Quotes about Erasmus
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My older cousins teased us—my sisters and brothers—with tales that Erasmus Flattery was a mage. We were all struck dumb in his presence, terrified that he would practice some enchantment upon us. In truth, we always hoped to see some magic, but of course we never did. She laughed again. Children do love to believe such things.
Erasmus dramatizes a well-established political position: that of the fool who claims license to criticize all and sundry without reprisal, since his madness defines him as not fully a person and therefore not a political being with political desires and ambitions. The Praise of Folly, therefore sketches the possibility of a position for the critic of the scene of political rivalry, a position not simply impartial between the rivals but also, by self-definition, off the stage of rivalry altogether.
I often asked myself the following question. There is no doubt that at all times for many men one of the greatest tortures of their lives has been the contact, the collision with the folly of their neighbours. And yet how is it that there has never been attempted — I think this is so — a study on this matter, an Essay on Folly? For the pages of Erasmus do not treat of this aspect of the matter.