d i f f e r e n c e
as preceding the staccato pace of modernity—particularly as new genera-
tions of “moderns” have less and less access to older production processes.
But if we follow Benjamin’s important insight into how modernity
can see another site where slow time seems to offer some kind of respite
from the emerging rhythms of mechanized life: the time of emotions
Thus, in counterpoint to the time of factory life in the ante-
bellum United States, another set of sensations and corporeal forms
were imagined, or even felt, as impediments to or bulwarks against therelentless movement of progress. As Dana Luciano argues, in the wake of
industrialization in the United States, mourning was newly reconceptual-ized as an experience outside of ordinary time, as eternal, recurrent, even
But so, I would argue, were any number of other affective modes.Mid-nineteenth-century writers figured maternal love, domestic bliss,romantic attachments, and even bachelorhood as havens from a heart-less world and, more importantly, as sensations that moved according totheir own beat.
This trope is different from the second-wave feministargument that domestic
was actually a precapitalist productionprocess. (In fact, household manuals from Catharine Beecher and Har-riet Beecher Stowe’s 1869
The American Woman’s Home
onward show that housework, too, was reorganized according to the principles of timemanagement and productivity, even if women remained outside of the wage system.) In contrast, the emerging
of domesticity, whichincluded but went beyond labor relations, validated and, in Foucaultian
terms, “implanted” a set of feelings—love, security, harmony, peace,
romance, sexual satisfaction, motherly instincts—in part by figuring them
as timeless, as primal, as a human condition located in and emanatingfrom the psyche’s interior.
In this sense, the nineteenth century’s celebrated sentimentalheart, experienced by its owner as the bearer of archaic or recalcitrantsensations, was the laboring body’s double, the flip side of the coin of industrialization. Mourning and romance, empathy and affection, even“family time,” were not segmented into clock time, and in this sense, theycountered “work time,” even if they were also a dialectical product of it.As Eli Zaretsky writes, “The family, attuned to the natural rhythms of eating, sleeping, and child care, can never be wholly synchronized with
the mechanized tempo of industrial capitalism” (33). Familial tempos are,
if not quite “natural,” less amenable to the speeding up and microman-agement that would later characterize the Taylorist system. It is not too