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10 22 13 Humanities Professor Donahue Lucretius Lucretius influence on Renaissance and Modernism 1 Profiles in Courage i Epicurus Ennius and Empedocles as scientist philosophers 1 Neither the myths of gods nor lightning bolts nor threatening of thunder 2 Of heaven hindered him but rather all the more the fired etc a lucretius s predecessors i Lucretius never made final break from the Gods but shows indifference 1 The Iliad Gods are greatly flawed intervene hinder w mortals 2 None in Lucretius Direct encounter w Gods as being of immeasurable cosmos i i ii iii b Scientific Treatise i ii Shall reveal the building blocks all things are fashioned of Divided into 6 books 1 Building blocks of universe atoms and void 2 Dance of atoms how atoms explain things 3 The mortality of the soul c Diatribe against religion as superstition Natural over supernatural d Premises of On the Nature of Things Everything is made of invisible oarticles elementary particles of matter are timeless and infinite but limited in shapes and size The uninverse has no creator or designer and matter in in endless mtion in an infinite coid a strange and swirling maelstrom 161 l 437 1 Ceaseless mutation 2 Matter exists in a void a Void exists in matter around particles Void is a substance of itself 3 Patterns of order and disorder are not evidence of intelligent i design constant creation and destruction iv Swirling matter on different scales in simultaneous levels of interaction e Main Idea Swerve Happens 1 The Swerve is the basic contingency or incidental nature of matter 2 in motion in the universe If movement were regular direct parallel everything could stay on its path and not interact a But Particles go off at angles ii Implications 1 Nature experiments endlessly w o moment of origin or scene of creation 2 Produces object formations and creatures by acident w various grades of success which is measured by duration 3 Universe is not for humans 4 Humans aren t unique priviledged 5 Death should not be a source of fear iii 2 Implications science 1 Religion appeals to superstition and fear of edeath but ignores 2 Promises hop love redemption but plays on anxiety fear 3 No spirits exist 4 Goal of life is reduction of pain pursiut of happiness achieved through moderation and tranquility 5 Suck understanding allows for unmediated awe of physical universe 2 Also a scientific love poem i Nature of things are benign and sensual driven by life starting Venus 1 Uses goddess as shorthand as undermines Gods b Venereal ease and atomic sex c Uses of Poetry Entire Universe is in constant fluctuations sexual interactions Unenlightened individual is like a child that must be coaxed by honeyed words har har har into believing in science 1 Ataraxia in action ii Poetry distracted from danger of subversive message 1 Each rhymed couplet is a coincidental coupling of natural universe d Hybrid Gene Philosophy and Poetry and Poetry as Philosophy and observation Natural philosophy Homer Diodemecles atoms etc e Didactic Epic Epic poems focus on what happened action war battle along w invocations of the Muses and Grandeur glory action fate of peopole Didactic Epic long discursivpoem explains how things happened or how things work 1 De Rerum Natura tells how nature works as epic conflict and recombination of particles a War in nature parallel to war in epic legends f Poetic rhetorical structure Long dactylic hexameter lines heavy alliteration extneded epic similies formulic or quasi formulaic repetition of passages and ideas or lessons i i i ii iii i ii i ii iii iv 3 The Sublime in Lucretius a The Cataclysmic Imagination v i i ii iii ii 1 To make the point over and over in different forms rather than to serve mnemonic purposes in recitation as in a naturally formed epic poem Dense and vivid imagery g Challenge to Latin Poetry Trying to find language in latin that lend clarity and light w sdcience to bring lanterns to your mind 1 Important to Lucretius b c you can see universe as anagram of atoms h Universe as anagram i ii By their combination atoms all things are formed Linguistic atomism 1 Vital in what order I array a sky sea stream ocean are all words formed from the same pool of letters in different orders Smallness of man agst vast nature Life giving bounty under Venus Destruction under Mars Invite humankind to fall into fear and superstition 1 b Film Theory i Images of things that float and enter our senses an outer layer of our skin that carries data of images into our sensory organs Float into our minds and shape our thoughts cause fear of false images such as ghosts 1 Unless we resist 2 Think beyond the images a we still dwell on horror death other empty nightmares b He sees this fixation as unnecessary b c death has no loopholes we all meet it in the end c Plague i Moves from cosmic to personal onslaught of pestilence ii By the end of the work reader has been trained to withstand disaster on macro and microscale 1 Lucretius looks at death all around during Plague and makes of it a poem superstition a Subjugates death to his epic rather than submitting to

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HOFSTRA HUHC 013 - Lucretius’ influence on Renaissance and Modernism

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