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Suggested Sources for Understanding Context
Start with these background sources to establish factual evidence for a play and its historical period.
Arts & Humanities Through the Eras This link opens in a new window
Profiling milestones and movements in the arts, literature, music and religion from a specific period.
Oxford Reference This link opens in a new window
Contains the complete texts of many Oxford companions, encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference titles in a fully indexed, cross-searchable database. Included in addition to articles are images, maps, timelines, bibliographies, photographs and much more.
Literature Resource Center This link opens in a new window
Contains articles from academic journals and literary magazines as well as excerpts from scholarly monographs, literary correspondence and diaries.
William Shakespeare by
Call Number: Reference (PR2976 .W5354 1985 )
Publication Date: 1905-06-01
See volume 1:
v. 1. His world : The state: government and politics under Elizabeth and James / G.R. Elton ; The church: religion and its manifestations / Patrick Collinson ; Law and legal institutions / J.H. Baker ; Education and apprenticeship / Anthony Grafton ; Economic life in Shakespeare's England / D.C. Coleman ; Medicine and sanitation / Margaret Pelling ; Shakespeare and warfare / John Rigby Hale ; Patronage of the arts / F.J. Levy ; Theaters and the dramatic profession / Andrew Gurr ; Printing and publishing in the Tudor age / Arthur J. Slavin ; The sense of history in Renaissance England / J.G.A. Pocock ; The literate culture of Shakespeare's audience / S.K. Heninger, Jr. ; Science, magic, and folklore / Micharl MacDonald ; Travel by sea and land / David B. Quinn ; "Style is the man": manners, dress, and decorum / Lacey Baldwin Smith ; Daily life in city, town, and country / George P. Garrettt ; Shakespeare and foreigners / John L. Lievsay ; Painting and other fine arts / Wylie Sypher ; Forest, field, and garden / Joan Thirsk ; Sports and recreations / Roger Pringle.
Encyclopedia of European social history 1350 to 2000
Call Number: Reference (HN373 .E63 2001 )
v. 1. Methods and theoretical approaches ; The periods of social history ; Regions, nations, and peoples ; Europe and the world -- v. 2 Processes of social change ; Population and geography ; Cities and urbanization ; Rural life ; State and society -- v. 3. Social structure ; Social protest ; Deviance, crime, and social control ; Social problems and social reform -- v. 4. Gender ; The family and age groups ; Sexuality ; Body and mind ; Work -- v. 5. Culture and popular culture ; Modern recreation and leisure ; Religion ; Education and literacy ; Everyday life -- v. 6. Biographies
Encyclopedia of Tudor England
Call Number: ebook
This encyclopedia spans the period from the accession of Henry VII in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. It also examines pre-Tudor people and topics that shaped the Tudor period, as well as individuals and events whose influence extended into the Jacobean period after 1603.
Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
Call Number: CB361 .E52 1999 Reference
Publication Date: 1999
Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelle, Cesare Boria, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, and Juan de Herrera - figures great and small, famous and little known, all contributed to the outpouring of genius known as the Renaissance. This set of volumes treats the full period of the Renaissance, from 1350 to 1650, encompassing Italy and the rest of Europe in the context of the broader world. It contains topical entries and biographies, and alphabetically arranged articles on culture, literature, philosophy, religion, economics, politics, science, and the arts, - revealing how people thought, what they believed and how they lived."
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life by
Call Number: GT31 .G74 2004 v. 1-6, Print reference (first floor)
Publication Date: 2004
We build our lives on essential but seemingly mundane things: Food, Shelter, Families, Neighbors, Work, and Play. The unremembered details of people's everyday struggles and successes have shaped history and continue to drive the world we know. Organized by time frame (each volume covers a finite period) and then by topic (Historical Overview, then Domestic, Economic, Intellectual, Material, Political, Recreational, and Religious Life, followed by primary sources).
Medieval England by
Call Number: Reference (DA129 .M43 1998 )
Publication Date: 1998-05-01
This valuable reference work offers concise, expert answers to questions on all aspects of life and culture in medieval England-art, architecture, law, literature, kings, commoners, women, music, commerce, technology, warfare, religion, and many others. It takes as its scope English social, cultural, and political life from the Anglo-Saxon invasions in the fifth century to the turn of the sixteenth century.
Examples of Chronologies
These sources help identify significant events of a specific time period. To find chronologies in Primo, use the search terms "chronology historical"
Chronology of World History by
Call Number: D11 .M39 1999 Reference
Publication Date: 1999
This four volume set includes 70,000 events and constitutes the most complete and current chronology of world history ever created.
Arts and Ideas by
Call Number: NX440 .F56 1995
Publication Date: 1994
Intended for courses in Western Humanities, this best-selling text chronologically explores the major styles as they appear in painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, music, and philosophy from antiquity to present. Using lively anecdotes, Fleming shows how the styles are linked together by common purposes, themes, and ideas.
World Eras by
Call Number: D20 W67 2001, v. 1-6, Print reference (first floor)
Publication Date: 2001
Each volume in this series has chapters on geography; the arts; communication, transportation and exploration; social class system and the economy; politics, law, and the military; leisure, recreation and daily life; family and social trends; religion and philosophy; and science, technology and health. Each chapter includes listings of primary sources (some are excerpted within the chapter) and secondary sources.
Vol. 1: European renaissance and reformation, 1350-1600
Encyclopedia of European social history
Call Number: Reference (HN373 .E63 2001 )
Covering the period from the beginning of the Renaissance to the present, this encyclopedia consists of 209 signed articles and nearly 300 biographical entries. The set is thoroughly indexed, amply illustrated, and a joy to read. Graduate students will find it useful as an introduction to historiography while advanced high school students will enjoy the articles on historical topics.
Examples of Books about Daily Life
Daily Life in Elizabethan England by
Call Number: DA320 .S56 1995 Reference
Publication Date: 1995
This hands-on approach re-creates the daily life of ordinary people, not just the aristocracy, and systematically covers the most basic facts of life in a readily accessible format.
Daily Life in Chaucer's England by
Call Number: DA185 .S48 1995 Reference
Publication Date: 1995-10-30
The first book on medieval England to arise out of the living history movement, it recreates the daily life of ordinary people, not just the aristocracy, by combining a hands-on approach with the best of current research.
Daily life in Spain in the golden age. by
Call Number: Print Books (DP48 .D3813 )
Publication Date: 1971
Description: 1. Letter from a journey in Spain -- 2. The conception of life -- 3. Madrid, the court and the town -- 4. Seville, the mirror of the Indies of Castille -- 5. Urban and rural life -- 6. The church and religious life -- 7. Public life, festivals, and popular entertainments -- 8. Domestic life, woman and the home -- 9. University life and the world of letters -- 10. Military life -- 11. The picaresque life.
Daily Life During the Spanish Inquisition by
Call Number: Print Books (BX1735 .A72 2002 )
Publication Date: 2002-02-28
Description: Early modern Spain -- Political setting -- Social setting -- The church -- The inquisition -- Jews and conversos -- Muslims and Moriscos -- The court -- Urban life -- Rural life -- Family life -- Clothes and fashions -- Food -- Arts and entertainment -- Military life -- Education -- Health and medicine.
Ancient Greeks by
Call Number: Print Books (DF78 .G276 1998 )
Publication Date: 1998-08-30
Description: Historical outline -- Space and time -- Language, alphabet, and literacy -- The people -- Private life -- The public sphere -- Pleasure and leisure --
The Ancient City by
Call Number: Print Books (DE59 .C59 1998 )
Publication Date: 1998-05-21
In addition to reading about the great monuments and moments of classical Greece and Rome, readers learn about a typical day in the life of an Athenian and a Roman.