The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began

The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began

Paperback

By (author) Stephen Greenblatt

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 23mm | 275g
  • Publication date: 6 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099572443
  • ISBN 13: 9780099572442
  • Illustrations note: col. Illustrations
  • Sales rank: 28,189

Product description

This title is winner of the pulitzer prize for nonfiction. 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. Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

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Author information

Stephen Greenblatt is a literary critic, theorist and scholar. He 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. His most popular work is Will in the World, a biography of Shakespeare that was on the New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks. He is also co-founder of the literary-cultural journal Representations.

Review quote

"Superbly readable... An exciting story, and Greenblatt tells it with his customary clarity and verve" -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst Daily Telegraph "Superb history ... this concise, learned and fluently written book tells a remarkable story" -- Charles Nicholl Observer "Dazzling" Guardian "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" Library Journal "More wonderfully illuminating Renaissance history from a master scholar and historian (starred review)" Kirkus Reviews

Editorial reviews

Superbly readable... An exciting story, and Greenblatt tells it with his customary clarity and verve

Back cover copy

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. ‘Superbly readable… An exciting story, and Greenblatt tells it with his customary clarity and verve’ Daily Telegraph ‘Superb history… This concise, learned and fluently written book tells a remarkable story’ Observer