control."

"Wientzen's terrific book arrives at just the right time to remind us that we abandon ourselves to automatism at our peril. The early 1900s possessed a rich vocabulary for addressing crises of consciousness now so widespread as to seem mundane. Automatic, like the modernists themselves, defamiliarizes its epoch so as to consider these urgent dilemmas anew."