The Arts Past and Present: Reputations, by The Open University.
This is the first text book for my English degree which starts in October and contains chapters on figures throughout history (Cleopatra, Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Cezanne, Fame and Faraday, Stalin, The Diva, and The Dalai Lama), and how they may have acquired their reputations. It also assesses the media available to us, and how various forms can shape our views on those individuals.
I actually found this a really interesting opening to the course. The content is full of easily digestable information due to being in manageable chunks, and in relatively simple language (or relevant terminology explained).
Through this book, I have the foundations of the necessary knowledge for later study in the course on historical figures, art, science, religion, and culture. It also covers the types of documents used for historical evidence, how to interpret the various media, and how to develop my own knowledge using the skills I learn through the course.
It’s certainly kicked off to a very interesting start, and I’m looking forward to going through the other text books and supplementary material.