'In Praise of Folly, still a masterpiece of slyly subversive wit, was in a sense the first best-seller, read covertly under desks and sniggered over by countless trainee monks and priests.' Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
The goddess Folly gives a speech, praising herself and explaining how much humanity benefits from her services, from politicians to philosophers, aristocrats, schoolteachers, poets, lawyers, theologians, monarchs and the clergy. At the same time, her discourse provides a satire of Erasmus's world, poking fun at false pedantry and the aberrations of Christianity. Woven throughout her monologue, a thread of irony calls into question the goddess's own words, in which ambiguities, allusions and interpretations collide in a way that makes In Praise of Folly enduringly fascinating.
In addition to a new translation of In Praise of Folly, this volume also includes other works by Erasmus: Pope Julius Barred from Heaven, Epigram against Pope Julius II and a selection of his Adages. Together with the extensive annotation of the texts, these help to set Erasmus's masterpiece
About the Author
Erasmus devoted his life to the study of theology and the defence of Christian ideals. He rose to a prominent position in the Church, and achieved fame for his writings. He played an important part in history by fostering the intellectual climate for the Reformation, and many of his ideas have a legacy which endures to the present day.