Das Lob Der Torheit
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Das Lob Der Torheit

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  5,346 ratings  ·  227 reviews
Erasmus of Rotterdam (c. 1466-1536) is one of the greatest figures of the Renaissance humanist movement, which abandoned medieval pieties in favour of a rich new vision of the individual's potential. Praise of Folly, written to amuse his friend Sir Thomas More, is Erasmus's best-known work. Its dazzling mixture of fantasy and satire is narrated by a personification of Foll...more
136 pages
Published November 2011 by Philipp Reclam Jun Verlag GmbH (first published 1508)
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Horatian style satire peppered with innumerable references to Greco-Roman lore which would take a lifetime to decipher: luckily for me, ten days into this Sisyphean task I discovered Phil’s site:


Aint the internet great? The reason the above site is such a treasure is not simply because it spoonfeeds the laziest reader the needful (a word usage I picked up in Sri Lanka: love it), but because it resolves the numerous dilemmas a rookie like me has whilst goog...more
Justin Evans
In general, I like to think that there is progress in the arts- that geniuses of a later age are likely to be broader and more engaging than geniuses of an earlier age because they have the example of earlier men and women from which to learn. Lately I've been having a hard time holding onto this belief; that I've finally got around to reading Praise of Folly has made it harder still. Erasmus combines a mildly annoying love of classical literature with an amazing ability to wield irony and socia...more
Hard for me not to crush on Erasmus: cosmopolitan, pacifist, menippean. Learned in ancient writings, interested in allegiance to neither reformation nor counter-reformation, but rather in democratization of Scripture through vernacular translation simultaneous to the construction of critical editions of Scripture in original langiages. Not however to be approached casually--he expects the reader to get the jokes and keep up with him. Some minimal knowledge of the ancient literatures and philosop...more
I read this for a History of Renaissance and Reformation class just a few weeks ago. It's a very short book, but it took me forever to read through the darn thing! It's a satire-- and I'm sure if I could understand half of it, I would give it a 5-star rating. However, sadly, most of it goes right over my head...
Erasmus was ill, and wrote this little narration just to pass time while he was sick. He never meant for the book to be taken seriously-- and surely not to play a role in starting a refo...more
Tim Weakley
I first read The Praise Of Folly when I was fifteen. My overwhelming impression then, and now, is how easily read this book is given the fact that it's about 500 years old now. I love the humour that Erasmus incorporates into this condemnation of the church at the time. It's clever and very well thought out at the same time. It's difficult to be funny and smart.

It's really held up for me over the years. This particular copy was printed in 1945 in Holland for The Heritage Press and features some...more
While praising the goddess of folly, Erasmus pokes fun at the habits of his time and at some more serious political and religious mischief.

Unfortunately, all those things are too far from us now to be fully appreciated. It must be interesting for specialists of the era to understand all the references made. But that doesn't make the book entertaining to read, although it must have also been intended for that purpose at the time it was written. While having a serious message underneath, of course...more
In Praise of Folly is supposed to be a satire. The language is old and the spelling tortured but readable with care. Some of it reads like an old style stand-up comic: 'the Noose of Wedlock' 'ye owe ... to my follower, Madness' and on the getting of children, purview of the goddess of Folly, "the Stoicks too, that conceive themselves next to the Gods, yet shew me one of them .... and if he do not put off his beard, the badge of wisdom, though yet it be no more than what is common with him and go...more
An obvious characteristic of a literary work of genius would be its endurance (relevance) over time. Erasmus' Praise of Folly, written over 500 years ago, still has much to say to the modern reader, namely because humankind, at any time in history, will always be demonstrating its ability to act foolishly. This work is replete with barbed witticisms that have not lost their piquancy over the centuries. I enjoyed the way Erasmus split the book between first showing how men can waste their lives c...more
“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries”

This was said by Theodore Rubin, but it was first said in Praise of Folly. This wonderful book brings life and illumination to that above quote and helps you to appreciate it's fullest meaning. To anyone who would be better: read this book, it will show you...more
Bet Roberts
This was a hard read, but absolutely delightful. His sarcasm is charming, and his prose is witty. Without a doubt, Erasmus was a very learned man....and perhaps because of this, this text needs to be read slowly to digest the complex satire. Despite being short, it can't be blown through in an hour.

I hope to re-read it someday, and I'm sure I'll catch on to even more of it then.
Oscar Gonzalez
La edición que leí, comprende en realidad tres obras: una biografía de Erasmo por Johan Huizinga, el Elogio y una selección de Coloquios. Obras difíciles de leer: un sinnúmero de citas y referencias a libros y autores de la antigüedad clásica, amada de Erasmo, cuyo empeño por traducir la mayor cantidad posible de obras de autores grecorromanos consumió su tiempo, siendo su propósito legarlos al mundo y pasar a la historia por divulgarlos. Posiblemente la mitad de la referencias sean a La Biblia...more
L’Elogio della Follia è un testo bizzaro. Eppure esso identifica forse il primo sicuro passo verso la decostruzione (concedetemi questo vocabolo usato chiaramente ante litteram) del Cristianesimo. Sfuggente come pochi altri testi sanno essere, questo è di sicuro il trattato che più rispecchia l’indole del suo autore, già distintosi come intellettuale con altre scritture ma che mai si era esposto in tutta la sua furia satirica e distruttrice come nelle lettere dell’Elogio. La natura sfuggente del...more
Apr 06, 2011 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachel by: Jacques Barzun
It's not always easy to follow Erasmus in the voice of Folly praising herself. There are layers upon layers of irony to sift through, and since she is who she is, Folly takes a mocking tone throughout (including self-mockery), feels free to make overtly absurd statements and contradicts herself (the first and third parts of the book seem to propound different and not entirely consistent understandings of wisdom and foolishness). But Folly says such reasonable and funny and true things throughout...more
Po Po
I had low expectations for this, but was very pleasantly surprised how much I guffawed and knee-slapped myself from sheer enjoyment. Aside from the snide "women are dumb and vain and superficial" (I am paraphrasing of course) remarks thrown here and there, I found this to be a worthwhile read. Of course, from the outset, we are also told that the writer is Folly, and thus naturally a woman.*groan*

There is some incredible insight in this tiny book. What this book proves to me is that the problem...more

Sometimes great things can't be easily commented, and this is the case.

Many parts of this book will make you feel way too uncomfortable if you can't take a bit of irony and recognize the hypocrisy that rules the human world. All of it will. It's one of these books that steals you a smirk and makes you laugh at how sadly true is everything you had just read because it's a timeless evil that won't go away that easily.
What a strange little book. I can only imagine that Erasmus was terrifically bored when he wrote it and got carried away in his own self-amusement. That would explain the concept: the goddess of Folly delivers an encomium in her own honor, lauding her own virtues, and extolling her positive influence over humankind. I like the idea, but I think the execution is a bit shoddy.

Much of this book reads like some of the drier sections of Gulliver’s Travels—thinly veiled attacks on contemporary practic...more
Eric Hansen
This is the mother of all political/social satire, it's what satire is all about.

It's dated now, and the references to Greek gods and all that make it a little hard to read, but it zips through society taking potshots at everyone and his dog, it leaves no self-indulgence unpunished, no pretension inflated.

Some reviewers have (rightly) commented that his criticism is dated now - the nobility and the church are both out of power, it seems a waste of time to spend so much energy criticizing them....more
Росен Григоров
"Или пий, или си върви" - Еразъм за комедията на живота.

Реших все пак да поостана още малко, пиейки n-тия скоч за вечерта, и да напиша няколко изречения за "Възхвала на глупостта", която симпатично открих в книжарницата на старо, локализирана малко преди мавзолея на Батенберг.

Нямам идея колко измерения на сатирата е искал Еразъм да вплете в произведението си, но е факт, че иронията в стила му е от най-висока класа, като проблемът навярно е, че тези, за които е предназначена творбата, най-малко...more
Zijt gij soms van oordeel, dat ik in mijn spreken wat al te uitgelaten of te lang van stof geweest ben, bedenkt dan, dat het niet alleen de Zotheid, maar ook een vrouw was, die het woord heeft gevoerd.

De ouderwetse vertaling (gratis van op Gutenberg, dus eigenlijk heb ik geen recht tot klagen) belemmert het vlot lezen wat, maar Erasmus' tong heeft door de eeuwen heen nog niks van zijn scherpte verloren.

Want wanneer [redenaars], zooals U bekend is, met een rede voor den dag komen, waa...more
* It wasn't very funny. But it was not-funny in the same way that the Dutch TV shows my in-laws watch that are supposed to be funny are not-funny, so it gave an insight into a certain persistence in European natural characters.

* Terry Pratchett's Anoia, Goddess of Things that get Stuck in Drawers, makes her first appearance in this book. She is one of the handmaidens of Folly and her name literally means 'madness'.

* Encomium Moriae can be read as 'praise of More', and this wildly popular book wa...more
Víctor Sampayo
Con el pretexto de hacer hablar alegóricamente a la Estulticia, Erasmo de Rotterdam elaboró un erudito y divertidísimo tratado —incluso una metódica radiografía— sobre los usos y costumbres de su tiempo, en el que no perdona a prácticamente ningún eslabón de la sociedad: desde los gobernantes y su corte, la aristocracia y los clérigos, pasando por los sabios de toda índole, los jurisconsultos, los filósofos, los oradores, los literatos o los comerciantes, todos recurren a la estulticia, a veces...more
It would be folly to praise this work. No doubt it was relevant in its time, but it is sadly dated now. Some of Erasmus's sayings are amongst my favourites, however this book is probably best avoided except by philosophy students.
Objective just about reached, but boy was this a hard slog. Witty, yes, but at times almost impossible. Maybe me and early sixteenth century essayists just don't get on? I can only that Machiavelli won't be quite so difficult.
Aug 25, 2014 Kamil rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kamil by: History of literature
In a witty commentary on the status of the church in the 15/16th century, Erasmus embodies the spirit of Folly, one of the greek muses or goddesses of the old times.

First, he explains Folly's history: born from Richness and Youth, Folly embodies all that is enjoyable in the world, showing examples of its expression.
Then, he starts to mention how Folly is reigning in the Church. He ends with references on folly both in the Bible and in the sayings of Christ. And as such, Erasmus's book reads like...more
Kent zo zijn leuke passages, maar is redelijk repetitief en leest wat met horten en stoten. Een klassieker, maar niet meteen een echte aanrader.
Bogdan Liviu
Doar prostia încetineşte scurgerea tinereţii şi alungă nesuferita bătrâneţe.
Joseph R.
Praise of Folly is an imagined speech by Folly, defending herself as important to the happiness of mankind. She argues that people start as fools in childhood and wind up in an old age full of folly when people start to "lose their marbles." Those considered wise are usually the unhappiest of men, for

amongst mortal men those who strive after wisdom are the furthest from happiness; they are in fact doubly stupid simply because they ignore the fact that they were born men, try to adopt the life of
Някои цитати, които си извадих:

„...суровост и намусеност, толкова безсмислени и непоносими...“

„Дори ако целият народ съска срещу тебе, какво ти пречи сам да си ръкопляскаш?“

„Ласкателството е мед и приправка на всяко човешко общуване.“

„По-голяма и по-сигурна награда за хората е да не им обръщат внимание, вместо да ги почитат. Също така някои хора са толкова капризни и чувствителни към обиди, че по-добре е изобщо да не ги познаваш никак, вместо да дружиш с тях.“

„Каква театрална гледка е тов...more
In the canon of philosophers, Erasmus is known for his condemnation of enthusiasm. PRAISE OF FOLLY is an example, as Folly herself attacks class consciousness, the hypocracy of the clergy, King's neglect of their people, scholastic theologians splitting hairs over dogma, and pope's justifications for waging wars to acquire territory. Virtually every human commitment is satirized for their excesses, even Folly herself.

The great conflict between reason and religion was fermenting in his time, and...more
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  • The Book of the Courtier
  • The Essays: A Selection
  • The Enneads
  • Pensées
  • The Advancement Of Learning
  • Letters on England
  • The Concept of Irony/Schelling Lecture Notes (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 2)
  • De Anima (On the Soul)
  • Maxims
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • On The Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres
  • Dos Delitos e das Penas
  • A Letter Concerning Toleration: Humbly Submitted
  • The Discourses
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • The City of the Sun
  • Ethics
  • On the Republic/On the Laws
Desiderius Erasmus (also known as Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus) was doubtless born out of wedlock, well cared for by his parents till their early death, and then given the best education open to a young man of his day in a series of monastic or semi-monastic schools. All this early education is made by him in the light of later experience to appear like one long conspiracy to force him into the...more
More about Desiderius Erasmus...
Discourse on Free Will The Essential Erasmus Ten Colloquies (Library of Liberal Arts) Erasmus: The Education of a Christian Prince with the Panegyric for Archduke Philip of Austria The Complaint of Peace

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“The chief element of happiness is this: to want to be what you are.” 37 likes
“Just as nothing is more foolish than misplaced wisdom, so too, nothing is more imprudent than perverse prudence. And surely it is perverse not to adapt yourself to the prevailing circumstances, to refuse 'to do as the Romans do,' to ignore the party-goer's maxium 'take a drink or take your leave,' to insist that the play should not be a play. True prudence, on the other hand, recognizes human limitations and does not strive to leap beyond them; it is willing to run with the herd, to overlook faults tolerantly or to share them in a friendly spirit. But, they say, that is exactly what we mean by folly. (I will hardly deny it -- as long as they will reciprocate by admitting that this is exactly what is means to perform the play of life.)” 10 likes
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