I am in some concern for future ages how any man will be learned...
The Big Idea
Consider a tourist who opens Google Maps to navigate downtown London. At first, the map loads at a low elevation, making it difficult to comprehend the city's layout. The tourist therefore zooms out to an appropriate elevation.
Now consider a scholar in pursuit of a basic awareness of world history. A specialized history work (e.g. a book that concentrates on a single nation or period) would be no more helpful to the scholar than the overly detailed map would be for the tourist. The scholar, like the tourist, must "zoom out".
Swift's concern (whether anyone can be "learned" in an age of overwhelming scholarly material) may therefore be assuaged. It matters not how great a mountain of books are produced, just as it matters not how vast an area a mapmaker must chart. It is simply a matter of rising to the appropriate elevation.
Too often, amateur scholars seeking a basic overview of history or art history become mired in excessive detail. Essential Humanities seeks to help remedy this, by providing a "map" of history and art composed at an appropriate elevation for the amateur scholar.
Throughout Essential Humanities, sources are indicated by superscript text. In most cases, sources are identified by numbers and listed at the bottom of the article. These are mainly encyclopedia entries.
A few book sources are identified by a letter/number combination; the letter indicates the book, while the number cites the page. This short bibliography is listed here:
- A - "A Short History of the World", John M. Roberts.
- B - "National Geographic Concise History of the World: An Illustrated Time Line", Neil Kagan.
- C - "Instant Art History: From Cave Art to Pop Art", Walter Robinson.
- D - "Art: A World History", DK Publishing.
- E - "The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History", Carol Strickland.
- F - "Story of Art", E.H. Gombrich.
- G - "Art: A Brief History, Second Edition", Marilyn Stokstad, Margaret A. Oppenheimer, Stephen Addiss.
- H - "Gardner's Art Through the Ages, Tenth Edition", Richard Tansev, Fred S. Kleiner, Horst De La Croix.
- I - "Concise History of Western Music, Second Edition", Barbara Russano Hanning, Donald J. Grout.
- J - "Stephen Fry's Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music", Tim Lihoreau.
- K - "History: The Definitive Visual Guide", Adam Hart-Davis.
Reproducing Content (Short Version)
You are permitted to reproduce content from my website for non-commercial educational purposes (e.g. handouts for your class), and I am delighted should you choose to do so. :) Please cite the title and URL of any page from which you reproduce content.
Reproducing Content (Long Version)
I, the author of this website, hold the copyright on the entire contents of this website, with two exceptions:
- public domain images and audio files that were copied from Wikimedia Commons and were not subsequently modified; naturally, these files remain in the public domain
- images and audio files copied from Wikimedia Commons that are licensed for reuse on condition of attribution; this attribution is provided in every case, along with a link to the original file (where its licence can be viewed)
Regarding the material on this website on which I hold the copyright:
- you may copy and share this material for non-commercial educational purposes, provided that the page title(s) and URL(s) are cited
- you may not use this material for commercial purposes; you may not sell this material in any form, nor include this material in any product that is sold
Looking for a Charity to Support?
Why not consider the Kibaale Children's Centre (KCC), which helps disadvantaged children in Uganda? I became aware of the KCC via the advocacy of Bram Moolenaar, author of Vim, one of the most popular text editors among programmers/power users; Essential Humanities is composed with Vim. You can sponsor a child for a modest monthly fee, or make a one-time donation. See Bram's appeal for more information, or go straight to the Kibaale sponsorship page.
Please send comments or questions to Humphrey Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.