A friend of mine sent me a draft of a lecture she will be giving soon. It contained a reference to a book that she thought interesting and important. It was The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt. Since I take my friend seriously, I followed the link and bought the Kindle edition. And now I can’t get any work done: it’s one of those books that takes you by the throat and just won’t let go until it reaches the end. It’s a beautifully-written account of the rediscovery, in 1417, of On The Nature of Things, a poem by Lucretius, and of the impact that rediscovery had in shaping the modern world. The book won a Pulitzer prize, and now I understand why.