Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

It took Europe a very long time to recover from the fall of the Roman Empire. This book is set in the early 1400 and it is about book hunters. These were people who were looking for books from the ancient Greeks and Romans.

We are indeed fascinated with the how and why of the West’s rise from the ashes of the Greek and Roman civilizations. I have read a great many books on this subject and this is just the latest in a long line of books to tell us how we did it. They might all be a bit right. Do not forget, that when the Roman fell, Europe was invaded by a number of different tribes, especially the German tribes. A lot was destroyed. No wonder it took a long time to revive.

There is a great review of this book at The Guardian. I agree with the reviewer Colin Burrow that the discovery of the Lucretius's De Rerum Natura ("On the Nature of the Universe") poem did not start the renaissance. However, it is a great tale.

There is another good review, but not quite as good as The Guardian review at Harvard Magazine. The book also has its own website.

There is an audio interview with Stephen Greenblatt at the New Yorker. There is also an interesting article on this subject, called the Answer Man by Stephen Greenblatt at New Yorker. He talks about how he first met Lucretius’ two-thousand-year-old poem “On the Nature of Things”. Read more at the New Yorker on The Answer Man by Stephen Greenblatt.

See videos of an Interview with Connie Martinson. See Part I. See Part II. See Stephen Greenblatt: The Poem That Dragged Us Out of the Dark Ages on Big Think.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Greenblatt. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.