Page prepared for English 362, Spring 2016
Almanacs were lucrative steady sellers featuring monthly calendars, symbols for phases of the moon, lists of holy days and festival days, weather predictions, and other useful information. They were usually printed in octavo or duodecimo format. The Stationers’ Company owned the printing rights to almanacs. In any given year, there were many from which to choose, by various authors with prognostications calculated for various latitudes and meridians (London, Surrey, Shrewsbury, etc). In 1614, for example, a reader could choose between almanacs by Bretnor, Burton, Dade, Dauncy, Friend, Hopton, Johnson, White, and others. Almanacs were also widely parodied, both in a serious way (as in Spenser’s The Shepherd’s Calendar) and in a humorous way (as in Dekker’s The Owl’s Almanac).
1614 Editions to Click Through
Click through the editions linked below to get a sense both of the length of an almanac and of the type of information such works contained. The links go directly to the first page image in EEBO. Make sure you are logged in to your VPN at UVic.
Dekker, Thomas. The Owles almanacke prognosticating many strange accidents which shall happen to this kingdome of Great Britaine this yeere, 1618. London: Printed for Lawrence Lisle, 1618. STC 6515.5. “The beginnings and endings of the 4. Termes in the Yeere.” “The Anatomy of mans body.” “Predictions for this yeare.”
Relevant Canonical Texts (for reference only)
Spenser, Edmund. The Shepheardes Calender conteyning tvvelue aeglogues proportionable to the twelue monethes. London: Printed by Hugh Singleton, 1579. STC 23089.
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. “Were we not born under Taurus?”
Further Reading (for reference only)
Capp, Bernard. Astrology and the Popular Press: English Almanacs, 1500-1800. London: Faber, 1979. Print. AY754 C27.
Smyth, Adam. “Almanacs and Ideas of Popularity.” The Elizabethan Top Ten: Defining Print Popularity in Early Modern England. Ed. Andy Kesson and Emma Smith. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013. 125-33. Print.