If you desire a thorough review of strength training and analyze how many variables affect the results, I would direct you towards Supertraining by Yuri V Verkhoshansky & Mel C Siff. One of the bible of training... but not an easy read.
Regarding your specific question, as many times in training, it depends. On you and your objectives.
If objective is hypertrophy, it does not really matter. What matters in the end is time under tension and number of fibers that have been damaged. So "the more the better" as long as you can recover properly and you do not overtrain. Otherwhise, here comes a stop to your progression or worse an injury.
If objective is strength, then you need to go for quality of the repetition i.e. taking as much recovery as needed and splitting the reps as needed to reach highest quality. Strength is gained not only by increasing the muscle size but also by increasing neural output, capacity to recruit more fibers. And working these components have to be done at higher intensity (more weight) and exhausts your system severely. Hence the need for proper recovery and split of sets.