In the interest of polishing the barely visible patina of pseudo-intellectuality we occasionally (& often for minutes at a time) have going here, a link to something about the birth of an alleged [Cue The Jam.] modern world. [Jam not actually available here because too much Flash.]
The book tells the story of Lucretius’ “On the Nature of Things,” which 2,000 years ago posited a number of revolutionary ideas — that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
Once thought lost, the poem was rediscovered on a library shelf in the winter of 1417 by a Poggio Bracciolini. The copying and translation of the book fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.
Greenblatt’s book argues that the influence of Lucretius’ work washed over modern thought like a tidal wave, anticipating not only social thought, but whole branches of modern science.
Mr. Cynical says swell, but never better late, jerks. Coulda been born into a fucking paradise, but no.