on 13 December 2006
'Marking the hours' is an excellent companion book to Professor Duffy's 'The Stripping of the Altars' and 'Voices of Morebath'. The main thrust of Duffys arguement in 'Altars' and 'Morebath' is that immediately prior to the Henrician reformation England's adherance to Rome was firm and that there was little to suggest that there was an appetite for the non-conformism fomenting on the continent.
'Marking the Hours' is more 'grist to Duffy's mill'. By an examination of the mostly previously ignored marginalia, emendations, additions and deletions to copies of Books of Hours, enscribed and printed between the early 13th century and late 16th century, Duffy replies to historians whose theories run counter to his thesis. This he does methodically and presents his interpretation with typical lucidity.
Duffy seems to have written a canon of his very own and for anyone interested in catholicism in reformation England it needs to be read and 'Marking the Hours' is an original contribution to it and also to the understanding of that time in its generality.
A note on the quality of the book build itself: 'Marking the Hours' contains many splendid reproduction of pages from Books of Hours both expensive and hand written and low budget popular imports; all are pertinant to the text and add hugely to the enjoyment of such an essay. It is also printed on sturdy alkaline paper which gives rise to the hope, at least, that it may last as long as the subjects contained therein.
on 8 March 2009
After reading "The Stripping of the Altars", I was determined to read more of Eamon Duffy's works and with each one I am not only more informed but more appreciative of the strong faith held pre- and at the time of the English Reformation.
In this most lavish book, Duffy looks at copies of personal Prayer Books, and in particular the writings on them which record the lives, and deaths, of those near and dear to the owners, giving us fascinating insights to the lives and devotional practices of the owners. The illustrations of the Prayer Books are worth the price of this book alone, but Eamon Duffy is an engaging and intelligent writer, and every page will inform and educate. More please Mr Duffy!
on 30 June 2011
Another superb offering from Eamon Duffy. This is a lavishly illustrated book - all the illustrations are in colour - concerning the prayer books - Books of Hours - used by the English laity for their meditations and religious devotions. Initially produced by hand, eventually the advent of printing ensured that Books of Hours, once the exclusive preserve of the very wealthy, could now be purchased by those possessed of more far modest means.
Here, the author is concerned principally with what the "added" content to many of these devotional aids - added into the original texts and scribbled in the margins -in the hands of those who owned them, have to say about the religious beliefs of their owners.
There are case studies of several Books of Hours and also a careful consideration of what befell the content of these Catholic devotional books and manuscripts during the upheavals of the Reformation.
Well worth reading and purchasing.
on 23 April 2013
This is the first Eamon Duffy I have read, but I will certainly be reading more, especially as I am particularly interested in his specialist period and area. This is a fascinating book, in that it studies not the books themselves (which are beautifully illustrated) but the additions made to them. Many of these detract severely from the beauty of the book as a work of art, but Duffy's intention is to reveal the uses to which books of hours were put, and the reasons for the additions (sometime deletions). Duffy's work here is thorough, cogent and informative, despite the fact that he gives space in his text to demolish the theories and assertions of other academics along the way. The reference and bibliographical matter is also very useful, and has led me on to much further research. All in all an excellent book, with the quality of the numerous photographs vying with the brilliance of the text.