This wonderful reference set on the humanities and the arts in history is published by Thomson Gale, a reputable publisher in the reference book publishing business. They have brought together several scholars in the fields of the humanities and the arts, each a specialist in their particular section of this set. Each volume is about a different historical era and could stand on its own. This reference set is a compilation of fascinating information on nine disciplines: architecture and design, dance, fashion, literature, music, philosophy, religion, theater, and visual arts throughout the history of Western civilization, particularly Europe. The five volumes of this set are divided according to the historical eras of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Europe, and the Age of the Baroque and the Enlightenment.
Each volume begins with a list of contributors for the particular era of focus, an era overview, and a chronology of world events. From there it is into the nine disciplines themselves, each with a chronology of important events in that discipline, overview, topics, biographies of significant people in the discipline, and documentary sources. Within the discipline chapters are sidebars of terms with short definitions or quotes from primary sources. Many black-and-white illustrations or clear, crisp photos as well as maps help to visually explain the topic. Although the chapters end with documentary sources, some articles or entries within the chapters have short bibliographies of their own. Each volume concludes with a glossary, further references, media and online sources, and an index for that volume; there is no cumulative index for the entire set. See-also references are provided. With all of the information in this set, one could learn much about the humanities and arts.
This is a great resource for college students and others interested in the humanities and the arts throughout history. If a library of any kind can only afford to buy this set over buying numerous books on the humanities and the arts, this would be a good choice. It is not cheap, but it is well worth the cost in the sheer volume and quality of the information presented. Quite readable and appealing to the eye, this is highly recommended to any student of the humanities and the arts.