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2014 New York Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture
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When: Thursday, 27 March
7:00 PM–9:00PM
Where: Hilton New York Midtown
Second Floor, Sutton Rooms
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Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture

7:00–8:30 p.m.

Sponsor: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society

Organizer: Eric Macphail, Indiana University

Location: New York Hilton Midtown, Sutton Rooms

Paul J. Smith, Leiden University

Folly Goes French: French Translations of the Praise of Folly in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

The early modern French translations of Erasmus’s Praise of Folly show an astonishing adaptability to its ever-changing readership. Recently much attention has been given to the two sixteenth-century translations (1518 and 1520); however, the three French translations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are less known. The 1642 version addresses preclassicist readers, adepts of Richelieu’s newly founded Académie Française, while the 1671 version appeals to the Parisian salons. Nicolas Gueudeville’s 1713 translation went through twenty-two editions, in which its language is refined according to the rules of bienséance, and Vianen’s illustrations, inspired by Holbein’s famous drawings, are replaced by Charles Eisen’s elegant figures, dressed in the latest fashion. Although she changed names (Moria/Stultitia–Dame Sottise–Dame Folie), language (from humanist Latin to Parisian French), appearance and attire (from Holbein to Eisen), Folly remains much the same through the ages — everlasting and omnipresent, just as the vices she laughs at.

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