Strassburg, Matthias Schurer, 1511
Moriae Encomium was written at the house of Sir Thomas More in 1509-10, whose Utopia was in part written in response to this. The title, playing on More's name, is one of many doubles entendres and inversions employed by Erasmus in the text, continuing with having a personified Folly tell the tale, so that Folly ridicules folly. Its composition is inspired by the classical models of ironical eulogies by Isocrates, Lucian and Seneca together with Christian Platonism. An important work in its own right and for its influence on the Protestant Reformation.
'The Praise of Folly was written when Erasmus was staying in the house of Thomas More in the winter of 1509–10. Its title is a delicate and complimentary play on the name of his host: its subject matter is a brilliant, biting satire on the folly to be found in all walks of life. The book stemmed from the decision which Erasmus had taken when he left Rome to come to England, that no form of preferment could be obtained at the sacrifice of his freedom to read, think and write what he liked The work was first secretly printed in Paris, and, as in other cases, its immediate success safeguarded him from the consequences of his audacity Whenever tyranny or absolute power threatened, The Praise of Folly was re-read and reprinted. It is a sign of what was in the air that Milton found it in every hand at Cambridge in 1628. His inherent scepticism has led people to call Erasmus the father of 18th century rationalism, but his rationalist attitude is that of perfect common sense, to which tyranny and fanaticism were alike abhorrent.' (PMM 43)
Second edition, first dated edition; 4to (20.2 x 14.5 cm); Roman and Greek type, lower edge of G1 torn with loss (not affecting text), slight toning and soiling, previous ownership inscription to title dated 1804, occasional underlining in ink; 19th-century vellum gilt, spine gilt in compartments, gilt lettering to second and fifth compartments on black morocco labels, slight warping to upper board, light soiling to boards; collation: A8 B4 C8 D4 E8 F4 G-H6 (with final blank H6 present).
Bezzel 1298; cf. PMM 43; Vander Haeghen 122.
We offer secure and express delivery on all local and international orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website.
Shapero Rare Books is an internationally renowned dealer in antiquarian & rare books and works on paper.
Our Bookshop and Gallery can be found in the heart of Mayfair at 106 New Bond Street, where most of our stock is available to view and on public display.
We exhibit at major international art fairs, including TEFAF (Maastricht and New York), Frieze Masters, Art Miami and Masterpiece London, as well as antiquarian & rare book fairs including New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong.