The Swerve: How the World Became Modern


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One of the world's most celebrated scholars, 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.

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Joel S

Aug 16, 2015

Still Reading

I'm not finished, so this review is based on partial experience.

This is a fascinating topic and well worth studying. I have a complaint, which is common to books of history aimed at nontechnical readers. I am disturbed and annoyed by reading an author's description of internal mental states of subjects long dead and not available for interview. Author, you can't know what a person in your narrative was thinking at any time. Don't tell me about it. You debase the information and analysis of that that you are presenting.

At the same time, what is presented is of great importance in understanding the shift in modes of thought engendered by Poggio's discovery of the Lucretius manuscript. It is well worth putting up with annoyance to get to the gold in them there hills.

Ileana I

Jul 29, 2012

In the pursuit of happiness

Beautifully crafted scholarly research about the power of ideas that reads like a novel. His chapter on the scriptorium reminded me of Eco's "The Name of the Rose". Greenblatt challenges his readers to think about the meanings of "the pursuit of happiness" in our own time.

Hugh T. J

Jul 19, 2012

Excellent take on pre Enlightenment thinking

I found this book to be highly informative about the intellectual transition that formed the basis of the Renaissance. This has to be a must read for anyone who wants to get a nuanced understanding of this turbulent period and even has relevance in today's highly charged political discourses.

Albert A

Jul 19, 2012

Overly Ambitious

A colorful, albeit biased, glimpse into 14th and 15th Century Italy. Mr.Greenblatt's central thesis is that the Renaissance was inspired by the rediscovery of the Lucretius poem, " On the Nature of Things." In my view, Mr. Greenblatt is never able to prove anything like causality.
The book does provide a very personal view of many of the central,and minor, characters of the Renaissance.

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