The Swerve  

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The Swerve: How the World Became Modern is a non-fiction book by Stephen Greenblatt and winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and 2011 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Greenblatt tells the story of how Poggio Bracciolini, a 15th-century papal emissary and obsessive bibliophile, saved the last copy of the Roman poet Lucretius's On the Nature of Things from near-terminal neglect in a German monastery, thus reintroducing important ideas that sparked the modern age.

Greenblatt noted how unpopular the irreligious nature of the poem was even before Christianity spread:

Once… you start thinking what the implications of a world made of atoms and emptiness and nothing else, lots of things, potentially at least, follow. And the things that follow can be extremely dangerous -- [dangerous to pagan, Jewish] or Christian orthodoxy…

The book mentions Lorenzo Valla, Thomas More, Erasmus, Montaigne, Giordano Bruno, Aristotle, Christian heretics and the clinamen.


  1. The book hunter --
  2. The moment of discovery --
  3. In search of Lucretius --
  4. The teeth of time --
  5. Birth and rebirth --
  6. In the lie factory --
  7. A pit to catch foxes --
  8. The way things are --
  9. The return --
  10. Swerves --
  11. Afterlives.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Swerve" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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