The Swerve is one of the books I loved most among the books I read this year. Both the subject and the way Stephen Greenblatt handled it was fascinating. From time to time, reading such delightful and witty books feels like taking a trip to a beautiful village.
The Swerve, which received the Pulitzer Prize in 2012, pleasantly handles the impact of history and literature on each other. The course of history changes when Bracciolini finds Lucretius’s book, The Structure of the Universe. He is a book hunter who is committed to finding old books no matter where they are in the world.
Although The Structure of the Universe is seen as a very perverted book by the Church, Lucretius’s poetry has such a significant impact on everyone. Even so that some priests keep the book. Although The Swerve examines The Structure of the Universe and its impact on human history, it also deals with different topics. This is a book that will make you think about many things at the same time; a must-read. Enjoy!
The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began
Almost six hundred years ago, a short, genial man took a very old manuscript off a library shelf. With excitement, he saw what he had discovered and ordered it copied. The book was a miraculously surviving copy of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things by Lucretius and it changed the course of history.
He found 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. These ideas fuelled the Renaissance, inspiring Botticelli, shaping the thoughts of Montaigne, Darwin and Einstein.
An innovative work of history by one of the world’s most celebrated scholars and a thrilling story of discovery, The Swerve details how one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, made possible the world as we know it.
Stephen Jay Greenblatt is an American Shakespearean, literary historian, and so an author. He has served as the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University since 2000.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: