Readers contemplating a cultural foray into the mainland of Europe could well find The Cambridge Guide to the Museums of Europe (Cambridge University Press, 19.95) an invaluable first port of call. A companion to the previous volume by the authors, Kenneth Hudson and Ann Nicholls published in 1987, the Guide covers all the major national and regional museums of Western Europe as well as an impressive range of collections of special interest. As far as overviews of the continent's history are concerned, the latest volume in Macmillan's series of histories of Europe is Sixteenth Century Europe, Expansion and Conflict by Richard MacKennie (35 pounds hardback, 9.99 paperback) which focuses on the four great movements Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation and Expansion which characterise a turbulent century. The celebratory aspects of that society are captured in Michel Jeanneret's A Feast of Words: Banquets and Table-talk in the Renaissance (Polity, 35 pounds) where the Professor of French Literature at the University of Geneva (the translation is by Jeremy Whiteley and Emma Hughes) probes the codes and etiquette that lay behind the elaborate ceremonial and the discourse that was associated with it.
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