Homo Faber

(Fiction; Suhrkamp Verlag, 1959; repr., Harvest Books, 1994)


“Man is a tool-making animal,” Benjamin Franklin observed at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution: Homo faber, “Man the Maker,” is the successor to Homo sapiens, “Man the Thinker.” For more than two hundred years, his statement has described the way humans use mechanical means to control and organize their environment. Today, in the face of global warming, we are forced to ask ourselves the question: Have we managed our tools successfully? Max Frisch, a Swiss novelist and architect writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, might answer no; he characterizes Homo faber as a man unmade by his own technological ability.

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