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Non Fiction Book Club to discuss The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt – Thursday, December 5th @ 6:30PM

The Pollard Library Non-Fiction book club meets at 6:30pm on the first Thursday of the month. On Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 6:30PM the Pollard Library Non-Fiction Book Club will discuss The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt. WINNER of the 2011 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.


From the Book Jacket:
A riveting tale of the great cultural “Swerve” known as the Renaissance. In the winter of 1417, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties plucked a very old manuscript off a dusty shelf in a remote monastery, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. He was Poggio Bracciolini, the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance. His discovery, Lucretius’ ancient poem On the Nature of Things, had been almost entirely lost to history for more than a thousand years.

It was a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functions without the aid of gods, that religious fear is damaging to human life, that pleasure and virtue are not opposites but intertwined, and that matter is made up of very small material particle in eternal motion, randomly colliding and swerving in new directions.

Its return to circulation changed the course of history. The poem’s vision would shape the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein, and—in the hands of Thomas Jefferson—leave its trace on the Declaration of Independence.

From the gardens of the ancient philosophers to the dark chambers of monastic scriptoria during the Middle Ages to the cynical, competitive court of a corrupt and dangerous pope, renowned scholar Stephen Greenblatt brings Poggio’s search and discovery to life in a way that revolutionizes our understanding of the world we live in today.


About the Author:

Stephen Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and the author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. He is the General Editor of The Norton Shakespeare and the General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature. He divides his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Join in on the discussion! Despite the fact that we ask you obtain your own copy of the selected title (copies available to borrow from our library system, call 978-674-4121 with your library card to request one) the Pollard Library Non-Fiction Book Club is free and open to the public. For more information about this group visit our website For questions, contact Sean Thibodeau, Coordinator of Community Planning or 978-674-1542.