David Quint

Humanism As Revolution

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern By Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton, 356 pp., $26.95) Midway through the greatest literary work of the Italian Renaissance, the paladin Orlando, the hero of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, which appeared in 1516, goes crazy with unrequited love and jealousy. His poet creator is in no better shape: he is writing, he winkingly tells us, in a “lucid interval” of his own lovesickness.

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The Farmer as Hero

THE GEORGICS OF VIRGIL  Translated by David Ferry(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 202 pp., $30) VIRGIL’S GEORGICS Translated by Janet Lembke(Yale University Press, 114 pp., $25)   IN VIRGIL’S AENEID, THE EPIC story of the founding of Rome, the Trojan foreigner Aeneas carries into battle a shield elaborately wrought by the divine craftsman Vulcan, a stand-in for the poet. On it the god has prophetically sculpted scenes of future Roman history.

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