The first three volumes focus on ideas in Western culture needed to understand literature. Volumes 4 and 5 focus on related areas of English composition and vocabulary building. These texts examine most of the important ideas in Western culture to allow the reader to develop a deeper understanding of the world's great literature. Each volume presents a clear, concise explanation of important concepts in Western culture and provides many examples from specific texts. Although these texts are designed primarily for the study of literature, they can be read as stand-alone texts for the enjoyment of learning new ideas.
Volume 2 of this series examines the intellectual, social, economic, and historical issues that have influenced great writers of world literature. The first section presents a summary of the major periods of intellectual thought from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century. The next section presents a summary of 50 important philosophers and thinkers who have made a lasting impact on Western culture. Other sections present summaries of the most important scientists, social philosophers, political philosophers, psychologists, historians, and literary critics in Western culture. This text also includes a section on the influence of religion and science on culture and literature, especially during the nineteenth century, a time in which many controversies were examined in major works of literature.
The next section presents an overview of important historical events and discoveries or inventions in science and technology. The next section presents comprehensive coverage of popular culture in the United States with an emphasis on the 1950s and 1960s. Other sections include background information on the evolution of music including classical music, opera, ballet, and musicals. This section is followed by a chapter on art and artists and motion pictures and directors. The final sections of this text include several important lists of great books in Western culture and a list of the major book awards and prizes that are presented each year including the Nobel and Pulitzer but also including many of the lesser known awards such as the Guardian, Commonwealth, Costa, and Bailey's awards.
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About the Author
Although he maintains an interest in these areas, in more recent years he has expanded his interests to include women's literature, Southern literature, great love stories of Western culture, the role of medicine in literature, contemporary novels, and young adult novels. During the past 20 years, Dr. Branyon has taught at several major universities in North Carolina and often works with first-year students as they make the challenging transition from high school to college. He has taught courses in the survey of literature, American and British literature, world literature, composition and rhetoric, business communication, oral communication, and several interdisciplinary courses in the humanities including his favorite: Popular Culture and Literature in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. Branyon has taught composition to first-year students every year during the past 20 years, and he has gained a wealth of information on methods to help students develop their communication abilities. The author has also served as mentor and tutor to dozens of students in English Education and helped them prepare for the content and pedagogy sections of the Praxis exams. Also, Dr. Branyon has worked with several graduate students who used his reference texts in their preparation for comprehensive oral exams in their Master's and doctorate programs.