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8th ed. xii, 178 p., 48 plates : ill. ; 16 cm.

Some of the pages in this document were selected as part of a class project for Professor Garth Bond’s History of the Book seminar, Fall 2012. The abstract was prepared by Zach Kulig.

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J. Barker [17--].




Erasmus was a central figure for many Protestant reformers both during and after the Reformation. His book The Praise of Folly, first published in 1511, was one of his most well known books. This edition was published in 1750 by an English bookseller with an in-house publisher, J. Baker. This edition published by Baker was meticulously translated by W. Kennet, which is made clear by the title page of the book. This edition of the book is also illustrated by woodcuts from German artist, Hans Holbeine. Holbeine's woodcuts throughout the book serve as a connection to the text, personifying Folly, Greed, Revenge, and other human actions. An in house publishing of this book would have meant a steep personal investment for the publisher and seller making this a luxury item for a reader of the 18th century. This edition was catered to intellectual gentleman of the Enlightenment who were interested in discussing the humanist ideas of Erasmus during a new era of intellectual thought.


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Selected pages from The praise of folly. Tr. from the best Latin edition of Erasmus, by W. Kennet ... Illus. with fifty curious cuts, by the celebrated Hans Holbeine. To which is prefixed, the author’s epistle to Sir Thomas More. And the life of the author, by Thomas Brown