This was not at all what I expected from the subtitle but it was an intriguing story nonetheless. Mystery, history, philosophy, the Vatican, rare book hunters, colourful characters and much more. All of this revolving around the rather accidental rediscovery of a lost text. Who knew something so seemingly small would have such an incredible influence on western culture. Very interesting! really enjoyed it.
Love listening to books.
This book is very interesting, and also hard to review. The historical content about On The Nature of Things by Lucretius is very good and well researched. However, it is also a very small part of the book. Most of the book is about the person that re-discover the poem - Poggio Bracciolini. While I find some of the information about Poggio interesting, it has less to do with the thesis by Greenblatt on the poems influence on the Renaissance.
It is very clear that Greenblatt has a great deal of admiration and respect for Poggio, and that he values his contribution in finding On The Nature of Things greatly. However, the act of discovery is only a small part of the book. He spends a great deal telling us of how Poggio became who he was, what circles he traveled in, how his employer the Pope lost his job, how he eventually made his own way, and eventually how he retired.
I very much enjoyed the information around Lucretius' poem, but thought the material about Poggio was just too much.
One of my favorite non-fiction books.
Destiny Disrupted. Both presented historic facts like a dramatic story (in a good way).
Improve breathing, eliminate heavy breaths.
The tale narrated by Edoardo Bellerini is based on the somewhat audacious premise that an ancient poem, "The Nature of Things", rediscovered in the fourteen hundreds, tipped the waiting world into the Renaissance, ending the so-called Dark Ages. That hypothesis is, at the very least, a bit overblown. However, the author's account of the search for lost literary works of ancient Greece and Rome gives us a fascinating look into the flower - and ultimate downfall - of these great civilizations. I marveled at the perseverance of the Medieval scholar, Poggio Bracciolini, who found himself out of work after the dethroning and eventual execution of his employer, Pope John the 23rd. (No relation to the modern Pope of the same name...) Bracciolini set out on a journey that took him to England and across much of Europe, lead by tantalizing hints of the Great Poem's existence somewhere in an unknown archive - perhaps a monastery...
Edoardo Bellerini reads "The Swerve" with passion and style - perfect for this work. I'm already looking for another read by him.
I highly recommend, "The Swerve". Maybe "The Nature of Things" didn't actually bring us into the Modern Era. On the other hand, the great scholars who were motivated to retrieve it certainly kept the spirit of inquiry and the love of reading alive during an aptly described time of great cultural and societal darkness.
Okay - I'm a little biased. I dance to an Epicurean drum. But this story has it all. If you've in the slightest bit interested in how a Roman poem, referencing Epicurus, written 100 years before Christ can sum up our 'modern scientific' view of life, the universe and everything, then this is your book.
I'm still buzzing about the wealth of ideas in this book. I'm getting "On The Nature Of Things' straight away.
Simply put this book is a gem. Plant a shovel and dig up the precious stuff inside.
Fine art photographer, retired English professor, dog mom to an adorable Maltese mix, long-time Californian, genealogist, what else?
I'm a huge fan of Greenblatt's "Will in the World," so I was happy to try this one. I was not disappointed. This is a absorbing account of the re-discovery of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura in the Middle Ages and how it affected thinking in the Renaissance and beyond. The story is fascinating, the reader excellent, and listeners will not be disappointed. I'm now reading Lucretius' poem itself, and only wish that I could read it in the original Latin, though A.E. Stallings has a good recent (2007) translation.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
I wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to like it. It came highly recommended from a very respected person, so I began it with great excitement.
And then it just didn't measure up.
I found the story hard to follow. When were things just "a person" and when were they someone with a name, and what was that name? How did we go from one place and suddenly be in another place?
There were some interesting points that I drew out of the book, but in general, it just fell short for me. Off to something I'll enjoy better...
it was well spent in light of the content & history that i learned. unfortunately it was also very painful due to the overly dramatic and affected narration.
my high school classmate who was dyslexic and a terrible stutterer.
I would buy a book (by Greenblatt) where the tasty quotes from Lucretius were pulled out and given more explanation/examination.
Certainly. I chose this book precisely because Ballerini read it.
His unbelievably intimate understanding of the books he reads.
I've always been interested in history, and especially of the Middle Ages. I thought that Greenblatt's depiction, however correct, might have been more nuanced. Historians such as Duby, Le Goff and Pernoud have demonstrated that the Middle Ages were not simply a world of darkness and despair. Furthermore, as demonstrated by Rubenstein in Aristotle's Children, contrary to what Greenblatt implicitly claims, the Church played a major role in guaranteeing the survival of the greco-roman intellectual heritage.
Evening and Weekend Manager Lone Star College-Greenspoint Center Houston, TX 77060
This an interesting historical eye-opener for all those who thought the early Christians and especially the catholic church had an exclusive lease on the moral high ground. Using "The Nature of Things" a poem by Lucretius, an early century follower of the philosopher Epicurus as a historical touchstone, Stephen Greenblatt leads his reader/listener from the gods of early Rome, through the superstition of the dark ages and fanatical tyranny of the Roman Catholic church to age of enlightenment and even evolution. This is not a read/listen for those that hide among their sacred cows.