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We live in a time of disruption but where others see difficulty, we see opportunity - not just to survive but to thrive.

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Premium FT. Pay based on use. Group Subscription. According to Lucretius, human beings matter not because we have immortal souls, but because we are nothing but matter. Our bodies, like everything else in the world, are made of tiny invisible particles that are forever in motion, swerving together and splitting apart.

The Renaissance: How did it start?

Nature never stops experimenting in the creation of different forms, but there is no divine creator and no afterlife. All we can do is try to get through life happily.

The Swerve, How the Renaissance Began eBook by Stephen Greenblatt | | Booktopia

Not only did Lucretius recommend pleasure as a way of getting through life, he tried to provide it for readers. Once copied and distributed around Europe, it also helped shape the future.

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There are echoes in Shakespeare and Jonson, while the essays of Montaigne contain more than a hundred direct quotations. It is an exciting story, and Greenblatt tells it with his customary clarity and verve. In many ways it offers a popular version of the historical methods he first attempted in the Eighties, in which the past was treated to a form of keyhole surgery that allowed apparently small events to become entrances to previously unsuspected networks of influence. The Renaissance was a notoriously slippery process, but if one wanted to single out a key individual, there is a better candidate, and he is alluded to in the fact that Greenblatt first read Lucretius in a 10 cent paperback rather than a handwritten scroll.

There is no better illustration of a world being forever made and remade than Gutenberg shuffling his metal letters around to create that endlessly shifting jigsaw puzzle we know as a book.

The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt

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