The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

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9780198601753: The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Beginning in the early 14th century and continuing into the 15th and 16th centuries, the Renaissance was a period of intense intellectual and cultural activity, the fruits of which have had a profound impact on the thought, culture, philosophy, painting and sculpture, and writing of Europe and the wider world ever since.
Gordon Campbell, with the help of his team of distinguished consultant and advisory editors, has created a unique new A-Z reference surveying all aspects of the Renaissance in Europe. From da Vinci to Dutch law, from gypsies to geometry, this volume contains an immense breadth of information with over 3,000 entries covering an extensive spectrum of topics including art, literature, science, culture, philosophy, religion, economics, history, and conflict. Over half of the entries are biographical, covering artists, architects, garden designers, philosophers, explorers, royalty, cardinals, reformers, statesman, writers, poets, playwrights, soldiers, rebels, woodcarvers, silversmiths, mystics, mathematicians, sculptors, and composers. With 100 stunning black-and-white illustrations, this elegant dictionary is an ideal referenc to a period that has had an enduring and important cultural influence.

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About the Author:


Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Literature at the University of Leicester. He was the founding editor of Renaissance Studies and is now the general editor of Review of English Studies. In addition to editing the publications detailed below, Gordon Campbell has also edited four plays by Ben Jonson and was co-editor and translator of Edward King, Milton's 'Lycidas'. He has served as chairman of the Society for Renaissance Studies and President of the English Association, of which he is a director. He has been awarded a D.Litt by the University of York and an honorary doctorate by the University of Bucharest; he is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a corresponding fellow of South African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and a member of the advisory board of the Sociedad Española de Estudios Renacentistas Ingleses.

From Booklist:

Most of the 4,000 entries in this volume were written by Campbell, professor of Renaissance literature at the University of Leicester, with assistance from an advisory board of university professors in the U.S and England. The Dictionary covers 1415 (the Battle of Agincourt) to 1618 (the beginning of the Thirty Years' War), with flexibility to include some earlier and later topics.

Geographical scope includes "countries whose cultures were touched in significant measure by the revival of classical learning," especially those underrepresented in English-language sources. More than half of the entries are biographical. Other topics include law, theology, and science as well as art, literature, and music. Many involve Italy, but France and Spain are also well represented, and there is content related to Portugal, Denmark, and Germany. Some longer entries are international in scope. For example, Artillery encompasses Turkey, England, Italy, France, Spain, and Scotland. Most entries are one or two paragraphs in length, but broader topics (e.g., Medici villas, Wars of religion) are one to two pages long. Entries frequently end with two or three bibliographic references, including abbreviations for the 37 historical and biographical sources listed at the beginning of the volume. The text is supported by 100 black-and-white illustrations, a thematic index, and several appendixes, including a table of ruling houses.

The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (Scribner, 1999) contains 1,200 articles ranging from one-half to nearly 50 pages in length. The Oxford Dictionary has significantly more (if generally much shorter) entries; in our sample of 86 entries, 30 were not found in the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance index. Among those unique to Oxford are the artistic terms Arabesque and Grisaille and the doctrine of Ubiquitarianism. Oxford is especially strong in Gardens, with entries for eight specific regions (e.g., Bohemian and Moravian gardens, Scottish gardens).

The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance is recommended for public and academic libraries, especially those not owning the larger Scribner set or desiring strong coverage of the Renaissance. RBB
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