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Praise of Folly

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  11,187 ratings  ·  553 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 25th 1993 by Penguin Classics (first published 1510)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,187 ratings  ·  553 reviews

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Roy Lotz
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, favourites
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
It's a shame that I wasn't able to connect with this book, since its themes are always fascinating. It depends on the execution, naturally. The praise turned into one awfully verbose torment. I imagined Folly talking to me at some café, an incessant chatter using some annoying little voice, like having Jiminy Cricket inside your ear prattling nonsense with tons of sugar in his system, and me, waiting for a coffee that never comes, watching people through the window as they walk by, alone with th ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

“To know nothing is the sweetest life.”—Sophocles (Kindle Locations 263-264)

“Give me any instance then of a man as wise as you can fancy him possible to be, that has spent all his younger years in poring upon books, and trudging after learning, in the pursuit whereof he squanders away the pleasantest time of his life in watching, sweat, and fasting; and in his latter days he never tastes one mouthful of delight, but is always stingy, poor, dejected, melancholy, burthenso
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Invite a wise man to a feast and he'll spoil the company, either with morose silence or troublesome disputes. Take him out to dance, and you'll swear a cow would have done it better."

An allegory of Folly, Quentin Massys, 1510

“Throw off the shackles this infernal quest for wisdom has put on you, you blasted bores!”

Slightly paraphrased, so goes the core tenet of the gospel that most whimsical of metaphysical entities, Folly – using Erasmus as a vessel - evangeliz
David Sarkies
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Justin Evans
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Marco Simeoni
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, classics, humor
Parla la Saggezza; Ops, Scusate! La Follia

Erasmo da Rotterdam parlando a Tommaso Moro, definisce questo libro come un "esercizio di stile".
Se ne sto parlando dopo quasi 5 secoli dalla sua pubblicazione ritengo che più di esercizio si possa parlare di lezione.
Usando l'ironia e mascherandosi dietro l'antropomorfizzazione della pazzia, Erasmo spazia toccando aspetti della società del '500 (così simile a quella dei giorni nostri) facendoci scoprire il punto di vista dell'escluso, del diverso, del pa
Serafim Silva
Pessoalmente, não é o género de livros de aprecio.
Apesar de tudo, muito actual.
Jan 21, 2016 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
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
Hamid e  Naser
این مرد که همه در او به نظر خداوندگار و صاحب اختیار می نگرند در واقع از یک موجود عادی کمتر است. وی مانند حیوانات اسیر غرایز خویش و بنابراین از حقیرترین بندگان کمتر است زیرا داوطلبانه خود را تابع این همه مستبدانِ هولناک کرده است. ص 57

نقد و هجوی بر ریاکاری، افزون خواهی، ستایشِ نادانی و تقدیسِ جهل، روحانیونِ دروغ زن، انسانِ نا آگاه... هجوی بر روزگارِ خرافه پرستی و معنویتِ پوشالی
بیانیه ای برای همه ی دوران ها به گوشِ تمامِ آدمیان! دریغ از خوابِ ابدیِ مردمانِ فرو رفته در گندابِ جهل

You know, before I read this, I imagined it was satire.

I couldn't have been more wrong! Indeed, after listening to Dame Folly, goddess extraordinaire, I think I will convert myself wholeheartedly to her teachings.

There has never been a more persuasive tract in literature. Hide thy wisdom, folks! There is no greater treasure than to proclaim just how much folly you possess!

It's especially good for churchmen and writers. The former generally do not know they are being made fun of and the latter ca
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A través de quinientos años nos llega la voz certera e irónica de una figura del Renacimiento: Erasmo de Rotterdam (1466-1536), quien sin él quererlo contribuyó con sus observaciones vertidas en esta obra a la Reforma Protestante emprendida por Lutero (1483-1546) algunos años después, ya que este último tomó algunas ideas de la obra del sabio holandés.

Erasmo crea una especie de ensayo en forma de monólogo y quien habla es un personaje muy singular: la locura. Pero la locura entendida, o al menos
Alp Turgut
Erasmus'un "ahmaklık"ın ağzından bizlere sunduğu tamamı hiciv olan eseri "Deliliğe Övgü / The Praise of Folly", ünlü yazarın Cicero'nun meşhur sözü "İnsanların çoğu ahmaktır"ı esas alarak tüm insanlığı zekice bir şekilde eleştirdiği gerçekten oldukça özgün bir eser. Özellikle son çeyreğinde başladığı İncil ve din eleştirisiyle zamanının çok ötesinde bir kitap olan "Deliliğe Övgü", kendine has diliyle alışması başta zor ama okudukça değer kazanan bir yapıt. Dini kullananları oldukça ağır bir şeki ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
“Even the wise man must play the fool if he wishes to beget a child.”

A little background, if you please. This was written in the same century as Shakespeare and Cervantes, check. He lived in the Netherlands, check. His father was a Catholic Priest, check. He was an ordained Roman Catholic priest, check. He is considered the point man for the early ‘humanist movement,’ check. He wrote this in a week while hanging with his friend Thomas More, the ‘Utopia’ guy, check. He never visited the Czech Rep
Oct 19, 2016 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. :)
È semplicemente meraviglioso.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letto
La Follia, resa da Erasmo come una dea, parla intessendo il suo elogio e rivolgendosi come in un’arringa alla folla che invita a constatare l’evidenza delle sue tesi, prima su tutte che essa, la Follia appunto, è componente costitutiva dell’uomo e dell’esistenza. Il saggio, datato 1511 e dedicato all’amico Tommaso Moro, è però un encomio in forma satirica che prendendo la follia come pretesto goliardico cela la sua vera identità di saggio dotto arricchito di fini allusioni classiche e di una sic ...more
Aug 09, 2016 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,
Michael Perkins
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Medieval humor found its final and complete expression at its highest level of the Renaissance in Erasmus' 'The Praise of Folly,' one of the greatest creations of carnival laughter in world literature."

-Mikhail Bakhtin, "Rabelais and His World"

The definite high point of "Folly" comes about halfway through when Erasmus mocks the Church hierarchy, including the Papacy.

Note on the Princeton edition. The editor and translator attempts to engage in a rather ludicrous exercise of trying to force Eras
Gustavo Offely
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Louis Vallon: Mort aux cons!

Charles De Gaulle: Vaste programme!

O tema é vasto e impossível de evitar quando se fala de coisas humanas; o tratamento é curioso: é um exercício satírico que nos mostra a tolice opcional e a natural, a que vem com o território. É mudar o que pode ser mudado e aceitar o que só pode ser assim.

Between him therefore that truly is happy, and him that thinks himself so, there is no perceivable distinction; or if any, the fool has the better of it: first, because his happi
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
در ستایش دیوانگی یکی از مشهورترین کتابهای قرن شانزدهم میلادی است که در تمام جهان مسیحی آن عصر هیاهوی برانگیخت و به عقیده بسیاری از مورخان هم در پیشرفت و تکامل فکری دوران تجدد علمی و هنری، خاصه در ایتالیا، و هم در جریان اصلاح مذهبی مارتین لوتر موثر بوده است.

در واقع این کتاب اولین اثری است که بعد از دوران سیاه و تاریک قرون وسطایی در اروپا اوضاع اجتماعی آن روز و مخصوصا استبداد و بیداد هولناک مقامات مذهبی خاصه مسیحی رهبران دیوانهای تفتیش عقاید را با زبان طنز و شوخی مورد انتقاد صریح و شکننده قرار داد
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wat een geweldig boek was dit.
A satire from the 16th century told from the perspective of Folly herself, and a criticism against pretentiousness and those who take themselves and their world too seriously. Life is made bearable by a bit of irrationality, a bit of foolishness. Do not let fear of understanding put you off from reading this. The language is certainly playful (which I loved), but it is not overly difficult to make sense of. Having some basic knowledge of Greek gods/deities will help a lot, and some familiarity w ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Александр Шушпанов
Говорят, что есть вот такие книги, которые человек однажды купил, прочёл, потом держит их на полке, сам сидит-сидит, вдруг ему хочется перечитать одно избранное место, он подходит к полке, прочитывает, а потом ещё читает-читает, и вот уже довольно долго стоит у полки, начав книгу с произвольного места, и сам не знает, где остановится.

Я был таким человеком много раз.

Сегодня меня втащили в рецензирование удивительно идиотского текста, где гуманизм путали с гедонизмом, а Айн Рэнд выводили из Протаг
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
“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
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This has got to be the oldest book I’ve yet to read, 1509. And, appropriately enough, it strives to be the wisest, but cleverly (ironically?) disguising itself as a praise of folly. Erasmus makes oodles of valid points and doesn’t lack in eloquence either, but it’s something of an obstacle course to get through. In all fairness, Erasmus is a splendid sophist, limber linguist and a sophisticated syllogist, one seemingly as partial to hearing himself pontificate as I am to alliterations…and yet th ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Misspelled title on a specific cover/edition 3 14 Dec 11, 2018 11:38PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 3 14 Oct 19, 2017 10:46AM  
  • The Book of the Courtier
  • Three Treatises
  • Oration on the Dignity of Man
  • Practice in Christianity
  • New Science
  • The New Organon
  • Sidereus Nuncius, or The Sidereal Messenger
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • The City of the Sun
  • Letters on England
  • On Christian Doctrine
  • On the Nature of the Gods. Academics
  • The Autobiography Of Benvenuto Cellini
  • Introduction to Positive Philosophy
  • Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare
  • On Great Writing (On the Sublime)
  • Erasmus and the Age of Reformation
  • The Way Things are
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
“The chief element of happiness is this: to want to be what you are.” 111 likes
“For anyone who loves intensely lives not in himself but in the object of his love, and the further he can move out of himself into his love, the happier he is.” 35 likes
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