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The Folio Society

In Praise of Folly, illustrated edition published by The Folio Society

In Praise of Folly is a satire written in the 16th Century by Desiderius Erasmus, the humanist reformer and social critic. It’s a mix of social observation and parody narrated through the persona of ‘Folly’ a jester-like goddess celebrating frivolity, inebriation and self love. Erasmus uses the character of ‘Folly; as a mask from behind which he attacks the social normals of his day. Even at his most biting, Erasmus’ writing is animated by warm and lively wit.

When Matthew was thinking about the visual for the character of ‘Folly’ he researched different cultures across the centuries, especially seeking out examples of those that speak truth through misrule, mockery and excess. He thought about the Fool, the Jester, Pierrot and also about more recent characters like Carmen Miranda, the Cat in the Hat and Malcolm McLaren.