History at its best,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (Taschenbuch)
In his foreword, Stephen Greenblatt writes that the discovery of a lost book seldom changes anything in history, let alone the way people think, and yet his work is a tale of change, of discovery, of death and destruction caused - perhaps not directly - by the discovery of a single, believed-lost book written in the centuries before Christianity began forcing its way into every corner of the world. It is the tale of the search for a work unknown and the people, carefully brought to life in Greenblatt's descriptions, after many centuries, who risked their lives to bring an ancient idea back to life, back into the public arena.
The Swerve is a masterful creation of both fact and - necessary - speculative invention as he rebuilds times and places we have all heard of but which, but for remains and ruins left over today, are long since mere history. He brings life to dust, to fragments of knowledge, to books many people today will never read, let alone have ever heard of. At the time, though, when the books were written and in the years after they were rediscovered, copied, circulated, they formed the basis for beliefs and understanding which many take for granted today.
Unlike other writers, Greenblatt's vivid invention of events which might have happened do not seem either extreme or far-fetched. He mixes historical facts with conjecture in such a way that the reader is able to picture the scene, able to conjure up images of reactions, of a light sparking in the mind's of those long since dead. He shows us an almost unintentional movement formed by a loose band of people with similar interests - the reading and learning from ancient Latin and Greek texts - which became a world-wide inspiration and lead, slowly but surely, to the Enlightenment.
Not that one single book was capable of bringing such major changes to the world as the Enlightenment did, but this one text was an integral part of the whole, and its effects may be seen, experienced, learned from to this day. For the beginner in philosophy, for the reader who is interested in learning about the search for knowledge, the passage of history and the influences of major - political and religious - powers in the world, an excellent start and highly recommended.