The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • 3.7 • 335 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction • Winner of the National Book Award • New York Times Bestseller


Renowned scholar Stephen Greenblatt brings the past to vivid life in what is at once a supreme work of scholarship, a literary page-turner, and a thrilling testament to the power of the written word.

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

GENRE
History
RELEASED
2011
September 26
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
368
Pages
PUBLISHER
W. W. Norton & Company
SELLER
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
SIZE
11.7
MB

Customer Reviews

No Target ,

Lucretius ideas are compelling. iTunes must find a way to allow us to read these books on our macs!

Lucretius ideas are a compelling strain of classical thought. I kind of wish I had purchased the kindle version, I can view it on all devices… a Bordeaux inspired purchase.

Annieneff ,

Absolutely stunning

Imagining how the world could have been if only Lucretius wasn't lost and, instead of reviled, followed as the visionary he clearly was, is tantalizing and inspirational.
I read it cherishing each word and part of the story. When I got to the end I went right back to the first page and read it all again. Any person who has any interest in anything should know this story.

One Suitcase ,

An enlightening and entertaining read

The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2012, and the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2011. An enlightening and entertaining read.

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