Maypoles, Martyrs and Mayhem: 366 Days of British Customs, Myths and Eccentricities - Quentin Cooper & Paul SullivanLondon: Bloomsbury, 1994, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper very slightly rubbed at the edges with a slight nick to the top corner of the lower panel.
Contains: Chapter headpieces; Appendix;
From the cover: “366 days of diversity: from New Year’s Day to Hogmanay, from prehistory to the middle of next week, from Shetland to the Channel Islands.
The tactical dilemmas of King Alfred sit side by side with 1990s crop-circles. For each Stone Age dance or ancient ball game there are recent institutions such as Flounder Tramping and the World Marbles Championship; for every sighting of a dragon or faerie there is a modern report of a giant cat or UFO; and for every excess of paganism and devilry there is a saint waiting in the angel’s wings.
Maypoles, Martyrs and Mayhem offers insight into the part played by superstition in British history -the omens and beliefs that have guided kings and shaped the course of battles. Fact, myth and slapstick have all played their part in the story of these islands, and popular versions of events sometimes differ wildly from those found in the standard history books.
Each of the 400-plus extant customs and celebrations included here is given its appropriate day, so that readers can easily see what is happening throughout the calendar, and whether they can go along.
With a story or event relevant to every day of the year — leap years included — Maypoles, Martyrs and Mayhem is a diary of British weirdness and an almanac of truly strange days.”