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Cover of: The swerve by Stephen Greenblatt



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About the Book

One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius-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, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson. - Publisher.

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The swerve
how the world became modern
1st ed.
Stephen Greenblatt

Published 2011 by W.W. Norton in New York .
Written in English.

Table of Contents

The book hunter
The moment of discovery
In search of Lucretius
The teeth of time
Birth and rebirth
In the lie factory
A pit to catch foxes
The way things are
The return

Edition Notes

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.


Dewey Decimal Class
Library of Congress
PA6484 .G69 2011

The Physical Object

356 p., [8] p. of plates
25 x x centimeters

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
LC Control Number

History Created October 23, 2011 · 6 revisions Download catalog record: RDF / JSON

January 12, 2012 Edited by New York Times Bestsellers Bot Adding tags to New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction bestsellers
December 16, 2011 Edited by Bryan Tyson Edited without comment.
December 14, 2011 Edited by mita Added new cover
October 27, 2011 Edited by New York Times Bestsellers Bot Adding tags to New York Times Combined Print Nonfiction bestsellers
October 23, 2011 Created by LC Bot import new book