Details

ISBN-10: 0393343405
ISBN-13: 9780393343403
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date: 09/04/2012
Dimensions: 8.22" L, 5.55" W, 0.94" H

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

Paperback

Price: $16.95

Overview

In the winter of 1417, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties plucked a very old manuscript off a dusty shelf in a remote monastery, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. He was Poggio Bracciolini, the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance. His discovery, Lucretius’ ancient poem On the Nature of Things, had been almost entirely lost to history for more than a thousand years.

It was a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functions without the aid of gods, that religious fear is damaging to human life, that pleasure and virtue are not opposites but intertwined, and that matter is made up of very small material particles in eternal motion, randomly colliding and swerving in new directions. Its return to circulation changed the course of history. The poem’s vision would shape the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein, and–in the hands of Thomas Jefferson–leave its trace on the Declaration of Independence.

From the gardens of the ancient philosophers to the dark chambers of monastic scriptoria during the Middle Ages to the cynical, competitive court of a corrupt and dangerous pope, Greenblatt brings Poggio’s search and discovery to life in a way that deepens our understanding of the world we live in now.

“An intellectually invigorating, nonfiction version of a Dan Brown-like mystery-in-the-archives thriller.” —Boston Globe

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Reviews
In this gloriously learned page-turner, both biography and intellectual history, Harvard Shakespearean scholar Greenblatt turns his attention to the front end of the Renaissance as the origin of Western culture's foundation: the free questioning of truth.–starred review "Publishers Weekly"
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Details

ISBN-10: 0393343405
ISBN-13: 9780393343403
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date: 09/04/2012
Dimensions: 8.22" L, 5.55" W, 0.94" H
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