Telling Time: Clocks, Diaries, and English Diurnal Form, 1660-1785

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 323 pages
A revolution in clock technology in England during the 1660s allowed people to measure time more accurately, attend to it more minutely, and possess it more privately than previously imaginable. In Telling Time, Stuart Sherman argues that innovations in prose emerged simultaneously with this technological breakthrough, enabling authors to recount the new kind of time by which England was learning to live and work.

Through brilliant readings of Samuel Pepys's diary, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's daily Spectator, the travel writings of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and the novels of Daniel Defoe and Frances Burney, Sherman traces the development of a new way of counting time in prose—the diurnal structure of consecutively dated installments—within the cultural context of the daily institutions which gave it form and motion. Telling Time is not only a major accomplishment for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literary studies, but it also makes important contributions to current discourse in cultural studies.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Telling time: clocks, diaries, and English diurnal form, 1660-1785

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Both of these highly original books deal with modern perceptions of time. Sherman (English, Washington Univ., St. Louis) focuses on changes in clock technology and the innovations in English prose ... Read full review

Telling time: clocks, diaries, and English diurnal form, 1660-1785

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Both of these highly original books deal with modern perceptions of time. Sherman (English, Washington Univ., St. Louis) focuses on changes in clock technology and the innovations in English prose ... Read full review

Contents

Tick Tick Tick Chronometric Innovation and Prose Form
xvii
In the Fullness of Time Pepys and His Predecessors
27
With My Minute Wach in My Hand The Diary as Timekeeper
75
To Print My Self Out Correspondence and Containment in the Spectator and Its Predecessors
107
Travel Writing and the Dialectic of Diurnal Form
157
Diurnal Dialectic in the Western Islands
183
Defoe and Burney The Unmaking of the Diurnal in the Making of the Novel
221
Epilogue
267
Notes
277
Index
311
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information