This thesis deals with Dorothy Wordsworth's Rydal Journal, a journal written between 1824 and 1835, when Dorothy Wordsworth was between ages 53 and 64. The most interesting entries in the Rydal Journal include descriptions of William's political views, famous callers at Rydal Mount, church sermons Dorothy heard, books she was reading, and her relationships and correspondence with many friends and family members. In terms of structure, Dorothy's journal entries are generally quite similar over the eleven years of these volumes. Perhaps most strikingly, the vast majority begin with a record of the day's weather. Sometimes, she broadly outlines the entire day's weather (e.g., "Fine day—but still thundery" [11 July 1825]). Other times, she foregrounds the weather she woke up to or experienced in the morning (e.g., "Another fine morning—sun shines" [12 September 1826]). Regardless, throughout the entries, she intersperses events with the weather, as in this typical entry from 11 January 1827: "Very bright—Dora rides—Mrs. Arlow & 3 Norths call—I writ[in]g to Lady B. . . Lovely warm moonlight on snow—Long walk on Terrace." In this way, weather plays a central role in the Rydal Journal, for Dorothy employs weather as her primary measure of time. In what follows, I will begin by offering a short history of timekeeping before and during the Wordsworths' lifetimes, focusing particularly on the degree to which tracking and standardizing minutes and hours was becoming commonplace in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From there, I will show how, in contrast to this trend toward mechanical timekeeping, Dorothy processed time primarily through natural and climatological cycles and events during the Rydal Journal years. Dorothy's apparent rejection of clock time seems to be related to her reliance on nature, for weather time was much more lyrical than mechanical time.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Smith, Amanda Ann, "Meteorological Time in Dorothy Wordsworth's Rydal Journal" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6688.
Dorothy Wordsworth, Rydal Journal, Romantic time, Romantic weather