Shaping the Day: A History of Timekeeping in England and Wales, 1300-1800

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Timekeeping is an essential activity in the modern world and we take it for granted that our lives our shaped by the hours of the day. Yet what seems so ordinary today is actually the extraordinary outcome of centuries of technical innovation and circulation of ideas about time.

Shaping the Day is a pathbreaking study of the practice of timekeeping in England and Wales between 1300 and 1800. Drawing on many unique historical sources, ranging from personal diaries to housekeeping manuals, Paul Glennie and Nigel Thrift illustrate how a particular kind of common sense about time came into being, and how it developed during this period.

Many remarkable figures make their appearance, ranging from the well-known, such as Edmund Halley, Samuel Pepys, and John Harrison, who solved the problem of longitude, to less familiar characters, including sailors, gamblers, and burglars.

Overturning many common perceptions of the past-for example, that clock time and the industrial revolution were intimately related-this unique historical study engages all readers interested in how 'telling the time' has come to dominate our way of life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199605125
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr Paul Glennie is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Bristol

Professor Nigel Thrift is currently Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, an Emeritus Professor of the University of Bristol and a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford. One of the world's leading human geographers and social scientists, Professor Thrift has been the recipient of a number of distinguished academic awards, including the Royal Geographical Society Victoria Medal for contributions to geographic research in 2003, and Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the Association of American Geographers in 2007. He is an Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences, was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003, was in the top five of the most-cited geographers in the world from 1988 to 2002, and is co-author, author or co-editor of over 35 books.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Measured Heart
2. Clocks, Clock-times, and Social Change
3. "Not Everyone Occupies the Same Now": Reconceptualising Clock Times
4. Clock-times in Medieval and Early Modern Bristol
5. Temporal Infrasturcture: The Provision of Clock-Time in England
6. Clock-times in Everyday Lives
7. Precision in Everyday Lives
8. "Posted Within Shot of the Grave": Temporal Practices Among Seafarers
9. The Pursuit of Precision
10. "Clocks from Nowhere"? John Harrison in Context
11. Some Concluding Remarks

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