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Teaching Resources for the Renaissance

Teaching Resources for the Renaissance, 1300–1700


To submit a link to a teaching resource to be included on this page please use the resource submission form.

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Literature resources
Art and Architecture resources
History, Geography and Science resources
Music resources
Interdisciplinary and miscellaneous resources

Literature resources


Marguerite de Roberval: A Web-Based Approach to Teaching a Renaissance Heroine
Topics: Exploration, Colonialism, Literature
Description: A website on teaching Marguerite de Roberval, a young French woman, who survived being marooned on a perilous island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence during the sixteenth century. She was the inspiration for three published works in Renaissance France and numerous other accounts since then.

Digital Collections for the Classroom: Marriage and Family in Shakespeare's England
Topics: Reformation, Literature
Description: Source documents and background information showing the ways in which Shakespeare's plays respond to changes in the understanding and organization of family during the English Renaissance.

Teaching La Princesse de Clèves: A Web-Based Approach to a Seventeenth-Century Text
Topics: Literature
Description: A website designed for exploring La Princesse de Clèves with undergraduates, including teaching ideas, worksheets and discussion materials, and a list of film adaptations.

Teaching Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron
Topics: Literature
Description: A site designed to help introduce undergraduates to Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron.

Digital Collections for the Classroom; Aphra Behn's Oroonoko: Slavery and Race in the Atlantic World
Topics: Exploration, Colonialism, Literature
Description: Classroom-ready, primary-source documents relating to Aphra Behn's 1688 novel Oroonoko and the Atlantic slave trade from the Newberry Library collection.

Digital Collections for the Classroom: Shakespeare's The Tempest and Utopias of the European Renaissance
Topics: Exploration, Colonialism, Literature
Description: Historical and literary context for The Tempest and Utopias, including primary-source documents from the Newberry Library collection.

Italian Women Writers
Topic: Literature
Description: A searchable online database containing bio-bibliographical information on Italian Women Writers.

Digital Collections for the Classroom: Shakespeare's Romans: Politics and Ethics in Julius Caesar and Coriolanus
Topic: Literature, Classical Tradition, Theatre
Description: This resource exmaines similarities between 17th-century England and classical Rome, including primary-source documents from the Newberry Library collection.

Digital Collections for the Classroom: The World of Don Quixote
Topic: Counter-Reformation, Literature
Description: This resource contains information on the conditions and literary traditions of early modern Spain, including primary-source documents from the Newberry Library collection.


Art and Architecture resources


French Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum
Topics: World History, Reformation, Art & Architecture
Description: Artwork from the French Renaissance with images and texts on the work, historical moment, artistic genre, and artist. The site is bilingual in French and English and provides guides for educators.

Students' Guide to Italian Renaissance Architecture
Topics: Architecture
Description: This is a free interactive e-book on Italian Renaissance architecture that is presented within a cultural and historical context. Extensive use of explanatory graphics makes the content easier to understand.


History, Geography, and Science resources


The Work Diaries of Robert Boyle
Topics: Scientific Revolution
Description: Robert Boyle's workdiaries, written between 1647 and 1691, are a vivid record of observation and experimentation by one of founding fathers of modern science. These modest-looking bundles of papers and stitched books, some stained with chemicals and covered with notes and comments, reveal the methods and procedures of Boyle's scientific enquiries. They include records of recipes, measurements, apparatus and data collection, as well as notes from Boyle's reading and conversations with travelers and artisans. From this site you can view images and transcripts of the workdiaries, search the workdiary texts, and access reference resources on places, people and books.

The Hooke Folio Online
Topics: Scientific Revolution, World History
Description: The Hooke Folio Online is an edition of images and transcriptions of a long lost manuscript of the papers of Robert Hooke, returned to the archive of the Royal Society of London in May 2006. Robert Hooke was one of the key figures of the scientific revolution and this manuscript describes the working life of the very earliest days of the Royal Society.

The Diplomatic Correspondence of Thomas Bodley
Topics: World History, Diplomacy, Reformation
Description: Thomas Bodley is well-known for his bibliographical activities and his benefaction of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, but his prior career as a diplomat has been largely overlooked, despite being celebrated by his contemporaries. A large and comprehensive corpus of letters survives from the twelve years he was on diplomatic business, during initial extraordinary missions as a special envoy to various European sovereigns between 1585–88, and then his long residence in The Hague during his post as English representative on the Council of State for the United Provinces (Netherlands) from 1588–97. These letters, previously unedited and unpublished, are a valuable interdisciplinary resource to scholars of religious, social, cultural, geographical, military and political history. The letters also offer an important understanding of the information networks and patronage structures between official and semi-official diplomatic agents and their patrons in the later sixteenth-century.

Exploring the Explorers
Topics: World History, Exploration, Colonialism, Trade History
Description: A collection of educational resources based on the biographies of the explorers Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada. All resources are available in both English and French.

Digital Collections for the Classroom: Maps and the Beginnings of Colonial North America
Topics: Exploration, Colonialism, Trade History
Description: Website presenting maps of North America from the 16th to 19th centuries, including primary-source documents from the Newberry Library collection.

The Chymistry of Isaac Newton
Topics: World History, Scientific Revolution, Trade History
Description: Website devoted to Isaac Newton's alchemy.


Music resources


Obrecht Mass
Topics: Music, Art & Architecture
Description: This interdisciplinary resource centers around a mass by Jacob Obrecht, commissioned in 1488. One may explore the score and hear a recorded performance by a choir in a chapel in Bruges. The triptych portraying the husband and wife patrons of the work may also be examined.

Travels of the Lute: A Digital Humanities Resource for Teaching and Learning World History
Topics: World History, Exploration, Colonialism, Trade History, Music
Description: This website provides teaching and learning resources for the study of medieval and early modern world history at the elementary and secondary levels. Hosted by the University of Toronto Library and freely available to all, it features a series of videos in which players of the oud, lute, and sarod perform music and discuss the histories of their instruments; an interactive GIS mapping tool; teaching materials for a range of courses and levels; and links to additional resources.

The Lost Voices Project
Topics: The Print Revolution, Music, Literature
Description: Primary sources of series of printed partbooks with music for French chansons c. 1550. Some partbooks are missing, so the project offers sample reconstructions. Interactive instructions and software allow users to create new reconstructions of the missing voices. Playback of the music is available on the site. Texts of chansons are available as separate poems.


Interdisciplinary and Miscellaneous resources


Italian Academies Database
Topics: Counter-Reformation, Humanism, The Print Revolution, Scientific Revolution, Music, Art & Architecture, Literature
Description: The online interactive Database of Academies includes books published by Academies from 1525–1700 and people involved in Academies or in the publishing industry. It contains about 10,000 entries, in particular academicians, authors, contributors, dedicatees, printers, publishers, editors, illustrators, Academies' emblems and lists of members, and lists of books published under their auspices. Each book is described through some 20 fields. Each person is searchable, as far as possible, according to dates, nationality, profession, gender, nickname in Academies, and their role in publications.

Glasgow University Emblem Website
Topics: Reformation, Humanism, The Print Revolution
Description: The primary online resource for Alciato and for French emblems.

Dutch Love Emblems - Educational Website
Topics: Humanism, The Print Revolution, Art & Architecture, Literature
Description: A website with explanations and exercises on love emblems, a very popular genre based on word and image combinations for the youth in the Low Countries ca. 1600.

Hidden Florence
Topics: Trade History, Art & Architecture
Description: Website and geolocated walking tour audio app keyed to the social and cultural history of Florence—also works in remote (armchair) mode and designed for wide user age group, specifically teens and twenties.

Leonardo da Vinci: Between Art & Science (NEH Summer Institute, Florence Italy 2012), Edited by Francesca Fiorani and Anna Marazeula Kim (March 2014)
Topics: Humanism, Scientific Revolution, Music, Art & Architecture
Description: This collection of essays emerged from the research projects that 24 NEH Scholars developed during the NEH Summer Institute “Leonardo da Vinci: Between Art and Science” (Florence, Italy, June–July 2012), hosted by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (KHI). Over a period of three weeks, NEH Scholars explored the relations between art and science in the works of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), the versatile, canonical artist of western art who moved with equal ease among artistic, literary, intellectual and scientific circles. The Institute was organized around three major themes: Word and Image, Painting and Drawing, and Craftsmen and Scholars.

An Analytic Bibliography of Online Neo-Latin Texts (by Dana F. Sutton)
Topics: World History, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Humanism, The Print Revolution, Exploration, Colonialism, Scientific Revolution, Trade History, Music, Art & Architecture, Literature
Description: Database of freely accessible digitized printed works in Neo-Latin, dating from late fifteenth century to present. Organized by author/title, with links to the digitizing library's website.

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