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The intriguing complications of pocket watches in the literature of the long eighteenth century

Tomalin, M (2015) The intriguing complications of pocket watches in the literature of the long eighteenth century. Review of English Studies, 66. pp. 300-321. ISSN 0034-6551

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Abstract

© The Author 2014. This article examines references to mechanical watches in the literature of the long eighteenth century. In particular, it is shown that literary watches never acquired a stable set of symbolical associations during this period. Rather than being strongly polysemous, though, they frequently united diametrically opposed meanings, and therefore destabilized the arguments in which they were embedded as often as they reinforced them. This article examines this curious and complicated aspect of their literary significance from a range of different perspectives. Specifically, references to watches are explored in relation to public and private spaces, to ostentatious display and meditative isolation, and to mechanical reliability and wayward inexactness. The discussion culminates with an assessment of the many convoluted gender-specific and sex-based implications that watches acquired.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Div F > Machine Intelligence
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:45
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2017 22:08
DOI: