The Recantation of Galileo Galilei – Scenes from History Perhaps, Eric Bentley


Title: The Recantation of Galileo Galilei – Scenes from History Perhaps

Author: Eric Bentley

Typology: Drama

Language: English

Year: 1972

Publisher: Harper & Row, Publishers

Collection: Harper Colophon Books

ISBN: 06-090286-8

Synopsis: Eric Bentley’s nine “Scenes from History Perhaps” result in a new – or new-old – interpretation of the whole Galileo story. Here Galileo is seen as the spoiled darling of an Establishment, his aim, until the crisis of 1633, nothing more nor less than to win that Establishment over to his view of the universe. Only when he definitely fails in this campaign does he rebel and, thus, become a revolutionary in a social as well as a scientific sense: he will spend his last years in conscious conflict with the hierarchy, a smuggler of spiritual contraband. Even at this point, though, he is no nineteenth-century radical, denouncing Christianity and crying, “Neither God nor master!” He is closer, rather, to some of the Catholic radicals of the twentieth century who, instead of challenging the church as such, challenge current officeholders and power-wielders. It was, however, much harder for this man to really recant his assumptions about the Establishment than to pretend to recant his assumptions about the universe.