Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Leonardo da Vinci from the Benezit Dictionary of Artists

Leonardo da Vinci was the illegitimate son of the Florentine notary Ser Piero da Vinci, who married Albiera di Giovanni Amadori, the daughter of a patrician family, in the year Leonardo was born. Little is known about the artist’s natural mother, Caterina, other than that five years after Leonardo’s birth she married an artisan from Vinci named Chartabriga di Piero del Veccha.

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Shakespeare’s 450th birthday quiz

William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago this month, in April 1564, and to celebrate Oxford Scholarly Editions Online is testing your knowledge on Shakespeare quotes. Do you know your sonnets from your speeches? Find out…

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An interview with Brian Hughes, digital strategist

This week is National Library Week in the United States. Oxford University Press is celebrating the contributions of these institutions to communities around the world in a variety of ways, including granting free access to online products in the United States and Canada.

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Street Photography from Grove Art Online

In honor of World Art Day on 15 April 2014, Oxford is hosting a street photography competition. But what exactly is street photography? The below article from Grove Art Online by Lisa Hostetler explores the history of street photography, as well as its relationship to contemporary art.  As Dr. Hostetler explains, this type of art includes “photographs exposed in and of an urban environment and made with artistic intent.”

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The early history of the guitar

By Christopher Page
I am struck by the way the recent issue of Early Music devoted to the early romantic guitar provides a timely reminder of how little is known about even the recent history of what is to day today the most popular musical instrument in existence.

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World Art Day photography contest

By Victoria Davis
World Art Day is coming up on 15 April. We’re celebrating with some forthcoming blog posts, select free journal and online product articles, and a photography competition. We also invite you to celebrate with us by submitting your own art to our Street Photography Contest.

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Monuments Men and the Frick

By Stephen Bury
At rare moments in time a library can have a singular impact on history. The recent release of George Clooney’s film Monuments Men (2014) has triggered an interest in the role that the Frick Art Reference Library played in the preparation of maps identifying works of art at risk in Nazi-occupied Europe. For the first time in history a belligerent was taking care of cultural treasures in a war zone.

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Georges Pierre des Clozets: the 17th century conman

By Daniel Parker
However embarrassingly you may have been hoodwinked on April Fool’s Day in the past, it is incredibly unlikely that you’ll have ever been swindled by French confidence trickster Georges Pierre des Clozets, who represented a completely fictional secret Alchemy society called ‘The Asterism’. That dubious honour fell to Robert Boyle, philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, who was duped in the latter part of the 17th century.

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Eight facts about the synthesizer and electronic music

By Maggie Belnap
The invention of the synthesizer in the mid-20th century inspired composers and redesigned electronic music. The synthesizer sped up the creation process by combining hundreds of different sounds and composers were inspired to delve deeper into the possibilities of electronic music.

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Entitling early modern women writers

By Andrew Zurcher
As Women’s History Month draws to a close in the United Kingdom, it is a good moment to reflect on the history of women’s writing in Oxford’s scholarly editions. In particular, as one of the two editors responsible for early modern writers in the sprawling collections of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO), I have been going through the edited texts of women writers included in the OSEO project.

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Discussing Josephine Baker with Anne Cheng

By Tim Allen
Josephine Baker, the mid-20th century performance artist, provocatrix, and muse, led a fascinating transatlantic life. I recently had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Anne A. Cheng, Professor of English and African American Literature at Princeton University and author of the book Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface, about her research into Baker’s life, work, influence, and legacy.

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Kathleen J. Pottick on Superstorm Sandy and social work resources

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, one group of dedicated social work scholars at Rutgers University explored options to offer funding and training programs to assist clients who were hit hard. One of their more recent initiatives provided subscriptions to the Encyclopedia of Social Work Online to seven agency directors who needed access to scholarly research to guide their work in the field.

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Shirley Temple Black: not a personality to be bunked

By Gaylyn Studlar How does one talk about a child star without lapsing into clichés? Shirley Temple was “the biggest little star,” the “kid who saved the studio,” and as she was called in the 1930s, “the baby who conquered the world.” Temple, who died 10 February 2014, at the age of eighty-five, was not […]

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Women of 20th century music

Women musicians push societal boundaries around the world, while hitting all the right notes. In honor of Women’s History Month, Oxford University Press is testing your knowledge about women musicians. Take the quiz and see if you’re a shower singer or an international composer!

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