After [All Saints’ Day] comes Winter’s Day, far and wide, / six nights later, and seizes sun-bright autumn
Giveaway: 'Winters in the World'
Edited: Giveaway closed! Thank you all for your thoughtful participation!
“After [All Saints’ Day] comes Winter’s Day, far and wide,
six nights later, and seizes sun-bright autumn
with its army of ice and snow,
fettered with frost by the Lord’s command,
so that the green fields may no longer stay with us,
the ornaments of the earth.”
The Menologium, trans. Dr. Eleanor Parker
Though our modern calendar - its seasons starting & ending based on astronomical events - tells us that winter hasn’t yet arrived, the weather-based calendar of our ancestors has already shifted to winter.
And with today (November 7) being the first day of the Anglo-Saxon winter, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a wintry giveaway with you - featuring a signed hardcover edition of Winters in the World: A Journey Through the Anglo-Saxon Year by Dr. Eleanor Parker!
You may be familiar with Eleanor’s work through her blog, A Clerk of Oxford, her writing for History Today & other columns, or her scholarship as a professor of Old and Middle English literature at Brasenose College, Oxford. She’s a remarkably talented researcher & scholar, and she also has the twin talent of being able to translate the annals of history into wisdom that feels fresh and applicable in our modern lives. Eleanor doesn’t present us with dry history or lists of facts…she looks to these earlier periods and their religious calendar to see what we might learn from them even today.
Through Winters in the World, Eleanor traces the liturgical year as the Anglo-Saxons experienced it - interwoven with the natural seasons. She looks to clergy, historians, poets, and scholars from the early Medieval period to discover how they understood and celebrated the presence of God in the passage of time, beginning, of course, with winter…just as the liturgical year still begins in our modern world.
“But for Bede, as for other medieval scholars, the study of time was not just a human science, but a sacred pursuit. In their eyes, the structure of the year reflected profound truths about the nature of the universe, planned and created by God, which found expression in every detail in the calendar. Time was part of God’s creation…”
“…though his primary focus is explaining the course of the church year, Ælfric was also interested in different systems of seasonal calculation, the connection between the liturgical cycle and the natural world, and how learned and popular understandings of the calendar coincide. From his writings we can get a sense of how beliefs about the cycle of the year and its religious significance were communicated to a wider audience in Anglo-Saxon England.”
If we’ve chatted before, or if you’ve read any of my ramblings here, you can probably imagine how over-the-moon I was when this book was published last year - it’s like a BINGO card for my soul, bringing together the threads of all my various passions!
I’ve been so thankful for your warm reception here on Substack, and when I was thinking about a festive way to approach Advent with you, Eleanor’s book was the first thing that came to mind; and when I reached out to her, she so kindly was willing to sign a copy.
Wintry Giveaway Details:
To enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Eleanor Parker’s Winters in the World, just follow these steps…
Subscribe to Hearthstone Fables:
Comment on this post with something about the Church calendar - it can be as simple as a question (“What is the liturgical calendar?”), a favorite feast, why you do (or don’t!) find the calendar to be helpful in your life, what you want to learn about it…
Please enter by Monday, November 13, 10 am PST. A winner will be randomly selected from the entries!
Paid subscribers: Your entry in the giveaway will count twice!
Fine Print: This giveaway is not affiliated with Substack, the author, or the publisher, and the winner must be 18+. This is not a sponsored giveaway; I’m just a big fan of Eleanor’s writing and research!
For more of Eleanor’s work…
Eleanor Parker’s Patreon (I’m a patron of hers over there, and I always look forward to her weekly posts; she’s also been so available and welcoming to all of my obscure questions!)
Eleanor’s work on History Today
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