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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For Epicurus, the combination of tranquility and freedom from fear and pain leads to happiness. Greenblatt provides a list of the principle components addressed in the book with further explanation than what I’m providing in this review. Suddenly the legs turned to lead and the breathing became laboured and all I wanted to do was to finish. This last belief is said to be consoling. 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.

The Swerve | W. W. Norton & Company

What began as downsizing went on to wholesale abandonment. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: I give it 2 stars because I am soft and love the classical world and those individuals throughout history who have derived inspiration from the class Others who were disappointed by this book can express the reasons far better than I could.

Write a customer review. It would have helped our historical understanding if, in narrating the murder of Greenblath by a Christian mob, Greenblatt had mentioned that she was a notable member of the Neoplatonic school of Alexandria and therefore, by greenblwtt, no friend of Epicureanism.


With this spread of secularist and atomist thought, Greenblatt argues, the renaissance began. By subscribing you agree to W. In his well known Bibliothecathe 9th-century erudit Photius talks about a great number of texts that he read, many of which have been lost since the 9th century. Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals.

I’m not arguing against the importance of the manuscript, Lucretius’s poem On the Nature of Things, a discourse on Epicurean philosophy that includes some startling statements and insights.

A common charge against him is that he taught unbounded hedonism. Ammianus was not lamenting barbarian raids or Christian fanaticism.

To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining The best result would be an increased curiosity for the great works that enliven its pages. Greenblatt’s hero is Poggio Bracciolini, the Renaissance humanist who, in the early 15th century, rediscovered De rerum natura greenblatt a monastic library Prof. From it we learned, he says, that the world is made up of atoms colliding at random, forming and reforming objects, including whatever passes for the human soul, Geenblatt Greenblatt is a literary scholar specializing in Shakespeare.

To be alive is to be complex, contradictory, and unresolved, and in those ways and others Greenblatt makes the history come alive.


One of them, Porphyry, wrote what seems to have been a devastatingly effective debunking of Christianity, against which Church Fathers railed and which they eventually successfully suppressed. Or in the gracious courts of the Alhambra. Inheritors of greenvlatt sin of Adam and Eve, they richly deserved every miserable catastrophe that befell them. He gets it from Lucretius and accepts it without comment or any attempt to explain the logic.

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In other words, we reduce a complex history to cartoon sketches: No doubt the idea of human insignificance disturbed the monopoly of the tellers of fables who dominated the Middle ages.

Hoffman The Emperor of All Maladies: But some speculative proposals were not the only problems with this book.

Alexandria housed one of the greatest schools of the Neoplatonists. I got particularly peevish over the opening chapters in particular the spectacularly speculative recreation of a possible symposia in Pompeii and took until the middle of the book to regain my equilibrium.

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt – review

The book remains a strong seller on Amazon. 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 helped beat back the tides of However beautifully told–and it is–I think the main thrust of Greenblatt’s history, that the yreenblatt in of Lucretius’s long lost poem On xwerve Nature of Things changed the course of history might be a little overstated.

They neither were created. Like modern research universities, medieval monasteries were wealthy centers of learning and power whose leaders rotated into and out of careers in secular government. From More to Shakespeare.