Thanks to Timmons, I’ve read and read Stephen Greenblatt’s book The Swerve. Greenblatt’s study tells the story and influence of Lucretius after his text is found by Poggio Bracciolini. One thing I learned in the text was surprising. I hadn’t realized Montaigne’s copy of De Rerum had been found, complete with notes.
Regardless of some odd conclusions by the author, especially those having to do with Lucretius’s influence and the implications about the “modern,” Greenblatt has sent me back to Lucretius, historical context or no.