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New Medieval Books: Winters in the World

Winters in the World: A Journey Through the Anglo-Saxon Year

By Eleanor Parker

Reaktion Books
ISBN: 979 1 78914 672 1

A look at daily life in England during the Early Middle Ages through the prism of the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. It makes use of Old English literature to explain religious events, the farming cycle, and more.


In this book, we’ll explore how poets like the anonymous author of Maxims II and the writers of other works from Anglo-Saxon England – histories, scientific texts, sermons and many more – thought about the cycle of the seasons. We’ll look at the festivals and traditions they associated with particular times of year, considering how the changing seasons affected patterns of work and religious custom, as well as investigating the language these English writers used to describe their experience of the year. The six centuries we today call the Anglo-Saxon period – six hundred summers and winters – were a formative time for English society, in which many things first took shape which, after the passage of centuries, are still to some degree recognizable as those the Anglo-Saxons knew: the English language; the settlement and naming of most of our cities, towns and villages; the monarchy; the national church; and England itself.


Who is this book for?

One of our top books for 2022, this is an excellent look at medieval daily life. Those interested in Old English literature will particularly enjoy this book, as will most general readers.

The author:

Eleanor Parker is a Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at Brasenose College of Oxford University. Her research focuses on literature in England between the tenth and the thirteenth centuries, with a particular focus on the literary and cultural impact of the Viking and Norman invasions. Eleanor is well known for doing a lot of public engagement in medieval studies, most notably through her X/Twitter account @ClerkofOxford


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