"not Ludditism but a kind of retrograde transcendence"

The Luddites were a social movement who protested against the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution. Although named after Ned Ludd, who inspired the movement by breaking two stocking frames in a fit of rage, there is no actual evidence to prove he ever existed. However, this incident symbolised the Luddites' opposition to mechanical devices which was leaving them without work and changing their way of life.