The Oxford Companion to the Year

Hardcover | December 15, 1999

byBonnie Blackburn, Leofranc Holford-Strevens

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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 ofcalendars 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 andcivil, 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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From Our Editors

As each day, week and year blends into others, it's easy to forget that there was a period when people didn't measure time as we do today. Do the Muslim, Chinese and pagan calendars celebrate both summer and winter solstice? How do various calendars mark Easter and why is there so much confusion about the exact dates? These are among t...

From the Publisher

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 o...

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...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:957 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 2.13 inPublished:December 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192142313

ISBN - 13:9780192142313

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Part I: the bulk of the book consists of a January-December listing, divided by month and then by day. Each month begins with information, for example etymology of the name and quotations, dealing with the month in general, and each day contains information on holidays and anniversaries, saints andtheir legends, historical and social customs, and relevant quotations from historical and modern texts. Part I ends with a discussion of seasons, months, terms, weeks, and days in general, a section on the Western Church and the Orthodox Church years, and finally secular holidays not tied to aspecific day (e.g. Thanksgiving).Part II: a more technical section on calendars, throughout history and across the world, and chronology, including computus.

From Our Editors

As each day, week and year blends into others, it's easy to forget that there was a period when people didn't measure time as we do today. Do the Muslim, Chinese and pagan calendars celebrate both summer and winter solstice? How do various calendars mark Easter and why is there so much confusion about the exact dates? These are among the myriad questions Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Stevens discuss in The Oxford Companion to the Year. Readers will also find it fascinating to learn more about the various methods human beings have designed to measure time. 

Editorial Reviews

'Effective ....This is one of the few books you will never get fed up with reading. Focus, January 2000