We tend to think of time poverty as a feature of modern life. I was curious that George Eliot, writing in the middle of the 19th century, looked back to Henry Fielding’s time, a good hundred years earlier, noting that time, in his time, was more abundant.
Striking too is that this quotation, selected months ago, has worked its way to the front of the post queue at a time when millions of people are enjoying a period of enforced leisure for public health reasons. While some will be assailed by worries of economic fall out or of loved ones, I hope that many will stay both financially and physically healthy and be in a position to savour the spaciousness of time-fat afternoons and slow ticking evenings.
‘But Fielding lived when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our needs), when summer afternoons were spacious, and the clock ticked slowly in the winter evenings.’
Source: George Eliot, Middlemarch (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 147
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