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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pulitzer Prize Winner

On April 16 the Pulitzer Prizes were announced saluting contributions to various fields of literature. The General Nonfiction Pulitzer was awarded this year to Stephen Greenblatt for his work "The Swerve: How The World Became Modern," published by W.W. Norton. Greenblatt, a humanities professor at Harvard University, had been a Pulitzer finalist in 2004 for "Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare" which did win the National Book Award for Nonfiction that year. Both "The Swerve" and "Will in the World" may be found in the Merrick Library collection.

"The Swerve" tells the story of the rediscovery during the Renaissance of "On The Nature of Things" by the ancient Roman poet Lucretius. This lengthy work of verse espoused the then-dangerous views that the universe was not controlled by gods, that religion can be a danger to people, that virtue and pleasure can be mixed together, and that matter is made up of ever-moving particles that either collide or go elsewhere at random. Professor Greenblatt chronicles how the distribution of "On The Nature of Things" influenced the makeup in future centuries of science, politics, philosophy and literature.

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