The Swerve

The Swerve

How the World Became Modern

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
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Greenblatt transports listeners 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.
Publisher: Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books ; [2011]
Edition: Unabridged.
Copyright Date: ℗2011
ISBN: 9781464000904
Characteristics: 1 sound file (9 hr., 45 min.) :,digital.
analog, Digital recording, rda
data file, rda


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Feb 16, 2020

More than 5* The narrator is excellent. The content is so far over my head, however I'm listening multiple times and the subject has sent me searching for more. The beginning chapters almost read like a mystery, adventure in the manner Poggio finagles his way into various monasteries to lay hands on the books he wants. The historical value is amazing; to read that wealthy Romans acquired up to 60,000 books for their personal libraries simply as a measure of their riches. Just to 'own' the books, there is no way they could have read a fraction of the volumes. Each time I listen I learn something new, not that my understanding completes the connection - especially when it comes to atoms. Greenblatt exposes the corruption in societies, even to which we might apply it to the present day.

This is a book I'd like to own, as I feel I could open it at any page and learn, possibly grow to understand the avenues SG ventures into. Looking at the list of studies, degrees, books he has written causes me to marvel. Great storytelling.

Sep 08, 2014

The focus is the first century BC work of Lucretius Carus titled "The Nature of Things". Lucretius -- seemingly prescient of what would be discovered by 20th century modern science -- describes an earth and universe composed of atoms moving about at random. And besides the atoms, empty space. He refers to it as "the void". The implication is that whatever happens is due to the random nature of the atoms, rather than divine intervention. As might be expected, the powerful in medieval Europe preferred this subject remain un-discussed. Which -- until 1417 -- wasn't a problem, as the work was thought to be lost forever to the vagaries of time. How the last remaining manuscript was re-discovered and rescued from certain oblivion by the classics book-hunter Poggio Bracciolini is the main theme of this book. Well researched by the author, and well narrated; it's definitely worth a listen, especially for those interested in ancient philosophies.

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