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Lucretius and the Early Modern - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Lucretius and the Early Modern

David Norbrook, Stephen Harrison, and Philip Hardie


The rediscovery in the fifteenth century of Lucretius’s De rerum natura was a challenge to received ideas. This poem offered a vision of the creation of the universe, the origins and goals of human life and the formation of the state, all without reference to divine intervention. It has been hailed in Stephen Greenblatt’s best-selling The Swerve as the poem that invented modernity. But how modern did early modern readers want to become? This book demonstrates the sophisticated ways in which some readers assimilated the poem to theories of natural law and even natural theology, while others wer ... More

Keywords: Lucretius, translation, Niccolò Machiavelli, Michel de Montaigne, Michel de Marolles, Thomas Hobbes, Lucy Hutchinson, atheism, Epicureanism, social contract

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780198713845
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713845.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Norbrook, editor
Emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford

Stephen Harrison, editor
Fellow and Tutor in Classics, Corpus Christi College, and Professor of Latin Literature, University of Oxford

Philip Hardie, editor
Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, and Honorary Professor of Latin Literature, University of Cambridge