The Swerve: How The World Became Modern

Category: Book
By (author): Greenblatt, Stephen
Subject:  HISTORY / General
  HISTORY / Renaissance
Publisher: WW Norton
Published: September 2012
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 8.22in x 5.52in x 1.00in
Our Price:
$ 22.95
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*One 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.
Review Quote*"More wonderfully illuminating Renaissance history from a master scholar and historian." - starred review (Kirkus Reviews)

"In this outstandingly constructed assessment of the birth of philosophical modernity, renowned Shakespeare scholar Greenblatt deftly transports reader to the dawn of the Renaissance...Readers from across the humanities will find this enthralling account irresistible." - starred review (Library Journal)

"[] is thrilling, suspenseful tale that left this reader inspired and full of questions about the ongoing project known as human civilization." - Boston Globe

"Can a poem change the world? Harvard professor and bestselling Shakespeare biographer Greenblatt ably shows in this mesmerizing intellectual history that it can. 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." - Newsweek

"A fascinating, intelligent look at what may well be the most historically resonant book-hunt of all time." - Booklist

"Pleasure may or may not be the true end of life, but for book lovers, few experiences can match the intellectual-aesthetic enjoyment delivered by a well-wrought book. In the world of serious nonfiction, Stephen Greenblatt is a pleasure maker without peer." - Newsday
Biographical NoteSTEPHEN GREENBLATT is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, editor of The Norton Shakespeare, and prize-winning author of many academic books, including Hamlet in Purgatory.