School has started back up and I am knee deep in the Renaissance. Since this is the first time I study lit history since high school I am having to sort through my brain and organise my previous knowledge about the time period and the figures in it. I don't want this to turn into a rant about my own schooling but let me just say that I can give you a clear idea about 20th century history but anything previous to that is sketchy at best. What I do know I have picked up in bits and pieces over the years from my own reading and from living in the UK and going to historical places there. So this said I need some pretty extensive hand holding when it comes to putting things into context. The school has provided us with some very good resources but perhaps the one I have found the most useful is a book we already had in the house:
The Oxford Companion to English Literature by Margaret Drabble
Yup a reference book is my lifesaver right now. It is providing me with short biographies of important people at the time. It is clearly laid out and very interesting. It is well written and gives pertinent information and the ability to continue to investigate the topic. I have to say that anyone who is a student of literature should have this book at hand. It is great. I am using an older version of the book but the newer version I have linked to also looks really good. Now what I really need is a good dictionary of history.