The Calendar Criticism: Overviews - Essay

Alexander Philip (essay date 1921)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Part I,” in The Calendar: Its History, Structure and Improvement, Cambridge University Press, 1921, pp. 1-27.

[In the following excerpt, Philip surveys the historical measurement of time, reviews the development and reform of the Western calendar, and looks at several world calendars.]

I

THE MEASUREMENT OF TIME

Our knowledge of time is wholly dependent on measurement. Without the specification of magnitude or quantity the idea of time is meaningless. Now, we can measure time—physically—in one way only—by counting repeated motions. Apart, therefore, from physical pulsations we should have no natural...

(The entire section is 9080 words.)

E. G. Richards (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Variety of Calendars,” in Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 89-109.

[In the following excerpt, Richards summarizes the types, characteristics, and sources of various calendars.]

EMPIRICAL CALENDARS

Men have ordered their affairs by the phases of the moon and the seasons for as long as records exist. Even before calendars had been invented they could have told their wives that they would be back three days after the next full moon or remarked that their son was born three winters ago. Such perhaps were the beginnings of calendars. Later, men counted the days between moons and...

(The entire section is 7257 words.)