Well, then, congratulations are in order!
If I was just told that somebody wrote a work called "In Praise of Folly," I would be immediately interested, being a proponent (or should I say living example) of Stupidity myself. I know next to nothing about Erasmus, but I have always been drawn by instinct to those qualities of his that you articulate so nicely. Anyway, as you know, your acute textual questions as you progressed drew me into the work and inspired me to go ahead and get the ASD edition, and should I be blessed (or cursed) with a second or fifth or sixth life, I hope to carve out the time to actually read it.
You say you'd like to read some of Erasmus' Latin instructional books. I don't know enough about Erasmus to make recommendations, but for what it's worth, the only other work of Erasmus I possess is his De duplici copia verborum et rerum
(often known as simply De copia
). The work is famous for, among other things, its tour-de-force 195 variations on the phrase Tuae litterae me magnopere delectarunt
. Again, I have the ASD edition (I-6 in their Erasmi Opera Omnia
series), whose (English) commentary I find indispensable. Unfortunately, these editions are quite expensive (and come with shamelessly flimsy binding).
Another random thought. Erasmus' own writings on Latin were heavily influenced by Lorenzo Valla's Elegantiae linguae latinae
(1471), which you can find on Google Books. It's close to 800 pages in length and not something many of us would be interested in reading in its entirety, but I have sampled the beginning of it, and it, along with Erasmus' Copia
, are interesting examples of the attempt at that time to rescue Latin from its own "Dark Ages" and restore Latin composition to the elegance or purity of its classical exemplars.
Another potentially interesting work of Valla's is his oration On the Donation of Constantine
, "in which Valla uses new philological methods to attack the authenticity of the most important document justifying the papacy's claim to temporal rule." The quote is from the dust jacket of G.W. Bowersock's edition with original text and opposite page English translation
. I always thought it would be interesting to see how someone's Latin was good enough to expose an ancient work as a fraud. But I have to confess, this is another book I own but can't say I've really read!