I was delightfully surprised when I started reading Steven Greenblatt’s new book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Many have recommended it to me and it sounded like a book I should buy because of its relevance to history, classical literature and the modern world. It mad me remember so much from my college classes. I was a History major with a minor in Classics and Latin. So I have quite a few tidbits of knowledge.
This book explores the history of the discovery of a seminal piece of classical literature, Lucretius’s De Rerum natura or”On the Nature of Things” As many know, many classical works were “lost” after the fall of the Roman Empire. These works somehow survived in monastic libraries for hundreds of years. Greenblatt follows the journey of one the famed book hunters from the early Renaissance, Poggio. He follows this humanist from his early beginnings in Florence to his position in the Roman Curia.
I find this kind of history fascinating. Greenblatt takes you on a journey of one man’s quest to hunt for hidden treasures in monasteries and “rescue” books from obscurity. It is mind-boggling to think that this classic piece of literature had to be un-earthed. I had to read it when I was in college. I am glad that I decided to purchase this book because of the wealth of information included.