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Praise of Folly, Query 4

Latin after CDLXXVI

Praise of Folly, Query 4

Postby hlawson38 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:44 pm

Context: Folly is instructing her audience on the importance of Folly (Stupidity): We wouldn't even call it life, she says if you took the foolishness out of it.

I'm having trouble making sense of these lines.
Applausistis.

Equidem sciebam neminem uestrum ita sapere, uel desipere magis,
imo sapere potius, ut in hac esset sententia.


Translation [I'm guessing]:
You applaud. For my part, I knew none of you to be too wise, or rather to be so stupid, more correctly (imo) [let's say ] you are wise enough to be of this opinion.
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Re: Praise of Folly, Query 4

Postby Shenoute » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:40 pm

I think these lines rely on the idea of what it means to "agree with Folly/Stupidity".
Normally (in the normal/everyday world) to agree with Folly/Stupidity would mean to be stupid but since the whole Praise of Folly presents Folly/Stupidity as a reasonable character, then in this view, to agree with Folly/Stupidity is a positive thing, a mark of wisdom.

These two opposite ways of considering agreement with Folly/Stupidity is what makes her vacillate between the two opposite words sapere and desipere. Folly/Stupidity is (or pretends to be) at a loss about which word to use because according to common sense those listening to Stupidity would be stupid to agree with her, but according to the internal logic of the Praise they are wise to agree with her.

(Well, all this sounded much clearer in my mind before I started writing. Sorry if it is not helpful)
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Re: Praise of Folly, Query 4

Postby hlawson38 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:20 am

I had to think about this for a while, Shenoute.

Right now I'm not trying to find the literal meaning of these lines. Instead, I'm trying to imagine what these lines are meant to accomplish. So tentatively, I'm trying to imagine them as a warning to be careful about what Folly says, to think of her as an Unreliable Speaker. We've all spent much time being schooled, and we want to be rational, intelligent people, but what are we to do with the utterance of somebody who declares that Foolishness and Stupidity are the only answer? I am reading these lines as a warning about this problem.

That seems close to what you are saying, and if asked whether I reached this before or after reading your post, I couldn't say for sure.
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