One of the world’s most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an The details that Mr. Greenblatt supplies throughout The Swerve are tangy. Greenblatt won for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, a page study of the transformative cultural power wielded by an ancient. The literary critic, theorist and Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt’s new book, “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,” is partly.

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I thought I was complimenting Greenblatt when I said he was anti-Burckhardtian. Unfortunately, it does read a bit like a Cliff Notes version of Lucretius. Only a small portion is devoted to Lucretius himself some of it unavoidably speculative because we have little concrete evidence of his lifeand Greenblatt gives almost a bullet point summary of the poem okay, a slight exaggeration. Eventually, but unsurprisingly, the great medieval monasteries that preserved classical texts by patient copying of manuscripts came to neglect him.

It’s interesting to note that the British publication of this book had a different subtitle, “How the Renaissance Began” which is just as much an overstatement and raises the question, “Why do the Brits get a different title? Like many of the new atheists, Prof. As well as sharing the humanists’ passion for antiquity, Greenblatt shares their prejudice against medieval Christianity, which he portrays with the vividness but grenblatt the crudity of a cartoon.

The copy found in Germany by Poggio and the copy made for him by a German scribe no longer survived today. Greenblatt spend I came to this work, caution my armor, having heard that it was a bit speculative. He follows “the swerve” of Lucretius’s atoms briefly into the works of Shakespeare and Montaigne.

The Swerve

This story is carried mainly by chapters two, five, six, seven, and nine; makes interesting reading and is generally well-written, though it suffers slightly from being over-written see belowparticularly in the early chapters. Humanists did swdrve best to liberate books from monasteries, although, sadly, many had slowly deteriorated or were erased and written over.

See all customer images. Greenblatt does an outstanding job of laying out the significance of Epicureanism, how it was almost stamped out by the rise of Christianity and why the poem rescued by chance by an Italian humanist and scholar was a spark that helped usher in the modern world.


Over the years a few other copies or fragments have been discovered, so it wasn’t the sole surviving copy as it turned out.

Et puis quoi encore? A dubious thesis propped up by selective evidence and punctuated by digressions that were often only tenuously connected to the book’s argument. The book remains a strong seller on Amazon. Niccoli kept the manuscript for 12 years, and then finally allowed further copies to be produced. This extraordinary philosophical epic poem, composed in Rome around the middle of the first century BC, was in known only by references by other authors.

The battles get more prominent mention in written sources but archeology tells a different story.

: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (): Stephen Greenblatt: Books

Is this a case of “publish or perish”? Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Nowadays you would have a lengthy career in valet parking to look forward to. Maybe it actually was the most influential work of all time, but unfortunately, Greenblatt does not fill me with confidence about this conclusion. From the atomism of Lucretius, shared, he says, by these figures, we have a direct line through Isaac Newton to the theories of modern physics.

Greenblatt’s version of the middle ages is more or less exactly that of the humanists, in which characterless monks and self-flagellating nuns rejoice in the savage greenblaft of the church. De Rerum Natura contains passionate arguments against the fear of death, as well as some amazing descriptions. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his swerev thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied.

How the Renaissance began’ is frightfully oversold by its title and blurb. The Wonder of t Stephen Greenblatt Ph. What happened is this: The late Renaissance world didn’t see a flowering of Giordano Brunos.

Start reading The Swerve: But in grenblatt early 15th century you might find yourself as the equivalent of senior speechwriter for the pope.

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Why Stephen Greenblatt Is Wrong — and Why It Matters – Los Angeles Review of Books

I had sticky notes stuck to other sticky notes filled with sketchy bits of my handwriting Poggio would greenblattt appalled at the state of my handwriting. 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. The earliest manuscript of awerve Metamorphoses dates from the ninth century, as do the two earliest copies of De Rerum Natura.

Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. This book is great.

It is okay to read about things that you disagree with. If you have a mild interest in medieval or Renaissance history you may find this book interesting.

At some point our atoms will break free and move on in their eternal course through the void. I was frankly shocked that I found The Swerve so enjoyable! A truly radical book might have grsenblatt readers feeling more challenged by the past, less quick to pass judgment and more able to find value in ways of life alien to their own.

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt – review

There are a lot of reasons to read this lengthy essay by Stephen Goldblatt, his limpid prose style for one and his short history of the decline of the Roman Empire for another. And both sides of the colon. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver on its promise of explaining “How the world became modern. Hence he has become an evangelist for Lucretius, a new atheist proclaiming an old atheism.

Greek texts, brought by Muslim and Jewish scholars who had rediscovered thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle in libraries in Mesopotamia, began filtering into Europe almost immediately following eighth-century Muslim conquests in Spain and Asia Minor. And these copies represent only a small portion of the works even of the most celebrated writers of antiquity.