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Old 06-23-2008, 10:20 PM   #1
Patricia
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Erasmus, Desiderius: The Praise of Folly, v.1, 24 June 2008.

Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536): The Praise of Folly.
Translated from the Latin (1668) by John Wilson (1625-1695)
Original titles: Moriae encomium (Latinised Greek) or Laus stultitiae (Latin)
(Written 1509. First published 1511)

The original title, ‘Moriae encomium’ means both ‘In praise of folly’ and ‘In praise of More’, and the work opens with a dedicatory letter to Erasmus’s friend and fellow humanist, Thomas More.
The essay consists of Folly, speaking in her own person, praising the follies of men: their self-deception; their superstitious religious practices; and pedantic scholarship. Whilst Folly is critical of religious abuses she has no problem with Catholicism, properly understood.
The work manages to combine good-humoured Latin puns and wordplay (not easily translated) with serious criticism by way of satire.


Cross-References
1. Alexander Pope’s ‘Dunciad’ is another work with Folly speaking and listing the failings of mankind (with special emphasis on poets other than Pope). It is on my to-do list.
2. Charles Reade’s novel, ‘The Cloister and the Hearth’ is a fictional account based on the lives of Erasmus’s parents. (Already uploaded.)

The cover image is a portrait of Erasmus by Holbein.
This work is in the Canadian public domain OR the copyright holder has given specific permission for distribution. It may still be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this work.

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