Discovering the Humanities Plus NEW MyArtsLab with eText / Edition 2

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See Context and Make Connections across the Humanities

Discovering the Humanities helps students see context and make connections across the humanities by tying together the entire cultural experience through a narrative storytelling approach. Written around Henry Sayre’s belief that students learn best by remembering stories rather than memorizing facts, it captures the voices that have shaped and influenced human thinking and creativity throughout our history.

With a stronger focus on critical thinking, and coupled with the new MyArtsLab to personalize learning for each student, the second edition enables students to deepen their understanding of how cultures influence one another. It also shows how ideas are exchanged and evolve over time, and how this collective process has led us to where we stand today.

A better teaching and learning experience

This program will provide a better teaching and learning experience– for you and your students. Here’s how:

  • Personalize Learning – The new MyArtsLab delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals.
  • Improve Critical Thinking – The second edition includes features that focus on applying concepts and building critical thinking skills in the beginning and at the end of each chapter.
  • Engage Students – Henry Sayre engages students like no other with his storytelling approach and the MyArtsLab Challenge which guides students through the ages as they master the study of Humanities.
  • Support Instructors – New MyArtsLab with streaming audio, ClassPrep, Instructor’s Manual and Test Item File, and MyTest are available.

Note: MyArtsLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MyArtsLab, please visit or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MyArtsLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205883680 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205883684.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An extraordinary text with exquisite graphics and a concise and accurate, text. It engages the student in many areas of the Humanities and opens the door for further exploration." -Paul Beaudoin, Fitchburg State University

"A cohesive introduction to the subject, with great images and information on related issues."- Katherine Harrell , South Florida Community College

" Intelligently written. I like the way connections are made between periods and between cultures…. I've liked using it. The layout is beautiful. I like the large illustrations and the opening quotes, the definition of terms, the excellent reproductions, the use of primary sources and the thoughtful approach. "-Terre Burton , Dixie State College of Utah

"The text includes the vast majority of major periods, styles, and representative figures. I am especially pleased with its inclusion of non-Western material, which is critical in today's global environment. In addition, the textbook is beautifully illustrated and well-written." - Frederick Smith , Florida Gateway College

"Sayre's "Discovering the Humanities" is a highly readable text that introduces students to the pleasures of the field. His insightful discussions of individual works in the visual arts and literature show students how the same ideas are manifested in different genres in a given time period as well as how those ideas continue to influence us today. The text is ideal for an introductory level humanities course." - Sandi Landis , St. Johns River Community College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205883684
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 1/25/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 931,199
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry M. Sayre is Distinguished Professor of Art History at Oregon State University-Cascades Campus in Bend, Oregon. He earned his Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Washington. He is producer and creator of the 10-part television series, A World of Art: Works in Progress, aired on PBS in the fall of 1997; and author of seven books, including A World of Art, The Visual Text of William Carlos Williams, The Object of Performance: The American Avante-Garde since 1970; and an art history book for children, Cave Paintings to Picasso.

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Table of Contents

In this Section:

1. Brief Table of Contents

2. Full Table of Contents


Chapter 1 The Prehistoric Past and the Earliest Civilizations

Chapter 2 The Greek World

Chapter 3 Empire

Chapter 4 The Flowering of Religion

Chapter 5 Fiefdom and Monastery, Pilgrimage and Crusade

Chapter 6 The Gothic and the Rebirth of Naturalism

Chapter 7 The Renaissance

Chapter 8 Renaissance and Reformation in the North

Chapter 9 Encounter and Confrontation

Chapter 10 The Counter-Reformation and the Baroque

Chapter 11 Enlightenment and Rococo

Chapter 12 The Age of Revolution

Chapter 13 The Working Class and the Bourgeoisie

Chapter 14 The Modernist World

Chapter 15 Decades of Change


Chapter 1: The Prehistoric Past and the Earliest Civilizations

The Beginnings of Culture

The Role of Myth in Prehistoric Cultural Life

Mesopotamia: Power and Social Order in the Early Middle East

The Stability of Ancient Egypt: Flood and Sun

Chapter 2: The Greek World

Bronze Age Culture in the Aegean

The Rise of the Greek City-States

The Golden Age

The Hellenistic World

Chapter 3: Empire



Ancient India

Chapter 4: The Flowering of Religion

Faith and the Power of Belief in the Early First Millennium

Developments in Judaic Culture

The Rise of Christianity

The Byzantine Empire and Its Church

The Rise and Spread of Islam

The Spread of Buddhism

Chapter 5: Fiefdom and Monastery, Pilgrimage and Crusade

The Early Medieval World in Europe

Anglo-Saxon Artistic Style and Culture

Carolingian Culture

Pilgrimage Churches and Romanesque

The Crusades and the Culture of Romance

Chapter 6: The Gothic and the Rebirth of Naturalism

Civic and Religious Life in an Age of Inquiry

The Gothic Cathedral

The Rise of the University

The Radiant Style and the Court of Louis IX

The Gothic in Italy

Civic and Religious Life in Siena and Florence

The Spread of Vernacular Literature in Europe

Chapter 7: The Renaissance

The State as a Work of Art: Florence and the Medici

Beyond Florence: The Ducal Courts and the Arts

From Florence to Rome and Venice: The High Renaissance

The High Renaissance in Venice

Women in Italian Humanist Society

Chapter 8: Renaissance and Reformation in the North

Art, Commerce, and Merchant Patronage

The German Tradition

Humanism and Reformation in the North

Chapter 9: Encounter and Confrontation

The Spanish in the Americas

West African Culture and the Portuguese

India and Europe: Cross-Cultural Connections

China and Its Influence

Japan: Court Patronage and Spiritual Practice

Chapter 10: The Counter-Reformation and the Baroque

Mannerism and the Early Counter-Reformation

The Baroque in Italy

The Secular Baroque in the North

Absolutism and the Baroque Court

Chapter 11: Enlightenment and Rococo

The English Enlightenment

The Enlightenment in France

Cross-Cultural Contact

Chapter 12: The Age of Revolution

The American and French Revolutions

The Neoclassical Spirit

The Romantic Imagination

From Classical to Romantic Music

Chapter 13: The Working Class and the Bourgeoisie

The New Realism

In Pursuit of Modernity: Paris in the 1850s and 1860s

Impressionist Paris

The American Self

The Challenge to Cultural Identity

Chapter 14: The Modernist World

The Rise of Modernism in the Arts

The Great War and Its Impact

Chapter 15: Decades of Change

Europe after the War: The Existential Quest

America after the War: Triumph and Doubt

The Winds of Change

The Postmodern Era

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