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The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

– tekijä: Stephen Greenblatt

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2,7971223,669 (3.9)255
In this book the author transports readers to the dawn of the Renaissance and chronicles the life of an intrepid book lover who rescued the Roman philosophical text On the Nature of Things from certain oblivion. In this work he has crafted both a work of history and a 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.… (lisätietoja)
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englanti (117)  espanja (3)  katalaani (1)  ranska (1)  Kaikki kielet (122)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 122) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
'The Swerve' is a well-written account of a forgotten (and fascinating) period in history. At the dawn of the modern era, a book hunter finds an ancient manuscript that will help change the world. This part of the book makes for a great story, and could have been a classic in the hands of someone like Umberto Eco.

But sadly, the book's central thesis is the long-discredited tale of the "Dark Age" ended by science and rationality. Greenblatt strips the past 2,000 years of nuance and radically oversimplifies the story - even bringing out the Galileo myths. 'The Swerve' fails to challenge or provoke much reflection. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
Bad pop-history! Do not read!
  trotta | Mar 4, 2021 |
As I was listening to this, I felt the title was sort of misleading for a long time, but eventually Greenblatt gets to the heart of the matter, the book itself - Lucretius's The Nature of Things (or The Nature of the Universe, or whatever your particular publisher has decided to call it.) This book is just as much, or more, a biography of Poggio Bracciolini, who re-disovered the book in a German monastery and was responsible for its subsequent influence on the development of Western thought. Or at least Western thought outside of the United States, where we seem to still, despite the recent election, be living in some sort of dark age of religious fundamentalism where much of the population would be happy to see anyone who doesn't share their views burned at the stake. All of Greenblatt's context turns out to be interesting and mostly necessary for understanding Lucretius's book and the reaction to it over the centuries. Two things that emerge from the story: 1) Christianity was really a tragedy for Western Civilization; and 2) Thomas More was no saint. The ideas in The Nature of Things were drawn from the teachings of Epicurus and were centuries ahead of their time. They threatened the power of the church, but the ideas were too powerful to stamp out, and with the invention of the printing press, suppression became pretty much impossible. Greenblatt (as always, I guess) has very strong opinions that come though in his writing. If you agree with them, as I do, you'll love it. If you are close-minded or religious, you may not.

The audiobook version was very well done and was not a barrier in appreciating the subject matter. (I have always found audiobooks to be great for stories that don't require stopping to think about things or look things up or backtrack a few pages to make sure you understood. But Greenblatt's writing is quite clear and logically organized, so confusion is never a problem.) ( )
  datrappert | Feb 22, 2021 |
I really enjoyed parts of the book, though I felt at times as if Greenblatt focused more on Poggio's story than on Lucretius's and on how the notion of the swerve influenced the modern world. Maybe there just weren't that many dots to connect. If nothing else, it made me want to go back and reread some old things and see if I could solider my way through De Rerum Natura. I liked it -- just found it to be more meandering than I had expected. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Maybe the book is not true but it is beautiful. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 122) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Every page of the book strives to present the Renaissance as an intellectual awakening that triumphs over the oppressive abyss of the Dark Ages. The book pushes the Renaissance as a rebirth of the classical brillance nearly lost during centuries mired in dullness and pain. This invention of modernity relies on a narrative of the good guy defeating the bad guy and thus a glorious transformation. This is dangerous not only because it is inaccurate but more importantly because it subscribes to a progressivist model of history that insists on the onward march of society, a model that allows moderns like us to excuse our crimes and injustices because “at least we’re better than those medievals.”

Now unlike most of those thousands of innocent believing readers, I see the deep problems of such an approach, as have the last dozen generations of historians. History does not fit such cookie-cutter narratives. Having studied medieval culture for nearly two decades, I can instantly recognize the oppressive, dark, ignorant Middle Ages that Greenblatt depicts for 262 pages as just… fiction. It’s fiction worse than Dan Brown, because it masquerades as fact.
 
The distortions in Greenblatt’s narrative may have slipped past the Pulitzer committee, but they won’t slip by someone with even a basic knowledge of church his­tory. St Jerome, to be sure, is no inconsequential figure, but Greenb­latt focuses most of his attention on Lactantius and Peter Damian. He is more interested in the latter because he reformed the already self­abasing
Benedictine order in the eleventh century, making voluntary self-flag­ellation “a central ascetic practice of the church” and thus accomplishing the thousand year struggle “to secure the triumph of pain seeking” (107). If this is genuinely how Green­blatt understands the significance and nature of the Benedictine order, one can only wonder why Harvard retains him.
 
Why Stephen Greenblatt is wrong and why it matters.
 
Greenblatt's story of the unleashing of the pleasure principle on the European world after the discovery of Lucretius conveys his own passion for discovery, and displays his brilliance as a storyteller. The Swerve is, though, a dazzling retelling of the old humanist myth of the heroic liberation of classical learning from centuries of monastic darkness. The light of Rome fades into gloom, sheep graze in the Forum; then the humanists rebel against the orthodoxies of the church, bring about a great recovery of classical texts and generate a new intellectual dawn. This book makes that story into a great read, but it cannot make it entirely true.
 
The ideas in “The Swerve” are tucked, cannily, inside a quest narrative. The book relates the story of Poggio Bracciolini, the former apostolic secretary to several popes, who became perhaps the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance. His most significant find, located in a German monastery, was a copy of Lucretius’ “On the Nature of Things,” which had been lost to history for more than a thousand years. Its survival and re-emergence into the world, Mr. Greenblatt suggests, was a kind of secular miracle.

Approaching Lucretius through Bracciolini was an ingenious idea. It allows Mr. Greenblatt to take some worthwhile detours: through the history of book collecting, and paper making, and libraries, and penmanship, and monks and their almost sexual mania for making copies of things.

The details that Mr. Greenblatt supplies throughout “The Swerve” are tangy and exact.
 

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (7 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Greenblatt, StephenTekijäensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Ballerini, EduardoKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Binder, KlausÜbersetzermuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Lozoya, Teófilo deKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Rabasseda-Gascón, JuanKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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(Preface) When I was a student, I used to go at the end of the school year to the Yale Coop to see what I could find to read over the summer.
In the winter of 1417, Poggio Bracciolini rode through the wooded hills and valleys of southern Germany toward his distant destination, a monastery reputed to have a cache of old manuscripts.
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But the extravagance and bitterness of the charges – in the course of a quarrel over Latin style, Poggio accused the younger humanist Lorenzo Valla of heresy, theft, lying, forgery, cowardice, drunkenness, sexual perversion, and insane vanity – discloses something rotten in the inner lives of these impressively learned individuals. (p. 146)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

In this book the author transports readers to the dawn of the Renaissance and chronicles the life of an intrepid book lover who rescued the Roman philosophical text On the Nature of Things from certain oblivion. In this work he has crafted both a work of history and a 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.

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