New book by King's professor looks at nineteenth-century devotional reading
September 24, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Krista Lysack, Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English, French, and Writing, on the publication of her latest book, Chronometres: Devotional Literature, Duration, and Victorian Reading, by Oxford University Press.
Chronometres came out of research Dr. Lysack has done in
to her area of specialization: Victorian literature and culture. The book is about reading practices, devotional literature, and the feeling of time. It focuses on a unique body of nineteenth-century literature she calls “chronometrical devotional literature,” studying authors such as John Keble, Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Frances Ridley Havergal as well as a range of popular print including family prayer manuals, Sunday-reading books and periodicals, devotional gift books, and daily text books.
“Designed for daily and weekly reading, this 'chronometrical' literature parceled out reading into discrete moments that resembled the new industrial time-scales of factories and railway schedules of that era,” explains Dr. Lysack. She argues that what defines Victorian devotional literature is “the experience of its time signatures, those structures of feeling associated with its reading durations. It also prompts the question: what if it is 'Eternity' that keeps time with the clock?”
“It is exciting that there are so many people at King's who have also written books (including a number of my colleagues in the Department of English, French, and Writing) or who are at work on one now,” says Dr. Lysack.
Funding for the project came from a SSHRC Standard Research Grant. Dr. Lysack conducted some of the research in the archives of the Gladstone Library in Wales.
This fall, Dr. Lysack is teaching English 3700E, “Consuming Women,” a course about nineteenth-century British literature and consumer culture which has ties to her first book, Come Buy, Come Buy: Shopping and the Culture of Consumption in Victorian Women's Writing. She is currently researching her next book, Brontë Weather, about the Brontës’ writing and weather, new materialist theory, and ecological form.
To learn more about Chronometres, please visit https://global.oup.com/academic/product/chronometres-9780198836162?cc=ca&lang=en&