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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The worst part, swervee, is that people are not outraged. One is a popular, personalized history of the medieval Florentine humanist and bookhunter, Poggio Bracciolini, who is Greenblatt’s subject by virtue of being the person rediscovered the book De rerum naturaknown in English as On the Nature greenboatt Thingsgrfenblatt the Epicurean Roman philosopher-poet Lucretius, in a monastery and brought it into circulation among medieval humanists.

The ordinary self-protective, pleasure-seeking impulses of the lay public could not hold out against the passionate convictions and overwhelming prestige of their spiritual leaders. Death is nothing, and should be neither sought out nor feared. What a mealy-mouthed bunch of bullshit. When Poggio found De Rerum NaturaGreenblatt argues, he discovered “a book that would help in time to dismantle his entire world” by bringing a concern for worldly pleasure to the moral life.

By the 12th century, Aristotle was widely known to European scholars, and major theologians such as Thomas Aquinas spent the 13th century attempting to form a grand synthesis of Aristotelian and Christian thought. September 26, hardcover September 3, paperback September 19, kindle. Write a customer review.

Writing in The New RepublicDavid Quint saw the book as situated in a controversial tradition that views the Renaissance as a victory of reason over medieval religiosity, following John Addington SymondsVoltaire and David Hume.

I have only one complain about this book. First, the title is completely misleading. Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, greemblatt it a second life.

In fact, I find it lacking credibility, not least because the story itself shows us the foundation of modernist thinking already in place prior to the rediscovery of Lucretius’ poem!


View all 19 comments. So whatever subverts the medieval regime is modern or leads to modernity. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. A promotion and dissertation swervve atheist greenbltat and morals makes up the best chapter, “The Way Things Are.

The points above are ticked of in less than 15 pages. For that, I give the book 2 stars. Their philosophy was crudely portrayed as hedonistic “all about pleasure”, but it was far more subtle.

Showing of reviews. An admirer of Epicurus, Lucretius wrote that the universe as we know it is made up solely of atoms and void. From the atomism of Swerce, shared, he says, by these figures, we have a direct line through Isaac Newton to the theories of modern physics. Epicurus’ materialism is the deepest heresy to Christians. 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.

Other pagan philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle, allowed for a creator. The war of beliefs that rages today is not new, but is merely a continuation of fear versus reason, and belief versus logic.

He then noticed a thick patch of nettles and briers next to him.

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

Gods, if they did exist, greenblaatt be too busy with their divine existence to care about the obedience and suffering of humans. This was Supposing you were fluent in ancient and modern Latin as well as French, Spanish, and Italian, and of course Greek; that you had trained yourself to be focused and swift at your work and to make a minimum of errors; and further that your handwriting was acknowledged to be particularly clear and elegant.

My beef with this book is that Swsrve never achieved greenbatt wonder. Not only did the ultra-orthodox Thomas More make his Utopians Epicureans without the least obeisance to Lucretius, but the great Erasmus also added insult to injury by expressing several times his appreciation of Epicureanism while ignoring Lucretius entirely it is not even clear that he, probably the best read classical scholar of the day, even studied Lucretius, though he surely must have dipped into him.


It was alive and being talked about after “On The Nature of Things” was rediscovered, talked about and accepted to the point where the Inquisition had to forbid it and trainee Jesuits had to recite a catechism against it. But he doesn’t deliver.

In this dearth of evidence, Greenblatt grasps at what come close to being straws as did Alison Brown in her recent small book on Lucretius in Renaissance Florence 1. Indeed, he manages to get from Machiavelli to Jefferson in less than fifty pages. A richly entertaining read about a radical ancient Roman text that shook Renaissance Europe and inspired shockingly modern ideas like the atom that still reverberate today. To be sure, someone in the conversation concedes, there are some good and sincere monks, but very, very few of them, and one may observe even those slowly drawn toward the fatal corruption that is virtually built into their vocation.

Michael Dirdaof The Washington Postwrote that “by no means a bad book, The Swerve simply sets its intellectual bar too low, complacently relying on commonplaces in its historical sections and never engaging in an imaginative or idiosyncratic way”. Heretics who believed in atoms and the end of the soul were burned at the stake, after torture and mutilation, in the name of religion.

What was once in effect a radical counterculture insisted with remarkable success that swdrve represented the core values of all believing Christians. And the further you read, the more astonishing it becomes.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

How the Renaissance began’ is frightfully oversold by its title and blurb. I was frankly shocked that I found The Swerve so enjoyable! Saint Benedict wandering along a path thinking pious thoughts one day suddenly had the image of a desirable woman intrude upon his heavenly internal discourse and found himself aroused.

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