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Out from William Collins on 30.1.2025   
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THE GRAMMAR OF ANGELS tells the story of the Renaissance prodigy and polymath Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the uncontested marvel of an age of wonders, and of his quest to reconcile all existing thought into a philosophy that would not only settle the most important questions about human existence but also provide tools by which man could transcend his mortal limitations and join the ranks of the angels. At the heart of Pico’s thought were questions that he traced through the depth and breadth of human thought, from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to the medieval Arabs and Jews, and drawing in everything at his disposal from Europe’s broadening horizons: why is it that we can be astonished by beauty, that the hairs on the backs of our necks can be made to stand by intoxicating rhythms and harmonies, that we can be provoked to ecstatic experiences by the simple means of an incantation? The implications of this line of thought were dangerous and provoked violent reactions, suggesting as they did that the notion of the individual might be just as much of an illusion as a flat earth or a geocentric universe. During a tempestuous life at the exquisite heart of the Italian Renaissance, Pico’s life is a testament to intellectual daring, to a human dignity founded in the willingness to think the unthinkable and to peer over the edge of the abyss in search of answers.

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