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Find out how the OU Library can support your studies in the arts & culture

Home News Find out how the OU Library can support your studies in the arts & culture

Here at the OU we offer a wide range of qualifications in Art History, Classical Studies, Creative Writing, English and Music.  The OU Library is full of resources to support you in these studies and here are just a few we’ve selected:

[[[image-0 medium right]]]Did you know the carol "Silent Night" was first performed without music?  Apparently it was sung unaccompanied at Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve 1818 in Oberndorf, Austria because church mice had supposedly chewed through the organ bellows.

You can find out about its Austrian composer and organist Franz Gruber (1787 – 1863) and Josef Mohr, the assistant priest at St Nikolaus who wrote the words, and a host of other composers and their music, in Grove Music Online. If you're looking for introductory topics, Oxford Music Online is a gateway into music research and the access point to oxford music reference titles

If your'e interested in finding out what life was like in Victorian Britain over the festive season and what the Victorians did for entertainment, Victorian Popular Culture invites you into the darkened halls, small backrooms, big tops and travelling venues for a taste of spectacles and bawdy burlesques, magic shows, spiritualist séances and the first moving pictures.  You can view digitized Christmas annuals and pantomime scores or watch early cinema footage.  ‘Rough Sea at Dover’, one of the oldest surviving British films from the British Film Institute, was filmed using a Thomas Edison camera in 1895 and ‘Santa Claus’ produced by G.A.Smith, was one of the first British films to make extensive use of special effects producing fantastical creations.

[[[image-1 medium left]]]If you are studying art, you may like to find out more about expressionism which emerged at the same time in many cities across Germany in the late eighteen and early 1900s.  It depicted an art form that came forth from within the artist rather than the artist’s view of the external visual world.  Expressionist painters often used exaggerated swirling brushstrokes to convey the turmoil of the emotional state they were feeling.

You can discover more about the highly emotive portraits of Edvard Munch and Frida Kahlo depicting scenes of angst and alienation in Oxford Art Online, a single gateway for simultaneously cross-searching a wide range of up-to-date, trusted Oxford reference works by category, image, subject or biography. For more in-depth scholarly content containing specialists from around the world and bibliographies for further research, filter and search within Grove Art Online.

For trusted, peer-reviewed resources in the Classics, The Oxford Classical Dictionary contains in-depth, up-to-date, well-established, scholarly references.  Using a simple A - Z function, you can search over 6,200 entries from Aristotle and Homer to the Trojans and Virgil - and everything in-between.  Also includes extensive bibliographies for further reference.

For a less detailed introduction to the classics, The Oxford Companion to Classical literature is the ideal guide containing all the essential facts about classical authors, characters, tales and plot summaries from ancient myth and literature, with an easy-to-search A-Z index.