Winters in the World

By Eleanor Parker,

Book cover of Winters in the World: A Journey through the Anglo-Saxon Year

Book description

Winters in the World is a beautifully observed journey through the cycle of the year in Anglo-Saxon England, exploring the festivals, customs and traditions linked to the different seasons. Drawing on a wide variety of source material, including poetry, histories and religious literature, Eleanor Parker investigates how Anglo-Saxons felt about…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Winters in the World as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Winters in the World is among the best history books that I have ever read. Eleanor Parker is a fine scholar of Anglo-Saxon literature as well as a master storyteller.

In Winters, she explains the ingenious ways in which the once-pagan Anglo-Saxons adapted their legends and their perceptions of the year to their Christian faith, creating a calendar that is “at one and the same time firmly rooted in Anglo-Saxon culture and fully part of the wider international church”. To some extent, the result of this remarkable inculturation remains with us today.

After reading this book, you won’t look…

This book is simply a delight, as Eleanor Parker takes us on an almanac journey through the Anglo-Saxon year.

A sparrow flies from one end of the hall, over the people sitting around their flickering hearths, and disappears into the dark at the far end. And so our lives play out this way, too. Some of the world’s greatest literature comes from this period, from Beowulf to The Wanderer to The Seafarer. This is no dry history of a dark age.

It is bright as a brooch, alive with the cries of seabirds and struggles through winter sorrowful and…

In this sparkling book, Eleanor Parker combines lyrical prose with learned observations, to enable us to access how those in early medieval England felt about the different seasons of the year, and indeed how they connected with nature in general.

With astute readings of early poetry and prose texts, Parker reawakens the everyday life of the Anglo-Saxons while at the same time showing us our roots.     

From David's list on early medieval Britain.

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