Victorian Time: Technologies, Standardizations, Catastrophes by T. Ferguson

By T. Ferguson

Victorian Time examines how literature of the period registers the mental impression of the onset of a latest, industrialized event of time as time-saving applied sciences, resembling steam-powered equipment, aimed toward making monetary lifestyles extra effective, signalling the sunrise of a brand new age of sped up time.

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Mr Dombey, Ralph Nickleby, Tulkinghorn, Anthony Chuzzlewit – abusers of time. David Copperfield, Joe Gargery, Nicholas Nickleby, Amy Dorrit, Doctor Marigold – conscientious custodians. 85 Fanny Dorrit, Redlaw, the gentleman Pip, Charley Hexam – suppressors of the past. Mr Merdle – a man who spends years getting away with living off a criminally deferred future tense. 90 Mortimer Lightwood’s casual timestamping of an event (‘The other day. 91 One’s relationship to time, in short, discloses one’s relationship to life, oneself and the selves around one.

For a penetrating reading of David’s ‘clockwork’ timediscipline see Jennifer Ruth, ‘Mental Capital, Industrial Time, and the Professional in “David Copperfield”’, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 32 (3) (Summer 1999), 303–30, pp. 303–5, 318. 24. Copperfield, p. 489. 25. Copperfield, p. 541. 26. Sunday Under Three Heads. As It Is; As Sabbath Bills Would Make It; As It Might Be Made. By Timothy Sparks [Dickens] (London: Chapman & Hall, 1836), p. 3. 27. Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (London: Chapman & Hall, 1839), p.

49 The egregious Harold Skimpole in Bleak House is fond of telling people that he has ‘no idea of time … no idea of money’. 50 That Skimpole – like painter Henry Gowan and Professor of Taste Chevy Slyme – is an artist of sorts is not without point. 52 If hard work is the basis of success in life, however, Dickens is also uncomfortably aware that success does not come to all those who work hard. 53 Whenever Dickens contemplates the corrupt or counter-meritocratic principles that so often hold sway in the world, his commitment to anti-sluggard principles is unsettled.

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