Renaissance & Reformation Bibliography
1450 to 1670
copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists
The emphasis here is the Continent. We are
trying to keep pages below 50K for those of you with slow modems.
So the see the other Renaissance bibliographies.
Be sure and catch the Atlas of Civilisation
series, in this case the Renaissance chapters of The Cultural
Atlas of France, The Cultural Atlas of Russia, etc.
- Marguerite de la Roque: A Story of
Popular Library, NY, 1975
In July, 1542, a young French noblewoman was marooned with her
old nurse and supposed lover on a deserted island in Canada.
Two years later, having survived her husband, child, and nurse,
she was living in relative comfort when rescued, having learned
to build, to garden, to gather, and to hunt. T2
Bray, Peter, editor
- Transport Through the Ages **
Taplinger Publishing Co., NY, 1971; drawings by Barbara Brown
Covers a bit of everything, from dugout canoes on. Emphasis on
later periods. T1
- Dinner is Served ****
Archon Books, Hamden, CN, 1968
British meals of the day and their conduct; Part One covers up
to 1660. One of the better books out on dining habits. T2
Brockett, Oscar G.
- History of the Theatre ***
Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977
Good university-level text on staging conventions, acting forms,
audience behavior, etc., which can be very different from today.
Controllable stage lighting is so new!. T2
Chisman, Isabel and Hester Emilie Raven-Hart
- Manners and Movement in Costume Plays
H. F. W. Deane & Sons, London, 1934
Gives select dances, as well as how to handle one's sword, fan,
walking-stick, and hat. Manners are very different from the 19th
century! What you think is right before reading this, is often
very wrong.. T2
Cornish, Joe, et al
- The Coast of England, Wales, and Northern
- Abrams; 142 pages; lots of photos
- In cause you need to see it but can't make
the trip. T3
Discovering Antiques; The Story of World
- Purnell Partworks, London, 1970
This was an excellent periodical, later sold as a hard-bound
set. All articles in this partwork are well-researched, with
beautiful colour photos and period art, but each is specialist
and limited. Consider this secondary or tertiary research, to
fill in the details of the world you are starting to carry in
Obviously, the five issues we have not seen will have covered
the English, Italian, French, and Spanish Renaissance, possibly
the Netherlands, and some earlier periods for antiques.
- Issue 6, German Renaissance: Durer and other
print-makers; Maximilian I as a patron of the arts, with political
chronology; furniture, bronze and silver, and stoneware.
- All run about 900 pages, occasionally over
1000, with index and bibliography. End papers are maps, and at
the beginning is an idea of coinage worth, but now you would
have to adjust further for inflation since publication. All are
clearly and pleasantly written, an excellent first book on the
- The Renaissance *****!
Simon & Schuster, 1953; now from MJF Books (you were expecting
Dover?); covers from 1304-1564.
- The Reformation *****!
Simon & Schuster, 1957; now from MJF Books; covers 1300-1564.
- Magical Jewels of the Middle Ages and
the Renaissance ***
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Let's remember that at this time science and magic, religion
and superstition, were still strongly entwined. T2
- Heraldry *****!
A. S. Barnes & Co., South Brunswick & Cranbury NJ, 1968
Easy-reading and graphic, not your usual turgid lap-breaker nor
an inaccurate surface pamphlet. Author is a classicist and dislikes
Victorian corruptions. Superb first (or only!) book on heraldry.
- Life in the Renaissance ****
Random House, no date
No dates for the illustrations, either, but the costumes may
permit you to place them. Heavy on Italy and Venice, it gives
a good feeling for life then, neither wonderous Romantic transports,
nor "short, brutish, and nasty" as others seem to polarize.
A middle ground where life is, as ever, good and bad together.
Unusual amount on female life. T2
Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine
- Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History
of Eating and Drinking through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available,
and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes,
done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part
- The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici
William Morrow & Co, or Penguin Books Ltd, or The Folio Society;
Hibbert writes wonderfully engaging histories. This one covers
from 1433 to 1743, with all the good dirt, giving the propaganda
and the truth. T2
- The War Horse: 1250-1600****
- Sutton, 1998; 250 pgs, index, glossay
- Well illustrated, well researched, but the
writing is very dry and dull, not at all like the earlier volume.
Very possibly this is because it seems all research and no experimentation,
as well as larded with entirely extraneous author prejudices
(we don't care if she thinks Henry VIII was "fat and ineffectual,"
when it has nothing to do with the subject under discussion).
Good information, but after eagerly reading other books by the
same author this was astonishingly difficult to drag through.
Staying anywhere more than a few pages was onerous. Only go here
if you have to. T3
- People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide to
the Proper Use of over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in
over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997;
613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Historical half has special Renaissance chapters for naming
practices in England, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as
a brief note on adapting the Contemporary Spanish chapter. You
may also want the Breton, Provencal, and Basque chapters. Gives
not only individual names, but the developing family names, too.
Some Contemporary chapters, like Cornish, have historical info.
- Chronicle of the
Conquest of Granada: from the mss. of Fray Antonio Agapida ****
Wonderfully well-written; carries one along like a novel: possibly
the earliest example of faction. The opening description
of Granada and its plain draws one right in. Covers the destruction
of the last Moorish kingdom in Iberia, 1454-1492. T2
- A History of Costume ****
1930; New York, G. Howard Watt
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on surviving clothes first and
artwork secondarily. Author's line drawings of construction and
detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book, which it will
greatly clarify. T2
- Lives of the Courtesans: Portraits
of the Renaissance ****
Specific biographies and common lifestyles of the "sumptuous
whores" who sold their bodies and company to some of the
most notable men of the times. T2
- Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and
During the Renaissance Period
D. Appleton, NY; 1874; "illustrated with 15 chromolithographic
prints by F. Kellerhoven and upwards of 400 engravings on wood."
Classic French Victorian concepts of the period, which
of course need adjustment, but details you won't find elsewhere.
- Military and Religious Life in the Middle Ages and
at the Period of the Renaissance
- Arts in the Middle Ages, and at the Period of the
- Science and literature in the Middle Ages and at the
Period of the Renaissance
(1878, London, Bickers & Son).
- Illustrated History of Furniture from the Earliest
to the Present Time ****
- 1903; London: Truslove & Hanson Limited;
New York:; illustrated by John Lane 1892-1903.
- A good basic reference, based on art in early
ages. You normally don't have to detail furniture, just know
if they had easily movable chairs and tables. Eurocentric, Anglocentric.
Mott, George Fox, and Harold M. Dee
- An Outline History of the Middle Ages
Barnes & Noble, NY, 1933, rev. 1950; 272 pg, indes, supplemental
references (good books to check)
Just to get you chronologically grounded, between 395 and 1564.
Covers social as well as political and religious change. The
basic history of the Middle Ages hasn't changed much since 1950;
what's changed is the anthropological and sociological interpretation
of everyday life. T1
Plaidy, Jean, aka Victoria Holt
- The Spanish Inquisition ****
Details the Inquisitions operations to root out witches, secret
Jews and Moslems, Protestants and other heretics. T2
Ratcliffe, Derek A.
- The Peregrine Falcon YY
Buteo Books, Vermillion, SD, 1980
Mostly ornithological information with a little falconry, but
valuable on how and where and when birds can be found. They are
not bred in captivity. T3
- Medieval Cities ***
George Braziller, NY, 1968
Illustrated with original city plans, gives reasons why the city
of the time grows the way it does. Most of the plans fall in
this period, rather than what we call the Middle Ages, since
this is when people started doing clear plans. T2
Schwaller, John Frederick
- The Church and Clergy in Sixteenth-Century
University of New Mexico Press, 1987
First, for all the non-Roman Catholics in the world (most people),
Schwaller is so good as to explain what the structure of the
clergy is: secular vs. regular, upper vs. lower. So you may want
this even if your characters never whiff Mexico. It is not a
bad guide to the Spanish clergy in general, if you can find no
other. A rare look into the career patterns of the ubiquitous
- Guide to the Horses of the World ***
Chartwell Books, NY, 1990, orig. 1975; 233 pg, inde
Good historical notes hidden among the breeds guide you to avoiding
most of them as too modern, and constructing your few available
breeds. Nags still rule! T2
Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer with an introductory history
of roads and travelling in Great Britian ****
- London, J. Murray, 1867; Project Gutenburg,
- Especially valuable for its introduction
on the history of roads in England, including excerpts from various
period descriptions and laws. Roads we would consider a disgrace
to a jungle island were the norm in England and Europe. Be sure
to read the sections on how this psychologically affected the
average rural village. T1
- The History of the Carriage ****
Arco Publishing Co, Inc., NY, 1969; translated by Elisabeth Hoch
My favorite description of how carriages work, and why riding
in them in this period is for display, not pleasure. T2
Thrupp, G. A.
History of Coaches
- London: Kerby & Endean, New York: The
"Hub" Publishing Company. 1877.
Tristram, W. Outram
Days and Coaching Ways ; With 214. Illustrations by Hugh Thomson
and Herbert Railton
- Macmillan and Co. New York ;1893; Richard
Clay and Sons, Limited ; London And Bungay; First Edition printed
Vivian, E. Charles
- A History of Aeronautics***
- Project Gutenberg; original, 1920
- Rather over-written, with too much ornament
to the prose. Does begin the history in antiquity with legends
of flight, and moves on to recorded attempts of the Middle Ages
and Renaissance. T2
- The Occult ****
Vintage Books, 1971; 601 pg, index, bibliography
Discusses what an adept must be, and the stories of some of the
mystics and sorcerers of the period. T2
Salamandre: Chateaux of the Loire ***
The Voyager Company, 1988; laserdisc, 30 min.
Tours eighteen of the chateaux, which may provide you with grounds
and interior for one of your settings. T2
The Alchemy Web Site and Virtual
"70 megabytes of information on alchemy
in all its facets. Divided into over 1300 sections and providing
thousands of pages of text, over 1700 images, over 200 complete
alchemical texts, extensive bibliographical material on the printed
books and manuscripts, numerous articles, introductory and general
reference material. There is also a searchable graphics database
with 800 images, and a database of alchemy books with 4600 entries
and 5 megs of text. It was first launched on 7th May 1995 and
new pages are continually being added. There are about 400 people
accessing this site each day."
The Book of Quintessence ****
The full text and translation of "The
Book of Quintessence" a mid-15th century alchemical text.
Bryan has a warning/disclaimer against "dabbling around
in chemistry" without training in safe handling practices
and hazardous substances, in which this text abounds! As he points
out that, like many would-be alchemists, you, too, could wind
up "hurt, crazy, or dead" from actually performing
any of the operations described -- not because they're demonic,
but because mercury et al rots the brain. T3
Over 200 articles on the succession, courts,
development of titles, lines of descent, legalities of claims
to titles, etc. on the upper classes of Europe. These are topics
often covered nowhere at all. As well, portrait galleries of
various families can be found.
H-GIG Historical Times & Places
A thorough-going linksite maintained by the
University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by
era (ancient, Medieval, early Modern<yours>, Modern, and
20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place
to start a hunt for books and essays online.
Internet Medieval Sourcebook *****!
Halsall is collecting texts in translation,
and also providing links to other sites like Berkeley, so as
not to duplicate effort. This huge initial page links internally
and externally to a list of period works, from the late Byzantine-early
Christian age to the early Renaissance. Wonderful source, attractive
without glitz, many matrices of approach (eg, by a topic like
women's roles or by a period). This gets bigger and better all
Maps of Switzerland****
German language site provides them from 1549-1939
Official and Original Project Gutenberg
Web Site and HomePage*****!
"Fine Literature Digitally Republished.
Since 1971 putting classic books into electronic form."
You can download many texts of the time for free, each as a single
big text file. Burn your own reference CD-R.
Salic Law *****
This page, one of many good ones at this site,
deals with what the actual inheritance law of the Salic Franks
was, how it was viewed in the early kingdoms, how it was forgotten
and only rediscovered in 1358, not applied to the French succession,
and how it was purposely misinterpreted in 1410 to exclude women
or a descendant in a female line from the throne of France.
Isles Bibliography for this period
Combat, and Warfare Bibliography for this period
City Maps for this period
of Source Documents (incl. Music)
Renaissance Fabric Colors
Sad Colours Explanation
of Middle-Tech Skills
To Native American
of Sub-Saharan Africa
of Northeast Asia: China, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia, etc.
Back to Times and Places