The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (Hardback)
  • The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (Hardback)
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The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (Hardback)

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£165.00
Hardback 584 Pages
Published: 20/06/1996
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From the twelve days of Christmas to the Spring traditions of Valentine, Shrovetide, and Easter eggs, through May Day revels and Midsummer fires, and on to the waning of the year, Harvest Home, and Hallowe'en; Ronald Hutton takes us on a fascinating journey through the ritual year in Britain. His comprehensive study covers all the British Isles and the whole sweep of history from the earliest written records to the present day. Great and lesser, ancient and modern, Christian and pagan, all rituals are treated with the same attention. The result is a colourful and absorbing account in which Ronald Hutton illuminates the history of the calendar we live by, and challenges many commonly held assumptions about the customs of the past and the festivals of the present.

The Stations of the Sun is the first complete scholarly work to cover the full span of British rituals, challenging the work of specialists from the late Victorian period onwards, reworking our picture of the field thoroughly, and raising issues for historians of every period.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198205708
Number of pages: 584
Weight: 1093 g
Dimensions: 242 x 163 x 35 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

a fascinating volume, which any future study of calendar rituals - or of 'pagan residues' in popular culture - will have to take into account. - Margaret Cormack, Speculum - A Jnl of Medieval Studies, 2000.

Students of religion will be impressed by the ample evidence the book provides, not for the survival of pagan religious practices in a Christian era, but for the survival of Catholic practices in a Protestant one. - Margaret Cormack, Speculum - A Jnl of Medieval Studies, 2000.

Well produced and written in a pleasing style, it is a rich source of information about late-medieval calendar customs whose scope extends far beyond the Middle Ages. Stations of the Sun belongs in the reference collection of any college library. - Margaret Cormack, Speculum - A Jnl of Medieval Studies, 2000.

Hutton attempts in a highly readable text that will serve the scholar and general reader alike to provide the first truly complete survey of the history of communal, seasonal rites and customs. To do this he pieced together vast quantities of raw material ... In this engaging exploration his work will be useful to students of popular culture and literature, folklorists, historians, and even the old-fashioned enthusiast. - Royal W Rhodes, Journal of Ritual Studies 12.2 Winter 1998

absorbing study - Lorn Macintyre, Glasgow Herald

a scholarly work meticulously detailing the origins of every traditional holiday or ritual day in Britain's history ... As a historical document, the breadth of detail is gripping, but as an exploration of British beliefs over the millenium about to go forever, it's unmissable. - Flic Everett, Manchester Evening News

an exhaustive account of the traditions and rituals practised in the British Isles from time immemorial to the present - Sybil Owen, Oxford Times

Hutton's work is not dry as dust but of a piece with the ever-expanding purlieux of social history. He does not string out paragraphs upon a modicum of fact. Each is fertile with detail ... this elegantly produced and remarkably cheap volume will find an honoured place in the library of every self-respecting New Age caravan that is Glastonbury-bound, and, elsewhere, it will command a sale well beyond the run-up to Christmas once known as Advent. - Christopher Hawtree, The Independent

The Stations of the Sun is a dedicated, meticulous piece of research. - David Woodthorpe, Plymouth Evening Herald

scholarly, readable history of British seasonal rituals ... Hutton takes us informatively through "the ritual year", from Christmas to Bonfire Night - Paul Barker, The Times

he seeks ... to put the record straight rather than stir up controversy for the sake of it, and has prduced a work that will be respected for its temperate argument and its prodigious research. From Christmas to Hallowe'en, there is barely a ritual or a custom that escapes his eye in the most detailed book of its kind ever written. - Henry Hardcastle, Evergreen, Autumn 1996

Ronald Hutton's splendid new book is a comprehensive history of the customs and beliefs whch constitute the ritual year in Britain ... it is a tour de force, from one of the livelist and most wide-ranging of practising English historians ... this is a historical encyclopaedia, unfailingly informative and stimulating; but a connecting thread does run through the book ... This is a welcome work of demystification, bringing the cold light of historical inquiry to bear on an area which has been surrounded with a good deal of pseudo-science and sheer gobbledegook ... this is a marvellously detailed exploration of a now familiar historical pheomenon, the invention of "tradition" ... unfailingly stimulating, learned and engaging book, which places a relatively neglected aspect of English social history firmly on the map. - Times Literary Supplement

uncovers a mass of fascinating material about rites and festivals, showing how irrepressible such inventiveness remains in spite of globalised entertainment - Marina Warner, Independent on Sunday

He has made an immense, unequalled trawl of documentary records throughout the island. Supported by this and by his previous books on pagan religion and the ritual year, he expounds the subject with greater authority and evidence than anyone before. He presents us with important, even startling, new facts. This is a rich, delightful and stimulating book for browsing, study or reference. - Nicholas Orme, Church Times

this meticulously argued, painstakingly documented and often fascinating book provides a rich historical analysis of the development of the non-Christian (but also non-pagan) aspects of contemporary festivals - London Review of Books

He achieves a great deal as each section, treated in turn with a major calendar festival, ritual or customary period, is a mini-history complete in itself. ... Hutton's studies are well-integrated and produce a coherent whole. ... The Stations of the Sun provides the fullest and most important study yet of British calendar customs. ... Thanks to his work, we are able to recover the full significance of this particular customary period in the British calendar - the ripening of the corn. - The Times Higher Education Supplement, 19 September 1997

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