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Humanities Resources & Tools


Art Teacher's Book of Lists
The Art Teacher's Book of Lists - by Helen D. Hume. The Section on 100 paintings, sculptures, buildings, art objects, and photographs, makes this book worth purchasing by itself. However, Ms. Hume goes well beyond this with a full timeline on art and culture and a series of lists outlining the greatest artists of all time. Understand that this is a book of lists and thus provides minimal depth of knowledge but can instead serve as a "what to research" resource. The icing in on the cake that is this book is the chapter on architecture. For the amount of material it offers for you and your team, it is a great buy at around ten to fifteen dollars plus shipping here. Keep an eye out though, as you may find cheaper copies crop up (especially in the "other editions" section) from time to time as well.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy - by Ed Hirsch, James Trefil, and Joseph Kett. Designed, as the name says, as a dictionary, this book gives a one paragraph or less description of a person, place, object, or event. The three chapters humanities players would find most useful are those on The Bible, Mythology and Folklore, and the Fine Arts. You should already have this on your buy list for quick recall/quiz bowl, but if you need further convincing, let these three chpaters be the evidence. Especially useful as an introduction of the information to new players, it can also serve as a nice refresher for more experienced academic teamers as well. These can be purchased here for around ten to twelve dollars, which is not too bad in hardback. Or you can purchase the old version (shown left) at a discounted price here.
100 Artists Who Shaped History
100 Artists who Shaped History - by Barbara Krystal. From Phidias to Warhol, this book consists of 100 single-page biographies on the greatest artists in hsitory. While you will not find every clue that a quiz bowl question could include within the single page, this book does provide a quick rundown on the importance of the artists, including a mention of their most famous works. For the cost, its well worth the buy, especially when you consider that over two thousand years of great artists are covered. You can usually find them here for under two dollars plus shipping.
A Brief History of Painting
A Brief History of Painting - by Roy Bolton. This book is divided into chapters by movement. Starting with artwork of the ancient world and ending with modernism, this book prepares quiz bowlers with the added benefit of studying artists and pieces of art within the timeframe in which they were painted. On top of that, it has a seperate timeline for artists and artwork. An excellent book for reseach, as it does go more in depth than the previously mentioned works. Only having to pay two to three dollars in paperback is a steal for what you and your team will get out it. You can find it at that price here.
Art: The World's Greatest Paintings Explored and Explained
Art: The World's Greatest Paintings Explored and Explained - by Robert Cumming. Let's go in depth on individual paintings now. This book breaks down, not just the reason the artist painted it and what the painting reflects, but describes the meaning behind individual objects/people within the work. For the purposes of quiz bowl and quick recall, this is about as in depth as one can study on the paintings included. Obviously, since it provides information on as many details as it does, this book contains color paitings of each as well. No, you will not find 400 works of art here, but those that it does cover, will be etched in any humanities player's mind through studying this. It can be purchased here for around fifteen dollars plus shipping.
Great Artists Explained
Great Artists Explained - by Robert Cumming. Mr. Cumming was put on this Earth to design art books for quiz bowl players. While the above focusses on the paintings themselves, this book centers on the artists that created them. Each selection generally includes an example of the artist's work, a timeline of their lives, and a short biography. This book is just one example of a book that consists of many great artists described. If you choose not to go with this one specifically (as it does only feature 50 artists), find a similar book. Just be sure that it is of high quality and provides good information. This book can be purchased here for under nine dollars plus shipping.
Dictionary of Art Terms
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms - Quite simply, every team needs a dictionary for all major subjects. Art being an important topic for quiz bowl and quick recall, this one is a must. If you are a player, consider getting your own copy as you can benefit, when studying at home, from being able to determine the definition of a term you come across rather than wait until you have access to the team's copy. I also feel that this is a better resource than some internet sites as you can rely on its accuracy and you are getting answers from a consistent source. It can be purchased here for under ten dollars, an excellent price for a reference book of this quality.
Dictionary of Musical Terms
Oxford Dictionary of Musical Terms - Again, you should have a dictionary for every major topic that is covered. Thus you should buy a musical terms dictionary. If you have another that you prefer, then use that one. Otherwise you can purchase a new or used copy for under seven or eight dollars here.
The Lives of the Great Composers
The Lives of the Great Composers - by Harold Schonberg. Time to learn some more in depth information with Mr. Schonberg. He dedicates ten to twenty pages to most major composers from before the twentieth century. Each chapter covers the life and works of a composer rather well. Definitely get a copy of this book as it well help you tremendously with this aspect of humanities. If you do not have one already, use this book to create a list of works by the composer. Beyond that, take notes as you read about each composer and then re-read your notes later. By following these tips you can maximize your return on this book. It can be purchased here for between ten and fifteen dollars plus shipping.
Music: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments and Composers
Music: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments and Composers - by Max Wade-Matthews and Wendy Thompson. This encyclopedia gives short descriptions of the major composers. However, the section of this book that is going to add to your library the most is the part that covers musical instruments. These come up more often in lengthier formats, such as NAQT or ACF, however from time to time a quick instrument question will come up in quick recall as well. A copy of this book can be picked up for as little as two dollars plus shipping here.
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes - by Edith Hamilton. A classic. There is no better word to describe Ms. Hamilton's book. It covers the important stories of classical Roman and Greek mythology, beginning with the creation myths. Taking a turn, it ends with a small chapter on Norse mythology. Trust me, you will not be an expert on the Norse myths when this is done, however you will have a decent foundation from where to begin researching. The strength of this book as a resource is in the Greek and Roman myths. If you want to call yourself a humanities player, you have no choice but to read this book in full at some point in your career. It can be purchased here for under a dollar plus shipping.
100 Characters from Classical Mythology
100 Characters from Classical Mythology - by Malcolm Day. Edith Hamilton's Mythology tells the stories of Greek and Roman mythology. Mr. Day uses this book to focus instead on the characters of those stories. He devotes a page to each character but he covers almost all characters one would come across in these stories. The other aspect of this book that you don't see in many others is a well drawn out "family tree" of the gods and goddesses covered. Titans and some children of the gods are also included. Pick up a copy of this book for between eleven and thirteen dollars plus shipping here.
Broadway Musicals
Broadway Musicals: the 101 Greatest Shows of All Time - by Frank Vlastnik and Ken Bloom. This covers over one hundred (one hundred and one in fact) broadway musicals as the name says. Of course a synopsis is provided, but so is a list of the producers, lyric writers, etc. Many questions include a series of songs from the show. Since the more obscure songs are offered early in these questions, knowing them can give you a huge jump on the competition in NAQT and ACF formats. This book includes a full list of the songs in each musical. Get a copy of this book here for under four dollars plus shipping.
An Incomplete Education
An Incomplete Education - by Judy Jones and William Wilson. This book has a good music and art section. The art section is divided into movements and include the major artist that contributed the most to them. Please don't take this to mean that each movement has ten to fifteen pages devoted to it. Rather each has one page. However, do not underestimate how many points your team can pick up from this page. I personally scored many points in collegiate tournaments from this book alone, especially these sections. You are going to own this anyway because it is the number one book recommended for quiz bowl or quick recall, but just in case, you can get your copy here for under a dollar or two plus shipping. Be sure to check out the "other editions" to get the better price.

Web Sites

HyperHistory Online - With the Culture tab at the bottom, you can select a timeline for music and artists. Music covers around four hundred years, with artists covering around six hundred. On the timeline itself, a user can click on a specific composer or artist to get a brief biography to the right.
Artcyclopedia - This web site allows you to search by artist or work to find the information you seek. It also categorizes artists by movement which is nice as it helps you get a feel for where each person fits in to the history art as a discipline. Lastly, it includes art galleries and museums. Each will usually come up in terms of either its architecture, fame as an institution, or due to the pieces it houses. However, you will want to know the name of the institution you want to research as this site is not one simply for browsing. It includes many lesser known museums that will never appear in a question.
Classical.net - The important part of this web site for a humanities player is its composers section, which the link to the left will take you directly to. It includes a composer timeline that can give you a better feel for who were contemporaries. Their chronological lists are a good "what should I be researching" resource, but do not themselves provide the research. I would look elsewhere to find out which works are the most important for each composer. Specifically I would recommend research a biography page on each major composer.


List of Artists and their works - The link to the left here will give you a start with the artists it should include, but you need to develop a list of artists and their works, or conversely develop a list of works with the name of the creator with them. The best I have seen were created by Kevin Keegan and I can not tell you how many points my team scored directly from studying these lists.

List of Composers and their works - Similarly to the above list of artists, you need to create a similar list for musical composers and their works. The list I've included here goes beyond what you are going to use when just getting started. Consider using Mr. Schonberg's book "The Lives of the Great Composers" (above) to decide which composers should be included, or simply seek out Keving Keegan's list of works as it is even more comprehensive than his artworks master list.

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