'This is an admirable book, an original and valuable contribution to the literature on the Book of Hours, and beyond that, to the understanding of late medieval religion in general.' Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity, University of Cambridge
'Professor Reinburg offers penetrating and deeply informed readings of hundreds of French and Latin Books of Hours, manuscript and printed. A joy to read, this is a magisterial study of prayer, the one form of devotion open to all, in the period when devotion was challenged and rethought.' Lee Palmer Wandel, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison
'Virginia Reinburg's wonderful book is a testament to her total dedication to an object which for two centuries offered a fascinating means of communicating with the sacred. Through its sensitivity and its intelligence it will stand as an important touchstone in our understanding of the phenomenology of the religious imagination, the social and linguistic history of the book, and the religious anthropology of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period.' Denis Crouzet, Professor of History, University of Paris-Sorbonne and Director of the Roland Mousnier Centre
The Book of Hours was a ‘best-seller’ in medieval and early modern Europe, the era's most commonly produced and owned book. This interdisciplinary study explores its increasing popularity and prestige, offering a full account of the book of hours as a book - how it was acquired, how it was read to guide prayer and teach literacy and what it meant to its owners as a personal possession. Based on the study of over 500 manuscripts and printed books from France, Virginia Reinburg combines a social history of the book of hours with an ethnography of prayer. Approaching the practice of prayer as both speech and ritual, she argues that a central part of the book of hours’ appeal for lay people was its role as a bridge between the liturgy and the home. Reinburg describes how the Book of Hours shaped religious practice through the ways in which it was used.