For this assignment, you will provide a critical evaluation of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, Stephen Greenblatt’s controversial, award-winning history of the transmission of Lucretius’s philosophical poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), its rediscovery in the early Renaissance, and how its ideas helped direct the course of Western Civilization.
You have already written a critical summary of the book; now, using peer-reviewed articles from other scholars, you will evaluate the objections many critics have made about Greenblatt’s methods and his conclusions. In the end, by putting your understanding of the The Swerve in dialogue with its critics–and reflecting on what you have learned about the dynamic of Western Civilization–you will make a final critical evaluation of the book: in the end, does it make a valuable contribution to our understanding, or is the book guilting of either simplifying historical complexities or misrepresenting them altogether.
To prepare for this review, you will need to read for published review, the link to which can be found below. One review is generally positive, while the other three are generally negative. Using the same procedure that you did for your chapter summaries of The Swerve, you will need to summarize the general argument of each of the articles. Then, based on your understanding of the book and of the articles, you will need to determine if the book deserves the criticism that it has received or not. You may find that, upon further review, you may change your evaluation of the book. That is perfectly fine and quite common when doing scholarly research.
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