Mitchell's Reviews > The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
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's review
Mar 07, 2016

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, political, philosophy, library, liked-reviews
Read from October 20 to 23, 2011

By the time this book came off of hold, I had forgotten what it was about. But it was easy to figure it out. I think it was NPR that had done a piece on this magical ancient poem, lost for hundreds of years - resurfaced by the work of a rabid book searcher - which basically described such modern ideas as atoms, evolution, atheism, and no life of any sort after death - Lucretius' On the Nature of Things. And yet mostly I found this book a bore. And with two copies of On the Nature of Things in the house, I still don't feel compelled to pick it up. And yet - there was a book on this subject that could have been written. I probably would have found a biography just on Poggio Bracciolini interesting (the 1417 book hunter). And Lucretius impact on Jefferson alone (maybe two pages worth) could easily have been a book I would have enjoyed. Ah well. Perhaps some day when I manage my hold list better I'll take a shot at Lucretius. It makes me wonder what my dad thought of the work... since it was in the Great Books, he very likely read it - a conversation I would have liked to have had.
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03/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Micaela I liked your review. I had the same experience. After reading these other reviews and seeing all the stars I thought maybe I missed something. The idea behind it all is great but the exposition is very uninspired. Thanks!

Reynold Byers I thought it was beautifully written, but didn't even begin to support its thesis that On the Nature of Things was highly influential to renaissance figures. Very disappointing.

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