addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupsimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruseryahoo

March Book Discussion: The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

  • Mar 25, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • Flyleaf Books

Tells the suspenseful story of the discovery 600 years ago by a "book hunter" of a long-neglected manuscript, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius.  This Greek masterpiece tells of a world that functions without the direct aid of the gods, that suggests that religious fear can damage human life, and that matter is made up of small participles in constant motion.  The sub-title of the book is "How the World Became Modern", a shift in viewpoint that Greenblatt ascribes to the Lucretian ideas.  The book was the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction and the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.  The author, Stephen Greenblatt (who also wrote Will in the World about Shakespeare and his times) is a greatly gifted writer who has nested his compulsively readable ideas within a quest narrative.  Join us for a discussion of this important and accessible book.

Join or login to comment.

  • Jeanne S.

    Am feeling under the weather so won't make it. Would have loved to have been there, though. Great book for discussion!

    March 25, 2013

  • Kate C.

    So sorry to miss! Love the book!

    March 25, 2013

  • Janna

    I'll be away on Monday. Wishing you a great discussion; but knowing from past meetings that it will be. See you next time.

    March 20, 2013

  • Jorge C.

    My plans have changed and I'll be able to attend. Now, I only have to read the book...

    March 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Need to study for an upcoming certification exam.

    March 12, 2013

  • Evelyn D.

    And two more questions to be thinking about:

    7. If you Google "Criticism of Swerve Stephen Greenblatt" you will
    find some critiques of the work. You might pick one of those and
    read it. Do you give any credence to what you found?

    8. As a college student Greenblatt found a book in his college book store that changed his life. Are there specific books (or specific bookstores) that have given out particularly happy memories or have even changed your life, as was the case with Poggio Bracciolini and Stephen Greenblatt?

    As summed up by the publisher, “One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt, has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript ... changed the course of human thought ... [This book] fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists and thinkers; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; ... and [influenced] ...Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson."

    March 6, 2013

  • Evelyn D.

    4. What is your own view of “atomism”? The Dalai Lama’s book "The Universe in a Single Atom" seems to echo many of the points involved. On the other hand, conservative theologians, and others sometimes argue -- in direct opposition to ideas of “atomism” – that we are most importantly parts of relationships instead. The relationships in question can be spiritual, interpersonal, social, or more abstract in nature. 5. Has anyone read parts of "On the Nature of Things" and, if so, what is their take on it? To see public copies, just search the Internet for On the Nature of Things.

    6. The Dalai Lama says the "pursuit of pleasure" or "the pursuit of happiness" is problematic -- we should shoot for "well-being" instead. Other thinkers support both physical pleasure and spiritual/religious values. Does this mean that Greenblatt is right -- at least some aspects of Epicureanism are now part of everyone's thinking today. What's your own take on Epicureanism?

    March 6, 2013

  • Evelyn D.

    Our discussion leader, Rich, has developed a number of questions that those of you joining us might like to ponder. I'm sending them in a series of email/comments.

    First question: How persuasive is Greenblatt's argument overall? To what extent did "On the Nature of Things" directly or indirectly influence various ideas in the modern world and by implication some of the ways you think, too?

    2. How persuasive is Greenblatt’s argument that Renaissance thinking was heavily influenced by rediscovery of "On the Nature of Things" and ideas about the pursuit of pleasure and so on? What textual support is there for his argument? Are there counter-arguments?

    3. Greenblatt says "On the Nature of Things" had a strong effect on Thomas Jefferson. One result of that may be that instead of having the phrase “the pursuit of property” in the Declaration of Independence we have the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” instead? How has this affected American society over time?

    March 6, 2013

  • Linda

    Loved this book! Will come if it is a night I'm free--I can RSVP for sure once a date has been picked.

    January 16, 2013

11 went

Your organizer's refund policy for March Book Discussion: The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy