The Swerve

The Swerve Cover

The Swerve

How the World Became Modern

By Stephen Greenblatt

W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393064476, 368pp.

Publication Date: September 26, 2011

Description
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.


NPR
Thursday, Nov 17, 2011

Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve, a dramatic account of the Renaissance-era rediscovery of the Latin poet Lucretius, won for nonfiction. Salvage the Bones, set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, by Jesmyn Ward, won for fiction. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

The Swerve

 

More Book Videos



Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation

Sign up today to hear about books and authors from an independent bookstore near you.