Because apes seem most like humans, science fiction has used them as a mirror in which to view ourselves. The philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau saw in orangutans the original, natural man, uncorrupted by society. Meanwhile most of his contemporaries used apes to embody racially charged fantasies of bestial brutality. These conflicting views shaped the numerous versions of King Kong and the Planet of the Apes films, which the lecture will use to look at evolving images of humanity.
A lecture by Jim Endersby
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/scifi-apes
Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 2,000 lectures free to access or download from the website.