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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There is abundant evidence here of what is Mr. This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. The rediscovery of Lucretius, it is suggested, was a kind of “swerve” which helped to create the new cultural forms greenlbatt the Re This is a book about the philosophical epic poem De Rerum Natura “On the Nature of Things” by Lucretius, written circa first century BC.

Greenblatt’s claim is that it was a ‘key moment’ in a larger “story. Nor did Christian texts fare much better in the changing tastes of the times. Nevertheless it did not take long for these peoples to assimilate to written culture. This one poem by itself was certainly not responsible for an entire intellectual, moral, and social transformation—no single work was.

I expected to be left with ideas to think about and form opinions around. In pages followed by 85 pages of end notes, bibliography and index, and prefaced by a less than endearing introduction where Greenblatt describes himself as being blown away as a teenager by Lucretius’s notoriously difficult poemGreenblatt gives greenblattt Much of the greemblatt is devoted to Poggio’s life.

A truly radical book might have left 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.

They are among the many strands of thought that lie behind “renaissance” thinking, and indeed behind humanism too. But throughout this profusion of riches, it seems to me, a moral emerges: Retrieved January 16, Heard on Fresh Air. Neither Luther nor Calvin had any more use for Epicureanism than the Catholic Church–indeed probably much less. The rediscovery of Lucretius, it is suggested, was a kind of “swerve” which helped to create the new cultural forms of the Renaissance.


The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

The Swerve presents itself as a work of literary history. The manuscript was discovered by an Italian, Poggio Bracciolini, who was the chief saerve for several Popes. Indeed, one is hard put to find significant influence in Quattrocento Italy, no small problem for a poem that is supposed to have started the Renaissance.

But then again, the model of “Providence” that Greenblatt offers later in his book bears scant resemblance to what that concept means to me. These pagan Platonists were hardly friends of Christianity.

Aquinas and Dante, who play little part in Greenblatt’s description of medieval Christianity, found greenlatt for both love and pleasure in their philosophies.

Greenblatt traces Lucretius’s atomism into Galileo’s astronomy and Newton’s physics. Like them, he appears to misunderstand what Christians and Jews and Muslims actually believe about God, failing to distinguish between necessary and contingent being, or between immanence and transcendence. But in the early 15th century you might find yourself as the equivalent of senior speechwriter for the pope.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt

To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining Greenblatt to lick his greenblaatt over the corruption of the Church in that era, and to bewail the deaths of Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague.

My father-in-law, Texas Baptist, refused to read The Da Vinci Codebut he called my wife to ask her what it was about. A lecture course by the second-rate humanist Marcello Virgilio Adriani in the s, a transcription of the text of Lucretius by Machiavelli in his student years?


And if at the end of antiquity Augustine considered the Stoics and Epicureans spent forces, he still felt it worth his while to write a book in refutation of the Sceptics Contra Swere.

Scholars of Late Antiquity know that this process of migration was primarily characterized by gradual colonization and assimilation, not decisive battles fought by bloodthirsty hordes. Humanists did their best to liberate books from monasteries, although, sadly, many had slowly deteriorated or were erased and written over.

Because their conspicuous professions of piety, humility, and contempt gresnblatt the world are actually masks for avarice, laziness, and ambition. Turns out Lucretius was a pretty cool dude. Now — in our contemporary context, in which The Swerve is so embedded, of battling against fanaticism — are Hegel and Herder our allies? But the World is a very big place. Reissued to accompany Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: 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.

So, new visions have entered the world stage, but the method by which they battle has not changed, it has become more psychological, perhaps, but just as manipulative.

We were going to arrive at who we are without Lucretius and I have reservations about saying the rediscovery of him and his philosophically enlightened poem by Bracciolini on the cusp of the Renaissance speeded up the acquiring of knowledge or greennblatt beat back the tides of superstition which had covered the medieval world.