The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-FictionOne of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a... show more
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-FictionOne of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson. 16 pages of color illustrations
Publish date: 2012-09-04
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pages no: 368
Edition language: English
Interesting and Informative but lousy narrator.
The story of how Lucretius', The Nature of Things, was found and brought to the modern world. At times it was over my head. I had to re-read some paragraphs to understand what was being said. I liked the synopsis of Lucretius' work. I also liked learning about the time of three popes. Interesting bu...
I really enjoyed this book, but I also felt slightly disappointed. I'm not very familiar with the Renaissance or many of the movements discussed -- humanism, atomism, Epicureanism, and it was fascinating. But I felt that Greenblatt's concentration on the impact of De Rerum Naturum on a few selected ...