Telling the Time in British Literature, 1675-1830 : Hours of Folly? book cover
1st Edition

Telling the Time in British Literature, 1675-1830
Hours of Folly?

ISBN 9781032237404
Published December 13, 2021 by Routledge
218 Pages

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Book Description

Although the broad topic of time and literature in the long eighteenth century has received focused attention from successive generations of literary critics, this book adopts a radically new approach to the subject. Taking inspiration from recent revisionist accounts of the horological practices of the age, as well as current trends in ecocriticism, historical prosody, sensory history, social history, and new materialism, it offers a pioneering investigation of themes that have never previously received sustained critical scrutiny. Specifically, it explores how the essayists, poets, playwrights, and novelists of the period meditated deeply upon the physical form, social functions, and philosophical implications of particular time-telling objects. Consequently, each chapter considers a different device – mechanical watches, pendulums, sandglasses, sundials, flowers, and bells – and the literary responses of significant figures such as Alexander Pope, Anne Steele, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Smith, and William Hazlitt are carefully examined.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Watches

Chapter 2: Pendulums

Chapter 3: Sandglasses ¿

Chapter 4: Sundials

Chapter 5: Flowers

Chapter 6: Bells


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Marcus Tomalin is Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. His research focuses on the literature of the long eighteenth century, with a particular emphasis on language and temporality. He is especially interested in the various relationships between natural language, mathematics, philosophy, and literature. His many publications include Linguistics and the Formal Sciences (CUP, 2006), Romanticism and Linguistic Theory: William Hazlitt, Language, and Literature (Palgrave, 2009), "And he knew our language": Missionary Linguistics on the Pacific Northwest Coast (John Benjamins, 2011), and The French Language and British Literature, 1756–1830 (Routledge, 2016).