Tuesday, September 29, 2009
On the Nature of Things aka De rerum natura by Lucretius (1st century BC)
An epic poem on "superstition and the fear of death" and a magnificent invocation to Venus.
Lucretius was an epicurean atomicist. That means that the book has a very modern post enlightenment take on the universe. The Universe is infinite and empty. WHen you die, you die... that it. Everything is going to die, the earth will die, the universe is going to die... There is no god. THe universe works by atoms smashing into each other in an infinite variation. etc.
the Book seems like a major inspiration for Darwinism and Relativity. Its the foundation of western science. No wonder the Christians outlawed all Philosophical schools in the 6th century.
Aside from meditating on the horrors of deep space and inspiring all sorts of dark twisted writers. The book also meditates on the beauty of nature and love. It would be easy to trace the roots of the entire Romantic poetry movement to this book. Walt Whitmans poetry style seems heavily influenced by this book. THe mix of Romaticism and horror seems to have been a big influence on Novalis's Romantic Nocturn.
The Faerie Queene (1596) by Edmund Spenser
the longest poem in the English language... hear that you rappers... go!
THe book mixes Orlando Epic inspired action with Dante's inferno style horror and morality. It smells like a major influence on Poe and Lewis Carrols Jabberwockey Poem. -Also the Goblin Market poem I recommended earlier. Spencer is a well known influence on Shakespeare, for whatever thats worth.