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The Oxford Companion to the Year explores the fascinating history of calendars in general and our own in particular. The calendar used in the West today is just one of a multitude of systems for parcelling up time and naming its divisions. Each of its days has over the centuries acquired its own peculiar significance: the feast day of a saint, the celebration of a historical event, the subject of prose or poetry, the commemoration of a significant historical figure. And for these feasts and seasons there has grown up a rich body of traditions, beliefs, and superstitions, many of them only half-remembered today. Now, for the first time, this body of knowledge is combined with a wide-ranging survey of calendars in an authoritative, absorbing Companion. The first section of The Oxford Companion to the Year is a day-by-day survey of the calendar year, revealing the history, literature, legend, and lore associated with each season, month, and date. The second part is a broader study of time-reckoning: historical and modern calendars, religious and civil, are explained, with handy tables for the conversion of dates between various systems, and special attention is given to the calculation of Easter. There is a helpful index to facilitate speedy reference. This is a unique reference source, an indispensable aid for all historians and antiquarians, and a rich mine of information, inspiration, and delight for browsers.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780192142313
ISBN-10: 0192142313
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 163mm x 54mm)
Pages: 955
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 11-Nov-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » In 1864 the great Edinburgh publisher and antiquarian Robert Chambers produced his Book of Days, a guide to the months, feast days and seasonal celebrations which punctuated the British calendar. This is the modern equivalent aand will be invaluable to historians and antiquarians, and a fascinating work of reference for the rest of us. The first half of the book provides a day-by-day account of the year, chronicling the history, folklore and literature associated with each one. The second half offers a broader study of time-reckoning and the development of the calendar over the centuries. Continental material is included as well as British, dates of religious significance are combined with those of civil importance, and particular attention is paid to the way in which Easter is calculated. All in all, a rich, absorbing mine of information. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Bonnie J. Blackburn

Bonnie Blackburn, a musicologist, received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1970. She has written articles and books on Renaissance music, and is General Editor of the series Monuments of Renaissance Music (University of Chicago Press). She is a member of the Faculty of Music at Oxford University. Leofranc Holford-Strevens, a classicist, received a D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1971. The author of Aulus Gellius (1988), he is a desk-editor with Oxford University Press. He has had a long-standing interest in calendars and chronologies.

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