001: The Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain: Prehistoric Roman and Early Medieval

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9780521309714: 001: The Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain: Prehistoric Roman and Early Medieval
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Part of a nine-volume work on literature, music, drama, the visual arts, crafts and architecture through the ages, revealing the ebb and flow of artistic creation in Britain. This volume covers prehistoric, Roman and early medieval arts.

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Here are the first two volumes available in a promising cultural survey to be released over the next three years. The first volume links the society of early Britain to its major artistic monuments. An initial section written by scholar Jacquetta Hawkes traces Prehistoric Britain from the Stone to the Iron ages. The longer sections on Roman and Early Medieval Britain, with chapters written by various scholars, are divided into two parts: "The Cultural and Social Setting" and "Studies in the Individual Arts." While works of art, architecture, literature, and music are balanced in terms of their historical significance, the emphasis is sometimes unduly weighted toward artifacts from southern Britain. Most of the chapters' weaknesses come from their need to summarize broadly. Still, this volume, with its excellent bibliographical references, succeeds in conveying a general sense of the arts, but it provides less detailed information than that found in the "Oxford History of English Art" series. Recommended for general collections and undergraduate libraries. The concluding volume in this series stresses postwar culture. Interestingly, the fine arts are very briefly treated. "The Cultural and Social Setting" explores a variety of contextual issues, from 1950s rationing to the economic tensions generated by the Thatcher government. A chapter on the Arts Council effectively describes its growth and evolution. Chapters on the individual art forms, written by various scholars, vary considerably in content; "The Visual Arts" will leave readers with the impression that only Sutherland, Bacon, and Moore are worth evaluation, while the treatment of ballet and film focus on selected mainstream artists. While craftmanship and industrial design are aptly surveyed, one of Britain's most influential contributionsstage designis overlooked. Thus, Volume 9 is chiefly valuable as a historical overview, its treatment of art and artists being too eclectic. Recommended for general collections. Paula A. Baxter, NYPL
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Boris Ford (Editor)
Published by Cambridge University Press (1988)
ISBN 10: 0521309719 ISBN 13: 9780521309714
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