If you are someone interested in the process of discovery of medieval books from ancient monasteries - this is the book for you. I am not one of these people but even I could make out that this book is erudite and smart in that field. My problem with this was just that. Drawn in by the blurb, by Prof Greenblatt's Charlie Rose interview where he described Lucretius as the "honey on the lip of a cup of bitter medicine" - I was disappointed that this book did not have enough of Lucretius for me. For almost 5/6th of the book it is clever writing about Europe (or even more specifically Italy) in Middle Ages. It may be that I misled myself, but I would've liked a lot more discussion on Lucretius instead, right from the beginning, and a closer examination of the ramification of the discovery of "On the nature of things" not just the finding of it.
Fascinating account of books, learning and society in middle ages. First half was a page turner but it slowed down in the second half. Still not to be missed.
reading is pure joy
The historical details and the narrator. The voice reminded me of my Italian Lit professor in college reading Dante to us in Italian. Wish there was more in Italian, but in English (99% of the book) the tone and pacing were very enticing and enjoyable as well. I liked the specific-ness of the locations and the idea of following this one individual who often was at odds with his times. Seemed analogous to a modern person who suddenly finds himself laid off mid-career due to politics or downturns... and now what?
stop trying to make the poem the crux of the Renascence -- it wasn't.
Pronunciation, timbre, pacing, warmth.
hard to stop listening to this one.
actually, faintly reminiscent of "The Hare with the Amber Eyes" as it was a wonderful narration by same talented individual and a story of broad implications made personal by telling an individual's story.
I was happy to have it on Audible as I might have been frozen in time reading a book I found hard to "put down".
This narrator is magically adept at bringing the author's personal touches to life in this book as well as in "The Hare with the Amber Eyes" . Both of these books as well as Hillary Mantel's transcendental novels literally left a void in my life at the end of each book.
Brilliant, talented writers and narrators bringing these works of art to life.
The road to modernity
This is a fascinating and serendipitous tapestry of history and storytelling, garnished with interesting and intriguing details.
Indeed, it has made me interested in more books like this, and books by this author, and this narrator.
By following and focusing centrally on the story of one intriguing book/scroll and mainly one specific person, the book finder...he embroiders history and details weaving them to a exquisite tapestry as a whole.
Absolutely nothing was wrong, this was a flawless narration!
Edoardo Ballerini’s narration of The Sweve is so beautifully articulated, so melodious and intelligently faceted, it is like listening to a diamond!
somewhat disconnected in spots, but overall an excellent book
there's only one character in the book
his voice carries a good sense of suspense where this is useful
no, I found it to be easy to read in small bits.
one of my friends , raised a catholic and Jesuit educated, found it compelling but depressing by making him seriously question his previously strong faith in a life after death.
Stephen Greenblatt is one of the few academics who writes beautiful prose. This book showcases the elegant, engaging style that makes his work appealing to non-experts as well. In this book, Greenblatt takes what should be an obscure subject - the reception of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura in the Rensaissance - and uses it as a springboard for explaining how the world was changed by the rediscovery of the Greek and Roman classics. While I knew in an abstract sense that this rediscovery defined the Renaissance, Greenblatt's focus on the personal experience of the scholars who hunted for forgotten texts brings the idea to life vividly, and he carefully structures the book so that we can understand how startling and compelling Lucretius's ideas must have seemed to a person of that age.
This is a tour de force and not to be missed. The reader is brilliant, with a great command of Italian pronunciation.
Immensely readable, fun
He nuances the meaning in an extraordinarily helpful way
wonderful read or listen should I say. Add to your must reading list for this year.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
I was first inducted to Greenblatt in a 4th year history course. This should not put anyone off but underlined that this a scholar work rather then a personal essay which the sample make it appear.
I would suggest hearing "On the Nature of Things", which is on audible first, Greenblatt does describable the text but more as a sample of what pleasures you might enjoy rather as a summary.
This book is rather about the effort in the 15th and 16th century to rediscovery the great works of Greek and Rome by the humanists. It is interesting and a reminder of why we should keep printing books and teaching our children to write with a pen and not just with a keyboard.
Mr. Ballerini voice is very well suited to this book and while I can not comment on his ability with the Itailon and Latin to the untrained ear it was very enjoyable.
Anybody who is interested in the history of ideas should read this book.
His reading is dignified and his Italian pronumciation is impeccable.
It filled me with admiration for Greenblatt's research, and I was amazed by the progression of history from Greece to Rome to Christianity that I never learned in school. This is an important take on European history.