Renaissance Science & Society – Written Work & Supplements

To further illustrate the ways in which Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, et. al. threw Europe’s strict, medieval view of the universe off-kilter, here’s an illustration of poet Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century ideas:

Of course, a sun-centered solar system, elliptical orbits, and any claim that Earth is only another one of those mysterious planets certainly turns Dante’s view of the afterlife on its head!

Both blocks had different writing assignments for the Dolnick reading; they are attached here.

Clockwork Universe – A Block

Clockwork Universe – B Block

Remember: Quiz on Renaissance art & terms on Friday!


Making up Intro Activity for Absences

For those of you who were absent when we looked at a variety of slides and wrote reflections in-class, this is the easiest way I can think of to make that up (since it involves viewing the presentation). If you download the attached PowerPoint, you’ll be able to complete the questions below. If you need this file in a different format, comment or email me directly so that I can provide it.

Happy writing!

Introductory Presentation


1) Choose one slide that you feel you “get.” Explain why – what meaning does it have? What’s aesthetically appealing about it?

2) Choose one slide that you don’t feel you “get.” Explain why – what makes it confusing? How does it differ from the first one you chose?

Make sure you cite reasons and provide explanations that reflect the content of the slide.

The Clockwork Universe – HW

Isaac Newton…the man was into wigs.

Over the weekend, your assignment – both A and B block – is to read chapters 15-16 in Edward Dolnick’s The Clockwork Universe. (Also known as pages 90-102 in the packet.)

Be sure you

1) Circle words or names we need to go over.

2) Record at least 2 questions for clarification or discussion.

Renaissance Art Slides & Note sheet

For all those who were absent, want to print slides, or bookmark these for studying reference – here you go! Email me or comment if you have compatibility problems with the Microsoft Office files so that I can get them to you another way.


Renaissance Slides

(The following note sheet has been corrected – No more Donatello typo!)

Note sheet


Welcome to Humanities II – Spring 2012

Welcome to Humanities! We’ll begin this course with a study of the Renaissance, including artists, architects, sculptors, writers/philosophers, and scientists of the era – spanning the 1400s to the 1600s in Europe. Our course will progress up to the 20th century and the present day, where we’ll see how different today’s art and philosophies are from the past – and the ways in which they are still the same.

This site will contain outlines of assignments (usually identical to class handouts), and can be a great resource in case you’ve lost handouts or need to study come finals. At times, I’ll also post interesting tidbits and supplements that, while not required course material, fit well with our discussions or show alternate perspectives of a given era/idea. I will also upload all slides of artwork here, and in that way, this site can function as your “textbook” resource for those materials that I can’t easily photocopy or distribute to you otherwise.

Feel free to leave comments at any time, or email me with more specific questions. If you ever need contact information, look to the “Course Info” link in the sidebar.

Looking forward to our semester!

-Ms. P

Reminder for All

Please remember to bring any remaining books to the final exam on Monday!  Outstanding obligations can cause problems for graduation, so it’s best to get them all in on time.

Also – please remember to return your binders/packets on Monday as well. Please try to return all pages to the binder in order!


Thanks, and good luck studying!

Dante’s Inferno

Due Tues. 1/10

1) Contrast the way Dante introduces and interacts with Paolo and Francesca (Canto V, lines 90+) with his depiction of Bocca degli Abbati (Canto XXXII, lines 76+). Decide how and why you believe these differences occur – consider the nature of the characters’ sins and Dante’s overall attitude toward sin/Hell to help you. (Use specific examples from each canto, and reference endnotes for clarifications!)

2) Consider the overall hierarchy of sin Dante depicts in this excerpt: Limbo, The Carnal, and the three levels of the ninth circle (Treacherous to Kin, Treacherous to Country, and Treacherous to their Masters). Also consider that in the allegory, the closer the crime is the Satan, the worse it is, and the worse the eternal punishment.

  • In a clear topic sentence, decide what you believe to be Dante’s overall values concerning (im)morality. Then, using examples from this hierarchy, explain why these sins are ranked as they are, clearly explaining how they imply this overall values system.

Plato’s Cave Supplements – For Fun (and clarification)

The allegory of the cave still seem a bit complicated? It’s such a visual piece, and therefore requires that we accurately imagine each piece that Socrates describes – if we are to understand him fully. I happened upon these videos over break, each of which animate the allegory – these show perhaps even clearer images than the diagrams I posted when we first discussed the reading.

This first video is a 1973 animation – pardon the fuzzy picture – narrated by the oh-so-excellent Orson Welles. It’s the most complete of the two I post here – meaning it explains a larger portion of the reading. (The narration uses Socrates’s words.)

The following video is much shorter – it includes less of the allegory – but it’s a beautiful claymation production. Enjoy!

Finals Prep

The information here matches the outline I provided to you in class – it includes all of the major terms you should know, the texts we’ve studied, and the art units from the course. Here, I’ve provided you with links to each post for the art slides, that way you don’t have to click back through the whole blog to locate them.

Consider that just remembering definitions and details of the text, while useful for some questions, will not be as important as understanding how all of those terms/concepts apply to the sources we’ve studied, both literary and visual – and how the texts/concepts relate to one another as a historical narrative.

Your test will consist of: approximately 10 slide identifications (title, artist, and aesthetic movement); several open-response questions about course concepts or excerpted lines from texts; and a long essay, which should contain a unique thesis and specific examples to support the thesis.

Click below for the list of material!

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