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Stations Of The Sun Paperback – June 28, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854483
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,349,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`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.

`a tour de force from one of the liveliest and most wide-ranging of practising English historians this unfailingly stimulating, learned and engaging book places a relatively neglected aspect of English social history firmly on the map. ' Eamon Duffy, TLS

About the Author

Ronald Hutton is Reader in History at the University of Bristol.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Doreen Taylor on August 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a great source for information about British customs and lore. Hutton is excited about his subject and holds it in deep regard all the wile telling us the way it really is. I learned a lot from this book and I consider it essential reading for everyone (especially neo-pagans) who has an interest in this subject.
As a neo-pagan I wouldn't want to have this vast subject explained to me in one sentence - I want examples as to why a certain custom or seasonal festival is important/necessary in the wheel of the year. Ialso want sources states because if someone were to just say to me "Everything you have read about British seasonal customs is wrong" I would say, "Prove it". Hutton indeed takes the time to prove his arguments.
Hutton isn't against neo-pagans, but he is _for_ scholarship.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alison Hudson VINE VOICE on November 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not for a casual reader. It is, instead, a compendium of primary source information for those curious about the calendar year in Britain. It's fascinating scholarship and absolutely authoratative in its research, but not for "just reading"! At some points, the paragraphs are so thick with citations and details that my eyes began to gloss. In general, though, the prose remains readable, even when detailing minutia.

I do want to address one criticism from an earlier reviewer, who said this about the book:

"Hutton debunks everything he presents; after a while it kind of got on my nerves. Virtually every description and explanation is followed by some sort of 'but this probably didn't happen' or 'this probably wasn't really the way it was' disclaimer. fter reading several chapters, my attitude morphed into 'why are you wasting my time telling me about stuff that didn't happen? Can't you tell me about anything that probably DID happen?'"

I'm not sure if this reviewer and I were reading the same book. Yes, Hutton debunks many myths surrounding these customs, but to say that he provides no information on what DID happen, or how it happened, is bunk. The book is thick with information, a real brick of scholarship. There are ten chapters alone on the evidence of various Christmas and New years traditions!

Those with a serious interest in the development of many Western calendar customs in Britain (many of which are also the ultimate root of our American traditions) should definitely add this boo to their collections.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mark Howells on October 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
A very scholarly work on the origins and customs surrounding the holidays in Britain. This book has been a bit of a "tough read" for me as I worked through the dry parts of interest to folklorists between the parts of interest to genealogists. As an American, I had to have Guy Fawkes Night explained to me. As a genealogist working with UK sources, it's nice to understand what Rogationtide and Candlemas are, for instance.
In general, the book attempts to overturn the classical folklorist mistakes in the sources and symbolism of holidays dating back to Sir James Frazer's Golden Bough. Not every custom and tradition is a direct descendant of Celtic religious rites. Humanity has been very adaptable to inventing new "old traditions" as the need arises and our earlier ancestors where just as good at fulfilling these needs as were the Victorians who invented our concept of an "old fashioned Christmas".
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is probably the most accurate and well-researched book on the history of the ritual year in Britain that you could hope to read. It is also well-written, fascinating, and full of source material for further thought and study. It examines the origins and development of major festivals, and dispels a few myths along the way. It has a wealth of detail without becoming bogged down in it, and the prose is often lyrical. Highly recommended.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Gibbons on October 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is far and away the best book on the subject! Meticulously researched, I give it my highest recommendation -- especially for Neo-Pagans. It's a wonderful antidote for the misinformation so common in pop histories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Lukas on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Hutton is a well-spring of information about pagan history. I don't think there is anything he doesn't know! If you really want to learn more about how certain practices came about, you definitely need this book. He's also an excellent speaker!
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