This sixteenth-century religious satire by a Renaissance
critic and theologian is “a masterpiece of humor and wise irony”
(Johan Huizinga, Dutch historian).
At the onset of his hugely successful satire of medieval European
society, Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus invokes the goddess
Folly, daughter of Youth and Wealth, who was raised by Drunkenness
and Ignorance. She’s followed by idolatrous companions, including
Self-love, Flattery, Pleasure, and Laziness.
Through Folly’s wry and humorous speech, Erasmus denounces the
superstitions and nonsensical eccentricities of his contemporary
theologians and churchmen, monastic life, and the condition of the
Catholic Church. An immensely influential humanist text, In
Praise of Folly helped lay the groundwork for the Protestant
Reformation and marked a transitional time between medieval beliefs
and modern ideals.