Lucretius and the Early Modern

Oxford University Press UK (2015)

The rediscovery in the fifteenth century of Lucretius's De rerum natura was a challenge to received ideas. The 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 book, The Swerve, as the poem that invented modernity. But how modern did early modern readers want to become? From Lucretius' contemporary audience to the European Enlightenment, this collection of essays offers a series of case studies which demonstrates the sophisticated ways in which some readers might relate the poem to received ideas, assimilating Lucretius to theories of natural law and even natural theology, while others were at once attracted to Lucretius's subversiveness and driven to dissociate themselves from him.
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Chapters BETA
Epicurean Subversion? Lucretius’s First Proem and Contemporary Roman Culture

This chapter uses a close reading of parts of the first proem of Lucretius’s De rerum natura (1.1–148) to show how the poem, setting out to present the doctrines of Epicureanism for Romans in the first century BCE, negotiates some fundamental tensions between that radical Greek philosophy ... see more

Is the De rerum natura a Work of Natural Theology? Some Ancient, Modern, and Early Modern Perspectives

This chapter challenges the commonplace notion that early modern readers of Lucretius must have regarded him as a poet of contingency, materialism, and the instability of nature. It argues that the poem is open to being read, and often has been read, as a demonstration of nature’s stabilit... see more

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Early Modern Accounts of Epicureanism.Stewart Duncan & Antonia LoLordo - forthcoming - In Jacob Klein & Nathan Powers (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy. Oxford University Press.

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