'The steam arm': proto-steampunk themes in a Victorian popular song

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This article introduces an early Victorian popular song, with some preliminary reflections on how it, and indeed similar texts, might be relevant to twentieth and twenty-first century practitioners and critics of steampunk. ‘The Steam Arm' describes a veteran who acquires a prosthetic limb, with disastrous consequences. As a text from the start of the ‘steam age', it reveals the fantasies and anxieties surrounding technological progress in early Victorian literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-207
Number of pages11
JournalNeo-Victorian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • steampunk
  • prosthesis
  • Victorian popular song
  • music-hall

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