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Praise of Folly

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  7,808 Ratings  ·  341 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
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published (first published 1511)
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Roy Lotz
Jun 26, 2016 Roy Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Praise of Brexit

Folly speaks:

About five hundred years ago, a man named Erasmus decided to publish a book praising me. Unbelievably, no one had this idea before, and none since. Nobody has the time or the inclination—nobody besides Erasmus, that is—to sing my praises, apparently. All the other gods get their encomiums, but not me.

Well, perhaps I should take the neglect as a compliment. After all, isn’t it the height of folly not to acknowledge the role that folly plays in human life? So is not
Apr 30, 2013 knig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, 2013
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
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
David Sarkies
Aug 17, 2016 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
Let Stupidity Reign
7 August 2016 - Amsterdam

Well, what better book to read when you are in the Netherlands than Erasmus' tributed to stupidity. Okay, I'm sure he is not being serious, though it is difficult to tell at times, particularly when he suggests that by being an idiot one does become healthy, wealthy (but not necessarily wise – actually, that would be quite the opposite). Actually, healthy is probably not necessarily something that comes either, but certainly wealth seems to come to a
Dec 05, 2014 sologdin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 languages. 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
Jul 21, 2012 Kaitlyn rated it it was ok
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
Sep 08, 2016 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Doar prostia încetineşte scurgerea tinereţii şi alungă nesuferita bătrâneţe", scrie Erasmus din Rotterdam către prietenul sau Thomas Morus, în preambulul acestei lucrări.
O critică amuzantă, minuţioasă şi foarte sinceră a societăţii umane, făcută de zeiţa Nebunia, un personaj efervescent şi extrem de bine dispus, care nu se fereşte să înfiereze, într-un lung şi picant monolog, teatralitatea şi formalismul, ipocrizia şi dublele standarde, cu accente deosebite asupra filosofilor şi, mai cu seama,
Sep 05, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wat een geweldig boek was dit.
Oct 19, 2016 Emre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daha önce de belirttiğim gibi, bu kitabı okumadan önce Yunan Mitolojisi üzerine okumalar yapmak, okumayı hem daha anlaşılır kılacak hem de daha keyifli hâle getirecektir. Şöyle ki, Türkiye İş Bankası Yayınları baskısını okuduğum bu 124 sayfalık kitapta 237 tane dipnot yer alıyor. Sürekli mitolojik ögeler ile İncil ve Tevrat'a göndermeler var, haliyle bu da kitabın içine girmemi bir hayli zorlaştırdı. Kimi yerlerde çok sıkıldım hatta. Ama sonunda bitti ve rahatladım. :)
May 11, 2016 Ubiquitousbastard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, europe
Again I admit that I'm impressed with a classical author. From his obviously sympathetic view of women at a time when that wasn't exactly common, to his deep understanding of human nature, Erasmus really isn't what I expected from a Catholic clergyman. As with Baldassare Castiglione I found his description of aging to be both poignant and incredibly accurate. When I read Folly's claim that old people enter a kind of second childhood in which they regain some of their lost innocence and wonder, ...more
Jan 27, 2016 Rıdvan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben çok beğendim. Bilemiyorum nasıl tarif edeyim bu kitabı. Ciddi manada ağır bir kitap. Bir alt yapı istiyor. Öyle "hadi bi kitap okuyayım havam olur biraz hem sarı sarı güzelde bir şekli var" diye alıp okuyabileceğiniz bi kitap değil. 15 dakika sonra atıverirsiniz kenara valla.

Dolayısıyla benimde çok vaktimi aldı okumak. Zaten kitabın yarısı açıklamalardan oluşuyo neredeyse. Çevirmen hanım elinden geleni yapmış sağolsun. Ağır ağır okuyunca zaman alıyo ama anlıyorsunuzki Erasmus bize çok önemli
I would have liked it more if it had been half its length. It's funny and caustic at times, but it's stretched out too much, too often.
And even though the notes in the back help, it's a shame we miss 99% of the inside jokes, but I suppose that can't be helped.
“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
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
I read this many years ago but confess I didn't 'get' most of it. There were many inside jokes about historical figures of the age which I think I would understand a lot better now that I know the history of the period much better. As such I am anxious to reread. I remember at the time finding it very acerbic.
Oct 25, 2011 Mommalibrarian rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, religion
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
Eliana Rivero
Reading Challenge 2016
38. Un libro satírico

Pues bien: ¿qué es la vidasino una farsa en la que, bajo la careta que cada cual se coloca, los hombres representan sus papeles hasta que el director les hace retirarse de la escena?

Entretenido, gracioso y lleno de referencias. Erasmo, humanista holandés estudioso de los dogmas religiosos, crea a la diosa Locura, y ésta es la que habla durante todo el libro. Allí se nos habla de que los locos, en realidad, tienen más sabiduría que los propios sabios, p
Jun 17, 2011 Pvw rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Jun 02, 2013 Chrystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
This book is fascinatingly hilarious and funny! I am not finished yet, but found something truly amazing, something that made me set the book down and think for several minutes and say "wow!" to myself.

Erasmus wrote this book for his good friend, Sir Thomas More. In fact the title, "Morias Encomium" can be read as "In praise of More" because the Greek word for "Folly" is "Moria". So it is a pun on More's name. (there are double and triple puns all in the book!) The "wow!" moment came to me in re

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.
Feb 12, 2014 awgusteen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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.
Can Küçükyılmaz
Erasmus bugün bildiğimiz manada bir deliliği değil, delilik ile cahillik arasında bir noktayı savunuyor. Bilge olarak geçinen insanların aslında ne kadar cahil, saçma sapan işler yaptığını ortaya çıkararak, insanlığın kurtuluşunu delilikte buluyor. Tom Robbins'in "oyunculuk uçarılık değil, bilgeliktir" sözüne benzer bir noktası var.
TC Baki
Apr 05, 2016 TC Baki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
500 yıl önce yazılan bu kitap nasıl da hala tüm açıklamalarıyla bugünkü dünyamıza uyuyor. Süper! Kendi içindeki delice çelişkiler, alaylar ve cesur eleştrileri ile bence çok eğlenceli ve düşündürücü. Yani güldürürken düşündürüyor
Robin Friedman
Dec 23, 2015 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received the Folio Society edition of Erasmus' "In Praise of Folly" some time ago as a gift which gave me the opportunity to reread the work after a first reading many years ago. The Folio Society edition is lavishly put together in a slipcase, with large print, on quality paper, and with beautiful color illustrations and made a lovely gift. For reading purposes, however, this Penguin edition will do just as well. With the exception of the artwork, it includes the same material as the folio ed ...more
Oscar Gonzalez
Sep 07, 2014 Oscar Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sepan-cuantos
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
Sep 18, 2015 Jackson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Chose this book on account of it being written by Erasmus of Rotterdam, who authored a book that I really wanted to read (A Handbook on Good Manners).

This book was nigh inaccessible to me. The "generous casserole of words" started off with how important folly is to human fortune. It's written with sweetness and tempered with succinctness. You can't have any friends, or any worth keeping, without worshipping folly. Humans are burdened with faults and only through foolishness can we keep our perc
Apr 06, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 14, 2016 Alyssa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm really happy that I read this book due to its historical value, but I feel like he could have said the same in fewer words. It is very repetitive.
Mar 15, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 16th-century-lit
Erasmus very well knows the art of making a fool out of me.
He uses Folly as the narrator, and on the other hand, very often, the author makes folly to subject. So there is much wisdom in follying around, so to say. But then, seriously, there is much disturbing anger, and agressiveness almost, in the contence and the tone used to clarify the ridiculousness of people’s behaviour, especially the upper clergy (of those days). I had a hard time to distinguish those two perspectives. Yet I enjoyed Era
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  • The Book of the Courtier
  • Letters on England
  • The Essays: A Selection
  • Oration on the Dignity of Man
  • The Complete Works: The Revised Oxford Translation, Vol. 2
  • Lettera sulla felicità
  • The Concept of Irony/Schelling Lecture Notes (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 2)
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • Pensées
  • A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • The City of the Sun
  • Maxims
  • The Enneads
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • The Renaissance Philosophy of Man: Petrarca, Valla, Ficino, Pico, Pomponazzi, Vives
  • The Essays
  • A Letter Concerning Toleration: Humbly Submitted
  • Three Treatises
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (28 October 1466 – 12 July 1536), known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, or simply Erasmus, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian.

Erasmus was a classical scholar and wrote in a pure Latin style. Among humanists he enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists", and has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian human
More about Desiderius Erasmus...

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