2 June 2004
ERASMUS, Desiderius (1466?-1536). Moriae encomium. Strassburg: Matthias Schurer, August 1511.
4° (202 x 140mm). Roman type, some Greek, initial spaces with guide-letter. With final blank leaf, many deckle edges preserved. (Repairs to title with several letters replaced in facsimile, minor marginal repairs to A8.) Modern boards re-using a printed leaf.
SECOND EDITION, THE FIRST DATED, OF MORE'S INFLUENTIAL PRAISE OF FOLLY. It followed by only 2 months the first edition, printed at Paris by Gilles de Gourmont. All of the earliest editions are very rare, and only one copy of any of the first four editions (the Garden copy of the present edition) has been sold at auction in over 100 years.
The most well known of Erasmus's works, it is a biting satire which criticizes all human professions, from monks and theologians to grammarians, poets, and rhetoricians like himself. Erasmus's inversions and Doubles entendres begin with the title, playing with the name of his friend and host Thomas More, in whose London house he wrote the book, and continue by having a personified Folly tell the tale, so that Folly ridicules folly. Erasmus followed classical models of ironical eulogies by Isocrates, Lucian and Seneca, in its composition, and infused it with Christian Platonism. A large copy, retaining many deckle edges. Bezzel 1298; PMM 43; Vander Haeghen 122.
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