Literature Clock

February 6, 2022 § Leave a comment

My Facebook friend Jane Hammons shared a cool link: Johs Enevoldsen’s Literature Clock, which updates every minute with a literary quote that contains the time at which you are looking at the page. It appears that there isn’t a quote for every minute of the day, and it also includes quotes with vague indicators such as “around ten o’clock,” but enough minutes are represented to make the page interesting to follow, and they must have taken an enormous amount of work to dig up.

Enevoldsen’s site credits the idea to Jaap Meijers, who invented a table clock from an E-reader that similarly flashes a quote with the time every minute.

Both concepts are essentially a literary-text version of the idea behind The Clock, Christian Marclay’s 24-hour film installation from 2010 that is a supercut of film scenes that include clocks or watches or mention the time. The film itself works as a clock, synchronized to have each scene play at its corresponding time of day. I’ve never been able to see it in person; there clips available on Vimeo and YouTube, but for the full effect you’d have to synchronize the playback yourself.

At Craft Literary, Alix Ohlin alludes to Marclay’s film in an essay about using time as a mechanism for structuring plots.


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