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The Praise of Folly
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The Praise of Folly

The Praise of the Folly (Latin title: Moriae Encomium, sometimes translated as In Praise of Folly) is an essay written in 1517 by Erasmus of Rotterdam. It is a satirical examination of religious beliefs and the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered one of the most influential works of literature in Western Civilization and one of the catalysts of the Reformation.

Erasmus was a good friend of sir Thomas More, with whom he shared a taste for dry humor and other intellectual pursuits. The title "Moriae encomium" can also be read as meaning "In praise of More". The double or triple meanings go on through the text. Erasmus wrote the essay while visiting More's estate in Bucklersbury.

The essay is filled with classical allusions delivered in a style typical of the learned humanists of the Renaissance.