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In Praise of Folly

Desiderius Erasmus

In Praise of Folly, by Desiderius Erasmus - click to see full size image

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In Praise of Folly is an essay by Desiderius Erasmus, first printed in June 1511. It is a satirical attack on superstitions and other traditions of European society as well as on the Western Church. In Praise of Folly starts off with a satirical speech, in which Folly praises herself; it then takes a darker tone in a series of orations, as Folly praises self-deception and madness and moves to a satirical examination of pious but superstitious abuses of Catholic doctrine and corrupt practices in parts of the Roman Catholic Church. Erasmus' close friends had warned him of possible dangers to himself from attacking the established religion, but apparently Leo X and Cardinal Cisneros are said to have found the work amusing.

Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

Part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World set.

This book has 48 pages in the PDF version, and was originally written in Latin in 1509. This is a 1668 translation by John Wilson.

Production notes: This e-book of In Praise of Folly was published by Global Grey ebooks on the 20th January 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Portrait of Erasmus' by Hans Holbein the Younger.

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