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Marking the Hours: English People and Their Prayers, 1240-1570 Hardcover – January 3, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“. . . Probably the most intimate glimpse possible into medieval social history. . . . constructed in easy and confiding prose. . . . Almost certainly the most informative and readable account of the actual use of Books of Hours ever written.”—Christopher de Hamel, New York Review of Books
(Christopher de Hamel New York Review of Books 2009-02-20)

"Marking the Hours is Professor Duffy's fourth book on the English Reformation and further enhances his reputation as one of the leading historians of Tudor England. . . . Marking the Hours is a valuable addition to our knowledge of that heritage, and it is served up with Duffy's characteristic panache."—Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley
(Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley America)

About the Author

Eamon Duffy is the professor of the History of Christianity, and Fellow and Director of Studies, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (January 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300117140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300117141
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Tillotson on May 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating and delightful book takes a different approach to most others on the subject of the medieval book of hours. Rather than assessing the books as art objects, it focuses on the very personal annotations and amendments that owners have made to the text, giving us an intimate glimpse at how the owners used and regarded their books. The books are no longer mere objects, but extensions of their owners. There is an academic movement currently examining readership, and this adds significantly to it as it examines the most commonly owned book of the middle ages.

The author is an important authority in historical studies of the English Reformation, but this work, derived from a set of lectures, is very readable for a more general audience interested in the history of books and literacy. The illustrations are of excellent quality (even if some librarians were mystified as to why he wanted to photograph pages covered in scribble!).
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mary M. McCue on February 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As in his wonderful "Voices of Morebath," Eamon Duffy uses artifacts of daily living to illuminate the effect on real people -- great and not so great -- of the Reformation's massive changes at the top on everyday life. Names scratched out of prayer books, new prayers or names written in, sections and illustrations removed -- his use of " a librarian's nightmare" of "defaced" prayer books, books of hours and other devotional materials shows the filtration of changes on high down to society in general. The section on Richard III's prayerbook is particularly interesting.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mark Marshall on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Marking the Hours is a superior book. And those who've seen my other reviews, including of Duffy's Stripping the Altars, know I can be hard to please.

Are you interested in church history or in illuminated manuscripts? Then this is a must buy. In fact, I lugged this book (It's not small!) with me to Oxford for my studies, and it came in very handy for a tutorial essay and more.

Do you just like medieval art? Marking the Hours is very well illustrated. Just looking at the pictures and reading the captions is a pleasurable education.

Duffy does take sides on some questions concerning English church history. (He is a devoted Catholic.) But he's fair and not overbearing in this book at least.

I can't praise the book enough. If this area interests you in the least, Marking the Hours is well worth buying.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By I. Holder on January 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Another superb book from Eamon Duffy; not only exceptionally richly illustrated, but his research and telling to us of the use of Books of Hours is not only exceptionally readable, but engaging, informative and entertaining.
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