Writing Time: Charting the History of Clock Time in Seventeenth-Century Diaries

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Abstract

In this essay, Daniel Patterson explores the representation of time in early modern diaries. In particular, he examines the presence and significance of clock time in a previously unknown seventeenth-century diary—that of an unassuming schoolmaster and customs official named George Lloyd (1642–1718). This source is examined alongside well-known diaries by Ralph Josselin, Samuel Pepys, and Constantijn Huygens. Taking the view that all diaries are innately temporal texts, the essay demonstrates that different temporal regimes can be discerned in each of these examples, from the mysterious, providential conception of time presented by Josselin to the quasi-realist narrative mimesis of Pepys. Lloyd, ultimately, was the first diarist to incorporate the new reality of accurate, widely available mechanical time as a fundamental feature of quotidian existence and self-narrative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305–329
Number of pages25
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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