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Research Quick Start Guides

The Renaissance

Encyclopedias: History |Religion & Philosophy |Music & Art | Literature | Science | Bibliographies | Indexes | Media | Resources | Internet Resources

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries can provide descriptions, overviews, and lists of recommended reading


Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (Green Library Information Center CB361.C26 1966) good starting point for cultural history.

Atlas of the Renaissance (Green Library Information Center CB361.A89 1993f) oversized, look for on bottom shelf.

The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (Green Library Information Center CB361.B43 1988)

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation (Green Library Information Center BR302.8.O93 1966) 4 volumes.

Reformation Europe (Green Library Information Center & Stacks BR305.2.R39 1982 & Reformation Europe II (Green Library Information Center BR430.R442 1992) useful bibliographic essays for various aspects of 16th century Europe.

The Renaissance: an Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1979 (Green Library Information Center CB361.R26)

The New Century Italian Renaissance Encyclopedia, [1972] (Green Library Information Center DG533.N4)

A Concise Encyclopaedia of the Italian Renaissance , 1981 (Green Library Information Center DG445.C66)


Handbook of European History, 1400-1600: Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation (Green Library Information Center D203.H36 1994) 2 volumes

Major Problems in the History of the Italian Renaissance (Green Library Information Center and Stacks DG533.M27 1995) contains survey articles on many topics including gender, marriage, and the concept of The Renaissance.

Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas (Green Library Information Center. CB5.D52) (esp. vol. 4, pp. 121-152).

New Cambridge Modern History (Green Library Information Center & Stacks D208.N4 v. 1) Volume 1 of this set is devoted to lengthy scholarly essays on the Renaissance, 1493-1520.

The Cambridge Economic History of Europe (Green Library Stacks HC240.C3) covers Middle Ages through the 19th C.

Encyclopedia of Asian History (Green Library Information Center DS31.E53 1988)

The Cambridge History of Latin America (Green Library Information Center & Stacks F1410.C1834 1984) (see especially vols. 1 & 2)

New Iberian World: A Documentary History of the Discovery and Settlement of Latin America to the Early 17th Century (Green Library Stacks F1411.I18 1984)

Dictionary of the Middle Ages (Green Library Information Center D114.D5 1982) covers through the 15th C.

Research Guide to European Historical Biography, 1450 to Present (Green Library Information Center Z5304.C44 R47) includes excellent introductions to biographical sources for major Renaissance figures.

Annotated Index of Medieval Women (Green Library Information Center CT3220.A56 1992) brief descriptions of women plus references

Children in Historical and Comparative Perspective (Green Library SSRC HQ767.87.C48 1991) especially chapters 2-3.

Atlas of World Population History , 1978 (Green Library Information Center HB851.M32)

Times Atlas of World Exploration (Green Library SSRC G1036.T5 1991f)

Christopher Columbus Encyclopedia (Green Library Information Center E111.O744)

The Collins Encyclopedia of Military History: from 3500 B.C. to the Present , 4th ed. (Green Library Information Center D25 .A2 D87 1993)

Weapons: An International Encyclopedia from 5000 BC to 2000 A.D. (Green Library Information Center U800.D55 1980)

Religion and Philosophy

The Encyclopedia of Religion (Green Library Information Center & Stacks BL31.E46 1987)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (Green Library Information Center DS102.8.E496) also available on the Information Center CD-ROM cluster..

New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed. Green Library Information Center BX841.N44 2003; 1st ed. in Green Library Stacks BX841 .C25 1967)

Encyclopedia of Islam (Green Library Information Center DS37.E523)

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy also in paper (Green Library Information Center B51 .R68 1998)

Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Green Library Stacks B41.E5 1972)

Music and Art

New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians 2nd ed. (paper version shelved in Music Library Ref. ML100.G883 2001) provides an overview of music of the Renaissance, plus a list of further readings.

Encyclopedia of World Art (Green Library Information Center N31.E533f)

Encyclopedia of Themes and Subjects in Painting (Green Library Information Center ND1288.D3 1971)

Halls Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art (Green Library Information Center N7560.H34 1979)

Signs and Symbols in Christian Art (Green Library Information Center N7830.F37 1959)

Literature and Drama

European Writers: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Green Library Information Center PN501.E9 1983) Lengthy scholarly articles cover each writer's works and life, plus essays on genre such as "Renaissance Pastoral Poetry."

British Writers (Green Library Information Center PR85.B688)

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Green Library Information Center Ready Ref. PN1021 .N39 1993) contain essays on "Renaissance Poetics" and "Renaissance Poetry" which provide a good overview.

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama, 2nd ed. (Green Library Information Center PN1625.M3 1984) contains a short overview of Renaissance drama, as well as essays under more specific topics such as Elizabethan drama.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (Green Library Information Center PS129.D52) Volume 62: Elizabethan Dramatists and Volume 58: Jacobean and Caroline Dramatists traces the work and development of various dramatists. Volumes 132, 136, 167, and 172: Sixteenth-Century British Nondramatic Writers and Volume 179: German Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation, 1280-1580. Check the cumulative index in the latest volume for others.

Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (Green Library Information Center & Stacks PN86.L53) excerpts of criticism, both past and present.

Shakespearean Criticism (Green Library Information Center & Stacks PR2965.S43) excerpts of criticism, both past and present.

The Cambridge History of English Literature (Green Library Stacks PR83.C26 1970) see especially vols. 3 & 4.

The History of the English Language: A Sourcebook, 2nd ed. (Green Library Information Center PE1075.5.B87 2000)

A Milton Encyclopedia (Green Library Information Center PR3580.M5) covers life and work of Milton.


Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science (Green Library HASRC Q125.S32)

An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology (Green Library Information Center T15.E53 1996)

A History of Technology (Green Library Information Center T15.S56) vols. 2- 3 cover the Middle Ages & Renaissance.

The Timetables of Science: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in the History of Science (Green Library Information Center Q125.H557 1989) (esp. "The Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution: 1453-1659" pp. 90- 145.)

Dictionary of Scientific Biography (Green Library Information Center Q141.D5) for articles on "the principal mathematicians and natural scientists of all regions and all historical periods."

Landmarks in Science: Hippocrates to Carson (Green Library Stacks Q125.L29)

Timetables of Technology (Green Library Information Center T15.B73 1993)

Companion Encyclopedia of the History and Philosophy of the Mathematical Sciences (Green Library HASRC QA21.E57 1994)

Encyclopedia of Medical History (Green Library Information Center R133.M34 1985)

Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine (Green Library HASRC R133.E5 1993)


International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Green Library SSRC H41.I58 2001)

Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (Green Library Information Center & Stacks HQ76.25.E53 1990)

The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft (Green Library Information Center BF1566.G85 1989)

Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology , 4th ed. (Green Library Information Center BF1407.E52 1996)

The Oxford History of the Prison (Green Library SSRC HV8501.O94 1995)

Travel Guide to Europe, 1492: Ten Itineraries in the Old World (Green Library HASRC CB367.T73 1992) information about geography, travel and daily life in 15-16th century Europe.


Bibliographies can help you identify books and articles on a subject.

Kohl, Benjamin G. Renaissance Humanism, 1300-1550: A Bibliography of Materials in English. (Green Library Stacks Z7128.H9K64 1985) This bibliography tries to list all articles and books published on this subject through 1982.

American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature 3rd. ed. (Green Library Information Center Ready Ref. Z6201.A55 1995) excellent list of books in history published since 1968.

Women in Western European History (Green Library Information Center Z7961.F74 1982 & suppl.) Lists of works on women during the "Renaissance/Reformation" can be found on pp. 353-462.

Women in Medieval History and Historiography (Green Library HASRC HQ1143.W635 1987)

Matrology: A Bibliography of Writings by Christian Women from the First to the Fifteenth Centuries (Green Library Information Center Z7751.K33 1995)

Domestic Society in Medieval Europe: A Select Bibliography (Green Library Stacks Z7164.M2 S46 1990) through the 16th C.

Society and Economy in Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789 (Green Library Stacks HC240.T356 1989)

Medieval Sexuality, A Research Guide (Green Library Information Center Z7164.S42 S24 1990)

History of Ideas: A Bibliographical Introduction (Green Library Stacks Z7125.T58) v. 2 "Medieval & Early Modern Europe"

The New Intellectuals: A Survey and Bibliography of Recent Studies in English Renaissance Drama (Green Library Information Center Z2014.D7 L817).

English Prose, Prose Fiction, and Criticism to 1660 (Green Library Information Center Z2014.P795 H45)

English Drama, 1660-1800 (Green Library Information Center Z2014.D7 L55)

English Poetry, 1660-1800 (Green Library Stacks Z2014.P7M44 1982)

The Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies (Green Library Stacks Z8811.C53 1986)

The Essential Chaucer: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies (Green Library Stacks Z8164.A43 1987)

Isis Cumulative Bibliography (Green Library HASRC Z7405.H6I2+ see also History of Science, Technology, and Medicine below for electronic version) covers history of science

Bibliography of the History of Technology [1968] (Green Library Stacks Z7914.H5F4)

Periodical Indexes

Periodical Indexes can help you identify articles in scholarly journals. These include indexes in paper and electronic formats.

Art Abstracts (1984+).

Historical Abstracts (1954+) covers world history except U.S. & Canada.

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (1976+) Not compatible with Netscape 6.1.

Humanities Abstracts (1984+; abstracts beginning in 1994) part of FirstSearch from OCLC. older ones shelved at Green Library Information Center AI3H8

MLA Bibliography (1963+) indexes literature, languages, and folklore - part of FirstSearch from OCLC. Choose Periodical Record link in full record display to see information from MLA Directory of Periodicals.

Philosopher's Index (1940+) paper version shelved under Green Library Information Center Z7127.P4

ATLA Religion Database (1946+) includes some fulltext (ATLAS), part of FirstSearch from OCLC.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (under Music Literature) (1967+), part of FirstSearch from OCLC.

World Biographical Index - also try another interface for printing and emailing results.

Media Resources

Green Library's Media-Microtext Center has films, slides, recorded music and other materials that can enhance your understanding of the Renaissance.

Internet Resources

Check out a selected list of Humanism and the Renaissance web sites and a page for 15th and 16th century printed books.

Last modified: September 17, 2008

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