The Swerve : How the World Became Modern

The Swerve : How the World Became Modern
Author: Stephen Greenblatt
Rating: 3.85
Bestsellers Rate: 20563
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Book Format: Paperback
Binding: None
Pages: 368
Hours of reading: 6.1 hours
Publication Date: 2021
Languages: | English |
Price: 15,23 €

About the book

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

Reviews

None

Quotes

"The ideas in The Swerve are tucked, cannily, inside a quest narrative. . . . The details that Mr. Greenblatt supplies throughout The Swerve are tangy and exact. . . . There is abundant evidence here of what is Mr. Greenblatt's great and rare gift as a writer: an ability, to borrow a phrase from The Swerve, to feel fully 'the concentrated force of the buried past.'" -- New York Times "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 "More wonderfully illuminating Renaissance history from a master scholar and historian." -- starred review - Kirkus Reviews "In The Swerve, the literary historian Stephen Greenblatt investigates why [Lucretius'] book nearly dies, how it was saved and what its rescue means to us." -- Sarah Bakewell - New York Times Book Review "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 "Every tale of the preservation of intellectual history should be as rich and satisfying as Stephen Greenblatt's history of the reclamation and acclamation of Lucretius's De rerum natura from obscurity." -- John McFarland - Shelf Awareness "It's fascinating to watch Greenblatt trace the dissemination of these ideas through 15th-century Europe and beyond, thanks in good part to Bracciolini's recovery of Lucretius' poem." -- Salon.com "But Swerve is an intense, emotional telling of a true story, one with much at stake for all of us. And the further you read, the more astonishing it becomes. It's a chapter in how we became what we are, how we arrived at the worldview of the present. No one can tell the whole story, but Greenblatt seizes on a crucial pivot, a moment of recovery, of transmission, as amazing as anything in fiction." -- Philadelphia Inquirer "[The Swerve] 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 "The Swerve is one of those brilliant works of non-fiction that's so jam-packed with ideas and stories it literally boggles the mind." -- Maureen Corrigan - NPR/Fresh Air

Stephen Greenblatt Biography

Stephen Jay Greenblatt (born November 7, 1943) is an American Shakespearean, literary historian, and author. He has served as the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University since 2000. Greenblatt is the general editor of The Norton Shakespeare (2015) and the general editor and a contributor to The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Greenblatt is one of the founders of new historicism, a set of critical practices that he often refers to as "cultural poetics"; his works have been influential since the early 1980s when he introduced the term. Greenblatt has written and edited numerous books and articles relevant to new historicism, the study of culture, Renaissance studies and Shakespeare studies and is considered to be an expert in these fields. He is also co-founder of the literary-cultural journal Representations, which often publishes articles by new historicists. His most popular work is Will in the World, a biography of Shakespeare that was on The New York Times Best Seller list for nine weeks. He won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2012 and the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2011 for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.

Life and career

Education and career

Greenblatt was born in Boston and raised in Newton, Massachusetts. After graduating from Newton North High School, he was educated at Yale University (BA 1964, PhD 1969) and Pembroke College, Cambridge (MPhil 1966). Greenblatt has since taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. He was Class of 1972 Professor at Berkeley (becoming a full professor in 1980) and taught there for 28 years before taking a position at Harvard University. He was named John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities in 2000. Greenblatt is considered "a key figure in the shift from literary to cultural poetics and from textual to contextual interpretation in U.S. English departments in the 1980s and 1990s."Greenblatt is the founder and faculty co-chair of Harvard's branch of the Scholars at Risk (SAR) program. SAR is a U.S.-based international network of academic institutions organized to support and defend the principles of academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars around the world. Greenblatt was a long-term fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. As a visiting professor and lecturer, Greenblatt has taught at institutions including the École des Hautes Études, the University of Florence, Kyoto University, the University of Oxford and Peking University. He was a resident fellow at the American Academy in Rome, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1987), the American Philosophical Society (2007), and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2008); he has been president of the Modern Language Association.In February 2022, Greenblatt was one of 38 Harvard faculty to sign a letter to the Harvard Crimson defending Professor John Comaroff, who had been found t ... Read full biography

Authors: Stephen Greenblatt
Editors:
Translators:
Illustrators:
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Imprint:
Languages: | English |
Original Language:
ISBN13: 9780393343403
ISBN10: 0393343405
Series:
Reference Edition:
Edition: None
Edition Statement: Reprint
Illustrations: 16 pages of color illustrations
Literature Country: None
Literature Period: None
Book Format: Paperback
Book Binding: None
Paper: None
Font: None
Pages: 368
Book Weight: 425
Book Dimensions: 140x211x28
Circulation: None
Publication date: Sept. 1, 2018
First Publication Date: None
Publication City/Country: New York, United States

Bestsellers in Art History: Renaissance

View all ...