Cover image for The Oxford dictionary of the Renaissance
The Oxford dictionary of the Renaissance
Campbell, Gordon, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xlvi, 862 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CB361 .C27 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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The word ''renaissance'', French for ''rebirth'', perfectly describes the intellectual and cultural revival experienced in Europe, starting early in the 14th century and ending early in the 17th century. The Renaissance was a period of intense activity, the fruits of which have had a profoundiimpact on the intellectual history and culture of the whole of Europe and the wider world. Even in the Europe of today there is still much evidence of the enduring influence of the Renaissance--in thought and society as well as in art, architecture, literature, and science. Gordon Campbell, himself the epitome of the Renaissance man, 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 beginning in 1415 and ending at 1618. These dates were not chosenarbitrarily: as well as the year of the battle of Agincourt, 1415 was the year in which Jan Hus was burnt at the stake, his reforming zeal becoming a signal which was to shape the course of European affairs for centuries; 1618 marked the onset of the Thirty Years War, a conflict which sparked yetanother new direction for European history.There are about 4,000 A-Z entries in the text, ranging in length from the very short and concise to the longer and more detailed. These entries cover a wide spectrum of topics including art, literature, science, culture, philosophy, religion, economics, history, and conflict. Over half of theentries 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. The text covers a widegeographical area including all of modern Europe (plus Eastern Europe) except for areas occupied by the Ottomans. Entries include:Biographies - artists (Master of Alkmaar, Sandro Botticelli, Jan Brueghel, Jan van Eyck, Fra Filippo Lippi, Cosimo Rosselli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rogier van der Weyden, Pieter de Witte)composers (Alexander Agricola, Thomas Browne, Peeter Cornet, Leone Leoni, Jean Mouton, Stefano Rossetto)scientists and mathematicians (Christoph Clavius, Giovanni Danti, William Gilbert, Nikolaus Copernicus)playwrights (Thomas Dekker, John Fletcher, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Hans Salat)poets (Anna Bijns, John Donne, Sir Richard Maitland, Niccolo Franco, Hans Sachs)reformers and thinkers (Johann Agricola, Jean Calvin, John Knox, Niccolo Machiavelli)royalty (Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Anne of France, Mehmet II)sculptors (Donatello, Pierre Bontemps, Claus Berg, Adam Craft, Claus Sluter)others (popes, anti-popes, theologians, statesmen, explorers, navigators, humanists, Protestant reformers, bishops, botanists, herbalists, cardinals, antiquarians, diplomats, engineers, engravers, historians, Jurists, mystics, astrologers, astronomers, philosophers, soldiers, sailors, scholars,writers, rebels, bishops, Huguenot leaders, Music theorists, actors, zoologists, clock makers, clowns)Places -chateaux (Chateau d'' Amboise, Chateau de Chenonceaux, Chateau de Fontainebleau, Gaillon)cities and states (Amsterdam, Flanders, Frankfurt, Florence, Geneva, Heidelberg, Jena, London, Madrid, Naples, Oxford, Pisa, Rome, Sardinia, Savoy)countries (Algiers, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, Holland, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Wales)continents (Asia, Europe)Themes - architecture (Dutch architecture, Flemish architecture, fountains, French architecture, marble, architectural orders, Spanish architecture) art (Bohemian art, bronze sculptures, Danish art, drypoint, etching, fresco, genre painting, Italian art, landscape painting, tempera)crafts (needlework, pottery, quilting, tiles, weaving)furniture (beds, cabinets, chairs, settles, and stools)general life and culture (Barbary pirates, coins, cookery, dentistry, gypsies, hospitals, magic, playing cards, tombs and mausoleums, torture, umbrellas and parasols)drama (dance, comedy, English drama, French drama)economy (guilds, banking, interest)gardens (botanical gardens, French gardens, Knot gardens, pavilion, topiary)health and medicine (Bethlem hospital, plague, syphilis, typhus)language (French language, Greek language, Italian language, Occitan language and literature)law (civil law, Dutch law, international law, maritime law)literature (Catalan literature, English literature, French literature, poet laureate)music (claviorganum, cornett, Danish music, harpsichord, musical notation, opera, Spanish music)printing and writing (book binding, book blocks, book covers, engraving, etching, Giunti press, imprints, woodcut)religion (Baptism, Bible, Book of Common Prayer, Brownists, Calvinism, God, Holy League, Swiss Brethren)science (astronomy, geometry, logarithms, sundials, technology, trigonometry)war (arms and armour, battle of Cascina, crusades, daggers, gunpowder, musket, Thirty Years War, battle of Tunis, wars of religion)The book will be highly illustrated with 100 black-and-white integrated pictures. The main text is also supplemented with four appendices and a thematic index.

Author Notes

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 fourplays 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 honorarydoctorate 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 Espanola de Estudios Renacentistas Ingleses.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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 Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Campbell (Renaissance literature, Univ. of Leicester, U.K.) has written a comprehensive, one-volume dictionary of Renaissance Europe. In contrast to other cultural dictionaries, which may contain articles from a multitude of contributors, about 90 percent of the entries here are written by Campbell himself. The entries range from Aachen to Zwingli and cover all aspects of the European Renaissance, from the early 14th century in Italy to the Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618, which led to the Thirty Years War. Campbell emphasizes cultural history, though he includes science, theology, medicine, and law under this heading, and places a strong emphasis on central and eastern Europe as well as Spain. He feels that the Spanish contribution to the European Renaissance has been underrepresented in most English-language works and extends his coverage to the death of the great playwright Lope de Vega in 1635, which signaled the end of Spain's Golden Age. Campbell has written this dictionary with three audiences in mind: the academic specialist, the student, and the general reader. All three will find much to value in this highly recommended work.-Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Designed as a dictionary with brief explanations of persons, ideas, and events, this volume emphasizes culture more strongly than politics. Several distinguished scholars serve as consultant or advisory editors. The front matter includes an introduction, editorial roster, thematic index, list of abbreviations, and "Note to the Reader." The dictionary proper is alphabetically arranged, with many of the brief entries followed by one or two bibliographic references. Some articles include black-and-white illustrations. The four appendixes consist of "Table of Ruling Houses," "Place Names in Imprints," "Dates at which States, Cities and Territories in Europe Adopted the Gregorian Calendar," and "Ligatures and Contractions in Renaissance Greek." The coverage of topics shows impressive range. Unfortunately, women receive too little attention in the thematic index and the dictionary entries; Christine de Pisan, for example, is absent. This volume does not attempt to compete with Scribner's Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, ed. by Paul Grendler (6v., CH, Jun'00), but it stacks up well against other single-volume dictionaries of the Renaissance. For topics such as gardens and facetiae it provides a convenient place for a first inquiry or a reminder. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All libraries. T. M. Izbicki Johns Hopkins University

Table of Contents

Editorial Team
Thematic Index
Note to the Reader
Appendix 1 (Tables of Ruling Houses)
Appendix 2 (Place-names in Imprints)
Appendix 3 (Dates at which States, Cities, and Territories in Europe adopted theGregorian Calendar)
Appendix 4 (Ligatures and Contractions in Renaissance Greek)