The Experience of Time

Authored by: Brendan Dooley

The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649460
eBook ISBN: 9781003080206
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781003080206-16

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Abstract

Early modern people experienced time in many different contexts, where the meaning of the concept could vary widely according to the circumstances. There was festival time and normal time, harvest time and planting time, the time it took to get from place to place, time relative to space, the time of certain short-term activities across an hour, a day, and a week, and the time of certain long-term processes like human growth and decay or the decay of structures, built or natural. There was sacred time and the ecclesiastical calendar, and there was secular time ordered by public administration. Then there was historical time, the time when certain major events were believed to have occurred, as well as imaginary time, the time of literature and of storytelling. All of these underwent profound modification during the course of the period, as a result of interconnected developments in technology, science, communication, transportation, and mentalities.

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