Free and Discounted Ebooks
Join 130,000 readers! Get our ebook deals straight to your inbox.

The Praise of Folly

Cover image for


Language: English
Wordcount: 37,146 / 107 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 52.2
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 2,380 2515
Genres: Essays, Humor

Translated by John Wilson 1668

Show Excerpt

d ever grow, but, on the contrary, rue, angelica, bugloss, marjoram, trefoils, roses, violets, lilies, and all the gardens of Adonis invite both your sight and your smelling. And being thus born, I did not begin the world, as other children are wont, with crying; but straight perched up and smiled on my mother. Nor do I envy to the great Jupiter the goat, his nurse, forasmuch as I was suckled by two jolly nymphs, to wit, Drunkenness, the daughter of Bacchus, and Ignorance, of Pan. And as for such my companions and followers as you perceive about me, if you have a mind to know who they are, you are not like to be the wiser for me, unless it be in Greek: this here, which you observe with that proud cast of her eye, is Philantia, Self-love; she with the smiling countenance, that is ever and anon clapping her hands, is Kolakia, Flattery; she that looks as if she were half asleep is Lethe, Oblivion; she that sits leaning on both elbows with her hands clutched together is Misoponia

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 2 reviews: ****
Lisa Carr

An exhaustive account of the role of idiocy in the advancement of the world, based on the idea that fools leap to do things that wiser men balk at. Presented as a lecture by the goddess Folly, she makes the point that she is the most powerful of the gods, since she even rules the gods. Society, politics, science, religion, war, and just about everything else in the universe is driven by folly.
The piece is far, far, too long. Erasmus seemed to want to take a swipe at every institution in the world. I suggest skipping the letter to Thomas More that makes up the first 23% of the book.


Awesome book. Not only very enlightening but also funny. In his praise of folly, Erasmus reviews history, showing that in their search for power, some people fall into the most incredible contradictions with the morals they preach.



Join 120,000+ fellow readers! Get Free eBooks and book bargains from ManyBooks in your inbox. 

We respect your email privacy

login | register

User ID


reset password

Author of the Day

Maria La Serra
Maria La Serra believes in love and serendipity. She also believes in creating novels that are a bit different from the regular, run-of-the-mill books that readers have become accustomed to. As our author of the day, La Serra chats with us about her debut work, The Proverbial Mr. Universe, fashion design and serendipity.
Read full interview...