Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1998

Degree Name

Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication - (M.S.)


Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Robert Edward Lynch

Second Advisor

Burt Kimmelman

Third Advisor

Thomas B. Swanzey


In 1996, engineer and author Samuel Florman asked why engineering and technology had been represented only lightly in literature. From a mere handful of books dealing with this topic, he named The Control of Nature (1989), by John McPhee, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), by Robert Pirsig, and The Soul of a New Machine (1981), by Tracy Kidder, as being among the best examples of a literary expression of engineering. These three works are examined here in light of Florman's own four books on the subject of engineering, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering (1976), Blaming Technology (1981), The Civilized Engineer (1987), and The Introspective Engineer (1996), with particular attention directed towards Florman's search for an expression of the creativity and passion inherent to engineering.