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Colley Cibber's Apology and the praise of folly tradition

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Colley Cibber's Apology and the praise of folly tradition
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Harrell, Janice Forrester, 1945-
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Happiness ( jstor )
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Paradoxes ( jstor )
Praise poetry ( jstor )
Satire ( jstor )
Theater ( jstor )
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Thesis--University of Florida.
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Bibliographical notes at end of each chapter.
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Janice Forrester Harrell.

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COLLEY CIBBER'S APOLOGY AND THE
PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION













By

JANICE FORRESTER HARRELL


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY










UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1976















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I gratefully acknowledge the able assistance of the chairman of my supervisory committee, Dr. Aubrey L. Williams, and the helpful suggestions of committee members Dr. Melvyn New and Dr. D. A. Bonneville. I would also like to express my thanks to Dr. Audrey S. Schumacher and Dr. J. B. Pickard for serving as members of the committee. In addition, I would like to express my thanks to Sandra Stilwell, whose help far exceeded what I might reasonably have expected of her as typist. But most of all, I wish to thank my husband, Evans, whose help extended over an exhausting five years and whose encouragement enabled me to keep my sanity while finishing this dissertation.














TABLE OF*CONTENTS


Acknowledgments................. ..... .. ........ . . . .ii

Table of Contents ...... . . * . ............................ iii

Abstract.. . . . . .....................oo-............... ft s siv

Introduction ............................................ vii

Chapter I: Erasmus Merges Classical Learning with
Medieval and Early Renaissance Views of Folly
to Create an Influential "Praise of Folly"............ 1
Notes to Chapter I ......... ......................... . ... 30

Chapter II: Erasmus' Followers.. ....................... 32
Rabelais Portrays Foolishness As a Creative Force .... 32
Montaigne Rejects Role of Sage and Assumes
Fool's Mantle .................................... 48
Notes to Chapter II ............ . ....................71

Chapter III: Colley Cibber, Branded a Fool, Elects
to Defend Himself Drawing on the Praise of Folly
Tradition As It Is Seen in the Moriae Encomium,
the Tiers Livre, and the Essais .....................75
Notes to Chapter III ....................-.......116

Chapter IV: Cibber's Experience on the Stage Causes
Him to Turn Often to Stage Metaphors in His
Expression of the Praise of Folly Tradition.........122 Notes to Chapter IV ........... . ........... 1. ..142

Chapter V: Influenced by Cibber and His Great
Predecessors, Sterne Writes the Last Great Praise
of Folly........................... .................. 143
Notes to Chapter V......................................... 171

Conclusion .......................... ... ..o. ....... o173

Biographical Sketch........................................ 175


iii








Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of
the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


COLLEY CIBBER'S APOLOGY AND THE
PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION

By

Janice Forrester Harrell

August, 1976

Chairman: Aubrey L. Williams Major Department: English

Colley Cibber's autobiographical book, An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber, is not as eccentric as it first appears. In his portrayal of himself as a fool and in his defense of folly, Cibber followed the "praise of folly" tradition, a tradition which had its roots in ancient Greece and its flowering in the Renaissance in Erasmus' Moriae Encomium, Rabelais's Tiers Livre, and Montaigne's Essais. In Cibber's Apoloqy certain characteristics of the tradition are noticeably exaggerated. His individual stamp may also be seen in his frequent use of the stage metaphor to express certain tenets of the tradition. He was heir to a substantial body of thought on the theme of folly, but he also contributed to it some contemporary vitality and a comic quality individual to him. Perhaps Cibber's treatment of the folly theme helped stir the imagination of Laurence Sterne. Sterne seemed to draw on Cibber as well as on iv








Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne when he wrote the last great book in the tradition, Tristram Shandy.

The works in the praise of folly tradition are distinguished by their apparent influence on one another and by their use of common sources. All show an awareness of traditional lore on folly by using or alluding to other works on folly--Horace and the Bible, as well as Erasmus, Montaigne, Rabelais, and Cibber. It is this which most clearly binds together the works that I treat, and it is this linking of one to the other that causes me to call the grouping a tradition.

Equally important, all of these works praise folly,

making them rather unusual in the body of fool literature. All to some degree or another celebrate folly or invite the reader's sympathy with fools.

The works in this tradition are further distinguished

by their structure. All are loosely structured and designed to give the impression that they are written without care, spontaneously, and easily. In structure, the works of the praise of folly tradition differ markedly from conventional narration. The narrator is conscious of his unstructured style and calls attention to it.

Another striking characteristic of the works in the

praise of folly tradition is that in them it is the narrator








himself who is the fool. This fool-narrator, though more clearly delineated by some writers than others, tends to be a particular kind of fool with a particular set of foolish characteristics. He is characterized by self-love. He is happy and impulsive. He dislikes study and care. Even more important, he is natural. That is, his folly is an expression of his true personality. He is not, like the fools of Restoration drama, tricked out in an array of affectations. Although the notion that fools were close to nature is an old one and is by no means limited to works in this tradition, the naturalness of the fools in this tradition is one of the things that gives it its special flavor.














INTRODUCTION

When I first read Colley Cibber's Apology I came to it, as many do, well filled with Pope's prejudices about Cibber. Perhaps this explains why I immediately supposed Cibber was writing within a tradition. The book was so entertaining and so shrewd that I reacted as did some of his contemporaries to his better work; I concluded he could not be wholly responsible for it. My subsequent reading of seventeenth and eighteenth century autobiographies did little to answer my questions about the part of the book that most interested me, Cibber's portrayal of himself as a fool and his praise of folly. Early writers of autobiography seemed to follow a formula very different from Cibber's. Curious, I began reading at random non-fiction published in England in the fifty years or so preceding the publication of the Apology. So it was that I stumbled onto Charles Cotton's eighteenth century translation of Montaigne. At once I was struck by the similarity to Cibber's book. A number of passages in the Montaigne translation called to mind corresponding ones in the Apology and, equally important, the "air" of the essays was strikingly similar to that of Cibber's book. A certain gaiety, a quicksilver quality, an egoism, and what vii




viii


we might call today an anti-establishment outlook pervaded them both in a way which, as much as any parallel passages, persuasively suggested that these books were akin.

Subsequent reading convinced me that, although the corpus of fool literature is large indeed, the number of authors who treat folly in the way Cibber did is comparatively small. I believe those who directly or indirectly influenced Cibber's praise of folly to any significant extent can be catalogued in a single line--Erasmus, Rabelais, Montaigne.

By Cibber's time the fool as a symbol had lost its richness. Fools continued to be condemned, but the fool as an emblem of humanity was a faded idea. All fool literature was petering out and with it was coming to an end the minor stream of fool literature of which Cibber was a part, the praise of folly tradition. Cibber was not, however, the last writer to write in this vein. Following him, and influenced in some measure by him, came Laurence Sterne with Tristram Shandy.

These writers, then, make up the praise of folly tradition--Erasmus, Rabelais, Montaigne, Cibber, and Sterne. Their kinship is declared by several common characteristics. Most important, the works in this tradition are distinguished by their apparent influence on one another and by their use of common sources. All show an awareness of traditional lore on folly by using or alluding to other works on folly--Horace,








the Bible, Erasmus, Montaigne, Rabelais, or Cibber. It is this which most clearly binds together the works that I treat; it is this linking of one to the other that causes me to call the grouping a tradition.

Equally important, all of these works praise folly,

making them rather unusual in the body of fool literature. All to some degree or another celebrate folly or invite the reader's sympathy with fools.

The works in this tradition are further distinguished

by their structure. All are loosely structured and designed to give the impression that they are written without care, spontaneously, and easily. In structure, the works of the praise of folly tradition differ markedly from conventional narration. The narrator is conscious of his unstructured style and calls attention to it.

Another striking characteristic of the works in the

praise of folly tradition is that in them it is the narrator himself who is the fool. This fool-narrator, though more clearly delineated by some writers than others, tends to be a particular kind of fool with a particular set of foolish characteristics. He is characterized by self-love. He is happy and impulsive. He dislikes study and care. Even more important, he is natural. That is, his folly is an expression of his true personality. He is not, like the fools of Restoration drama, tricked out in an array of affectations.








Although the notion that fools were close to nature is an old one and is by no means limited to works in this tradition, the naturalness of the fools in this tradition is one of the things that gives it its special flavor.

Not all of the works with which I deal are exclusively concerned with folly. Rabelais's Tiers Livre is in large part about marriage. Montaigne's essays and Tristram Shandy treat an enormous variety of subjects, and Colley Cibber's Apology contains a history of the stage and a fairly lengthy defense of his management of Drury Lane Theatre. But the praise of folly is an important part of them all, and it is to this peculiar strain running through all the books that I address myself.

I believe that an examination of this common strain

sheds a good deal of light on Cibber's Apology. When Cibber's book is considered in the context of eighteenth century autobiographies or histories it appears quite eccentric. Considered in the context of the praise of folly tradition its eccentricity diminishes. Not surprisingly, for this seems to be true of even the most original utterances, much of what he said in praise of folly had been said before.

Cibber was heir to a substantial body of thought on the theme of folly, but he also contributed to the theme some contemporary vitality and a comic quality individual to him. He infused some life into it, as well as drawing ideas from








it. Would Sterne's treatment of folly have been what it is had Cibber never written the Apology? I am inclined to think not. Though Sterne was well familiar with other writers in the tradition, it seems likely that the more nearly contemporary treatment of the theme in Cibber's book helped stir his imagination. That the praise of folly tradition did not end with Cibber seems to me to be a testament to the vitality of his own treatment of it in his Apology. In its echoing of the Apology, Tristram Shandy hints at the strength of interest Cibber's book once had, an interest not completely dimmed even today.














CHAPTER I
ERASMUS MERGES CLASSICAL LEARNING WITH
MEDIEVAL AND EARLY RENAISSANCE VIEWS OF FOLLY
TO CREATE AN INFLUENTIAL "PRAISE OF FOLLY"

The praise of folly tradition, like so many other traditions, has its roots in ancient Greece. Classical rhetoric in general has long been carefully studied, and much of the fruits of that study is well-known, but it is nevertheless both necessary and appropriate that I review here some of the classical history of the praise of folly tradition.

Its immediate ancestor was the "paradoxical encomium," a light-hearted literary piece praising something evil or insignificant. The paradoxical encomium was an established literary form as far back as the fifth century, and some of the earliest of the Greek rhetoricians wrote examples of it. Gorgias of Leontini, the fifth century sophist, has had two ascribed to him. A contemporary of his, Polycrates, and two of Polycrates' pupils, Isocrates and Alcidamas, have been credited with still other examples--encomia on mice, pebbles, death, and Helen of Troy.1 The paradoxical encomium was probably an early, spontaneous outgrowth of the regular encomium. Since regular encomia could be written praising places, abstract qualities, animals, and inanimate objects,

1








as well as men,2 it was only a step from the regular encomium to the paradoxical one, which praised low and unworthy things.3

Sophists favored the paradoxical form because it lent itself to entertaining subjects and fresh, surprising arguments. It was ideally suited to display the rhetorician's wit and rhetorical skill, and perhaps its usefulness as a rhetorical display piece helps explain its continued popularity. Its vogue continued during the time of the Romans. Lucian and Philostratus, to name two men familiar to the eighteenth century reader, contributed examples of it.

The paradoxical encomium lived on through the Middle

Ages, and with the Renaissance it experienced new popularity. The sixteenth century produced numerous examples: a collection published in 1619 contained over six hundred examples of the form.4 Thomas Nashe, in his comic encomium, "The Praise of the Red Herring," published in 1599, tells of the long history of the form and specifically mentions encomia on folly:

Homer of rats and frogs hath heroiqut it; other
oaten pipers after him in praise of the Gnat, the Flea, the Hasill nut, the Grashopper, the Butterflie, the Parrot, the Popiniay, Phillip sparrow,
and the Cuckowe. . . . Phylosophers come sneaking in with their paradoxes of pouertie, imprisonment,
death, sickenesse, banishment, and baldness, and as busie they are aboute the bee, the storke, the constant turtle, the horse, the dog, the ape, the asse, the foxe, and the ferret .... ..........
. e. . . . . . . . ..e o ..eo eo e .o








The posterior Italian and Germane cornugraphers sticke not to applaude and cannonize
vnnatural sodomitrie, the sciatica, follie,
drunckenness, and slouenry. The Galli Gallinacei, primmer editions, Imprimeda iour duy, of the vnspeakeable healthful condicibleness
of the Gomorrian great Poco. . . . Amongst our English harmonious calinos, one is vp with the
excellence of the browne bill and the long
bowe . . . [another] writes passing enamorately of the nature of white-meates, and justifies it under his hand to be bought & sould every where,
that they exceede Nectar & Ambrosia . . . [another] comes foorth with something in praise of nothing . . . [another] offers sacrifice to the
goddesse Cloaca, and disportes himselfe very
schollerly and wittilie about the reformation of
close stooles and houses of office.5

Nashe's list, which I have quoted only in part, is a long

one; and his editor, Ronald B. McKerrow, has traced many of

the allusions to actual works.

Lucian, who had written during the second century, continued to be an important influence into the Renaissance.

Erasmus, his most famous admirer, was translating Lucian's

works during the same period he wrote the Moriae Encomium,6

and some readers declare that they see in it clear marks of

Lucian's influence, in spirit as well as in certain details.7 Lucian's habit of mixing the serious with the comic,

his propensity to make fun of philosophers, and the sharpness of his satire no doubt endeared him to Erasmus, who had

a similar turn of mind. But Lucian's influence was felt

directly, as well as through Erasmus. His encomium on the

fly was cited as an exemplar by numerous Renaissance








writers,8 and a number of the host of paradoxical encomia

the Renaissance spawned were Lucianic imitations.

The attractions of the paradoxical encomium must have

been strong, for it had a long vogue. Arthur Stanley Pease,

who studied this classical phenomenon, called it a "long

continued and widespread . . . epidemic of apparent nonsense." 9 Sir Philip Sidney took note of its popularity in

The Defense of Poesy, condemning most of it for lacking a

solid moral stance.

We know a playing wit can praise the discretion of
an ass, the comfortableness of being in debt, the
jolly commodities of being sick of the plague. So of the contrary side, if we will turn Ovid's verse,
Ut lateat virtus proximitate male, that "good lie hid in nearness of the evil," Agrippa will be as merry in shewing the vanity of science as Erasmus
was in commending of folly. Neither shall any man
or matter escape some touch of these smiling
railers. But for Erasmus and Agrippa, they had
another foundation then the superficial part would promise. Marry, these other pleasant faultfinders,
who will correct the verb before they understand
the noun, and confute others' knowledge before they
confirm their own, I would have them only remember that scoffing cometh not of wisdom; so as the best
title in true English they get with their merriments
is to be called good fools, for so have our grave
forefathers ever termed that humorous kind of jesters.

Sidney's criticism of the paradoxical encomium was not a new

one. Polybius, the Greek historian, had complained that it

filled the heads of young men with depraved notions and diverted their attention from politics. The morally ambiguous

nature of the paradoxical encomium may be inherent in the

form. Rosalie Colie, in her study of paradox, points out





5


that the paradoxical encomium always works against established values. In praising unworthy things, the rhetorician assumes that his audience has certain conventional attitudes, then questions and undermines these accepted values.10 That this should sometimes strike the observer as immoral is not surprising. The paradoxical encomium is a kind of dialectic, playing, as it does, one value system against another. It partakes of the quicksilver nature of paradox, and leads to questioning, unexpected insights, and the perception of sometimes contradictory truths. Perhaps it is because it tends to lead people to discover new insights and new points of view that it has sometimes been-used so effectively for moral purposes. What Colie says, in this regard, about the paradox in general applies as well to the special use of paradox in the paradoxical encomium.

Relying as they do upon relative opinions, upon the concept of relativity, and critical as they
are of absolute and fixed conventional judgments, it is odd--or paradoxical--that paradoxes are so
often designed to assert some fundamental and
absolute truth. (p. 10)

But it is in the most successful and influential work

of the genre, Erasmus' Moriae Encomium, first printed in 1511, that the moral use of the paradoxical encomium may be most clearly seen. As is well known, this "praise of folly" is no amoral bit of nonsense, but an exercise in paradox which is both comic and moral as Erasmus explores the paradoxical








relation between wisdom and folly as well as the paradoxes that lie at the center of the Christian faith. An indication of the magnitude of the book's influence may be found in the entry under "folie" in Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophigue, "Ii n'est pas question de renouveler le livre d'Erasme, qui ne serait aujourd'hui qu'un lieu commun assez insipide."

The Moriae Encomium underwent a number of translations, but in eighteenth century England the only one likely to come into anyone's hands was White Kennett's version. Sir Thomas Chaloner's Elizabethan English was by then definitely dated and unpopular; and John Wilson's translation, printed in 1688, was not reprinted or made widely available until the nineteenth century. Kennett's translation, however, went through five editions between 1709 and 1740.11

Hoyt Hudson, comparing the three translations, judges Kennett's to be the worst of them, partly because it has a rollicking, sprightly style which seems to be closer to Sir Thomas Urquhart's Rabelais, which Kennett may have read, than to Erasmus. Hudson criticizes Kennett's translation for missing the mock-scholarly, pedantic tone of the Moriae. In other words, Kennett's translation obscures the connection between Erasmus' little book and its classical models. Nevertheless, even in Kennett's translation, where Folly appears more featherbrained than pedantic, the classical basis of the work is evident.









Both in the Epistle Dedicatory and in Folly's introductory words, Erasmus acknowledges his familiarity with other mock encomia. Folly refers to encomia on sweat, loss 12
of sleep, tyrants, agues, flies, and baldness, and, in the Epistle Dedicatory, Erasmus mentions mock encomia by Thersites, Synesius, and Lucian, among others. In form, moreover, Folly follows fairly closely the arrangement traditional to the encomium. She begins with a prooimion, or introduction, a section in which classical precedent permits great freedom. Commonly the orator would proclaim that the subject was too great for him to do it justice. Folly, however, spends much of her introduction explaining the unusual circumstance of her praising herself. It was extremely unusual, possibly even unprecedented, for the orator to be the subject of his own encomium. From this unusual circumstance, however, grows the multi-faced irony which is so important to the book. For everything Folly tells us about herself is suspect, as any piece of self-description is, and nothing may be taken at its face value.

The introduction also contains Folly's disclaimer of

artifice, her assertion that she speaks ex tempore and ingenuously, unlike other orators, and that she will not, in the manner approved by Latin orators, "define and then divide" her subject, that is, herself. The introduction suggests









from the beginning that Erasmus is very much concerned with the conventions of logic and oratory and proposes to twist them in an unconventional way. It at once signals the work's connection with tradition and separates it from that tradition.

The next large section of the Moriae Encomium is concerned with defining the nature of folly, but it may be subdivided into sections long traditional in the encomium, the genos, or account of ancestry and homeland, the genesis, or noteworthy events at birth, and the anatrophe, or account of youth. In her introductory remarks, Folly had compared herself to spring, had associated herself with youth, and had said, "it is from my influence alone that the whole universe receives her ferment of mirth and jollity" (p. 1). She repeats these themes in telling of her birth. She was born, she says, in the Fortunate Isles, "where all things grow without the toil of husbandry, wherein there is no drudgery, no distempers, no old age, where in the field grow . . . rue, all heal, bugloss, marjoram, herb of life, roses, violets, hyacinth, and such fragrances as perfume the gardens of Adonis" (p. 10). She was born, in other words, in a land of perpetual spring, and she explains that we must not think of her father as "old" Plutus, for when she was engendered he was young, as was her mother, a nymph. In this beginning of








the definition of the nature of folly, it is at once associated with riches, youth, and happiness, motifs which will be repeated throughout the book. The naturalness of folly is also suggested. Unlike Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who sprang out of her father's brain, Folly was born of a natural union, and her closeness to the natural world is emphasized. 13

If we search for the genesis, the section of the

encomium which mentions any noteworthy fact preceding or attending the birth, the only thing in the least unusual about Folly's birth is that instead of crying when she was born she laughed. Anything very unusual or supernatural would perhaps have interfered with the theme of the naturalness of folly. The anatrophe, or account of the circumstances of her youth, is also abbreviated. We learn only that she was nursed by Drunkenness, the offspring of Bacchus, and Ignorance, the daughter of Pan. The account of her retinue, Self-Love, Flattery, Forgetfulness, Laziness, Pleasure, Sensuality, Madness, Intemperance, and Sound Sleep suggests a youth spent among bad companions, but that is not stated explicitly.

Traditionally, the account of youth would be followed by mention of the choice of a profession and an account of worthy deeds, the praxeus. In Folly's oration, there is instead an account of the nature and goodness of folly. The








praxeus was generally agreed to be the chief topic of the encomium, and, correspondingly, Folly devotes a good deal of space to it. However, Folly's praxeus, which is lighthearted, with a delicate and varied tone, makes much less impression on the reader than the section which follows it, an account of Folly's followers, for it is this final section which contains the invective against wrongdoing in the church. Not only is the final section shocking, its meaning is unmistakable. It is not surprising, then, that it has commanded more attention than the praxeus, which is harder to analyze and understand; still, the praxeus contains the fundamental part of Folly's argument, her analysis of the nature of folly.

It has been observed that the picture of Folly is not consistent. Some critics maintain that it was the author's intention that our conception of Folly change as the work progresses. Others see the inconsistency as a fault. In any event, it is true that when Folly first appears at the podium, despite her fair words, she seems to be the wicked folly depicted in Christian didactic works, and there is little about her to charm us. Later, however, our view of her changes. In the central and longest section of the book, Folly takes on the character of the amiable court jester who is merely very human and very much of the world, and finally, at the end of the book, Folly is associated with innocence,








humility, and with the "madness" of spiritual ecstasy and self-sacrifice. Folly takes on an aura of holiness as it comes to resemble the folly described in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians.

Although Folly as a character is not consistent throughout, Erasmus nevertheless maintains a certain unity in Folly's definition of her nature. The characteristics depicted as basic to folly may be seen, although in somewhat different guises, in the wicked Folly, the jolly, fun-loving Folly, and the Christian Folly. This unity is possible because Erasmus' definition of Folly rests on two fundamental premises, (1) the stoic assertion that the passions are so much folly, and (2) the assumption that folly and illusion are indissolubly linked.

It is not very difficult for Folly to prove that the

passions the stoics had condemned as folly are extremely important in human life. First, passion and the desire for pleasure give men the impetus to procreate. Without this "folly" there would be no life at all. Similarly, the love of life is irrational and rooted in the passions, so it, too, belongs to Folly. Men who looked at life rationally, Folly says, would promptly kill themselves, and the earth would soon be empty. Finally, the passions are responsible for man's ability to act, and so Folly claims that all valor and all noble endeavors are due to her. In this part of the








definition of folly, in which Folly claims first one, then another aspect of life as belonging to her, the reader is forcibly struck by the essential irrationality of life.

Equally important to Folly's defense of herself is her assertion that she is intimately associated with illusions. If folly is linked with illusions then folly is necessary to happiness, for again and again the reader is given to understand that reality is hard and that it is only by being deceived that men can be happy. Since reality is cruel, Folly's attendants, Drunkenness, Ignorance, Flattery, Forgetfulness, Madness, and Sound Sleep, are blessings rather than vices, for it is through them that men avoid reality. Though all the happiness folly brings may be based on illusions and mistakes, according to Folly, this is the only happiness available on earth. Implicit in Folly's argument that illusions are good is the assumption that pleasure is the highest good. She never defends this assumption, but simply expects her audience to agree with her.

For Folly, illusion is valued purely as a means to

pleasure, and she claims such a high place for pleasure that strict truth is valued less in her eyes. "Why, can any one be said properly to live to whom pleasure is denied?" she exclaims at one point (p. 17). She claims to be not only the cause of life, but the only reason for living, and this assertion of her alliance with life is reinforced by describing








her followers as young and plump, while the followers of wisdom, scholars, are "sapless," ". pale," and thin, like corpses (p. 22).

That illusions are important is a theme that runs

throughout the Moriae Encomium. From Horace Erasmus draws a story, often to be repeated by later writers, which strikingly emphasizes the value of illusion. He tells of a Grecian whose madness led him to believe that he was watching a stage play, and who would spend "a whole day in the empty theatre laughing, shouting, and clapping his hands" (p. 69). In this state the Grecian had been a harmless, happy man, and when his wife and his physicians finally cured him, he longed to have his happy madness back again. The importance of illusions is also pointed up when Folly compares life to a stage play in which a wise man crying out that things are not what they seem would be quickly pitched out of the theatre, amid indignant complaints that he was spoiling the fun. The "stage" metaphor appears repeatedly in the Moriae Encomium, nearly always pointing up the value of illusion; indeed, illusion is treated with such respect that the reader suspects that Erasmus shares Folly's approval of it. Whatever sort of wisdom Erasmus is implicitly recommending, it seems unlikely that it is the sort that demands the drapery of life be torn off.








An aspect of Folly's picture of herself that deserves special attention is her claiming the social virtues. Gregariousness, tolerance, and good-nature--the qualities which make it possible for men to get along together--are not based on a cold adherence to reality, for in reality men are poor, faulty creatures; and, regarded coldly, social pleasures waste time and are far from noble. Therefore, Folly can claim to be not only the basis of life, but also the oil on the wheels of life.

In short, man being by nature so prone to frailties,
so humoursome and cross-grained, and guilty of so
many slips and miscarriages, there could be no firm
friendship contracted, except there be such an allowance made for each other's defaults, which the
Greeks term Ev -r-jQ, and we may construe good nature,
which is but another word for Folly. (p. 31)

When one considers Folly's definition of her nature, it becomes evident that she has carefully limited what may be called Folly. She admits madness is folly, for example, but excludes that kind of madness "which the furies bring from hell" to drive men to wars. She excludes the madness which is a thirst for power and riches, or which causes men to "act the parricide" or to be guilty of "incest, sacrilege, or some other of those crimson-dyed crimes." Finally, Folly excludes from her domain those who are "so pricked in conscience as to be lashed and stung with the whips and snakes of grief and remorse" (p. 68), for above all, she maintains, the truly foolish are happy.








Some critics have written of the "transvaluation of

values" which took place in the Renaissance, in which such words as ira, acedia, and voluptas developed two meanings, a common meaning, and a more philosophical or noble meaning. While wrath was still a sin, for example, "noble rage" was a virtue.14 Such a transvaluation of values goes on before the reader's eyes in the praxeus of the Moriae Encomium. Folly shows an awareness of the corLion use of "folly"; as she says in the beginning, "I well know how disingenuously Folly is descried" (p. 1). But she excludes the most pernicious forms of folly from her definition, and by this means, as well as by showing some aspects of folly in a new light, she manages to create, if not a noble folly, at least a thoroughly amiable one.

In the syncresis, however, the section of the encomium

given to comparisons which illumine the subject, the flattering picture of folly begins to break down. The comparisons Folly makes to support her assertion that she is all-powerful and superior to other gods are (1) a comparison of the foolish and the wise sciences, showing that the more learned the profession the poorer it is; (2) a comparison of domestic and wild animals, showing that following nature is the way to happiness; (3) a comparison of Gryllus and Odysseus, demonstrating that crafty men are not happy; (4) a comparison of








natural fools and scholars, also intended to show the unhappiness of the crafty; (5) a comparison of the benevolent madness of Folly and the pernicious madness of the Furies;

(6) a comparison of deception and being undeceived; (7) a comparison of Folly to the other gods; and (8) a comparison of all men, showing that all alike are foolish.

For the most part, these comparisons merely carry on the arguments of the praxeus. One is not even aware of a new section's beginning, so closely is it linked to the praxeus in its thought. When Folly begins to describe her followers, though, there is an abrupt change in tone. Folly herself seems to realize this, for upon concluding the description of her followers, she says, "But I would not be thought purposely to expose the weaknesses of popes and priests, lest I should seem to recede from my title, and make a satire instead of a panegyric" (p. 169). In saying this, she accurately describes what has happened. The narrative has slipped into invective in the description of the follies of religious leaders, and it seems that Folly stops speaking and Erasmus begins. To be sure, Folly's argument remains superficially the same: these religious leaders are happy, while if they were clearsighted they would be miserable. But their delusion is unlike those Folly has portrayed before, for, in this case, the delusion causes their








destruction: at the Last Judgment their illusions will come crashing down and their happiness will vanish. Nor does Folly merely mention the final reckoning. In at least one instance, that of the judgment of the monks, she describes the judgment in detail, recording the sinners' pleas, the lengthy condemnation by Christ, and the slinking away of the chastened monks. By introducing the vision of the Last Judgment, she changes the perspective in which the reader views the clerics' folly so that worldly happiness seems insignificant; and this weakens her argument. Folly herself seems to regard the monks' last surprise as high comedy. "It will be pretty to hear their pleas before the great tribunal," she says (pp. 140-2), but the reader is not likely to share her point of view. Rather it is likely to seem to him that Folly is vindictive towards these followers of hers. Her voice is, at this point, scarcely recognizable as that of the amiable Folly of the earlier pages. Furthermore, the descriptions of the vices of the clerics and other men in high places are so lengthy that Folly's judgments on their behavior make up only a very small part of the narration. For long periods, in this section, the figure of Folly seems to disappear.

The final part of what may be technically regarded as

the syncresis is the account of Christianity as foolishness.








After making a few general remarks about fortune favoring fools, Folly announces that she will cite authorities in her support, then will bring her encomium to a close. Her citation of authorities is made up, for the most part, of references to sacred scriptures and serves as a transition to her treatment of the Christian religion as foolishness. Discussing the various scriptural citations, she makes much of Christ's being called the Lamb of God and his followers being called "sheep," and she cleverly uses remarks from Solomon, Jeremiah, Ecclesiastes and Paul to her own advantage. Some of these quotations are twisted by Folly from their intended meaning, but when she draws on Paul's writings she truly begins to show the basic unworldliness and irrationality of Christianity. Rosalie Colie's comment about the role of paradox in Christianity points up this irrationality at the heart of the faith:

every time the Christian affirms his Creed, he formally recapitulates a number of logical or empirical paradoxes. The point of such formulation, of course,
is the denial of logic and mundane experience to
assert the mystery of faith. (pp. 169-70)

Its denial of logic, its rejection of natural truths, and its dependence on the "mysteries," or paradoxes, of faith, place Christianity squarely in the domain of Folly. Furthermore, that the poor and the meek are blessed in Christianity makes it foolish in yet another sense: in its rejection of worldly values. The Christian idea that God rejects worldly values








and infuses the sacred into what is most humble and unprepossessing is particularly relevant to Folly's argument, for it suggests that the fool, too, though the lowliest mortal, may be specially valued by God and used as his instrument.

As the book draws to a close, "folly" becomes more than ever a description of the human condition; and when Folly tells the story of the incarnation, it becomes nothing less than Christ's taking on human folly.

All this amounts to no less than that all mortal men
are fools, even the righteous and godly as well as
sinners; nay, in some sense our blessed Lord himself, who, although he was the wisdom of the Father, yet to
repair the infirmities of fallen man, he became in
some measure a partaker of human Folly, when he took
our nature upon him, and was found in fashion as a
man; or when God made him to be sin for us, who knew
no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Nor would he heal those breaches our
sins had made by any other method than by the foolishness of the cross. (pp. 191-2)

Folly's final treatment of Christianity, in which she attempts to show "that the Christian religion seems to have some relation to Folly, and no alliance at all with wisdom" (p. 194), is not so well integrated with the theme of the book as is her treatment of Christ. Primarily an exposition on the other-worldly nature of religion, it contains analogies between religious ecstasy and madness, shows that sincere Christians are not self-serving or practical, and demonstrates that they are mad in the eyes of the world. This section is chiefly important in that it finally








demolishes the world's standards, which have been suffering attack throughout the book. The irony with which the Christian religion is viewed in this description of it from an outsider's viewpoint makes the final section seem like a true continuation of Folly's ironical encomium, but at the same time, there is a new seriousness shining through Folly's treatment of Christianity. At one point, she says, "it is certain that all things, like so many Januses, carry a double face." Certainly this is true of Erasmus' Folly, which comes to symbolize both human frailty and the means for man's salvation. Nor is it a bad description of Erasmus' method in the Moriae Encomium, which is paradoxical throughout. Colie has said, "The paradoxist denies dialectic, forbids a choice between one absolute and another; he insists upon et, upon the simultaneity of double and plural truth" (p. 458). Erasmus was, in this respect, a typical paradoxist, for he always seemed to reject the simple truth.

The fundamental theme of the Moriae Encomium is an acceptance of the irrationality of life. If any message can be abstracted from the Moriae, it is this most illogical and, from a scholar, unexpected one. But it would be misleading to portray Folly as a seer, or to be so struck by her final remarks on Christianity that one forgets she is a stage buffoon as well. For she had humorous characteristics, and to ignore them is to deny her plural nature.








The most important of Folly's comical characteristics is her self-love. She makes a good case in defense of it, a case which may be wholly convincing to the modern reader, who is likely to take a sympathetic view of self-love; but there is some question whether Erasmus took this indulgent view. Walter Kaiser points out that in such books as the Enchiridion and the Adagia, Erasmus leaves no doubt about his disapproval of self-love,15 long considered a character flaw and a religious sin as well. Kaiser suggests that part of the answer to the surprisingly adept defense of self-love in the Moriae is that the self-love Folly advocates is a redeemed, outward-turning version. She first begins to defend it with these words:

tell me then, can any one love another that first hates himself? Is it likely any one should agree
with a friend that is first fallen out with his
own judgment? Or is it probable he should be any way pleasing to another, who is a perpetual plague
and trouble to himself? (p. 33).

Such a conception of self-love, drawn perhaps from the Biblical command to "love thy neighbor as thyself," makes it no longer a mortal sin, though it still may be a useful illusion or a ridiculous folly. Certainly, Erasmus has not tried to keep self-love from looking ridiculous. We can see comedy, as well as providence, in nature's use of selflove, which Folly describes in this way:








And oh the incomparable contrivance of nature, who
has ordered all things in so even a method that
wherever she has been less bountiful in her gifts, there she makes it up with a larger dose of selflove, which supplies the former defects, and makes
all even. (p. 35)

Folly herself is, of course, the prime example of this folly, as is demonstrated by her enthusiastic praise of herself. Like her foolish followers, she is not affronted by her poor reputation, for ill words are no injury to fools, who are "altogether insensible of any affront, or at least lay it not much to heart" (p. 53). She takes heart in seeing the number of fools who follow her and ignores their criticisms of her.

It is characteristic of Folly that she speaks ex

tempore. She tells the reader straightaway that this is her custom, saying, "it was always my humour constantly to speak that which lies uppermost" (p. 6), or as she puts it later, "Whatever the fool has in his heart he betrays it in his face...discovers it by his words" (p. 63). Folly's speech is actually too tightly knit to be an extemporaneous discourse, but she interjects comments at intervals to create the impression that she is speaking everything that comes into her mind. At one point she says, "But I am tired out with this part of my subject, and so must pass to some other topics" (p. 50). At another point she comments, "And so much for this. Pardon the digression; now I return" (p. 8). Then








again, where the reader expects to find the customary final section of the encomium, the epilogos, Folly refuses to give one, saying, "I perceive now, that for a concluding treat you expect a formal epilogue, and the summing up of all in a brief recitation; but I will assure you, you are grossly mistaken if you suppose that after such a hodge-podge medley of a speech I should be able to recollect anything I have delivered" (pp. 207-8). The lack of a formal conclusion, though a deviation from the form of the encomium, is characteristic of the paradoxical encomium.16

In composing her oration, Folly affects to follow her

own advice to writers, not to work hard re-writing and amending to make a piece correct, but to write haphazardly.

For as to those graver drudgers to the press, that
write learnedly, beyond the reach of an ordinary
reader. . . . They make addition, alterations, blot
out, write anew, amend, interline, turn it upside down, and yet can never please their fickle judgment. . . . These, as they are more laborious so
are they less happy than those other hackney scribblers . . . who never stand much to consider, but
write what comes next at a venture, knowing that
the more silly their compositions are the more they will be bought up by the greater number of readers,
who are fools and blockheads. (p. 116) Folly is a hack writer.

Folly is also a good companion, a jolly sort always ready for a good time and loath to find fault. She is a clown, clever at quibbles; but she has a double face, and also speaks an occasional truth in jest, in many ways a








Falstaffian character. Her easy-going ways, however, are somewhat out of keeping with the pedantry she reveals in her oration and with her scholarly knowledge. Only a scholar could ridicule scholarship in the thoroughgoing way Folly does, just as only a person versed in classical oratory could write a mock encomium like the Moriae Encomium. But inconsistent and unevenly portrayed as she is, she nevertheless remains vivid, and the reader retains a firm impression of her jolliness and conviviality.

Erasmus' Folly bears scant resemblance to the fool

found in the moral and religious tracts of the late Middle Ages. In these works, designed to teach an established moral and social code, the fool was simply the "defective citizen." He represented the undesirable in matters of conduct and was condemned as often as he was mentioned. Proverbial saws, sometimes collected to make a single work, came closer to portraying the Erasmian idea of folly, for simply by the vast numbers of fools they portrayed they seemed to suggest that all men have a bit of the fool in them.17 The numerous medieval commentaries on the Book of Proverbs, however, had an especially harsh attitude towards fools, condemning them outright as sinners, with none of Erasmus' compassion for the sinner. In the eyes of these commentators, the fool was damned, and Barbara Swain cites a commentary in this vein








which calls the fool "a very wicked person," defining foolishness as "wickedness and sinne."'18

Although this condemnation was typical of the attitude towards folly in the Middle Ages, there was also a tradition in which folly is the way to salvation, much as it is in the last part of the Moriae Encomium. St. Paul had expressed this conception of Christian folly when, in I Corinthians xviii, he advised that a man "become a fool that he may become wise." He argued that the rejection of false worldly wisdom is necessary if one is to become wise in God's eyes. Christians, then, must become "fools for Christ" (I Cor. iv.10). Churchmen who followed Paul differed somewhat in their interpretation of the Christian folly he advocated. Some felt that it required a complete humbling of human reason. According to this point of view Christians were called upon to make a sacrifice of their reason, as of so many other glittering things of the world. The most noted exponent of this point of view was Tertullian, but St. Bernard, Jacapone da Todi, and the Church Fathers Gregory the Great and Jerome all in various degrees advocated this complete rejection of worldly wisdom.19 Gregory, writing eloquently of the Christian fool's heroic rejection of worldly wisdom, helped popularize this point of view, and the figure of the Christian fool came to appear frequently in literature before the








time of Erasmus. A more humanistic and less radical view of Christian folly was expounded by St. Augustine, who felt that it was only necessary to reject that worldly wisdom which proved an impediment to Christianity. In his view, human reason and human wisdom could still have a place in the life of the Christian. Nicholas of Cusa and Thomas a Kempis followed St. Augustine in this respect. What was shared by all these writers, the humanistically oriented as well as those of more radical views, was the recognition that human reason is subordinate to the truths imparted by revelation. Prideful reason must be subjected if man is to achieve salvation. Folly, then, achieves new dignity. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the notion that folly was the way to salvation was widespread.20

Another of the themes in Erasmus' treatment of folly,

the recognition of the pleasures and freedoms of foolishness, seems to reflect the conception of foolishness seen in the celebration of the "Feast of Fools," a church-related revel which fell during the Christmas holidays. Originally the feast was celebrated by the lower orders of clergy who took this opportunity to be wild and irreverent, but it was constantly under attack from the church. Because of church pressure, the celebrations were taken over by secular groups21 and finally, in the sixteenth century, they disappeared altogether. Of these celebrations, Swain says:








The concept "fool," by its connection with them,
was visibly extended beyond the image of the
idiot to the vision of Bacchus and Juno setting abroach the tun while the orders of fools gather
around for revelry. (p. 19)

One of the features of these celebrations was the mock sermon in which such things as "Saint Onion" or "Saint Raisin" would be praised.22 Such mock encomia parodied both the offices of the church and the rhetoric of the schools,23 and so these celebrations were characterized by free criticism of the existing order, a license permitted because the celebrants were "fools." Erasmus' book shows more affinity to these celebrations than to the didactic tracts of the Middle Ages, for, like those who celebrated the Feast of Fools, he recognized the pleasures and the value of irrationality. A similar perception of folly was reflected in Lydgate's The Order of Fools, which dates from the middle of the fifteenth century.24 Although such an indulgent view of folly was not the dominant view to be found in medieval literature, it was a point of view which medieval society had acknowledged before Erasmus.

It may also be that Erasmus' characterization of Folly owes something to Horace's half-fanciful characterization of himself. Erasmus drew heavily from Horace, quoting him eleven times, more than any other single source, and the good-natured, Epicurean Folly does resemble Horace. At one








point, like Folly, he criticizes the Stoic's definition of "madness.".25 Horace admits that he is "foolish," but rather than striving for wisdom, he prefers to live contentedly with his friends, each overlooking the other's faults.

et mihi dulces
ignoscent, si quid peccaro stultus, amici,
inque vicem illorum patiar delicta libenter,
privatusque magis vivam te rege beatus.
I. iii. 139-42

my kindly friends will pardon me if I, your foolish man commit some offence, and in turn I shall gladly
put up with their shortcomings, and in my private
station shall live more happily than Your Majesty.26 A frank acceptance of his own faults is fundamental to Horace's outlook, and with this goes the acknowledgement of the fallibility of all mankind. Folly is quoting Horace without acknowledgement when she says, "I speak of mortal men only, among whom there are none but have some small faults." 27 Horace, moreover, is not so much concerned with eradicating his faults as in being happy in spite of them. He says he would prefer to be oblivious to his faults if that would make him happy. He has no inclination to beat his breast in remorse, and like Folly, he accepts the value of pleasant illusion.28

The links between Lucian and the Moriae are yet another indication of how closely Erasmus was tied to the classical past. His choice of the mock-encomium form may have been suggested by Lucian. His irony is at times reminiscent of








Lucian. Like Lucian he was preoccupied with the illusory nature of the world, and Folly's picture of the world as a stage closely parallels Lucian's picture of life as a great pageant in which men wear many different costumes, some dressed as kings, some as hunchbacks, but with their 29
costumes being at variance with their true nature. She follows Lucian when she points out that though beards may be a sign of wisdom, goats have them, and when she comments on how men appear to God, she may be borrowing from Lucian's Icaromenippus.30 But more important than these details, Erasmus' Moriae may owe something of its ironic tone, its mixture of things comic and serious to the inspiration of Lucian. It is evident that Erasmus was heavily indebted to classical writings, yet the Moriae was fresh and original as well, and so powerful and long lasting was its influence that though it is in large part the fruit of an old tradition, it seems equally reasonable to view it as the beginning of a new one.













NOTES TO CHAPTER I


iArthur Stanley Pease, "Things without Honor," Classical Philology, 21 (1926), 29.

21bid., p. 27.

3Henry Knight Miller, "The Paradoxical Encomium with Special Reference to its Vogue in England, 1600-1800," Modern Philology, 53, No. 3 (February, 1956), 146.

4Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Socratiae Joco-Seriae, hoc est, Encomia et Commentaria autorum, qua veterum . . . (Hanover, 1619). Other 17th century collections of similar works are cited by Pease, p. 28, note #1.

5The Works of Thomas Nashe, ed. Ronald B. McKerrow,
5 vols. (London, 1910), III, 151.

6Erasmus, in collaboration with Sir Thomas More, published translations of Lucian in 1506 (Margaret Mann Phillips, "Erasmus and the Classics," Erasmus, ed. T. A. Dorey, Albuquerque, 1970, p. 7). His letters give evidence that he was much attracted to Lucian at that time, and he was still speaking warmly of him in 1512 (Ibid., p. 9). The Moriae was first published in 1511.

7See A. H. T. Levi's introduction to Praise of Folly
and Letter to Martin Dorp, 1515, trans. Betty Radice (Aylesbury, England, 1973); and Walter Kaiser, Praisers of Folly: Erasmus, Rabelais, Shakespeare (Cambridge, Mass., 1963).

8Miller, p. 149.

9Pease, p. 30.

10Rosalie Colie, Paradoxia Epidemica: The Renaissance Tradition of Paradox (Princeton, N. J., 1966), p. 8.

flit was first printed in 1683 under the title Witt against Wisdom and was reprinted in 1709 under the title Moriae Encomium, or a Panegyrick upon Folly. See Hoyt H. Hudson, "Current translations of The Praise of Folly," Philological Quarterly, 20, No. 4 (October, 1941), 250.







12Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly, ed. Horace
Bridges, trans. White Kennett (Chicago, 1925), pp. 5-6. All subsequent references are to this edition.

13Colie, p. 15.

14Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance (New Haven, 1958), pp. 69-70.

15Kaiser, p. 68.

16Colie, pp. 20-1.

17Barbara Swain, Fools and Folly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance (New York, 1932), pp. 10-4.

18Ibid., pp. 20-5.

19For a discussion of the Tertullian rejection of
worldly wisdom see Etienne Gilson, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (New York, 1938), pp. 8-33, and Brian Petrakis, "Laurence Sterne and the Tradition of Christian Folly," Diss. U. of Fla., 1968, pp. 1-11.

20Swain, pp. 36-40.

21Ibid., pp. 70-80.

22Ibid., p. 137.

23Olive Mary Busby, Studies in the Development of the Fool in the Elizabethan Drama (Oxford, 1923), p. 72.

24Swain, p. 49.

25"Satires," II. iii. 43-6.

26Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough (Cambridge, Mass., 1955). I have used this edition throughout.

27Erasmus, p. 30; Horace, "Satires," I. iii. 68-9.

28"Epistles," II. ii. 126-40.

29See Lucianus Samosatensis, The Works of Lucian of Samosata, trans. H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1939), I, 164 ("Menippus"); and Erasmus, pp. 46-7.


30Levi, p. 39.













CHAPTER II
ERASMUS' FOLLOWERS

In an important sense, "praise of folly" is an Erasmian tradition. It was Erasmus who brought classical learning together with the medieval and early Renaissance views of folly to create a popular and lastingly influential treatment of folly. Some measure of the importance of his influence may be seen in the two great writers of the Renaissance who reflect it--Rabelais and Montaigne.

Rabelais Portrays Foolishness As a Creative Force

In 1546, thirty-five years after the publication of

Erasmus' Moriae, Franyois Rabelais's Tiers Livre: Des Faicts et Dicts Heroiques du Bon Pantagruel was published. A continuation of the tale of the adventures of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel, the Tiers Livre nevertheless represents a sharp break from the first two books. Books I and II, published more than a decade before, had been broad burlesques of the romance and epic,1 and were devoted primarily to narrating the marvelous feats of their giant heroes. Though in the third book the same characters reappear, and though the book is called the "heroical deeds and sayings of the good Pantagruel," its emphasis is on Pantagruel's wise words








rather than his heroic deeds. The Tiers Livre is more a philosophical dialogue than an adventure tale.

The Tiers Livre was made widely available to English

readers when Sir Thomas Urquhart's translation was published
2
in 1693. It has since become a classic. Lazare Sainean, in his comparison of the English translations of Rabelais, says "la traduction d'Urquhart est probablement celle qu aurait le mieux goutee Maistre Franois."3 More than other translations it reproduces faithfully the style of the original, but it is also a generally accurate translation. Urquhart's amplifications are few, his additions rare; and
4
he is habitually faithful to his text. In the eighteenth century Urquhart's was the standard translation, and it is chiefly for this reason that I have chosen to use it. After its first publication in 1693 it was published in 1708 in an edition containing all five books, the last two being translated by Pierre Le Motteux, and appeared again in 1737, 1750 and 1784.5 It was in this translation that Rabelais was chiefly read and quoted by Sterne,6 and if Cibber ever chanced to read Rabelais he, too, would probably have encountered him through Urquhart's lively translation.

The Tiers Livre centers on Pantagruel's foolish friend, Panurge, and his quest for certainty in the difficult question of whether to marry. First he asks advice of his friend, Pantagruel, but he refuses to accept Pantagruel's








advice, which is to follow his own inclinations. Panurge refuses to accept this answer because he wants to have absolute certainty that he will be happily married. He consults every possible sort of seer and uses countless methods of fortune-telling asking for that assurance. As others interpret them, all the signs say that Panurge will be cuckolded, robbed, and beaten by his wife, but he twists the cryptic prophecies into other, more felicitous meanings and continues on his quest for an answer which will please him. His quest never ends. The third book concludes with preparations for yet another expedition to search out a favorable answer. His quest cannot end because he refuses to accept any unfavorable answer as conclusive.

Much of the Tiers Livre is made up of prophecies about the future of Panurge's marriage, but an important part of the book is its accumulation of human wisdom on the question of marriage: when Pantagruel assembles a variety of learned men--a theologian, a doctor, and a philosopher--to advise Panurge, what takes place is essentially a colloquium on the nature of marriage.

Clearly a concern with marriage is central to the book, but it is not enough to say simply that the book is about marriage. As Barbara Bowen has said, "The book as a whole may be about marriage, folly, authority, or ambiguity." 7 Much of the book's focus is on the problem of how one makes








up one's mind, and a related and equally important theme is a concern with the nature of wisdom and foolishness. During the course of the third book, the reader learns (though Panurge does not) that Panurge is too much a fool to have a happy marriage, that his unhappy fate lies in his character.8 The character traits that make it unlikely that Panurge will have a happy marriage are revealed during his quest. Though many views of marriage are presented, Panurge measures up to the high standards of none of them.

A theologian, Hippothadeus, advises Panurge to take care to choose a wife of good Christian character and to set her a good example:

for the better schooling of her in these instructions, and that the wholesome doctrine of a matrimonial duty may take the deeper root in her
mind, you must needs carry yourself so on your part and your behaviour is to be such that you are to go
before her in a good example, by entertaining her unfeignedly with a conjugal amity, by continually approving yourself in all your words and actions a
faithful and discreet husband; and by living, not
only at home and privately with your own household
and family, but in the face also of all men, and
open view of the world, devoutly, virtuously, and
chastely, as you would have her on her side to deport and demean herself towards you. . ..9

No one could be less suited to give such an example than Panurge, who gives free reign to all his appetites. He admits to Pantagruel that he has satisfied his lusts previously by enjoying married women but now wishes a more convenient accommodation. "I itch, I tingle, I wriggle," he says, "and








long exceedingly to be married, that, without the danger of cudgel-blows, I may labour my female copes-mate with the hard push of a bull-horned devil" (p. 142, Bk. 3, Ch. 7). When Pantagruel advises him to eat only a light supper one night, in order to dream a prophetical dream, Panurge complains bitterly and shows a deep reluctance to moderate his appetite. The next morning he can scarcely wait to get to food again.

For lack of victuals, before God, I roar, bray,
yell, and fume, as in a furious madness. ...
Fie! not to sup at all, that is the devil. Pox
take that fashion! Come, Friar John, let us go
break our fast; for if I hit on such a round refection in the morning, as will serve thoroughly
to fill the mill-hopper and hogs-hide of my stomach, and furnish it with meat and drink sufficient, then
at a pinch, as in the case of some extreme necessity which presseth, I could make a shift that day
to forbear dining. But not to sup! A plague rot that base custom, which is an error offensive to
nature. (p. 156, Bk. 2, Ch. 15)

He loves his wine, too, and confides to Friar John that he is more concerned about finding good wine than when he was younger, but that he is not worried about it. "That doth but betoken that I will hereafter drink so much the more" (p. 182, Bk. 3, Ch. 28), he says. "Let us go drink" is Panurge's solution to a troubled mind (p. 178, Bk. 3, Ch. 25). When Triboulet, the natural fool, drinks at once all the wine Panurge has brought him in payment for prophecy, Panurge comments, "I never yet saw a fool . . . who did not love to drink heartily, and by good long draughts" (p. 215, Bk. 3, Ch. 45),








but this does not make him self-conscious about his own drinking. He loves his bottle even though he knows that is the mark of the fool, and he is only one of a long line of fools to be overly interested in food and drink. This concern with food and drink was one of the earliest characteristics of the stage fool and it long continued to be associated with the fool.I0 As the Moriae Encomium points out so strongly, to be a prey to one's appetites is the very essence of foolishness.

The view that a happy marriage is based on virtue and temperance is no comfort to Panurge, so he leaves Hippothadeus and seeks advice of a physician, Rondibilis. Rondibilis, though convinced that cuckoldry and marriage go hand in hand, advises Panurge that if he would avoid being cuckolded he should not watch over his wife or be severe with her, for jealousy makes a wife unfaithful (pp. 194-5, Bk. 3, Ch. 33). Panurge had already demonstrated his anxious concern, as well as great wrath at the very suggestion that he might be cuckolded (pp. 167-8, Bk. 3, Ch. 20; p. 178, Bk. 3, Ch. 25). At one point he tells Friar John that if he gets so much as an inkling that his wife is unfaithful, he will cudgel her (p. 184, Bk. 3, Ch. 28). Since Panurge believes it is impossible for him not to be concerned about being cuckolded, he dismisses Rondibilis' advice as worthless to him (p. 196, Bk. 3, Ch. 34).








The philosopher, Trouillogan, refuses to be pinned down to defining the way to a happy marriage, but Friar John, who does not participate in the symposium, does present still a third view of marriage. His notion of marriage is acceptable to Panurge, for it is completely natural. The ideal marriage, Friar John implies, is simply an ideal sexual union, and the husband need only be able to keep the wife satisfied sexually. Panurge avows that he is able to do this:

thou seemest in some measure to mistrust the readiness of my paternity. . . . I pray thee, favour me
so much as to believe that I still have him at a beck, attending always my commandments. . . . if women's things cannot be satiated, I have an instrument indefatigable,--an implement as copious
in the giving, as can in craving be their vade
mecums. (pp. 180-1, Bk. 3, Ch. 28)

Friar John doubts this is so, since Panurge admits that he is already gray and is growing older. "I understand thee well enough," Friar John replies, "but time makes all things plain. The most durable marble or porphyry is subject to old age and decay" (p. 181, Bk. 3, Ch. 28). The reader knows that as an aging man desiring to marry a lusty pretty wife (p. 217, Bk. 3, Ch. 46), he is a likely candidate for horns, but it is his nature to be blind to anything which stands in the way of his desires. Pantagruel warns him of this foolish weakness when he tells him that self-love is blinding him to the truth:








I know for certain, and therefore may I with the
greater confidence utter my conception of it, that Philauty, or self-love, is that which blinds your judgment and deceiveth you. (p. 186, Bk. 2, Ch. 29)

The similarity to Erasmus' Folly is striking. Self-love is the characteristic of fools about which Folly is most. emphatic.

The precise nature of Panurge's foolishness is defined by his encounter with the natural fool, Triboulet. It is Pantagruel who suggests that Panurge consult a fool when all the counsel of the sages fails to satisfy him.

Take heed, I have often heard it said in a
vulgar proverb, The wise may be instructed by a fool. Seeing the answers and responses of sage
and judicious men have no manner of way satisfied you, take advice of some fool, and possibly by so doing you may come to get that counsel which will be agreeable to your own heart's-desire and contentment. (p. 201, Bk. 3, Ch. 37)

Pantagruel respects this way of seeking advice because it has the endorsement of tradition. "You know," he says, "how by the advice and counsel and prediction of fools, many kings, princes, states, and commonwealths have been preserved, several battles gained, and divers doubts of a most perplexed intricacy resolved" (p. 201, Bk. 3, Ch. 37), but he gives another more important reason for consulting Triboulet, suggesting that fools are likely to be divinely inspired:

who knows warily how to prevent the inconveniences
of poverty, is called a worldly wise man, though
perhaps in the second judgment of the intelligences which are above, he be esteemed a fool,--so, on the








contrary is he [who is esteemed a fool] most like,
even in the thoughts of celestial spirits, to be not only sage, but to presage events to come by
divine inspiration . . . as it were departing from himself, [hej rids all his senses of terrene affections, and clears his fancies of those plodding
studies which harbour in the minds of thriving men.
(p. 201, Bk. 3, Ch. 37)

Pantagruel's statement that the wisdom of the world may be foolishness in God's eyes is strongly reminiscent of the Moriae Encomium, though the original source is, of course, the Bible. God's rejection of the world's values was one of Paul's main themes in his letter to the Corinthians, part of which was quoted by Folly: "If any man seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."'I

To all appearances, the fool, Triboulet, appears to be an idiot and a madman. Without even waiting for Panurge to finish speaking, he beats him over the head and rushes out, having said only "Par Dieu, Dieu, fol enraig6, guare moine, cornemuse de Buzan~ay." 12 It appears that he, like the others, is predicting an unhappy marriage for Panurge, but, as before, Panurge rejects such an interpretation of the words. What is most interesting, however, is Triboulet's addressing Panurge as a "fol enraige," a mad fool. Panurge makes light of this pronouncement, saying that after all we are all fools:

not that I would impudently exempt myself from being
a vassal in the territory of folly. I hold of that
jurisdiction, and a subject thereto, I confess it.








And why should I not? For the whole world is foolish. In the old Lorrain language, fou for oou; all
and fool were the same thing. Besides, it is
avouched by Solomon, that infinite is the number of
fools. .*. . Though this much of Triboulet's words tend little to my advantage, howbeit the prejudice
which I sustain thereby be common with me to all
other men. (p. 217, Bk. 3, Ch. 46)

While all men may be fools, the confrontation between Triboulet and Panurge points up that men are fools in significantly different ways. While Triboulet is naturally deficient in understanding, Panurge is willfully foolish. He refuses to see the truth.

In addition to Triboulet, another important foil for

Panurge is Bridlegoose, the simple judge whose story is told at some length in the Tiers Livre. For the entire course of his career, Bridlegoose has decided all his most puzzling cases with a throw of the dice. Yet miraculously, Bridlegoose's judgments have been good ones and have been upheld by the court of appeals. It is as if, following the Biblical proverb, "The lot is cast into the lap, /but the decision is wholly from the Lord" (Proverbs xvi.33). At last, however, while Panurge is engaged on his quest, Bridlegoose's irregular practice has come to the attention of the court of appeals. Pantagruel defends Bridlegoose, asserting that in his foolishness, he is under the special protection of God.

For it is usual, (as you know well,) with him whose ways are inscrutable, to manifest his own ineffable
glory in blunting the perspicacity of the eyes of








the wise, in weakening the strength of potent
oppressors, in depressing the pride of rich extortioners, and in erecting, comforting, protecting,
supporting, upholding, and shoring up the poor, feeble, humble, silly, and foolish ones of the
earth. (p. 213, Bk. 3, Ch.-43)

The sentiment is recognizably Biblical and was given a lengthy treatment in the Moriae Encomium.

Walter Kaiser suggests that the important difference

between Bridlegoose's foolishness and Panurge's foolishness is that Bridlegoose does not insist upon imposing his will on every decision, but with peace of mind leaves it in God's hands. In this way, he is strikingly different from Panurge, who refuses to accept any number of divinely inspired prophecies and insists upon having his own way. Panurge's unwillingness to do this is suggested at the very beginning of his quest, when he asks for Pantagruel's advice. At that time, Pantagruel says:

"Are not you assured within yourself of what you have a mind to? The chief and main point of the whole matter lieth there. It is . . . expedient, seeing you are resolved for once to make a trial
of the state of marriage, that, with shut eyes,
bowing your head, and kissing the ground, you put
the business to a venture, and give it a fair
hazard, in recommending the success of the residue to the disposure of Almighty God." (p. 146, Bk. 3,
Ch. 10)

It is clear enough that Panurge wants to marry, for

during the course of his quest he refuses any other solution. What keeps him from making a decision and achieving peace of mind is that he is too willful to put his fate in God's hands.








He cannot say, "Thy will be done." He is neither willing to reform his life according to the dictates of wisdom, nor to give up the idea of marriage, nor to accept an unhappy marriage in which he will be cuckolded. The story of Bridlegoose serves as a critical commentary on Panurge's refusal to trust providence.

As Erasmus portrays it, the foolishness of the world is conviviality, the love of life, the desire to procreate, the ability to act, and a full measure of self-love and happiness. In Rabelais, this worldly foolishness is typified in the figure of Panurge. Panurge's desire to marry amply demonstrates his lust and desire to procreate. His refusal to see that his marriage will be unhappy is an indication of his blinding self-love. He also shares some of the charm of Erasmus' Folly in that he is a good companion and is capable of speaking a truth in jest. When he launches forth in a mock encomiastic praise of debt to justify his extravagance to Pantagruel, he argues as Folly does, insisting first on the pleasures of debt (having creditors be kind to you), then subtly transforming debt into a virtue by allying it to the ties of giving and receiving which unite all mankind in a fraternity of love. Debt then becomes a kindness to one's fellow men and the cement that holds the world together. Panurge, like Folly, is a cunning rhetorician and can make a convincing argument even for his vices.








Significantly, however, Panurge lacks the contentment and the ability to act unthinkingly that had characterized most of Erasmus' fools, who were typically self-satisfied, complete in themselves, and generally seem to be unaware of their deficiencies. On the surface Panurge is content with himself, but his quest shows that within him there is an unhappy void. While Erasmus shows certain fools, the worldly clerics, for example, waiting out their lives complacently, unaware that they lack anything, Rabelais's fool is a pilgrim. His discontent points up the deficiencies in the life of the purely worldly fool.

As examples of the unworldly and blessed fool, Erasmus had used the saints, the apostles and even Christ himself.
13
Rabelais used Bridoye and Triboulet, mere comic characters. While Erasmus' tone changes when he begins to talk of the holy vision of foolishness, Rabelais's tone is unchanged. Bridoye is as comic a figure as Panurge. Instead of investing Bridoye and Triboulet with self-evident dignity and importance, Rabelais merely has Pantagruel say that they are under God's protection. Thus the didactic impact of the Tiers Livre is weaker than is that of the Moriae Encomium.

In the prologue of the Tiers Livre, Rabelais confesses to a method of writing similar to that used by Folly.

Stay a little, till I suck up a draught of this
bottle; it is my true and only Helicon; it is my
Caballine Fountain; it is my sole enthusiasm.








Drinking thus, I meditate, discourse, resolve, and
conclude. After that the epilogue is made, I laugh,
I write, I compose, and drink again. (p. 129, Prologue to Bk. 3)

When the narrator says that the wine is his "Helicon," his "Caballine Fountain," and his "enthusiasm," he is not being ironic. Drink frees him from sterile rationality and allows him to create. "Pantagruel," the name of Rabelais's wise hero, means "all-thirsty," Rosalie Colie suggests, and hence, "all inspired." Drink is associated with physical generation as well as inspiration, since drunkenness leads to copulation.14 Yet an appetite for strong drink is the mark
15
of a fool. The multiple connotations of drink make it a symbol of one of the central paradoxes of the Tiers Livre, the idea that folly can be productive.16 Even the foolishness of Panurge is creative in a limited way; it is his questioning which provokes the exploration of marriage which makes up the book. As Colie puts it, his foolishness "is the origin of the book's activity" (p.60). It is because foolishness has this creative side that Rabelais's narrator can use the writing method recommended by Folly, coming out with what is on the top of his head, writing happily, and drunkenly. Rabelais's endorsement of Folly's writing method is part and parcel of his agreement with Erasmus' recognition of the values of irrationality.








In its unambivalent endorsement of freedom and worldly happiness Rabelais's book differs somewhat from Erasmus. While Erasmus has made a good case for freedom, he put the argument in the mouth of Folly, whose rhetoric is not always to be trusted. Colie has suggested that Erasmus' use of the paradoxical encomium in itself suggests that he values freedom, since his use of paradox and his failure to provide a conclusion for the Moriae forces the reader to draw his own conclusions and to make his own decisions about values (pp. 19-20), but even if one accepts this theory, Erasmus' praise of freedom is certainly less forthright and less wellemphasized than Rabelais's. Years after the Moriae was written, when Erasmus had been drawn into open conflict with Martin Luther, he explicitly expressed the view of virtue that Rabelais dramatically portrayed in his account of the Abbey of Theleme. Indeed, it was evidently from Erasmus that Rabelais drew his inspiration for the Abbey. In the second Hyperaspistes, diatribe adversus Servim Arbitrium Martini Lutheri, Erasmus wrote,

I say that in those who are well born and well
brought up there is the least inclination toward evil. The greatest part of the proclivity comes
not from nature, but from corrupt institution,
from bad companionship, from the habit of sinning
and evilness of will.17

Then, too, in the midst of hot debate on the subject, he came out in defense of free will, but at the time of the writing








of the Moriae this was yet to be. As he himself says, as late as 1517, the question had not really engaged his attention, he but "casually passed over it."18 The concern for human freedom expressed in "do what thou wilt" (the motto of the Abbey of Theleme) is then only implicit in the Moriae Encomium. Rabelais, however, made it the central rule of his utopian abbey, and he also made free choice the only expedient course for Pantagruel in Book III; Pantagruel recommends personal free choice to Panurge because it is the only reasonable course, though it may not be the ideal way of determining what to do. The dictum, "do what thou wilt," was to gain increasing importance in the thought of Montaigne and those who came after him. Rabelais puts it forth in the Tiers Livre as the only course open to imperfect man.

Another contrast may be seen in Rabelais's and Erasmus' portrayals of worldly happiness. In the Moriae, it is Folly that praises worldly happiness, while the reader is given to understand that the Christian view of happiness differs from Folly's. When the Christian vision is shown, in the final part of the book, worldly happiness has little part in it. Christian happiness consists of ecstasies and hope of the world to come. When Rabelais portrays Christian happiness, however, in the Abbey of Theleme, he makes it clear that the best kind of worldliness, the refined pleasures of the flesh, are in his eyes suitable to the life of a Christian.








Despite the differences that may be discerned between

the Tiers Livre and the Moriae Encomium it must be remembered that Rabelais's debt to Erasmus was great. In a letter to Erasmus, he himself acknowledges it.19 In the most significant aspects of their depiction of folly Erasmus and Rabelais are in accord. As Kaiser says, "By means of her irony, Stultitia was able simultaneously to be the foolish and the wise fool," while in the Tiers Livre the Erasmian fool is split up and, "in the drama of Rabelais's narrative, these two contradictory types of fool confront each other" (p. 127). Their presentation is different, but the idea is the same.

Montaigne Rejects Role of Sage and Assumes Fool's Mantle

The second of the great readers of Erasmus was Michel de Montaigne, who around 1574 wrote his own version of Moriae Encomium in "Apology for Raymond Sebonde." In 1569 Montaigne had, at the request of his father, published a French translation of Book of Creatures, or Natural Theology, by Sebonde, a fifteenth century Spanish professor of medicine and theology. In Natural Theology, Sebonde had purported to prove the existence of God and to demonstrate man's duties by drawing analogies from nature. Montaigne's father had seen in Sebonde's book a useful argument to combat Lutheranism, but Montaigne evidently had, even when he first translated it, some reservations about the book, for he changed the wording of the preface to omit Sebonde's exalted claims for








the book, claims so extravagant that they had gotten the book put on the Index of forbidden books.

Some seven years after writing his translation, Montaigne was called upon by "a lady of rank" to defend Sebonde against his many attackers. He begins his defense by considering both groups of Sebonde's attackers: the Christians, who felt it wrong to use reason to prove the existence of God; and the atheists, who asserted that Sebonde had proved the non-existence of God. He gives only brief attention to the first group, saying mildly that though reason in itself will not reveal the truths of faith to man, still it is a worthy enterprise to embellish, extend, and amplify the truths of faith by using reason. He dismisses the criticisms of the second group of attackers by saying it is a vanity of atheists to see atheism everywhere. Then he counterattacks with a lengthy blast against human reason, actually the heart of the essay, and only a very small portion of it directly concerned with defending Sebonde. Indeed, the defense of Sebonde and the attack on reason are so loosely connected that Donald Frame has even suggested that the attack on reason was already written when Montaigne added the defense of Sebonde to it.20 Montaigne's own position is revealed as being diametrically opposed to Sebonde's, so that his essay is only a most limited and qualified defense of Sebonde, and some readers have had the impression that it is








no defense at all. Colie has said, "it . . . destroys the position Sebond held" (p. 389). Consider the claims Sebonde had made for his argument in his preface, "Et per istam scientiam potest solvi omnis quaestio quae debet sciri tam de Deo quam de seipso, et hoc sine difficultate." 21 He asserts that his argument, based on reason alone, easily resolves every question one needs to know about God and oneself. What a sharp contrast is this to Montaigne's words in the "Apology."

'Tis not by Meditation, or by Virtue of our own
Understanding, that we have acquir'd our Religion, but by Foreign Authority and Command: Wherein the
Imbecillity of our Judgment does more assist us
than the Force of it, and our Blindness more than our Clearness of Sight. 'Tis more by the Meditation of our Ignorance, that we know any thing of
the Divine Wisdom. 'Tis no wonder, if our natural
and earthly Parts cannot conceive that supernatural
and heavenly Knowledge: Let us bring nothing of
our own, but Obedience and Subjection.22

In defense of Sebonde, Montaigne can say only that it is praiseworthy to use reason to embellish truths imparted by faith, that Sebonde has done a workmanlike job, and that his intentions were good. The most forceful thing Montaigne has to say, his attack on reason, works against Sebonde rather than for him.

The attack on reason which forms the body of the essay may be divided into roughly three parts. The first is an account of the powers of animals, which do many of the things men are so proud of doing, the second is a demonstration that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, and the third is the








assertion that man is incapable of true knowledge, that all human knowledge is uncertain. The first step in the argument is weak logically, for much of the information Montaigne gives about the activities of animals is false, but it is effective, nevertheless, because by showing animals carrying on human activities it tends to demean those activities, making them appear trivial or even comic. Consequently, it is in keeping with the main thrust of the essay, which is designed to make men humble. The second step of the argument, the assertion that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, is brief but effective, for here Montaigne points up the irrationality of faith and cites scripture to show the weakness of reason. The third, most radical, step in the argument is the one which has attracted the most attention, for, taking a Pyrrhonistic stance, Montaigne undermines not only the atheists' arguments, but Sebonde's arguments and his own argument, as well, since if man can know nothing, all arguments are vain.

It is the second step of the argument, the assertion that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, that most closely corresponds to the Moriae Encomium. Montaigne's "Apology" is, of course, different in its scope from Erasmus' Moriae, but when Montaigne demonstrates that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, he follows the same paths Folly took, and he even uses some of the same arguments Folly used. He








maintains that if "Debility of Judgment" could maintain men

in "Ease and Pleasure" they would not mind being fools, a

thought he supports with the following quotation from Horace:

-------Potare, & spargere flores
Incipiam, patiarque vel inconsultus haberi.

I'll drink and revel like a jovial Lad,
Tho' for my Pains the World repute me Mad. (II, 186)

This could just as well be Folly quoting Horace, as is her

habit, and asserting that wisdom isn't the best road to happiness. In another borrowing from Horace, Montaigne tells

the same story Folly told about the Greek who imagined he

was seeing plays.

There would be a great many philosophers of Lycas's
Mind: This Man, being otherwise of very gentle
Manners, living quietly and contentedly in his Family, and not failing in any Office of his Duty,
either towards his own or Strangers, and very carefully preserving himself from hurtful Things, was
nevertheless, by some Distemper in his Brains, possess'd with a Conceit, that he was perpetually in the Theatre, a Spectator of the finest Sights, and the best Comedies in the World; and being cur'd by the Physicians of his Frenzy, had much ado to forbear endeavouring by Suit to compel them to restore
him again to his pleasing Imagination.

-------------Pol me occidistis amici
Non servastis, ait, cui sic extorta voluptas,
Et demptus per vim mentis gratissimus error.

By Heaven you've kill'd me, Friends, outright,
And not preserv'd me, since my dear Delight
And pleasing Error, by my better Sense
Unhappily return'd, is banished hence. (II, 186)

Both Erasmus and Montaigne also use Ecclesiastes 1.18, "In

much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge








increaseth sorrow." And both use the powerful verses from I Corinthians,

I will destroy the Wisdom of the Wise, and will
bring to nothing the Understanding of the Prudent.
Where is the Wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the Disputer of this World? For after that in the Wisdom of God, the World knew not God, it pleased God by the Foolishness of preaching to save them
that believe. (I Corinthians i.19-21 as quoted by
Montaigne, II, 192)

If one examines this portion of the argument closely,

it takes something of a different trend from Erasmus'. Montaigne, like Erasmus' Folly, begins by asserting that most men would rather be happy than wise, but instead of merely assuming this is so, as Folly does, he supports his assertion by using the example of the wisest men, the philosophers of the ages, who since ancient times, he points out, have been recommending suicide and commending death. He asks, "What is it other than a Confession of . . . Impotency, and a sending back not only to Ignorance, to be there in Safety, but even to Stupidity, Insensibility and Non-entity?" (II, 187). He then goes on to show that reason is helpless to bring about either a happy commonwealth or the salvation of an individual. Erasmus, too, had written of the uselessness of reason in achieving the good of the commonwealth and the salvation of man, but he had deemed folly useful because it makes a man fearless, unlikely to hesitate because of modesty, and willing to dally with the fair sex. The Erasmian








fool is characteristically brash and fearless, with a plentiful amount of self-love and self-deception. This is true even of his "natural" fools, or idiots, who are completely innocent; he holds that their being without shame or fear is the essence of their foolishness (pp. 62-7). Montaigne's conception of the fool is quite different. His fool is meek and docile, and he counts this a virtue, for he says, "Humility, Fear, Obedience and Affability (which are the principal Things that support and maintain human Society) require an empty and docile Soul, and little presuming upon itself" (II, 189). The primitive societies of the New World are, he believes, striking examples of good societies founded on ignorance. This romanticization of ignorance makes Montaigne's view of folly seem simple-minded in comparison with Erasmus' ironic, critical, and multifaceted view.

There are, then, significant differences between Montaigne and Erasmus, but it is important to recognize their fundamental agreement. For both of them, folly was an emblem of man's dependence on God. The fool was a symbol of the sum of human weakness. He thus inspired both scorn and wonder-scorn because of his despicable weakness, and wonder because he was nevertheless favored by God.

Both Erasmus and Montaigne were fascinated by the paradoxical view of folly given in the New Testament, and both gave full accounts of it. Erasmus' treatment of Biblical








material is complex, for since he always speaks through the mouth of Folly his own judgment about the material is conveyed only obliquely. At one point Folly maintains that God has "chosen the foolish things of the world" because, like Caesar, Nero, and Dionysius, he distrusts the crafty (p. 190). The reader can instantly perceive the falseness of Folly's parallel and is led to make his own meditation on why God has favored the foolish. Later, Folly maintains that Jesus' suggestions that his followers imitate "children, lilies, sparrows" and "mustard" are recommendations that they be foolish (p. 192), but the reader, remembering the Biblical stories, will find himself critical of Folly's interpretation. Folly's citations of the scriptures are arranged so that even while she is using them to her own ends, the reader is led to an understanding of God's love of foolishness that Folly does not share. Montaigne's use of the same Biblical material presents the reader with interpretations very like those he might reach after reading Erasmus' account, but Montaigne's approach is simple and direct. Instead of arranging a series of Biblical quotations with a facetious commentary, allowing the reader to draw his own conclusions, Montaigne seriously explicates the Biblical passages, showing how they support his contentions. Erasmus' position is hidden; Montaigne's position is stated straightforwardly.








God has sufficiently given us to understand that, by the witnesses he has chosen out of the common People, simple and ignorant Men, that he has been
pleas'd to employ, to instruct us in his admirable
Secrets: Our Faith is not of our own acquiring, 'tis purely the Gift of another's Bounty. 'Tis
not by Meditation, or by Virtue of our own Understanding, that we have acquir'd our Religion, but
by Foreign Authority and Command. (II, 191-2)

Montaigne's "Apology," much more than Erasmus' Moriae, is a

conventional attack on the pride in reason. It is only in

the final step of his argument that Montaigne begins to sound

radical and original. Until then he could almost be a

preacher. His tone is judicious at times, at times stern,

but only occasionally does he venture into the humorous

irony that is the dominant mode of Erasmus' work. This difference in tone tends to obscure the similarities between

Montaigne's and Erasmus' thought, but they are alike in their

recognition of the value of the irrational. At one point in

his "Apology" Montaigne indicates that he is intrigued by the

insights men have in dreams, ecstasies or trances:

Is it not a great boldness in Philosophy, to believe
that Men perform the greatest Actions, and nearest
approaching the Divinity, when they are Furious, Mad,
and besides themselves? We better ourselves by the
Astonishment and Privation of Reason. The two natural Ways to enter into the Cabinet of the Gods, and
there to foresee the course of Destiny, are Fury and Sleep. This is pleasant to consider. By the Dislocation that Passions cause in our Reason, we must
become Virtuous: By its Extirpation occasioned by Madness, as the Image of Death, we become Devinors
and Prophets. I was never so willing to believe Philosophy in any Thing, as this. (II, 276-277)








Though Montaigne does not explore the nature of these interesting psychic phenomena, it is likely he felt that it was the temporary freedom from corporeal existence that allows men to be closer to God, for at another point he suggests that man's understanding is limited by his fleshly existence. "'Tis no wonder," he says, "if our natural and earthly Parts cannot conceive that supernatural and heavenly Knowledge" (II, 192). Elsewhere, apparently alluding to miracles, he suggests that the things closest to God, those which manifest his power most clearly, are not governed by rational laws:

of the Works of our Creator, those best bear his
Mark, and are with better Title his, which we the
least understand. To meet with an incredible
Thing, is an Occasion to Christians to believe.
(II, 190)

Much of Montaigne's deprecation of reason is based on his belief that rational powers and pride are linked, but some of it is, evidently, attributable to his respect for the irrational as a path to understanding. As R. A. Sayce has commented, Montaigne treated ignorance as a positive value.23

Montaigne's defense of folly in "Apology for Raymond

Sebonde" is convenient for use in comparing his opinions to those of Erasmus because it is there more than any other place that his ideas on rationality and irrationality are gathered together. The ideas basic to the "Apology," however, may also be found in later essays.








It is difficult to speak of the Essais as a single work, for it was written over a long period of time, between 1571 and 1592, and contains a host of inconsistent and contradictory statements. Over the years a number of critics have turned their attention to the difficult task of making sense of these contradictions. Olivier Naudeau points out that although some critics seized on one strand of Montaigne's thought and denied the existence of contradictions while others spoke of his "ecclecticism," the most popular theory for a long time was that Montaigne's thinking evolved over the course of his composition of the three volumes. Pierre Villey was the most famous exponent of this point of view, and even yet it has its adherents. Donald Frame, for example, does not accept Villey's view of Montaigne's evolution, but he does see signs of another sort of evolution, the "hu24
manization" of Montaigne. R. A. Sayce contends that "the presence of an evolutionary element is undeniable," but he does not feel this accounts for Montaigne's contradictions since the "evolution" is usually just a fuller development 25
of an idea stated early along. Recently, other critical explanations of the contradictions have appeared. Naudeau suggests that Montaigne has simply strewn his writings with opinions taken from his reading, but that these are generally not his own opinions,26 and Barbara Bowen believes that the contradictions are a part of a deliberate attempt to








disconcert and puzzle the reader. She maintains that this way of writing was common in Montaigne's time, and that the contradictions, rather than reflecting deeply held opinions, are the result of Montaigne's interest in paradox and his playful attitude towards his writing. 27

Like Erasmus, Montaigne had the sort of supple mind that is loath to take a firm stand. He was prone to consider a subject first from one side, then another. "If I speak variously of myself," he says at one point, "it is because I consider myself variously. All Contrarieties are there to be found in one corner or another, or after one Manner or another." 28 Sometimes he seems to speak clearly with the voice of Folly, showing the influence of the same current of thought one sees in the Moriae Encomium, but these statements do not express fully the complexity of the perceptions. Elsewhere one finds modifications and even contradictions of the "foolish" point of view. All of this greatly complicates the task of making general statements about Montaigne's "thought." Nevertheless, keeping this in mind, one may trace certain threads of thoughts in keeping with the praise of folly tradition not only in his "Apology" but throughout his essays.

Montaigne's praise of ignorance, his expressed preference for the simple and unsophisticated, along with a kind of primitivism, form a thread that can be followed from his








early essays through to the later ones, a persistent theme in his thought. He repeatedly suggests that reason and learning are dangerous things. Speaking of the appetite for learning, he remarks, "'Tis a Good, if duly consider'd, which has in it, as the other Goods of Men have, a great deal of Vanity," and he calls the acquisition of learning "more hazardous than that of all other Meat or Drink."29 This is so because unlike other "goods" learning invades one's very self.

For in other Things, what we have bought, we carry
home in some Vessel, and there have Liberty to examine our Markets, how much it costs, and what 'tis
worth, according to the Season; but Sciences we can, at the very first, bestow into no other Vessel than the Soul; we swallow them in buying and return from
the Market, either already infected or amended.
(III, 306, "of Physiognomy.")

Then, too, a moderate understanding may be more injurious to a man than total ignorance. He observes that good Christians may be made of those "of mean Understanding, little inquisitive, and little instructed." Not tempted into the byways of reasoning, these people "by Reverence and Obedience implicitly believe, and are constant in their Belief." Such faithful Christianity may also be found among brilliant men who "by a long and Religious Investigation of the Truth" have achieved a real understanding of the Scriptures and the Church. Those who take the hazardous path of reason in religion may never reach that splendid understanding, and "In the moderate Understandings, and in the middle sort of








Capacities, the error of Opinions is begot."30 In the face of the dangers of errors and pride, much can be said in favor of ignorance; and Montaigne, who admires the simple peasants and the simple savages, pronounces himself pleased to see "Men in Devotion vow Ignorance as well as Chastity, Poverty and Penitence. "31

It was chiefly the pride and the vanity associated with reason that led to Montaigne's suspicion of it. He did not uniformly and invariably reject the use of reason. Sayce points out that Montaigne "uses reason and learning to prove the inadequacy of reason and learning,"32 and Frame contends that it is only the "lunatic fringes" of reason that he attacks, man's claim to know what he cannot know.33 Despite his repeated attacks on reason, Montaigne allows that it has a legitimate use in a limited sphere. In ordinary matters, everyday decisions about the management of one's life and estate, reason has its proper place. In the late essay "Of Experience" he exclaims, "Oh what a soft, easy and wholesome Pillow is Ignorance and Incuriosity" (III, 348). Montaigne is not recommending that men should avoid all thought whatsoever, but that they should confine themselves to their own natural sphere, reflecting on their own life and conduct, yet abjuring grand speculation. However, even though Montaigne's rejection of reason is not wholesale, his dramatic statements in praise of ignorance strongly remind one of Erasmus' Folly.








Another way in which Montaigne seems to echo Folly is in his emphatic rejection of the role of sage. "If I pitch upon Subjects that are popular and gay," he says, "'tis to follow my own Inclination, who do not affect a grave and ceremonious Wisdom, as the World does." 34 In keeping with his humble role, he denies that his intent is didactic. "I have no authority to be believ'd," he says, "neither do I desire it, being too conscious of my own Inerudition to be able to instruct others." 35 These statements may be, as Jacob Zeitlin suggests, a strategy to win over and persuade the reader,36 but it seems as likely that they are sincere and are an outgrowth of Montaigne's deeply held convictions about the nature of human perception. These convictions are most clearly stated in the following famous passage from "Of Democritus and Heraclitus":

Health, Conscience, Authority, Knowledge, Riches, Beauty, and their Contraries, do all strip themselves at their entering into us, and receive a
new Robe, and of another Fashion, from every distinct Soul, and what Colour, Brown, Bright, Green,
Dark, and Quality, Sharp, Sweet, Deep, or Superficial, as best pleases them; for they are not yet
agreed upon any common Standard of Forms, Rules, or Proceedings; every one of them is a Queen in
her own Dominions. Let us therefore no more excuse ourselves upon the external Qualities of Things; it belongs to us to give ourselves an
Account of them. Our Good or Ill has no other
Dependence but on ourselves. (I, 365)

Montaigne is conscious that what he says is not necessarily the truth, but merely what he perceives as the truth.








I speak my Opinion freely of all Things, even of those that, perhaps, exceed my Capacity, and that
I do not conceive to be, in any wise, under my
Jurisdiction. And accordingly, the Judgment I deliver, is to shew the Measure of my own Sight, and not of the Things I make-so bold to censure. (II,
88, "Of Books.")

Montaigne's emphasis on the individual nature of perception and on the inability of one man to lay down laws for another is a natural development of ideas that were latent in Rabelais's suggestion that each man must decide in his heart and do as he wishes. What Montaigne sees in this is an implication Rabelais did not develop, for such a view of human existence eliminates the role of the sage or "wise man."

If Montaigne so resoundingly rejects the role of sage,

how is it that Donald Frame can call him "a basically earnest moralist"37 and Jacob Zeitlin can speak of "the earnest moralist behind the genial mask" (p. lxxx). In part this is explained by Montaigne's undeniable interest in moral questions. If he is not preaching, he nevertheless treats a number of moral questions in his essays. Then, too, though he contends that his only goal is to portray himself and not to say how others should live, the self-portrait itself may be seen as exemplary. Philip P. Hallie says "Montaigne is not ultimately concerned with political or even moral philosophy; he is concerned with what he thinks and feels on certain matters, not with the absolute, universal Truth." Hallie adds that Montaigne "wants the reader to understand Montaigne . . .








but he also wants the reader to use what he says, if possible; he wants the reader to make this portrait exemplary, even if the reader has to take its instruction in reverse in order to fit it to his own life and mind." 38 R. A. Sayce, noting Montaigne's denial of didacticism, comments: "As long as he is only talking about himself, his moods and passing fancies, he can claim that they have no wider meaning; but once he has posited a necessary resemblance between himself and the rest of mankind he is bound to regard what he says as a lesson, if only negatively" (p. 116). This exemplary function does not necessarily make itself obvious to the reader, however. Zeitlin complains that Montaigne's moralism is so well disguised that most readers fail to discern it and instead see Montaigne as a wayward and idle fellow, egotistical and with no other aim than to live and be merry.39 He complains, in other words, that Montaigne gives the reader the impression that he is a fool.

Montaigne's "self-portrait" is an aspect of the Essais

which has long attracted attention. In Cibber's only mention of Montaigne he speaks of his entertaining "vanity," meaning by this, evidently, no more than his propensity to talk about himself. What Montaigne says about himself still fascinates readers, perhaps more than anything else in the essays. Though Sayce complains "It may be that in the past too much emphasis has been placed on the self-portrait as the sole








centre of the Essais" (p. 50), he goes on to say that for Montaigne "there can be no doubt . . . at least at the time of the 1580 preface, the principal and indeed the only object of the book is the depiction of himself" (p. 50). Certainly Montaigne speaks often of his desire to portray himself candidly and without hiding his faults. Most critics have taken these statements at their face value and a number of readers have been charmed, and some repelled, by the picture of the writer that emerges from the pages of the Essais. Barbara Bowen puts forth the interesting hypothesis that the portrait is chiefly a literary device and is not really a complete and candid portrait. She says:

We know, to begin with, that many of Montaigne's
statements, if taken at face value, are simply not
true. . . . they give us a picture of an endearingly ordinary, run-of-the-mill fellow, a little thick-headed, with no pretensions to wit or elegance but full of good intentions. The picture is charming, but there is plenty of external and internal evidence for a very different Montaigne.40

Similarly, Zeitlin believes that Montaigne's picture of himself as pleasure-seeking, egotistical, and "so lacking in strength of character that he usually allows himself to be carried along on the current of his passions" (p. lxxx), is a "mask" for the true Montaigne, designed to make his moral lessons more palatable (pp. xcvii-xcix), and Frame maintains that the self-portrait is unflattering because Montaigne had too much taste and humor to "make himself his hero."41








Whether true-to-life or not the portrait is, as Bowen suggests, a self-deprecating one, one perfectly in keeping with Montaigne's rejection of the role of sage. In it one may recognize many characteristics traditional to the fool. He portrays himself as an innocent, with an innocent's license and an innocent's gift for disarming enemies. He says that it is because men can read in his face his "innocency of . . . Intention" that they tolerate "the indiscreet Liberty" he takes to say whatever comes at "Tongue's End."42 He avers that he is "very little inclin'd to Suspicion and Distrust"43 but rather inclines towards "Excuse" and "the gentlest Interpretation" of others' actions. And he is too good-natured to have "the Knack of nourishing Quarrels and Debates" within himself.44 He seems to claim the protection heaven traditionally accords to innocents and claims: "I . . . am moreover a Man, who willingly commit myself to Fortune, and throw myself headlong into her arms; and have hitherto found more reason to applaud, than to condemn my Conduct in so doing; having ever found her more solicitous of, and more a Friend to my Affairs, than I am myself. . . . We are, methinks, to blame, in not trusting Heaven enough with our Affairs." 45 He claims that what virtue he has is merely the virtue of innocence, such as he was born with.46 At times he seems to be attributing to himself the naive innocence which he praised in his "Apology."








He often emphasizes his lack of self-control, his habit of merely following his passions. He not only speaks off the top of his head without pausing to reflect,47 but describes himself as "extreamly given up to my own Inclinations both by Nature and Art,"48 and says "I have not . . . corrected my natural Complexions by the Force of Reason, and have not in the least molested my Inclination by Art."49 This picture is in conflict with other trends in the essays which praise self-mastery and show Montaigne's attempts to control his passions, as some critics have pointed out.50 The contrasting views may each represent different aspects of Montaigne's true personality or one or both may be used for rhetorical effect, as Bowen suggests. In either case the suggestion that Montaigne is a whimsical child of nature following his inclinations willy-nilly gives his selfportrait a clownish cast.

He repeatedly asserts that pleasure is his goal, and though such a position is not uncommon in philosophy, Montaigne's kinship with the praise of folly tradition is suggested by his assertions that he would choose pleasure over wisdom. "I make it my Business to bring Vanity it self in repute, and Folly too," he says, "if it brings me any Pleasure; and permit me to follow my own natural Inclinations without carrying too strict a hand upon them." He finds it possible to reject certain opinions "though they be true,"








if they are troublesome,51 for, as he says elsewhere, "I would as willing be happy as wise.",52

If he seems virtuous, he says, it is only because the age is so corrupt that any man who is less than vicious appears good; it is not because he strives after virtue.

He takes to himself the foolish characteristic of laziness and shows himself averse to any real effort. "Liberty and Laziness," he calls "the Qualities most predominant in me.'53 Elsewhere he says, "I do nothing without Gaiety; Continuation, and a too obstinate Endeavour, darkens, stupifies and tires my Judgment."54 He calls himself "extreamly idle" and says "there is nothing for which I will bite my Nails, and that I will purchase at the Price of the Torment of Mind and Constraint."55

Montaigne's depiction of himself as a writer is an extension of these same "foolish" traits. "All Motions discover us," Montaigne says, and his writings seem to be designed to give the impression that it was written by the heedless, humorous fellow depicted in the self-portrait. As he is a pleasure-seeker, so he repeatedly claims that he writes in order to give pleasure to himself. "And tho' no Body should read me," he asks, "have I lost my Time in entertaining myself so many idle Hours, in pleasing and useful Thoughts?"56 As he is a lazy fellow, so his laziness, as well as his pleasure-seeking, is reflected in his writing.









He calls his writings "idle Whimsies," and says that he is not ashamed of his ignorance of the things he writes about. "I could wish to have a more perfect Knowledge of Things," he says "but I will not buy it so dear as it will cost." He declares that ease and pleasure are more important to him than knowledge. "My Design is to pass over easily, and not laboriously, the Remainder of my Life," he says, "There is nothing that I will break my Brains about; no, not knowledge, of what Price soever. I seek, in the Reading of Books, only to please myself, by an irreproachable Diversion."58 Explaining why he declines to write a history of his time, he says, "I would not give myself the Trouble, being a sworn Enemy, as I am to all Obligation, Assiduity, and Perseverance." 59 Since he is a lazy pleasure-seeker, Montaigne would have us believe he is not overly concerned about his writing and that consequently his writing has spontaneity.

He claims to write casually. "Words escape me with as much Indifference as they are little worth," he says, "I write as I speak in common Conversation."'60 As Barbara Bowen comments, his remarks about his writings seem designed to "emphasize the jumbled, spontaneous aspect of the Essais" (p. 125). Sayce, who explores the principles of order in the Essais in some detail, notes that Montaigne himself seems to glory more in the apparent disorder of his writings, and adds








that Montaigne's frequent statements about his ordering being purely fortuitous "confirm the reader's immediate impression" (pp. 260-1).

It should be remembered that Erasmus' Folly, like Montaigne, gave her writings the appearance of jumbled spontaneity. Folly recommended the "painless," off-the-top-of-thehead method of writing. TWio of Folly's nine attendants, of course, were Laziness and Pleasure, so it is natural that Folly expresses the greatest disdain and pity for "those graver drudgers to the press" who labor endlessly over their writings getting little reward for the "fastings, watchings, confinements, and brain-breaking tortures of invention" and plesurs. .61
their "debarment from all pleasures. Folly would have approved of Montaigne's easy-going attitude towards revision, his writing of "whimsies" for his own pleasure. And his attitude of speaking his mind, bluntly and innocently, is perfectly foolish.

This is not to say that Montaigne does not hint at a

deep concern with form or give indications of a serious purpose in his essays; it is only to say that the "amiable mask" remarked on by his critics, is a foolish one, and in keeping with the praise of folly tradition.














NOTES TO CHAPTER II


iMarcel Tertel, Rabelais (New York, 1967), p. 82.

2Lazare Sainean, "Les Interpretes de Rabelais en Angleterre et en Allemagne," Revue des Etudes Rabelaisiennes, 7 (1909), p. 176.

31bid., p. 205.

4Ibid., pp. 200-1.

5Ibid., p. 176.

6Huntington Brown, Rabelais in English Literature (Cambridge, Mass., 1933), p. 192.

7Barbara C. Bowen, The Age of Bluff: Paradox and
Ambiguity in Rabelais & Montaigne, Illinois Studies in Language and Literature, 62 (Urbana, Chicago, London, 1972), p. 84.

8In my discussion of the Tiers Livre, I am indebted to Walter Kaiser's interpretation in Praisers of Folly. A similar interpretation is given by Tertel, p. 64.

9Franyois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books, trans. Sir Thomas Urquhart and Peter Motteux (Chicago, London, Toronto, 1952), p. 188 (Bk. 3, Ch. 30). I have used this edition throughout.

10Busby, pp. 63-4.

11I Corinthians iv. 10. Cited in Erasmus, p. 189.

12Bk. 3, Ch. 45. Cited in Kaiser, p. 176.

13Kaiser maintains that Pantagruel, "the smiling ideal
and example of all joyous perfection," is also a fool (Kaiser, p. 181), but in the "eulogistic sense." I do not find Kaiser's argument convincing and rather agree with M. A. Screetch, who sees Pantagruel as a wise man (see The Rabelaisian Marriage: Aspects of Rabelais's religion, ethics &








comic philosophy, London, 1958), and with Barbara Bowen, who asserts that Pantagruel is not a fool in any sense (p. 83).

14Colie, p. 63.

15Rabelais, p. 215, Bk. 3,-Ch. 45.

16For a further exploration of Rabelais's use of wine as a symbol see Bowen, pp. 72-3; Kaiser, pp. 114, 123; and Floyd Gray, "Structure and Meaning in the Prologue to the Tiers Livre," L'Esprit Createur, 3, No. 2 (Summer, 1963), 57-62.

17Erasmus, Opera Omnia, ed. J. Le Clerc, 10 vols.
(Leyden, 1703-6), X, 1454F-1455A, cited by Kaiser, p. 95.

18Epistle 1342, Opus epistolarum Desiderii Erasmi
(Basel, 1529), cited by John Joseph Mangan, The Life, Character and Influence of Erasmus of Rotterdam (New York, 1927), II, 214.

19Desiderius Erasmus, Opus epistolarum, ed. P. S. and
H. M. Allen (Oxford, 1906-34), X, 130, cited by Kaiser, p. 104.

20Donald M. Frame, Montaigne's Discovery of Man: The
Humanization of a Humanist (New York, 1955, rpt. 1967), p. 58.

21Cited in Montaigne's Essays and Selected Writings, trans. and ed. Donald M. Frame (New York, 1963), p. 447.

22Montaigne's Essays, trans. Charles Cotton, 3 vols.
(London, 1738), II, 191-2. I have used this eighteenth century edition throughout because it is the one Colley Cibber most probably read. Cotton's translation first appeared in 1685. It was evidently popular. Supplanting the older translation by John Florio, it appeared in seven editions before Cibber's Apology was published.

23R. A. Sayce, The Essays of Montaigne: A Critical Exploration (Gerrards Cross, England, 1972), p. 175.

240livier Naudeau, La Pens~e de Montaigne et la Composition des Essais (Geneva, 1972), p. 3. See also Frame, Montaigne's Discovery of Man: The Humanization of a Humanist.
25Sayce, pp. 327-8.


26Naudeau, p. 4.








27
Bowen, pp. 121-40.

28II, 6, "Of the Inconstancy of our Actions."

29111, 306, "Of Physiognomy."

301, 376, "Of Vain Subtilities."

31111, 306, "Of Physiognomy."

32Sayce, p. 176.

33Donald M. Frame, Montaigne: A Biography (New York, 1965), p. 177.

34II, 358, "Of Presumption."

351, 158, "Of the Education of Children."

36Jacob Zeitlin, ed., The Essays of Michel de Montaigne (New York, 1934), pp. lxxx-lxxxi.

37Frame, Montaigne: A Biography, p. 257.

38Phillip Paul Hallie, Montaigne and Philosophy as Self Portraiture, Monday Evening Papers: No. 9 (Center for Advanced Studies, Wesleyan University, 1966), p. 3.

39Zeitlin, pp. lxxx, xcvii-xcix.

40Bowen, p. 115.

41Donald M. Frame, Montaigne's Essais: A Study (Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1969), p. 51.

42111, 336, "Of Physiognomy."

43Ibid., p. 334.

44I , 106, "Of Cruelty."

45II1, 334, "Of Physiognomy."

4611, 106, "Of Cruelty."

47III, 336, "Of Physiognomy."

4811, 365, "Of Presumption."








49 II, 332, "Of Physiognomy."

50Frame, Montaigne's Essais: A Study, p. 49; Zeitlin, p. lxxx.

51111, 256, "Of Vanity."

52III, 290, "Of Managing the Will."

5311I, 252, "Of Vanity."

54III, 88, "Of Books."

55II, 365, "Of Presumption."

56II, 390, "Giving the Lye."

571, 154, "Of the Education of Children."

5811, 87, "Of Books."

591, 107, "Of the Force of Imagination."

60111, 1, "Of Profit and Honesty."

61Erasmus, p. 116.














CHAPTER III
COLLEY CIBBER, BRANDED A FOOL, ELECTS TO DEFEND HIMSELF DRAWING ON THE PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION AS IT IS SEEN IN
THE MORIAE ENCOMIUM, THE TIERS LIVRE, AND THE ESSAIS

In 1740 Colley Cibber wrote a book which was, as I shall show, a new addition to the praise of folly tradition. In An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Folly was again praising herself, as she had done in Erasmus' Moriae Encomium, but Folly was now represented not by an allegorical figure, but by a living man, Cibber himself. Yet Cibber's book is not an autobiography in the usual sense; the "Cibber" portrayed in it is closer to the stereotype of the fool seen in Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne than to the historical Colley Cibber.

Cibber's decision to portray himself as a fool in his memoirs may have been inspired by the barrage of abuse that had followed him in his career. He had never been very popular. Even comparatively early in his career, he had been the subject of criticism, but in 1717, the year he wrote the Non-Juror, the attacks began in earnest. 1718 saw the publication of two hostile pamphlets on his Non-Juror,1 and Pope was among those offended by this piece of anti-Catholic propaganda.2 In 1717 Pope's and Gay's play Three Hours After Marriage contained a character, Plotwell, evidently intended








3
as a satire on Cibber's playwriting. Cibber, with evident good-humor, played the part of Plotwell himself. Critics did not always confine themselves to criticizing Cibber's work. His personal life, too, came under attack, and one newspaper accused him of shamefully neglecting his daughter.4 That Cibber felt these and other attacks may be seen by his bitter preface to Ximena, published in 1719, in which he complains that his plays have met with a cold reception because of his personal unpopularity. The following year Cibber was the victim of a heated attack by John Dennis, who portrayed him as an atheistic monster. After this, Nathaniel Mist began devoting more space in his newspaper to attacks on Cibber, ridiculing him and criticizing his management of the Drury Lane Theatre. Mist's attacks were widely read and seem to have contributed to the difficulties Cibber's theatre had during the 1720's.5 In 1728 Pope aimed a barrage of criticism at Cibber in Peri Bathous: or of the Art of Sinking in Poetry. In this scriblerian work a couple of Cibber's more comically inept phrases are ridiculed, it is suggested that he is a plagiarist, and he is accused of having a low and sometimes indecent style (chs. 6, 12, 13). A few months later, Pope attacked Cibber in the first edition of The Dunciad. Although Cibber did not, in this version, play the important role he did in the later versions, he did Come in for assorted swipes at his writing, his personal life, and his








management of Drury Lane. That same year, as Cibber relates in his Apology, a good deal of public animosity was vented on him when he was accused of preventing the performance of John Gay's new play, Polly.

The attacks on Cibber reached a crescendo when, in 1730, he was appointed poet laureate. Now his badly written odes to the king, performed to music twice a year at court and widely disseminated in the town, made him a highly visible, almost irresistible target. Pope wrote two epigrams and an article on the subject of the laureateship for the Grub St. Journal, and from this time on his attacks on Cibber grew more frequent and more vehement. Six of the sixteen imitations of Horace contain satirical swipes at either Cibber or his son. Norman Ault suggests that Pope's animosity was directly caused by Cibber's abominable odes, which regularly lacerated Pope's sensibilities.6 The year Cibber won the laureateship also marked the beginning of Fielding's attacks on him. For the next decade, in The Author's Farce, Historical Register for 1736, and Pasquin, Fielding assailed Cibber with gibes that had become standard, ridiculing his shamelessness, his playwriting, his revisions of old plays, his odes, and his management of the theatre. When Cibber sat down to write his Apology, criticisms had been raining on him for twenty years. He had three important enemies in Mist, Pope, and Fielding, all of whom were persistently ridiculing








him to large audiences. The laureateship, which must have pleased his snobbish heart mightily with its giving him a place at court and an entree into high society, had proved a mixed blessing and brought with it more attacks than ever.

In writing his Apology, Cibber evidently decided to disarm his critics by pretending to accept their ridicule. He admists to using this technique in a couple of pamphlets published after his Apology. The Egoist, almost certainly written by Cibber,7 quotes verses asserting that Cibber has made himself invulnerable to critics by confessing his faults. That a man should not be ridiculed for faults he confesses was the conventional wisdom of the time.8 In addition to admitting his faults, Cibber tried to turn the criticism upon itself by transforming a pejorative epithet into an honorable title. If he was to be called a fool, well, then, he would show that a fool was a good thing to be. The Egoist describes this approach to criticism. When the questioner asks Cibber why he is "so fond of being an avowed Blockhead," he responds, "I don't insist upon the Title! I am full as willing to pass for a Man of Sense; but when People won't let me, what have I to do but (like other Blockheads) think well of myself? (p. 35). The technique of transforming criticism into a compliment is clearly spelled out in A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope, published in 1742. Cibber quotes an epigram calling him a fool and








comments, "But hold, Master Cibber! why may not you as well turn this pleasant Epigram into an involuntary Compliment? for a king's Fool was nobody's Fool but his Master's." 9 He goes on to draw on the traditional notion of the wise fool.

Those Fools of old if Fame says true,
Were chiefly chosen for their Wit;
Why then, call'd Fools? because, like you,
Dear Pope, too bold in shewing it. (p. 20)

Cibber did not attempt to deal with every one of the

diverse criticisms made of him. He focused his attention on the oft repeated accusation that he was a fool. This was a natural strategy for he was famous for his creations of the roles of fools on stage and his enemies had often made use of this in their gibes. It was an obvious comparison for critics to make--the man and the roles he played. A couplet in Pope's Dunciad contends that, though his stage portrayal of the fop was faulty, in his life he played the role well (11. 187-192). The pamphlet Sawney and Colley identified him with his stage roles,I0 and Fielding, commenting on the Apoloqy, said "he calls it only an apology for the life of one who hath played a very comical part, which, though theatrical, hath been acted on a much larger stage than Drury Lane."11 Cibber himself evidently felt he was so closely identified with his stage roles that the audience sometimes failed to distinguish between the roles and his real character. Sir Richard Steele put forth this idea in his essays on the







12
theatre, and in the Apology Cibber says of his playing villains, "I knew it would not recommend me to the Favour of the common People, for, as he says elsewhere, the vulgar are "apt to think all before them real, and rate the Actor according to his borrow'd Vice, or Virtue."14 Early in his Apology, he promises to distinguish his stage character from his real character and satisfy the spectators' curiosity about his private personality.

A Man who has pass'd above Forty Years of his Life
upon a Theatre, where he has never appear'd to be Himself, may have naturally excited the Curiosity of his Spectators to know what he really was, when
in no body's Shape but his own; and whether he, who
by his Profession had so long been ridiculing his Benefactors, might not, when the Coat of his Profession was off, deserve to be laugh'd at himself.
(p.3)

Certainly Cibber's self-portrait does bear little resemblance to the characters he played on stage. The fools Cibber played so successfully on stage were fops, full of fashionable affectations, inordinately concerned with their clothes and physical appearance. Of this character there is scarcely a trace in the Apology. Neither is the self-portrait a trueto-life picture of Cibber. Rather it is the portrait of a fool after the fashion of Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne.

One prominent characteristic that allies Cibber's selfportrait with the fools written about by Erasmus and Rabelais is his heedlessness of consequences. As he himself puts it, "A giddy Negligence always possess'd me. . . . The unskilful








openness, or in plain Terms, the Indiscretion I have always acted with from my Youth, has drawn more ill-will towards me, than Men of worse Morals and more Wit might have met with" (pp. 5-6). If we are to believe Cibber's self-portrait, he bumbled through his life almost bereft of judgment, being driven first one way then another by his passions. His entrance to the stage, the beginning of an illustrious and profitable career, was due to an "inconsiderate Folly" (p. 45), the result of having an "unthinking head" (p. 36). Going on the stage, marrying, and turning poet were all, according to him, results of his carelessness of the consequences and were sheer folly.

One might think, that the Madness of breaking, from
the Advice, and Care of Parents, to turn Player,
could not easily be exceeded: But what think you,
Sir, of--Matrimony? which, before I was Two-andtwenty, I actually committed. . . . If after this,
to complete my Fortune, I turn'd Poet too, this
last Folly, indeed, had something a better Excuse-Necessity. (p. 107)

In his autobiography, Cibber perfectly fits Erasmus' description of the fool, who "goes hand over head, leaps before he looks, and so ventures through the most hazardous undertaking without any sense or prospect of danger."15

Generally, it is ungoverned passion that makes Cibber

and other fools precipitate. The passion-driven fool is perhaps best exemplified by Rabelais's Panurge, but Cibber's precipitousness also, though less obviously, springs from








passion. As he himself says, he could never waste his time trying to be wise, because his "Appetites were in too much haste to be happy" (p. 2). In this, he also fits Erasmus' description of a fool, for in Erasmus' words, folly is "nothing else but the being hurried by passion."16 The precipitousness of the fool need not always, however, be attributed purely to ungoverned appetites. Rabelais's simple-minded judge, Bridlegoose, can make his decisions by casting lots because he believes he is watched over by providence. The fool's heedlessness can be an act of faith. Even when he is driven by appetites, God may bring good out of his foolish actions, for as Pantagruel says, "it is usual . . . with him whose ways are inscrutable, to manifest his own ineffable glory in blunting the perspicacity of the eyes of the wise." 17 Sometimes Cibber's folly seems akin to Bridlegoose's. He more than once expresses wonder that providence 18
has overseen his life in spite of himself, suggesting that like other fools, he is under the special care of God.

The heedlessness that so pervades the fool's life may

also be seen in his speech and writing. The fool's customary style is ex tempore. Though this mode of writing and speaking is by no means limited to the fool, it is especially well suited to him, since, in Erasmus' words, "Whatever the fool has in his heart he betrays it in his face; or . . . discovers it by his words." 19 The manner of writing, uncalculated and








uncritical, is a natural effect of foolishness. Erasmus' Folly speaks ex tempore because, she says, "it was always my humour constantly to speak that which lies uppermost." 20 For her it is the natural way to proceed. Rabelais's narrator in the Tiers Livre appears to achieve the same effect artificially by making himself foolish with drink. He declares that he does not know what he will write until he has drunk some wine; 21 he is completely dependent on the wine for his inspiration, an, after drinking, the sentences simply roll out merrily as if by themselves. Montaigne also declares that he writes ex tempore. "I have no other Officer to put my Writings in Rank and File but only Fortune," he says. "As Things come into my Head, I heap them one upon another . . . I am content that every one should see my natural and ordinary Pose, as ill as it is."22

These similar sounding statements in the writings of

Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne cannot be taken to be genuine descriptions of the writer's method. Though Erasmus' Folly calls her oration a "hodge-podge medley, "23 it follows the traditional rules for the order of encomia and has no more digressions than classical orators considered proper. In the case of Montaigne, as he explains in "Of Vanity," his method is not so much digressive as it is elliptical. Like a poet, Montaigne expects his reader to make the connections between ideas. Still, the connections are logical








ones, called forth by the material. Their order is not merely a reflection of Montaigne's wayward fancy. Of the three, Rabelais comes closest to having a truly ex tempore or digressive style. The Tiers Livre, in this respect, is a departure from the more conventional writing in the first and second books of Gargantua and Pantagruel, and the narrator's statement that it was written under the influence of alcohol serves to prepare the reader for the looser style.

But Cibber, more obviously even than Rabelais, embraced the "foolish" extempore manner in writing. That this method is an extension of his assumed role as fool is evident from his statement at the beginning of the book. "I hope," he says, " . . .[the public] will not expect a Man of my hasty Head shou'd confine [this work] to any regular Method" (p. 4). Cibber calls attention to his digressions with such remarks as "To conclude this Digression" (p. 211), "I have done with my Digression" (p. 319), "let this Digression avail what it may" (p. 241), and, "All this . . . is leading my Reader out of the way" (p. 202). The frequency of the digressions is apparently intended to give the impression that Cibber is recording his thoughts just as they come to him, or perhaps trying to give the Apology the flavor of a soliloquy. Consider the following passage:

from whence I shall lead them to our Second Union in--Hold! let me see--ay, it was in that memorable








Year, when the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland
were made one. And I remember a Particular, that
confirms me I am right in my Chronology; for the
Play of Hamlet being acted soon after. . . . (p. 173) Such a passage is clearly designed to indicate artlessness in arrangement. At another point he says, "Since I am got so far into this Subject, you must give me leave to go thro' all I have a mind to say upon it; because I am not sure, that in a more proper Place, my Memory may be so full of it" (p. 24). In the same vein is his statement, "Though, I believe, I may have said something like this, in a former Chapter, I am not unwilling it should be twice taken notice of" (p. 255). He writes as if revision were unheard of. His thoughts are arranged on paper just as they are arranged in his mind, so the connections between them may at times be quite eccentric. The reader is to have the impression that Cibber writes without guile, that whatever he has in his heart he "discovers by his words."

In his writing, as in other parts of his life, he is governed by passion. "Whenever I speak of any thing that highly delights me," he says, "I find it very difficult to keep my Words within the Bounds of Common Sense: Even when I write too, the same Failing will sometimes get the better of me" (p. 31). He echoes the same thought when accounting for a nonsensical comment on one of Mrs. Oldfield's performances. "You may well ask me," he says, "How could I possibly









commit such a Wantonness to Paper? And I owe myself the Shame of confessing, I have no Excuse for it, but that, like a Lover in the Fulness of his Content, by endeavouring to be floridly grateful, I talk'd Nonsense" (p. 32).

Such passions as Cibber confesses to, however, do not lead him into sins of anger, lust, or covetousness. He invests his self-portrait with a sizable. dollop of the innocence which Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne had attributed to certain fools. Erasmus had seen natural idiots and wholehearted Christians as partaking of this innocence. Rabelais had given it to Bridlegoose, the simple-minded judge, and Montaigne had seen it in the ignorant aborigines of the New World. Cibber attempted the more difficult task of convincing the reader that he himself, a successful actor and theatrical manager, was a foolish innocent. "My Ignorance, and want of Jealousy of Mankind has been so strong," he says, "that it is with Reluctance I even yet believe any Person, I am acquainted with, can be capable of Envy, Malice, or Ingratitude" (p. 6). Since, in the course of his narrative, Cibber recounts a number of examples of these deplorable motives working in others, the reader is evidently expected to believe that his blindness to such frailty comes not so much from ignorance as from purity of heart. When he describes a gentleman of his acquaintance in glowing terms, he admits only, "If I








were capable of Envy, what I have observ'd of this Gentleman would certainly incline me to it" (p. 11).

The self-love which Erasmus had held to be a central characteristic of the fool, which Pantagruel had diagnosed as Panurge's chief problem, and which Montaigne had owned having a fair share of, is heavily emphasized in Cibber's self-portrait. He repeatedly returns to the theme of vanity, and while he maintains that vanity is a failing shared by all men, he does not hesitate to portray his own as having heroic proportions. Describing his entry onto the stage, he says,

And, tho' it may be as ridiculous, as incredible,
to tell you what a full Vanity, and Content, at that time possess'd me, I will still make it a Question, whether Alexander himself, or Charles
the TWelfth of Sweden, when at the Head of their
first victorious Armies, could feel a greater
Transport, in their Bosoms, than I did in mine,
when but in the Rear of this Troop of Comedians.
(p. 107)

It is his vanity, he maintains, that is the root of his goodnatured response to all criticism. Describing his response to unfavorable treatment in daily papers, he says, "Shall I be sincere? and own my Frailty? Its usual Effect is to make me vain! For . . . if I were quite good for nothing, these Pidlers in Wit would not be concern'd to take me to pieces" (p. 25).

How factual is Cibber's portrait of himself as the

perfect fool? Was he indeed a good-natured, innocent, and harmlessly vain man, a man so secure in his own good opinion








that he was completely unruffled by criticism? The evidence is that he differed significantly from his self-portrait in the Apology.

One of Cibber's prime contentions in his Apology is that he is immune to criticism. Certainly it is true that he had a public reputation for shamelessness. In 1734, Henry Fielding's Author's Farce ridiculed Cibber by having "Marplay, Sr." say about hisses and catcalls, "Harmless music, child, very harmless music, and what, when one is well seasoned to it, has no effect at all." 24 In fact, Cibber was not so invulnerable to criticism as he would have had others believe. As early as 1719, in his preface to Ximena, he had shown resentment of his unpopularity and had attributed the failure of some of his plays to "a certain low latent malice" in human nature. Although he tried to appear unconcerned about criticism in his Apology, his biographer, Richard Hindry Barker, has pointed out that in it he strikes back at his principal critics, Mist, Fielding, and Pope.25 Indeed, he struck back so fiercely at Fielding that one scholar who has analyzed the Cibber-Fielding conflict says that Fielding's sharpest personal attacks on Cibber were spurred by Cibber's criticism of him in the Apology.26 Furthermore, when Pope attacked Cibber anew in the New Dunciad, Cibber responded with a truly vicious attack on Pope, giving evidence that 27
Pope's shafts had hit home.








Cibber's true vanity, however, was well-known. Dr.

Johnson once remarked that "by arrogating to himself too much" Cibber was "in danger of losing that degree of estimation to which he was entitled."28 Fielding ridiculed Cibber's vanity in the Historical Register for the Year 1736 (Act III), when he had "Ground-Ivy" (Cibber) explain how he planned to convince the public that they should accept his "improvements" on Shakespeare. "I'll tell them that no Actors are equal to me, and no Authors ever were superior," he says. Indications that these accusations of vanity were well-founded may be found in the Apology, where at times Cibber's vanity seems to pop out undesignedly. The example often quoted by his contemporaries is the following passage:

Had she [Fortune] favour'd my Father's first Designation of me, he might then, perhaps, have had as
sanguine hopes of my being a General, when I first
took Arms, at the Revolution. Nay, after that, I
had a third Chance too, equally as good, of becoming an Under-propper of the State. (p. 34)

Since elsewhere he ridicules his hopes of being a general, however, it is possible that this passage was meant ironically, even though his enemies interpreted it in the worst light. A more solid example is the passage in which he goodhumoredly makes fun of his enjoyment in talking about himself, "A Privilege," he says, "which neither cou'd be allow'd me, nor wou'd become me to take, in the Company I am generally admitted to" (p. 18). Even in the midst of modestly admitting




Full Text

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COLLEY CIBBER'S APOLOGY AND THE PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION By JANICE FORRESTER HARRELL A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1976

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I gratefully acknowledge the able assistance of the chairman of my supervisory committee. Dr. Aubrey L. Williams, and the helpful suggestions of committee members Dr. Melvyn New and Dr. D. A. Bonneville. I would also like to express my thanks to Dr. Audrey S. Schumacher and Dr. J. B. Pickard for serving as members of the committee. In addition, I would like to express my thanks to Sandra Stilwell , whose help far exceeded what I might reasonably have expected of her as typist. But most of all, I wish to thank my husband, Evans, whose help extended over an exhausting five years and whose encouragement enabled me to keep my sanity while finishing this dissertation. 11

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TABLE OF 'CONTENTS Ackn owl edgme n t s — Table of Contents Abstract Introduction v ^. Chapter I: Erasmus Merges Classical Learning with Medieval and Early Renaissance Views of Folly to Create an Influential "Praise of Folly". ...... l Notes to Chapter I [ 3 0 Chapter II: Erasmus 1 Followers 3 2 Rabelais Portrays Foolishness As a Creative Force.* .*[! 32 Montaigne Rejects Role of Sage and Assumes Fool's Mantle 4 g Notes to Chapter II ' ’ 7] Chapter III: Colley Cibber, Branded a Fool, Elects to Defend Himself Drawing on the Praise of Folly Tradition As It Is Seen in the Moriae Encomium, the Tiers Livre . and the Essais Notes to Chapter III ' ’ | ] ^ 16 Chapter IV: Cibber's Experience on the Stage Causes Him to Turn Often to Stage Metaphors in His Expression of the Praise of Folly Tradition .........122 Notes to Chapter IV 142 Chapter V: Influenced by Cibber and His Great Predecessors, Sterne Writes the Last Great Praise of Folly Notes to Chapter V * 171 Conclusion -^ 7 2 Biographical Sketch 175 iii

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy COLLEY CIBBER'S ' APOLOGY AND THE PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION By Janice Forrester Harrell August, 1976 Chairman: Aubrey L. Williams Major Department: English Colley Cibber s autobiographical book, An Apology fpjc ^ ie — — of Mr. C olley Cibber , is not as eccentric as it first appears. In his portrayal of himself as a fool and in his defense of folly, Cibber followed the "praise of folly" tradition, a tradition which had its roots in ancient Greece and its flowering in the Renaissance in Erasmus 1 Moriae Encomium, Rabelais's Tiers Livre , and Montaigne's Essais . In Cibber's Apology certain characteristics of the tradition are noticeably exaggerated. His individual stamp may also be seen in his frequent use of the stage metaphor to express certain tenets of the tradition. He was heir to a substan— biul body of thought on the theme of folly, but he also contributed to it some contemporary vitality and a comic quality individual to him. Perhaps Cibber's treatment of the folly theme helped stir the imagination of Laurence Sterne. Sterne seemed to draw on Cibber as well as on IV

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V Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne when he wrote the last great book in the tradition, Tristram Shandy . The works in the praise of folly tradition are distinguished by their apparent influence on one another and by their use of common sources. All show an awareness of traditional lore on folly by using or alluding to other works on folly— Horace and the Bible, as well as Erasmus, Montaigne, Rabelais, and Cibber . It is this which most clearly binds together the works that I treat, and it is this linking of one to the other that causes me to call the grouping a tradition . Equally important, all of these works praise folly, making them rather unusual in the body of fool literature. AH to some degree or another celebrate folly or invite the reader's sympathy with fools. The works in this tradition are further distinguished by their structure. All are loosely structured and designed to give the impression that they are written without care, spontaneously, and easily. in structure, the works of the praise of folly tradition differ markedly from conventional narration. The narrator is conscious of his unstructured style and calls attention to it. Another striking characteristic of the works in the praise of folly tradition is that in them it is the narrator

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VI himself who is the fool. This fool-narrator, though more clearly delineated by some writers than others, tends to be a particular kind of fool with a particular set of foolish characteristics. He is characterized by self-love. He is happy and impulsive. He dislikes study and care. Even more important, he is natural. That is, his folly is an expression of his true personality. He is not, like the fools of Restoration drama, tricked out in an array of affectations. Although the notion that fools were close to nature is an old one and is by no means limited to works in this tradition, the naturalness of the fools in this tradition is one of the things that gives it its special flavor.

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INTRODUCTION When I first read Colley Cibber's Apology I came to it, as many do, well filled with Pope's prejudices about Cibber. Perhaps this explains why I immediately supposed Cibber was writing within a tradition. The book was so entertaining and so shrewd that I reacted as did some of his contemporaries to his better work; I concluded he could not be wholly responsible for it. My subsequent reading of seventeenth and eighteenth century autobiographies did little to answer my questions about the part of the book that most interested me, Cibber's portrayal of himself as a fool and his praise of folly. Early writers of autobiography seemed to follow a formula very different from Cibber's. Curious, I began reading at random non-fiction published in England in the fifty years or so preceding the publication of the Apology . So it was that I stumbled onto Charles Cotton's eighteenth century translation of Montaigne. At once I was struck by the similarity to Cibber's book. A number of passages in the Montaigne translation called to mind corresponding ones in the Apology and, equally important, the "air" of the essays was strikingly similar to that of Cibber's book. A certain gaiety, a quicksilver quality, an egoism, and what Vll

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VI 11 we might call today an anti-establishment outlook pervaded them both in a way which, as much as any parallel passages, persuasively suggested that these books were akin. Subsequent reading convinced me that, although the corpus of fool literature is large indeed, the number of authors who treat folly in the way Cibber did is comparatively small. I believe those who directly or indirectly influenced Cibber s praise of folly to any significant extent can be catalogued in a single line — Erasmus, Rabelais, Montaigne. By Cibber's time the fool as a symbol had lost its richness. Fools continued to be condemned, but the fool as an emblem of humanity was a faded idea. All fool literature was petering out and with it was coming to an end the minor stream of fool literature of which Cibber was a part, the praise of folly tradition. Cibber was not, however, the last writer to write in this vein. Following him, and influenced in some measure by him, came Laurence Sterne with Tristram Shandy . These writers, then, make up the praise of folly tradition Erasmus, Rabelais, Montaigne, Cibber, and Sterne. Their kinship is declared by several common characteristics. Most important, the works in this tradition are distinguished by their apparent influence on one another and by their use of common sources. All show an awareness of traditional lore on folly by using or alluding to other works on f olly--Horace ,

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XX the Bible, Erasmus, Montaigne, Rabelais, or Cibber. It is this which most clearly binds together the works that I treat; it is this linking of one to the other that causes me to call the grouping a tradition. Equally important, all of these works praise folly, making them rather unusual in the body of fool literature. All to some degree or another celebrate folly or invite the reader's sympathy with fools. The works in this tradition are further distinguished by their structure. All are loosely structured and designed to give the impression that they are written without care, spontaneously, and easily. in structure, the works of the praise of folly tradition differ markedly from conventional narration. The narrator is conscious of his unstructured style and calls attention to it. Another striking characteristic of the works in the praise of folly tradition is that in them it is the narrator himself who is the fool. This fool-narrator, though more clearly delineated by some writers than others, tends to be a particular kind of fool with a particular set of foolish characteristics. He is characterized by self-love. He is happy and impulsive. He dislikes study and care. Even more important, he is natural. That is, his folly is an expression of his true personality. He is not, like the fools of Restoration drama, tricked out in an array of affectations.

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X Although the notion that fools were close to nature is an old one and is by no means limited to works in this tradition, the naturalness of the fools in this tradition is one of the things that gives it its special flavor. Not all of the works with which I deal are exclusively concerned with folly. Rabelais's Tiers Livre is in large part about marriage. Montaigne's essays and Tristram Shandy treat an enormous variety of subjects, and Colley Cibber's Apology contains a history of the stage and a fairly lengthy defense of his management of Drury Lane Theatre. But the praise of folly is an important part of them all, and it is to this peculiar strain running through all the books that I address myself. believe that an examination of this common strain sheds a good deal of light on Cibber's Apology . when Cibber s book is considered in the context of eighteenth century autobiographies or histories it appears quite eccentric. Considered in the context of the praise of folly tradition its eccentricity diminishes. Not surprisingly, for this seems to be true of even the most original utterances, much of what he said in praise of folly had been said before. Cibber was heir to a substantial body of thought on the theme of folly, but he also contributed to the theme some contemporary vitality and a comic quality individual to him. He infused some life into it. as well as drawing ideas from

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XI it. Would Sterne's treatment of folly have been what it is had Cibber never written the Apology ? i am inclined to think not. Though Sterne was well familiar with other writers in the tradition, it seems likely that the more nearly contemporary treatment of the theme in Cibber's book helped stir his imagination. That the praise of folly tradition did not end with Cibber seems to me to be a testament to the vitality of his own treatment of it in his Apology . In its echoing of the A pology , Tristram Shandy hints at the strength of interest Cibber's book once had, an interest not completely dimmed even today.

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CHAPTER I ERASMUS MERGES CLASSICAL LEARNING WITH MEDIEVAL AND EARLY RENAISSANCE VIEWS OF FOLLY TO CREATE AN INFLUENTIAL "PRAISE OF FOLLY" The praise of folly tradition, like so many other traditions, has its roots in ancient Greece. Classical rhetoric in general has long been carefully studied, and much of the fruits of that study is well-known, but it is nevertheless both necessary and appropriate that I review here some of the classical history of the praise of folly tradition. Its immediate ancestor was the "paradoxical encomium, " a light-hearted literary piece praising something evil or insignificant. The paradoxical encomium was an established literary form as far back as the fifth century, and some of the earliest of the Greek rhetoricians wrote examples of it. Gorgias of Leontini, the fifth century sophist, has had two ascribed to him. A contemporary of his, Polycrates, and two of Polycrates pupils, Isocrates and Alcidamas, have been credited with still other examples— encomia on mice, pebbles, death, and Helen of Troy.-^The paradoxical encomium was probably an early, spontaneous outgrowth of the regular encomium. Since regular encomia could be written praising places, abstract qualities, animals, and inanimate objects. 1

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2 as well as men, 2 it was only a step from the regular encomium to the paradoxical one, which praised low and unworthy things . Sophists favored the paradoxical form because it lent itself to entertaining subjects and fresh, surprising arguments. It was ideally suited to display the rhetorician's wit and rhetorical skill, and perhaps its usefulness as a rhetorical display piece helps explain its continued popularity. Its vogue continued during the time of the Romans. Lucian and Philostratus , to name two men familiar to the eighteenth century reader, contributed examples of it. The paradoxical encomium lived on through the Middle Ages, and with the Renaissance it experienced new popularity. The sixteenth century produced numerous examples: a collection published in 1619 contained over six hundred examples of the form.^ Thomas Nashe, in his comic encomium, "The Praise of the Red Herring," published in 1599, tells of the long history of the form and specifically mentions encomia on folly: Homer of rats and frogs hath heroiqut it; other oaten pipers after him in praise of the Gnat, the Flea, the Hasill nut, the Grashopper, the Butterflie, the Parrot, the Popiniay, Phillip sparrow, and the Cuckowe . . . . Phylosophers come sneaking in with their paradoxes of pouertie, imprisonment, death, sickenesse, banishment, and baldness, and as busie they are aboute the bee, the storke, the constant turtle, the horse, the dog, the ape, the asse, the foxe, and the ferret.

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3 The posterior Italian and Germane cornu— graphers sticke not to applaude and cannonize vnnatural sodomitrie, the sciatica, follie, drunckenness , and slouenry . The Galli Gallinacei, primmer editions, Imprimeda iour du^ of the vnspeakeable healthful condicibleness of the Gomorrian great Poco. . . . Amongst our English harmonious calinos, one is vp with the excellence of the browne bill and the long bowe . . . [anothe^ writes passing enamorately of the nature of white-meates , and justifies it under his hand to be bought & sould every where, that they exceede Nectar & Ambrosia . . . [another] comes foorth with something in praise of nothing ... [another] offers sacrifice to the goddesse Cloaca , and disportes himselfe very schollerly and wittilie about the reformation of close stooles and houses of office."’ Nashe s list, which I have quoted only in part, is a long one; and his editor, Ronald B. McKerrow, has traced many of the allusions to actual works. Lucian, who had written during the second century, continued to be an important influence into the Renaissance. Erasmus, his most famous admirer, was translating Lucian's works during the same period he wrote the Moriae Encomium . 6 and some readers declare that they see in it clear marks of Lucian's influence, in spirit as well as in certain details. Lucian's habit of mixing the serious with the comic his propensity to make fun of philosophers, and the sharpness of his satire no doubt endeared him to Erasmus, who had a similar turn of mind. But Lucian's influence was felt directly, as well as through Erasmus. His encomium on the fly was cited as an exemplar by numerous Renaissance

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4 O writers, and a number of the host of paradoxical encomia the Renaissance spawned were Lucianic imitations. The attractions of the paradoxical encomium must have been strong, for it had a long vogue. Arthur Stanley Pease, who studied this classical phenomenon, called it a "long continued and widespread . . . epidemic of apparent non9 sense." Sir Philip Sidney took note of its popularity in The Defense of Poesy , condemning most of it for lacking a solid moral stance. We know a playing wit can praise the discretion of an ass, the comfortableness of being in debt, the jolly commodities of being sick of the plague. So of the contrary side, if we will turn Ovid's verse, Ut lateat virtus proximitate male , that "good lie hid in nearness of the evil," Agrippa will be as merry in shewing the vanity of science as Erasmus was in commending of folly. Neither shall any man or matter escape some touch of these smiling railers. But for Erasmus and Agrippa, they had another foundation then the superficial part would promise. Marry, these other pleasant faultfinders, who will correct the verb before they understand the noun, and confute others' knowledge before they confirm their own, I would have them only remember that scoffing cometh not of wisdom; so as the best title in true English they get with their merriments is to be called good fools, for so have our grave forefathers ever termed that humorous kind of jesters. Sidney's criticism of the paradoxical encomium was not a new one. Polybius, the Greek historian, had complained that it filled the heads of young men with depraved notions and diverted their attention from politics. The morally ambiguous nature of the paradoxical encomium may be inherent in the form. Rosalie Colie, in her study of paradox, points out

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5 that the paradoxical encomium always works against established values. In praising unworthy things, the rhetorician assumes that his audience has certain conventional attitudes, then questions and undermines these accepted values.^ That this should sometimes strike the observer as immoral is not surprising. The paradoxical encomium is a kind of dialectic, playing, as it does, one value system against another. It partakes of the quicksilver nature of paradox, and leads to questioning, unexpected insights, and the perception of sometimes contradictory truths. Perhaps it is because it tends to lead people to discover new insights and new points of view that it has sometimes been used so effectively for moral purposes. What Colie says, in this regard, about the paradox in general applies as well to the special use of paradox in the paradoxical encomium. Relying as they do upon relative opinions, upon the concept of relativity, and critical as they are of absolute and fixed conventional judgments, it is odd or paradoxical--that paradoxes are so often designed to assert some fundamental and absolute truth, (p. 10) But it is in the most successful and influential work of the genre, Erasmus' Moriae Encomium , first printed in 1511, that the moral use of the paradoxical encomium may be most clearly seen. As is well known, this "praise of folly" is no amoral bit of nonsense, but an exercise in paradox which is both comic and moral as Erasmus explores the paradoxical

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6 relation between wisdom and folly as well as the paradoxes that lie at the center of the Christian faith. An indication of the magnitude of the book's influence may be found in the entry under folie" in Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophigue . II n est pas question de renouveler le livre d'Erasme, qui ne serait aujourd'hui qu'un lieu commun assez insipide." T ^ e Moriae Encomium underwent a number of translations, but in eighteenth century England the only one likely to come into anyone's hands was White Kennett ' s version. Sir Thomas Chaloner s Elizabethan English was by then definitely dated and unpopular; and John Wilson's translation, printed in 1688, was not reprinted or made widely available until the nineteenth century. Kennett ' s translation, however, went through five editions between 1709 and 1740. 11 Hoyt Hudson, comparing the three translations, judges Kennett' s to be the worst of them, partly because it has a ro lli c ^i n 9/ sprightly style which seems to be closer to Sir Thomas Urquhart s Rabelais, which Kennett may have read, than to Erasmus. Hudson criticizes Kennett ' s translation for missing the mock-scholarly, pedantic tone of the Moriae . In other words, Kennett ' s translation obscures the connection between Erasmus' little book and its classical models. Nevertheless, even in Kennett 1 s translation, where Folly appears more featherbrained than pedantic, the classical basis of the work is evident.

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7 Both in the Epistle Dedicatory and in Folly's introductory words, Erasmus acknowledges his familiarity with other mock encomia. Folly refers to encomia on sweat, loss of sleep, tyrants, agues, flies, and baldness,"^ and, in the Epistle Dedicatory, Erasmus mentions mock encomia by Ther sites, Synesius, and Lucian, among others. In form, moreover. Folly follows fairly closely the arrangement traditional to the encomium. She begins with a prooimion , or introduction, a section in which classical precedent permits great freedom. Commonly the orator would proclaim that the subject was too great for him to do it justice. Folly, however, spends much of her introduction explaining the unusual circumstance of her praising herself. It was extremely unusual, possibly even unprecedented, for the orator to be the subject of his own encomium. From this unusual circumstance, however, grows the multi-faced irony which is so important to the book. For everything Folly tells us about herself is suspect, as any piece of self-description is, and nothing may be taken at its face value. The introduction also contains Folly's disclaimer of artifice, her assertion that she speaks ex tempore and ingenuously, unlike other orators, and that she will not, in the manner approved by Latin orators, "define and then divide" her subject, that is, herself. The introduction suggests

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8 from the beginning that Erasmus is very much concerned with the conventions of logic and oratory and proposes to twist them in an unconventional way. it at once signals the work's connection with tradition and separates it from that tradition. The next large section of the Moriae Encomium is concerned with defining the nature of folly, but it may be subdivided into sections long traditional in the encomium, the genos , or account of ancestry and homeland, the genesis , or noteworthy events at birth, and the anatrophe . or account of youth. in her introductory remarks. Folly had compared herself to spring, had associated herself with youth, and had said, "it is from my influence alone that the whole universe receives her ferment of mirth and jollity" (p. l). she repeats these themes in telling of her birth. She was born, she says, in the Fortunate Isles, "where all things grow without the toil of husbandry, wherein there is no drudgery, no distempers, no old age, where in the field grow . . . rue, all heal, bugloss, marjoram, herb of life, roses, violets, hyacinth, and such fragrances as perfume the gardens of Adonis (p. 10). She was born, in other words, in a land of perpetual spring, and she explains that we must not think of her father as "old" Plutus, for when she was engendered he was young, as was her mother, a nymph. In this beginning of

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9 the definition of the nature of folly, it is at once associated with riches, youth, and happiness, motifs which will be repeated throughout the book. The naturalness of folly is also suggested. Unlike Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who sprang out of her fatherÂ’s brain, Folly was born of a natural union, and her closeness to the natural world is I O emphasized . If we search for the genesis , the section of the encomium which mentions any noteworthy fact preceding or attending the birth, the only thing in the least unusual about Folly's birth is that instead of crying when she was born she laughed. Anything very unusual or supernatural would perhaps have interfered with the theme of the naturalness of folly. The anatrophe . or account of the circumstances of her youth, is also abbreviated. We learn only that she was nursed by Drunkenness, the offspring of Bacchus, and Ignorance, the daughter of Pan. The account of her retinue, Self-Love, Flattery, Forgetfulness, Laziness, Pleasure, Sensuality, Madness, Intemperance, and Sound Sleep suggests a youth spent among bad companions, but that is not stated explicitly. Traditionally, the account of youth would be followed by mention of the choice of a profession and an account of worthy deeds, the praxeus. In FollyÂ’s oration, there is instead an account of the nature and goodness of folly. The

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10 gr axeus was generally agreed to be the chief topic of the encomium, and, correspondingly. Folly devotes a good deal of space to it. However, Folly's praxeus . which is lighthearted, with a delicate and varied tone, makes much less impression on the reader than the section which follows it, an account of Folly's followers, for it is this final section which contains the invective against wrongdoing in the church. Not only is the final section shocking, its meaning is unmistakable. It is not surprising, then, that it has commanded more attention than the praxeus . which is harder to analyze and understand; still, the praxeus contains the fundamental part of Folly's argument, her analysis of the nature of folly. It has been observed that the picture of Folly is not consistent. Some critics maintain that it was the author's intention that our conception of Folly change as the work progresses. Others see the inconsistency as a fault. In any event, it is true that when Folly first appears at the podium, despite her fair words, she seems to be the wicked folly depicted in Christian didactic works, and there is little about her to charm us. Later, however, our view of her changes. In the central and longest section of the book. Folly takes on the character of the amiable court jester who is merely very human and very much of the world, and finally, at the end of the book, Folly is associated with innocence.

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11 humility, and with the "madness" of spiritual ecstasy and self-sacrifice. Folly takes on an aura of holiness as it comes to resemble the folly described in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Although Folly as a character is not consistent throughout, Erasmus nevertheless maintains a certain unity in Folly s definition of her nature. The characteristics depicted as basic to folly may be seen, although in somewhat different guises, in the wicked Folly, the jolly, fun-loving Folly, and the Christian Folly. This unity is possible because Erasmus' definition of Folly rests on two fundamental premises, (1) the stoic assertion that the passions are so much folly, and (2) the assumption that folly and illusion are indissolubly linked. It is not very difficult for Folly to prove that the passions the stoics had condemned as folly are extremely important in human life. First, passion and the desire for pleasure give men the impetus to procreate. Without this folly there would be no life at all. Similarly, the love of life is irrational and rooted in the passions, so it, too, belongs to Folly. Men who looked at life rationally. Folly says, would promptly kill themselves, and the earth would soon be empty. Finally, the passions are responsible for man's ability to act, and so Folly claims that all valor and all noble endeavors are due to her. In this part of the

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12 definition of folly, in which Folly claims first one, then another aspect of life as belonging to her, the reader is forcibly struck by the essential irrationality of life. Equally important to Folly's defense of herself is her assertion that she is intimately associated with illusions. If folly is linked with illusions then folly is necessary to happiness, for again and again the reader is given to understand that reality is hard and that it is only by being deceived that men can be happy. since reality is cruel. Folly s attendants, Drunkenness, Ignorance, Flattery, Forgetfulness, Madness, and Sound Sleep, are blessings rather than vices, for it is through them that men avoid reality. Though all the happiness folly brings may be based on illusions and mistakes, according to Folly, this is the only happiness available on earth. Implicit in Folly's argument that illusions are good is the assumption that pleasure is the highest good. She never defends this assumption, but simply expects her audience to agree with her. For Folly, illusion is valued purely as a means to pleasure, and she claims such a high place for pleasure that strict truth is valued less in her eyes. "Why, can any one be said properly to live to whom pleasure is denied?" she exclaims at one point (p. 17). She claims to be not only the cause of life, but the only reason for living, and this assertion of her alliance with life is reinforced by describing

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13 her followers as young and plump, while the followers of wisdom, scholars, are "sapless,' 1 "pale, 1 ' and thin, like corpses (p. 22 ) . That illusions are important is a theme that runs throughout the Moriae Encomium. From Horace Erasmus draws a story, often to be repeated by later writers, which strikingly emphasizes the value of illusion. He tells of a Grecian whose madness led him to believe that he was watching a stage play, and who would spend "a whole day in the empty theatre laughing, shouting, and clapping his hands" (p. 69). in this state the Grecian had been a harmless, happy man, and when his wife and his physicians finally cured him, he longed to have his happy madness back again. The importance of illusions is also pointed up when Folly compares life to a stage play in which a wise man crying out that things are not what they seem would be quickly pitched out of the theatre, amid indignant complaints that he was spoiling the fun. The "stage" metaphor appears repeatedly in the M P r i a e Encomium , nearly always pointing up the value of illusion; indeed, illusion is treated with such respect that the reader suspects that Erasmus shares Folly's approval of it. Whatever sort of wisdom Erasmus is implicitly recommending, it seems unlikely that it is the sort that demands the drapery of life be torn off.

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14 An aspect of Folly's picture of herself that deserves special attention is her claiming the social virtues. Gregariousness, tolerance, and good-nature — the qualities which make it possible for men to get along together — are not based on a cold adherence to reality, for in reality men are poor, faulty creatures; and, regarded coldly, social pleasures waste time and are far from noble. Therefore, Folly can claim to be not only the basis of life, but also the oil on the wheels of life. In short, man being by nature so prone to frailties, so humoursome and cross-grained, and guilty of so many slips and miscarriages, there could be no firm friendship contracted, except there be such an allowance made for each other's defaults, which the Greeks term , and we may construe good nature, which is but another word for Folly, (p. 31 ) When one considers Folly's definition of her nature, it becomes evident that she has carefully limited what may be called Folly. She admits madness is folly, for example, but excludes that kind of madness "which the furies bring from hell to drive men to wars. She excludes the madness which is a thirst for power and riches, or which causes men to "act the parricide" or to be guilty of "incest, sacrilege, or some other of those crimson-dyed crimes." Finally, Folly excludes from her domain those who are "so pricked in conscience as to be lashed and stung with the whips and snakes of grief and remorse" (p. 68), for above all, she maintains, the truly foolish are happy.

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15 Some critics have written of the "transvaluation of values which took place in the Renaissance, in which such words as ira, a cedia , and voluptas developed two meanings, a common meaning, and a more philosophical or noble meaning. While wrath was still a sin, for example, "noble rage" was a virtue. 14 Such a transvaluation of values goes on before the reader's eyes in the praxeus of the Moriae Encomium . Folly shows an awareness of the common use of "folly"; as she says in the beginning, "I well know how disingenuously Folly is descried (p. 1). But she excludes the most pernicious forms of folly from her definition, and by this means, as well as by showing some aspects of folly in a new light, she manages to create, if not a noble folly, at least a thoroughly amiable one. In the syncresis _, however, the section of the encomium given to comparisons which illumine the subject, the flattering picture of folly begins to break down. The comparisons Folly makes to support her assertion that she is all-powerful and superior to other gods are (1) a comparison of the foolish and the wise sciences, showing that the more learned the profession the poorer it is; (2) a comparison of domestic and wild animals, showing that following nature is the way to happiness; (3) a comparison of Gryllus and Odysseus, demonstrating that crafty men are not happy; (4) a comparison of

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16 natural fools and scholars, also intended to show the unhappiness of the crafty; (5) a comparison of the benevolent madness of Folly and the pernicious madness of the Furies; (6) a comparison of deception and being undeceived; (7) a comparison of Folly to the other gods; and (8) a comparison a.11 men, showing that all alike are foolish. For the most part, these comparisons merely carry on the arguments of the p raxeus . One is not even aware of a new section's beginning, so closely is it linked to the praxeus in its thought. When Folly begins to describe her followers, though, there is an abrupt change in tone. Folly herself seems to realize this, for upon concluding the description of her followers, she says, "But I would not be thought purposely to expose the weaknesses of popes and priests, lest I should seem to recede from my title, and make a satire instead of a panegyric" (p. 169). in saying this, she accurately describes what has happened. The narrative has slipped into invective in the description of the follies of religious leaders, and it seems that Folly stops speaking and Erasmus begins. To be sure. Folly's argument remains superficially the same: these religious leaders are happy, while if they were clearsighted they would be miserable. But their delusion is unlike those Folly has portrayed before, for, in this case, the delusion causes their

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17 destruction: at the Last Judgment their illusions will come crashing down and their happiness will vanish. Nor does Folly merely mention the final reckoning. In at least one instance, that of the judgment of the monks, she describes the judgment in detail, recording the sinners' pleas, the lengthy condemnation by Christ, and the slinking away of the chastened monks. By introducing the vision of the Last Judgment, she changes the perspective in which the reader views the clerics' folly so that worldly happiness seems insignificant; and this weakens her argument. Folly herself seems to regard the monks' last surprise as high comedy. "it will be pretty to hear their pleas before the great tribunal," she says (pp. 140-2), but the reader is not likely to share her point of view. Rather it is likely to seem to him that Folly is vindictive towards these followers of hers. Her voice is, at this point, scarcely recognizable as that of the amiable Folly of the earlier pages. Furthermore, the descriptions of the vices of the clerics and other men in high places are so lengthy that Folly's judgments on their behavior make up only a very small part of the narration. For long periods, in this section, the figure of Folly seems to disappear. The final part of what may be technically regarded as the syncresis is the account of Christianity as foolishness.

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18 After making a few general remarks about fortune favoring fools. Folly announces that she will cite authorities in her support, then will bring her encomium to a close. Her citation of authorities is made up, for the most part, of references to sacred scriptures and serves as a transition to her treatment of the Christian religion as foolishness. Discussing the various scriptural citations, she makes much of Christ s being called the Lamb of God and his followers being called "sheep, " and she cleverly uses remarks from Solomon, Jeremiah, Ecclesiastes and Paul to her own advantage. Some of these quotations are twisted by Folly from their intended meaning, but when she draws on Paul's writings she truly begins to show the basic unworldliness and irrationality of Christianity. Rosalie Colie's comment about the role of paradox in Christianity points up this irrationality at the heart of the faith: every time the Christian affirms his Creed, he formally recapitulates a number of logical or empirical paradoxes. The point of such formulation, of course, is the denial of logic and mundane experience to assert the mystery of faith, (pp. 169-70) Its denial of logic, its rejection of natural truths, and its dependence on the "mysteries," or paradoxes, of faith, place Christianity squarely in the domain of Folly. Furthermore, that the poor and the meek are blessed in Christianity makes it foolish in yet another sense: in its rejection of worldly values. The Christian idea that God rejects worldly values

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19 and infuses the sacred into what is most humble and unprepos sessmg is particularly relevant to Folly's argument, for it suggests that the fool, too, though the lowliest mortal, may be specially valued by God and used as his instrument. As the book draws to a close, "folly” becomes more than ever a description of the human condition; and when Folly tells the story of the incarnation, it becomes nothing less than Christ's taking on human folly. All this amounts to no less than that all mortal men are fools, even the righteous and godly as well as sinners; nay, in some sense our blessed Lord himself, who, although he was the wisdom of the Father , yet to repair the infirmities of fallen man, he became in some measure a partaker of human Folly, when he too k our nature upon him, a nd was found in fashion as a man; _ or when God made him to be sin for us, who knew n o sin, that we mig ht be made the righteousness of Gp d m him . Nor would he heal those breaches our sins had made by any other method than by the foolishness of the cross , (pp. 191-2) Folly's final treatment of Christianity, in which she attempts to show "that the Christian religion seems to have some relation to Folly, and no alliance at all with wisdom" (p. 194), is not so well integrated with the theme of the book as is her treatment of Christ. Primarily an exposition on the other-worldly nature of religion, it contains analogies between religious ecstasy and madness, shows that sincere Christians are not self-serving or practical, and demonstrates that they are mad in the eyes of the world. This section is chiefly important in that it finally

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20 demolishes the world's standards, which have been suffering attack throughout the book. The irony with which the Christian religion is viewed in this description of it from an outsider's viewpoint makes the final section seem like a true continuation of Folly's ironical encomium, but at the same time, there is a new seriousness shining through Folly's treatment of Christianity. At one point, she says, "it is certain that all things, like so many Januses, carry a double face." Certainly this is true of Erasmus' Folly, which comes to symbolize both human frailty and the means for man's salvation. Nor is it a bad description of Erasmus' method in the — riae Encomium , which is paradoxical throughout. Colie has said, "The paradoxist denies dialectic, forbids a choice between one absolute and another; he insists upon et, upon the simultaneity of double and plural truth" (p. 458). Erasmus was, in this respect, a typical paradoxist, for he always seemed to reject the simple truth. The fundamental theme of the Moriae Encomium is an acceptance of the irrationality of life. if any message can be abstracted from the Moriae, it is this most illogical and, from a scholar, unexpected one. But it would be misleading to portray Folly as a seer, or to be so struck by her final remarks on Christianity that one forgets she is a stage buffoon as well. For she had humorous characteristics, and to ignore them is to deny her plural nature.

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21 The most important of Folly's comical characteristics is her self-love. She makes a good case in defense of it, a case which may be wholly convincing to the modern reader, who is likely to take a sympathetic view of self-love; but there is some question whether Erasmus took this indulgent view. Walter Kaiser points out that in such books as the E nchiridion and the Adagia_, Erasmus leaves no doubt about his disapproval of self-love, 15 long considered a character flaw and a religious sin as well. Kaiser suggests that part of the answer to the surprisingly adept defense of self-love in the Moriae is that the self-love Folly advocates is a redeemed, outward-turning version. She first begins to defend it with these words: tell me then, can any one love another that first hates himself? Is it likely any one should agree with a friend that is first fallen out with his own judgment? Or is it probable he should be any way pleasing to another, who is a perpetual plague and trouble to himself? (p. 33). Such a conception of self-love, drawn perhaps from the Biblical command to "love thy neighbor as thyself," makes it no longer a mortal sin, though it still may be a useful illusion or a ridiculous folly. Certainly, Erasmus has not tried to keep self-love from looking ridiculous. we can see comedy, as well as providence, in nature's use of selflove, which Folly describes in this way:

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22 And oh the incomparable contrivance of nature, who has ordered all things in so even a method that wherever she has been less bountiful in her gifts, there she makes it up with a larger dose of selflove, which supplies the former defects, and makes all even. (p. 35 ) Folly herself is, of course, the prime example of this folly, as is demonstrated by her enthusiastic praise of herself. Like her foolish followers, she is not affronted by her poor reputation, for ill words are no injury to fools, who are altogether insensible of any affront, or at least lay it not much to heart" (p. 53). She takes heart in seeing the number of fools who follow her and ignores their criticisms of her. It is characteristic of Folly that she speaks ex tempore_. She tells the reader straightaway that this is her custom, saying, "it was always my humour constantly to speak that which lies uppermost" (p. 6), or as she puts it later. Whatever the fool has in his heart he betrays it in his face... discovers it by his words" (p. 63). Folly's speech is actually too tightly knit to be an extemporaneous discourse, but she interjects comments at intervals to create the impression that she is speaking everything that comes into her mind. At one point she says, "But I am tired out with this part of my subject, and so must pass to some other topics" (p. 50). At another point she comments, "And so much for this. Pardon the digression; now I return" (p. 8). Then

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23 again, where the reader expects to find the customary final section of the encomium, the epiloqos . Folly refuses to give one, saying, "I perceive now, that for a concluding treat you expect a formal epilogue, and the summing up of all in a brief recitation; but I will assure you, you are grossly mistaken if you suppose that after such a hodge-podge medley of a speech I should be able to recollect anything I have delivered" (pp. 207-8). The lack of a formal conclusion, though a deviation from the form of the encomium, is characteristic of the paradoxical encomium. ^ In composing her oration. Folly affects to follow her own advice to writers, not to work hard re-writing and amending to make a piece correct, but to write haphazardly. For as to those graver drudgers to the press, that write learnedly, beyond the reach of an ordinary reader. . . . They make addition, alterations, blot out, write anew, amend, interline, turn it upside down, and yet can never please their fickle judgment. . . . These, as they are more laborious so are they less happy than those other hackney scribblers . . . who never stand much to consider, but write what comes next at a venture, knowing that the more silly their compositions are the more they will be bought up by the greater number of readers, who are fools and blockheads. (p. 116) Folly is a hack writer. Folly is also a good companion, a jolly sort always ready for a good time and loath to find fault. She is a clown, clever at quibbles; but she has a double face, and also speaks an occasional truth in jest, in many ways a

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24 Falstaf fian character. Her easy-going ways, however, are somewhat out of keeping with the pedantry she reveals in her oration and with her scholarly knowledge. Only a scholar could ridicule scholarship in the thoroughgoing way Folly does, just as only a person versed in classical oratory could write a mock encomium like the Moriae Encomium . But inconsistent and unevenly portrayed as she is, she nevertheless remains vivid, and the reader retains a firm impression of her jolliness and conviviality. Erasmus Folly bears scant resemblance to the fool found in the moral and religious tracts of the late Middle Ages. in these works, designed to teach an established moral and social code, the fool was simply the "defective citizen." He represented the undesirable in matters of conduct and was condemned as often as he was mentioned. Proverbial saws, sometimes collected to make a single work, came closer to portraying the Erasmian idea of folly, for simply by the vast numbers of fools they portrayed they seemed to suggest that all men have a bit of the fool in them . 17 The numerous medieval coimnentaries on the Book of Proverbs, however, had an especially harsh attitude towards fools, condemning them outright as sinners, with none of Erasmus' compassion for the sinner. in the eyes of these commentators, the fool was damned, and Barbara Swain cites a commentary in this vein

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25 which calls the fool "a very wicked person," defining foolishness as “wickedness and sinne." 1 ^ Although this condemnation was typical of the attitude towards folly in the Middle Ages, there was also a tradition in which folly is the way to salvation, much as it is in the last part of the Mor iae Encomium . St. Paul had expressed this conception of Christian folly when, in I Corinthians xviii, he advised that a man "become a fool that he may become wise." He argued that the rejection of false worldly wisdom is necessary if one is to become wise in God's eyes. Christians, then, must become "fools for Christ" (X Cor iv. 10). Churchmen who followed Paul differed somewhat in their interpretation of the Christian folly he advocated. Some felt that it required a complete humbling of human reason. According to this point of view Christians were called upon to make a sacrifice of their reason, as of so many other glittering things of the world. The most noted exponent of this point of view was Tertullian, but St. Bernard, Jacapone da Todi, and the Church Fathers Gregory the Great and Jerome all in various degrees advocated this complete rejection of worldly wisdom. 19 Gregory, writing eloquently of the Christian fool s heroic rejection of worldly wisdom, helped popularize this point of view, and the figure of the Christian fool came to appear frequently in literature before the

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26 time of Erasmus. A more humanistic and less radical view of Christian folly was expounded by St. Augustine, who felt that it was only necessary to reject that worldly wisdom which proved an impediment to Christianity. m his view, human reason and human wisdom could still have a place in the life of the Christian. Nicholas of Cusa and Thomas a Kempis followed St. Augustine in this respect. What was shared by all these writers, the humanistically oriented as well as those of more radical views, was the recognition that human reason is subordinate to the truths imparted by revelation. Prideful reason must be subjected if man is to achieve salvation. Folly, then, achieves new dignity. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the notion that folly was the way to salvation was widespread . 20 Another of the themes in Erasmus* treatment of folly, the recognition of the pleasures and freedoms of foolishness, seems to reflect the conception of foolishness seen in the celebration of the "Feast of Fools," a church-related revel which fell during the Christmas holidays. Originally the feast was celebrated by the lower orders of clergy who took this opportunity to be wild and irreverent, but it was constantly under attack from the church. Because of church pressure, the celebrations were taken over by secular groups 21 and finally, in the sixteenth century, they disappeared altogether. Of these celebrations, Swain says:

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27 The concept "fool," by its connection with them, was visibly extended beyond the image of the idiot to the vision of Bacchus and Juno setting abroach the tun while the orders of fools gather around for revelry. (p. 19) One of the features of these celebrations was the mock sermon in which such things as "Saint Onion" or "Saint Raisin" would be praised. 22 Such mock encomia parodied both the offices of the church and the rhetoric of the schools, 22 and so these celebrations were characterized by free criticism of the existing order , a license permitted because the cele— brants were fools. Erasmus 1 book shows more affinity to these celebrations than to the didactic tracts of the Middle Ages, for, like those who celebrated the Feast of Fools, he recognized the pleasures and the value of irrationality. A similax perception of folly was reflected in Lydgate's The Order of Fools, which dates from the middle of the fifteenth 24 century. Although such an indulgent view of folly was not the dominant view to be found in medieval literature, it was a point of view which medieval society had acknowledged before Erasmus. It may also be that Erasmus 1 characterization of Folly owes something to Horace's half— fanciful characterization of himself. Erasmus drew heavily from Horace, quoting him eleven times, more than any other single source, and the good-natured. Epicurean Folly does resemble Horace. At one

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28 point, like Folly, he criticizes the Stoic's definition of "madness." Horace admits that he is "foolish," but rather than striving for wisdom, he prefers to live contentedly with his friends, each overlooking the other's faults. et mihi dulces ignoscent, si quid peccaro stultus, amici, inque vicem illorum patiar delicta libenter, privatusque magis vivam te rege beatus. I. iii. 139-42 my kindly friends will pardon me if I, your foolish man commit some offence, and in turn I shall gladly put up with their shortcomings, and in my private station shall live more happily than Your Majesty. 26 ^ f^&nk acceptance of his own faults is fundamental to Horace s outlook, and with this goes the acknowledgement of the fallibility of all mankind. Folly is quoting Horace without acknowledgement when she says, "I speak of mortal men only , among whom there are none but have some small faults. Horace, moreover, is not so much concerned with eradicating his faults as in being happy in spite of them. He says he would prefer to be oblivious to his faults if that would make him happy. He has no inclination to beat his breast in remorse, and like Folly, he accepts the value of pleasant illusion. 28 The links between Lucian and the Moriae are yet another indication of how closely Erasmus was tied to the classical past. His choice of the mock-encomium form may have been suggested by Lucian. His irony is at times reminiscent of

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29 Lucian. Like Lucian he was preoccupied with the illusory nature of the world, and Folly's picture of the world as a stage closely parallels Lucian's picture of life as a great pageant in which men wear many different costumes, some dressed as kings, some as hunchbacks, but with their costumes being at variance with their true nature. ^ She follows Lucian when she points out that though beards may be a sign of wisdom, goats have them, and when she comments on how men appear to God, she may be borrowing from Lucian's Icaromemppus . But more important than these details, Erasmus Mor iae may owe something of its ironic tone, its mixture of things comic and serious to the inspiration of Lucian. It is evident that Erasmus was heavily indebted to classical writings, yet the Moriae was fresh and original as well, and so powerful and long lasting was its influence that though it is in large part the fruit of an old tradition, it seems equally reasonable to view it as the beginning of a new one.

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NOTES TO -CHAPTER I 1 Arthur Stanley Pease, "Things without Honor," Classical Philology , 21 (1926), 29. 2 Ibid. , p. 27 . 3 Henry Knight Miller, "The Paradoxical Encomium with Special Reference to its Vogue in England, 1600-1800," Modern Philology , 53, No. 3 (February, 1956), 146. 4 Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Socratiae Joco-Seriae, hoc est, Encomia et Commentaria autorum, qua veterum . . (Hanover, 1619) . Other 17th century collections of similar works are cited by Pease, p. 28, note #1. 3 The Works of Thomas Nashe . ed. Ronald B. McKerrow, 5 vols. (London, 1910), III, 151. ^Erasmus, in collaboration with Sir Thomas More, published translations of Lucian in 1506 (Margaret Mann Phillips, "Erasmus and the Classics," Erasmus , ed. T. A. Dorey , Albuquerque, 1970, p. 7). His letters give evidence that he was much attracted to Lucian at that time, and he was still speaking warmly of him in 1512 (Ibid., p. 9). The Moriae was first published in 1511. 7 See A. H. T. Levi's introduction to Praise of Folly and Letter to Martin Dorp, 1515 , trans. Betty Radice (Aylesbury, England, 1973); and Walter Kaiser, Praisers of Folly ; Erasmus, Rabelais, Shakespeare (Cambridge, Mass., 1963). ^Miller, p. 149. 9 Pease, p. 30. 10 Rosalie Colie, Paradoxia Epidemica ; The Renaissance Tradition of Paradox (Princeton, N. J. , 1966), p. 8. 4 -*-It was first printed in 1683 under the title Witt against Wisdom and was reprinted in 1709 under the title Moriae Encomium, or a Panegyrick upon Folly . See Hoyt H. Hudson, "Current translations of The Praise of Folly , " Philological Quarterly , 20, No. 4 (October, 1941), 250. 30

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31 12 Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly , ed. Horace Bridges, trans. White Kennett (Chicago, 1925), pp. 5-6. All subsequent references are to this edition. 13 Colie, p. 15 . 14 Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance (New Haven, 1958), pp. 69-70. ^Kaiser, p. 68. 16 Colie, pp. 20-1. 17 Barbara Swain, Fools and Folly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance (New York, 1932), pp. 10-4. 18 Ibid., pp. 20-5. 19 For a discussion of the Tertullian rejection of worldly wisdom see Etienne Gilson, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (New York, 1938), pp. 8-33, and Brian Petrakis, "Laurence Sterne and the Tradition of Christian Folly," Diss. U. of Fla., 1968, pp. 1-11. 2o Swain, pp. 36-40. 21 Ibid., pp. 70-80. 22 Ibid. , p. 137. 23 Olive Mary Busby, Studies in the Development of the Fool in the Elizabethan Drama (Oxford, 1923), p. 72. Swain , p. 49. 25 "Satires , " II. iii. 43-6. 26 Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Horace : Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica , trans. H. Rushton Fairclough (Cambridge, Mass., 1955). I have used this edition throughout. 2 7 Er a smu s , p. 30; Horace, "Satires," I. iii. 68-9. 28 "Epistles , " II. ii. 126-40. 29 See Lucianus Samosatensis , The Works of Lucian of Samosata , trans. H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1939), I, 164 ( "Menippus " ) ; and Erasmus, pp. 46-7. 30 Levi, p. 39.

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CHAPTER II ERASMUS ' FOLLOWERS In an important sense, "praise of folly" is an Erasmian tradition. It was Erasmus who brought classical learning together with the medieval and early Renaissance views of folly to create a popular and lastingly influential treatment of folly. Some measure of the importance of his luence may be seen in the two great writers of the Renaissance who reflect it — Rabelais and Montaigne. Rabelais Portrays Foolishness As a Creative Force In 1546, thirty-five years after the publication of Erasmus 1 Moriae , Francois Rabelais's Tiers Livre : Des Faicts et Diets Heroi ques du Bon Pantagruel was published. A continuation of the tale of the adventures of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel, the Tiers Livre nevertheless represents a sharp break from the first two books. Books I and II, published more than a decade before, had been broad burlesques the romance and epic,^ and were devoted primarily to narrating the marvelous feats of their giant heroes. Though in the third book the same characters reappear, and though the book is called the "heroical deeds and sayings of the good Pantagruel," its emphasis is on Pantagruel' s wise words 32

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33 rather than his heroic deeds. The Tiers Livre is more a philosophical dialogue than an adventure tale. The Tiers Livre was made widely available to English readers when Sir Thomas Urquhart ' s translation was published 2 m 1693. It has since become a classic. Lazare Sainean, in his comparison of the English translations of Rabelais, says "la traduction d'Urquhart est probablement celle qu'aurait le mieux goutee Maistre Francois." 3 More than other translations it reproduces faithfully the style of the original, but it is also a generally accurate translation. Urquhart 1 s amplifications are few, his additions rare; and he is habitually faithful to his text. 4 In the eighteenth century Urquhart 1 s was the standard translation, and it is chiefly for this reason that I have chosen to use it. After its first publication in 1693 it was published in 1708 in an edition containing all five books, the last two being translated by Pierre Le Motteux, and appeared again in 1737, 1750 and 1784. It was in this translation that Rabelais was chiefly read and quoted by Sterne, 6 and if Cibber ever chanced to read Rabelais he, too, would probably have encountered him through Urquhart 1 s lively translation. The Tiers Livre centers on Pantagruel's foolish friend, Panurge, and his quest for certainty in the difficult question of whether to marry. First he asks advice of his friend, Pantagruel, but he refuses to accept Pantagruel's

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34 advice, which is to follow his own inclinations. Panurge refuses to accept this answer because he wants to have absolute certainty that he will be happily married. He consults every possible sort of seer and uses countless methods of fortune— telling ashing for that assurance. As others interpret them, all the signs say that Panurge will be cuckolded, robbed, and beaten by his wife, but he twists the cryptic prophecies into other , more felicitous meanings and continues on his quest for an answer which will please him. His quest never ends. The third book concludes with preparations for yet another expedition to search out a favorable answer. His quest cannot end because he refuses to accept any unfavorable answer as conclusive. Much of the Tiers Livre is made up of prophecies about the future of Panurge's marriage, but an important part of the book is its accumulation of human wisdom on the question of marriage: when Pantagruel assembles a variety of learned m sn a theologian, a doctor, and a philosopher — to advise Panurge, what takes place is essentially a colloquium on the nature of marriage. Clearly a concern with marriage is central to the book, but it is not enough to say simply that the book is about marriage. As Barbara Bowen has said, "The book as a whole may be about marriage, folly, authority, or ambiguity. Much of the book s focus is on the problem of how one makes

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35 up one s mind, and a related and equally important theme is a concern with the nature of wisdom and foolishness. During the course of the third book, the reader learns (though Panurge does not) that Panurge is too much a fool to have a happy marriage, that his unhappy fate lies in his character.^ The character traits that make it unlikely that Panurge will have a happy marriage are revealed during his quest. Though many views of marriage are presented. Panurge measures up to the high standards of none of them. A theologian, Hippothadeus , advises Panurge to take care to choose a wife of good Christian character and to set her a good example : for the better schooling of her in these instructions, and that the wholesome doctrine of a matrimonial duty may take the deeper root in her mind, you must needs carry yourself so on your part and your behaviour is to be such that you are to go before her in a good example, by entertaining her unfeignedly with a conjugal amity, by continually approving yourself in all your words and actions a faithful and discreet husband; and by living, not only at home and privately with your own household and family, but in the face also of all men, and open view of the world, devoutly, virtuously, and chastely, as you would have her on her side to deport and demean herself towards you. . . . 9 No one could be less suited to give such an example than Panurge, who gives free reign to all his appetites. He admits to Pantagruel that he has satisfied his lusts previously by enjoying married women but now wishes a more convenient accommodation. "I itch, I tingle, I wriggle," he says, "and

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36 long exceedingly to be married, that, without the danger of cudgel-blows, I may labour my female copes-mate with the hard push of a bull-horned devil" (p. 142, Bk. 3, Ch. 7). When Pantagruel advises him to eat only a light supper one night, in order to dream a prophetical dream, Panurge complains bitterly and shows a deep reluctance to moderate his appetite. The next morning he can scarcely wait to get to food again. For lack of victuals, before God, I roar, bray, yell/ &nd fume, as in a furious madness. ... Fie! not to sup at all, that is the devil. Pox take that fashion! Come, Friar John, let us go toteak our fast; for if I hit on such a round refection in the morning, as will serve thoroughly to fill the mill— hopper and hogs— hide of my stomach, and furnish it with meat and drink sufficient, then at a pinch, as in the case of some extreme necessity which presseth, I could make a shift that day to forbear dining . But not to sup ! A plague rot that base custom, which is an error offensive to nature. (p. 156, Bk. 2, Ch. 15) He loves his wine, too, and confides to Friar John that he is more concerned about finding good wine than when he was younger, but that he is not worried about it. "That doth but betoken that I will hereafter drink so much the more" (p. 182, Bk . 3, Ch . 28), he says. "Let us go drink" is Panurge's solution to a troubled mind (p. 178, Bk. 3, Ch. 25). When Tritoulet, the natural fool, drinks at once all the wine Panurge has brought him in payment for prophecy, Panurge comments, "I never yet saw a fool . . . who did not love to drink heartily, and by good long draughts" (p. 215, Bk. 3, Ch. 45),

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37 but this does not make him self-conscious about his own ^^inhing. He loves his bottle even though he knows that is the mark of the fool, and he is only one of a long line of fools to be overly interested in food and drink. This concern with food and drink was one of the earliest characteristics of the stage fool and it long continued to be associated with the fool. As the Moriae Encomium points out so strongly, to be a prey to one's appetites is the very essence of foolishness. The view that a happy marriage is based on virtue and temperance is no comfort to Panurge, so he leaves Hippotha— deus and seeks advice of a physician, Rondibilis. Rondibilis, though convinced that cuckoldry and marriage go hand in hand, advises Panurge that if he would avoid being cuckolded he should not watch over his wife or be severe with her, for jealousy makes a wife unfaithful (pp. 194-5, Bk. 3, Ch. 33). Panurge had already demonstrated his anxious concern, as well as great wrath at the very suggestion that he might be cuckolded (pp. 167-8, Bk. 3, Ch. 20; p. 178, Bk. 3, Ch. 25). At one point he tells Friar John that if he gets so much as an inkling that his wife is unfaithful, he will cudgel her (p. 184, Bk . 3, Ch . 28). Since Panurge believes it is impossible for him not to be concerned about being cuckolded, he dismisses Rondibilis' advice as worthless to him (p. 196, Bk. 3, Ch. 34).

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38 The philosopher, Trouillogan, refuses to be pinned down to defining the way to a happy marriage, but Friar John, who does not participate in the symposium, does present still a third view of marriage. His notion of marriage is acceptable to Panurge, for it is completely natural. The ideal marriage. Friar John implies, is simply an ideal sexual union, and the husband need only be able to keep the wife satisfied sexually. Panurge avows that he is able to do this thou seemest in some measure to mistrust the readiness of my paternity. ... I pray thee, favour me so much as to believe that I still have him at a beck, attending always my commandments. ... if women's things cannot be satiated, I have an instrument indefatigable, — an implement as copious in the giving, as can in craving be their vade mecums . (pp. 180-1, Ek. 3, Ch. 28) Friar John doubts this is so, since Panurge admits that he is already gray and is growing older. "I understand thee well enough, Friar John replies, "but time makes all things plain. The most durable marble or porphyry is subject to old age and decay" (p. 181, Bk. 3, Ch. 28). The reader knows that as an aging man desiring to marry a lusty pretty wife (p. 217, Bk . 3, Ch. 46), he is a likely candidate for horns, but it is his nature to be blind to anything which stands in the way of his desires. Pantagruel warns him of this foolish weakness when he tells him that self-love is blinding him to the truth :

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I know for certain, and therefore may I with the greater confidence utter my conception of it, that P hilauty , or self-love, is that which blinds your judgment and deceiveth you. (p. 186, Bk. 2, Ch. 29) The similarity to Erasmus' Folly is striking. Self-love is the characteristic of fools about which Folly is most emphatic . The precise nature of Panurge's foolishness is defined by his encounter with the natural fool, Triboulet. It is Pantagruel who suggests that Panurge consult a fool when all the counsel of the sages fails to satisfy him. Take heed, I have often heard it said in a vulgar proverb. The wise may be instructed by a fool. Seeing the answers and responses of sage and judicious men have no manner of way satisfied you, take advice of some fool, and possibly by so doing you may come to get that counsel which will be agreeable to your own heart ' s-desire and contentment. (p. 201, Bk. 3, Ch. 37) Pantagruel respects this way of seeking advice because it has the endorsement of tradition. "You know," he says, "how by the advice and counsel and prediction of fools, many kings, princes, states, and commonwealths have been preserved, several battles gained, and divers doubts of a most perplexed intricacy resolved" (p. 201, Bk . 3 , Ch. 37), but he gives another more important reason for consulting Triboulet, suggesting that fools are likely to be divinely inspired: who knows warily how to prevent the inconveniences of poverty, is called a worldly wise man, though perhaps in the second judgment of the intelligences which are above, he be esteemed a fool, — so, on the

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40 contrary is he [who is esteemed a foolj most like, even in the thoughts of celestial spirits, to be not only sage, but to presage events to come by divine inspiration ... as it were departing from himself, [he^j rids all his senses of terrene affections, and clears his farlcies of those plodding studies which harbour in the minds of thriving men. (p. 201, Bk. 3, Ch. 37 ) Pantagruel s statement that the wisdom of the world may be foolishness in God s eyes is strongly reminiscent of the Moriae Encomium , though the original source is, of course, the Bible. God's rejection of the world's values was one of Paul s main themes in his letter to the Corinthians, part of which was quoted by Folly: "If any man seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. To all appearances, the fool, Triboulet, appears to be an idiot and a madman. Without even waiting for Panurge to finish speaking, he beats him over the head and rushes out, having said only "Par Dieu, Dieu, fol enraige, guare moine, cornemuse de Buzanyay." 12 it appears that he, like the others, is predicting an unhappy marriage for Panurge, but, as before. Panurge rejects such an interpretation of the words. What is most interesting, however, is Triboulet ' s addressing Panurge as a "fol enraige," a mad fool. Panurge makes light of this pronouncement, saying that after all we are all fools: not that I would impudently exempt myself from being a vassal in the territory of folly. I hold of that jurisdiction, and a subject thereto, I confess it.

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41 And why should I not? For the whole world is foolish. In the old Lorrain language, fou for oou ; all and fool were the same thing. Besides, it is avouched by Solomon, that infinite is the number of fools. . . . Though this much of Triboulet's words tend little to my advantage, howbeit the prejudice which I sustain thereby be common with me to all other men. (p. 217, Bk. 3, Ch. 46) While all men may be fools, the confrontation between Triboulet and Panurge points up that men are fools in significantly different ways. While Triboulet is naturally deficient in understanding. Panurge is willfully foolish. He refuses to see the truth. In addition to Triboulet, another important foil for Panurge is Bridlegoose, the simple judge whose story is told at some length in the Tiers Livre . For the entire course of his career, Bridlegoose has decided all his most puzzling cases with a throw of the dice. Yet miraculously. Bridlegoose's judgments have been good ones and have been upheld by the court of appeals. It is as if, following the Biblical proverb, "The lot is cast into the lap, /but the decision is wholly from the Lord" (Proverbs xvi.33). At last, however, while Panurge is engaged on his quest, Bridlegoose ' s irregular practice has come to the attention of the court of appeals. Pantagruel defends Bridlegoose, asserting that in his foolishness, he is under the special protection of God. For it is usual, (as you know well,) with him whose ways are inscrutable, to manifest his own ineffable glory in blunting the perspicacity of the eyes of

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42 the wise, in weakening the strength of potent oppressors, in depressing the pride of rich extortioners, and in erecting, comforting, protecting, supporting, upholding, and shoring up the poor, feeble, humble, silly, and foolish ones of the earth. (p. 213, Bk. 3, Ch.-43) The sentiment is recognizably Biblical and was given a lengthy treatment in the Moriae Encomium . Walter Kaiser suggests that the important difference between Brxdlegoose ' s foolishness and Panurge's foolishness is that Bridlegoose does not insist upon imposing his will on every decision, but with peace of mind leaves it in God's hands. In this way, he is strikingly different from Panurge, who refuses to accept any number of divinely inspired prophecies and insists upon having his own way. Panurge's unwillingness to do this is suggested at the very beginning of his quest, when he asks for Pantagruel ' s advice. At that time, Pantagruel says: Are not you assured within yourself of what you have a mind to? The chief and main point of the whole matter lieth there. It is . . . expedient, seeing you are resolved for once to make a trial of the state of marriage, that, with shut eyes, bowing your head, and kissing the ground, you put the business to a venture, and give it a fair hazard, in recommending the success of the residue to the disposure of Almighty God." (p 146 Bk 3 Ch. 10) ' It is clear enough that Panurge wants to marry, for during the course of his quest he refuses any other solution. What keeps him from making a decision and achieving peace of mind is that he is too willful to put his fate in God's hands.

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43 He cannot say, "Thy will be done." He is neither willing to reform his life according to the dictates of wisdom, nor to give up the idea of marriage, nor to accept an unhappy marriage m which he will be cuckolded. The story of Bridlegoose serves as a critical commentary on Panurge's refusal to trust providence. As Erasmus portrays it, the foolishness of the world is conviviality, the love of life, the desire to procreate, the ability to act, and a full measure of self-love and happiness. In Rabelais, this worldly foolishness is typified in the figure of Panurge. Panurge's desire to marry amply demonstrates his lust and desire to procreate. His refusal to see that his marriage will be unhappy is an indication of his blinding self-love. He also shares some of the charm of Erasmus' Folly in that he is a good companion and is capable of speaking a truth in jest. When he launches forth in a mock encomiastic praise of debt to justify his extravagance to Pantagruel, he argues as Folly does, insisting first on the pleasures of debt (having creditors be kind to you), then subtly transforming debt into a virtue by allying it to the ties of giving and receiving which unite all mankind in a fraternity of love. Debt then becomes a kindness to oneÂ’s fellow men and the cement that holds the world together. Panurge, like Folly, is a cunning rhetorician and can make a convincing argument even for his vices.

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44 Significantly, however. Panurge lacks the contentment and the ability to act unthinkingly that had characterized most of Erasmus 1 fools, who were typically self-satisfied, complete in themselves, and generally seem to be unaware of their deficiencies. On the surface Panurge is content with himself, but his quest shows that within him there is an unhappy void. While Erasmus shows certain fools, the worldly clerics, for example, waiting out their lives complacently, unaware that they lack anything, Rabelais's fool is a pilgrim. His discontent points up the deficiencies in the life of the purely worldly fool. As examples of the unworldly and blessed fool, Erasmus had used the saints, the apostles and even Christ himself. Rabelais used Bridoye and Triboulet, 1 ^ mere comic characters. While Erasmus' tone changes when he begins to talk of the holy vision of foolishness, Rabelais's tone is unchanged. Bridoye is as comic a figure as Panurge. Instead of investing Bridoye and Triboulet with self-evident dignity and importance, Rabelais merely has Pantagruel say that they are under God's protection. Thus the didactic impact of the T iers Livre is weaker than is that of the Moriae Encomium . In the prologue of the Tiers Livre , Rabelais confesses to a method of writing similar to that used by Folly. Stay a little, till I suck up a draught of this bottle; it is my true and only Helicon; it is my Caballine Fountain; it is my sole enthusiasm.

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45 Drinking thus, I meditate, discourse, resolve, and conclude. After that the epilogue is made, I laugh, I write, I compose, and drink again. (p. 129, Prologue to Bk. 3 ) When the narrator says that the wine is his "Helicon," his Caballine Fountain," and his "enthusiasm," he is not being ironic. Drink frees him from sterile rationality and allows him to create. "Pantagruel , " the name of Rabelais's wise hero, means all-thirsty," Rosalie Colie suggests, and hence, all inspired. Drink is associated with physical generation as well as inspiration, since drunkenness leads to copulation. Yet an appetite for strong drink is the mark _ _ , 15 of a fool. The multiple connotations of drink make it a symbol of one of the central paradoxes of the Tiers Livre . the idea that folly can be productive. 16 Even the foolishness of Panurge is creative in a limited way; it is his questioning which provokes the exploration of marriage which makes up the book. As Colie puts it, his foolishness "is the origin of the book's activity" (p. 60). It is because foolishness has this creative side that Rabelais's narrator can use the writing method recommended by Folly, coming out with what is on the top of his head, writing happily, and drunkenly . Rabelais's endorsement of Folly's writing method is part and parcel of his agreement with Erasmus' recognition of the values of irrationality.

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46 In its unambivalent endorsement of freedom and worldly happiness Rabelais's book differs somewhat from Erasmus. While Erasmus has made a good case for freedom, he put the argument in the mouth of Folly, whose rhetoric is not always to be trusted. Colie has suggested that Erasmus' use of the paradoxical encomium in itself suggests that he values freedom, since his use of paradox and his failure to provide a conclusion for the Moriae forces the reader to draw his own conclusions and to make his own decisions about values (pp. 19-20), but even if one accepts this theory, Erasmus' praise of freedom is certainly less forthright and less wellemphasized than Rabelais's. Years after the Moriae was written, when Erasmus had been drawn into open conflict with ^ ar ^ n Luther, he explicitly expressed the view of virtue that Rabelais dramatically portrayed in his account of the Abbey of Theleme. Indeed, it was evidently from Erasmus that Rabelais drew his inspiration for the Abbey. In the second Hyperaspistes , di atribe adversus Servim Arbitrium Martini Luther i , Erasmus wrote, I say that in those who are well born and well brought up there is the least inclination toward evil. The greatest part of the proclivity comes not from nature, but from corrupt institution, from bad companionship, from the habit of sinning and evilness of will.l 7 Then, too, in the midst of hot debate on the subject, he came out in defense or free will, but at the time of the writing

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47 of the Moriae this was yet to be. As he himself says, as late as 1517, the question had not really engaged his atten— t i on , he but casually passed over it. The concern foir human freedom expressed in do what thou wilt" (the motto of the Abbey of Theleme ) is then only implicit in the Moriae Encomium . Rabelais, however, made it the central rule of bis utopian abbey, and he also made free choice the only expedient course for Pantagruel in Book III; Pantagruel recommends personal free choice to Panurge because it is the only reasonable course, though it may not be the ideal way of determining what to do. The dictum, "do what thou wilt," was to gain increasing importance in the thought of Montaigne and those who came after him. Rabelais puts it forth in the Tiers Livre as the only course open to imperfect man. Another contrast may be seen in Rabelais's and Erasmus' portrayals of worldly happiness. in the Moriae , it is Folly that praises worldly happiness, while the reader is given to understand that the Christian view of happiness differs from Folly's. When the Christian vision is shown, in the final part of the book, worldly happiness has little part in it. Christian happiness consists of ecstasies and hope of the world to come. When Rabelais portrays Christian happiness, however, in the Abbey of Theleme, he makes it clear that the best kind of worldliness, the refined pleasures of the flesh, are in his eyes suitable to the life of a Christian.

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48 Despite the differences that may be discerned between 5 Livre and the Moriae Encomium it must be remembered that Rabelais's debt to Erasmus was great. In a letter to Erasmus, he himself acknowledges it. 19 In the most significant aspects of their depiction of folly Erasmus and Rabelais are in accord. As Kaiser says, "By means of her irony, Stultitia was able simultaneously to be the foolish and the wise fool," while in the Tiers Livre the Erasmian fool is split up and, "in the drama of Rabelais's narrative, these two contradictory types of fool confront each other" (p. 127). Their presentation is different, but the idea is the same. Montaigne Renects Role of Sage and Assumes Fool's Mantle The second of the great readers of Erasmus was Michel de Montaigne, who around 1574 wrote his own version of Moriae Encomium in Apology for Raymond Sebonde. " In 1569 Montaigne had, at the request of his father, published a French translation of Book of Creatures, or Natural Theology , by Sebonde, a fifteenth century Spanish professor of medicine and theology. In Natural Theology , Sebonde had purported to prove the existence of God and to demonstrate man's duties by drawing analogies from nature. Montaigne's father had seen in Sebonde 's book a useful argument to combat Lutheranism, but Montaigne evidently had, even when he first translated it, some reservations about the book, for he changed the wording of the preface to omit Sebonde 's exalted claims for

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49 the book, claims so extravagant that they had gotten the book put on the Index or forbidden books. Some seven years after writing his translation, Montaigne was called upon by "a lady of rank" to defend Sebonde against his many attackers. He begins his defense by considering both groups of Sebonde ' s attackers: the Christians, who felt it wrong to use reason to prove the existence of God; and the atheists, who asserted that Sebonde had proved the non-existence of God. He gives only brief attention to the first group, saying mildly that though reason in itself will not reveal the truths of faith to man, still it is a worthy enterprise to embellish, extend, and amplify the truths of faith by using reason. He dismisses the criticisms of the second group of attackers by saying it is a vanity of atheists to see atheism everywhere. Then he counterattacks with a lengthy blast against human reason, actually the heart of the essay, and only a very small portion of it directly concerned with defending Sebonde. Indeed, the defense of Sebonde and the attack on reason are so loosely connected that Donald Frame has even suggested that the attack on reason was already written when Montaigne added the defense of Sebonde to it . 20 MontaigneÂ’s own position is revealed as being diametrically opposed to Sebonde' s, so that his essay is only a most limited and qualified defense of Sebonde, and some readers have had the impression that it is

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50 no defense at all. Colie has said, "it . . . destroys the position Sebond held" (p. 389). Consider the claims Sebonde had made for his argument in his preface, "Et per istam scientiam potest solvi omnis quaestio quae debet sciri tarn de Deo quam de seipso, et hoc sine dif ficultate . " 2l He asserts that his argument, based on reason alone , easily resolves every ques tion one needs to know about God and oneself. What a sharp contrast is this to Montaigne's words in the "Apology." ' Tis not by Meditation, or by Virtue of our own Understanding, that we have acquir'd our Religion, but by Foreign Authority and Command: Wherein the Imbecillity of our Judgment does more assist us than the Force of it, and our Blindness more than our Clearness of Sight. 'Tis more by the Meditation of our Ignorance, that we know any thing of the Divine Wisdom. 'Tis no wonder, if our natural and earthly Parts cannot conceive that supernatural and heavenly Knowledge : Let us bring nothing of our own, but Obedience and Subjection. 22 In defense of Sebonde, Montaigne can say only that it is praiseworthy to use reason to embellish truths imparted by faith, that Sebonde has done a workmanlike job, and that his intentions were good. The most forceful thing Montaigne has to say, his attack on reason, works against Sebonde rather than for him. The attack on reason which forms the body of the essay may be divided into roughly three parts. The first is an account of the powers of animals, which do many of the things men are so proud of doing, the second is a demonstration that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, and the third is the

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51 assertion that man is incapable of true knowledge, that all human knowledge is uncertain. The first step in the argument is weak logically, for much of the information Montaigne gives about the activities of animals is false, but it is effective, nevertheless, because by showing animals carrying on human activities it tends to demean those activities, making them appear trivial or even comic. Consequently, it is in keeping with the main thrust of the essay, which is designed to make men humble. The second step of the argument, the assertion that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, is brief but effective, for here Montaigne points up the irrationality of faith and cites scripture to show the weakness of reason. The third, most radical, step in the argument is the one which has attracted the most attention, for, taking a Pyrrhonistic stance, Montaigne undermines not only the atheists' arguments, but Sebonde ' s arguments and his own argument, as well, since if man can know nothing, all arguments are vain. It is the second step of the argument, the assertion that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, that most closely corresponds to the Mor iae Encomium . Montaigne's "Apology is, of course, different in its scope from Erasmus' Moriae, but when Montaigne demonstrates that wisdom makes man neither happy nor good, he follows the same paths Polly took, and he even uses some of the same arguments Folly used. He

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52 maintains that if "Debility of Judgment" could maintain men in Ease and Pleasure" they would not mind being fools, a thought he supports with the following quotation from Horace Potare, & spargere f lores -3d?-— ^-pism , patiarque vel inconsultus haberi . I'll drink and revel like a jovial Lad, Tho 1 for my Pains the World repute me Mad. (II, 186) This could just as well be Folly quoting Horace, as is her habit, and asserting that wisdom isn't the best road to happiness. In another borrowing from Horace, Montaigne tells the same story Folly told about the Greek who imagined he was seeing plays. There would be a great many philosophers of Lycas's Mind : This Man, being otherwise of very gentle Manners, living quietly and contentedly in his Family, and not failing in any Office of his Duty, either towards his own or Strangers, and very carefully preserving himself from hurtful Things, was nevertheless, by some Distemper in his Brains, possess d with a Conceit, that he was perpetually in the Theatre, a Spectator of the finest Sights, and the best Comedies in the World; and being cur'd by the Physicians of his Frenzy, had much ado to forbear endeavouring by Suit to compel them to restore him again to his pleasing Imagination. Pol me occidistis amici — servastis, ait, cui sic extorta voluptas . J5t — demptus pe r vim mentis gratis simus error . By Heaven you've kill'd me. Friends, outright. And not preserv'd me, since my dear Delight And pleasing Error, by my better Sense Unhappily return'd, is banished hence. (II, 186) Both Erasmus and Montaigne also use Ecclesiastes 1.18, "in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge

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53 increaseth sorrow. " And both use the powerful verses from I Corinthians, I will destroy the Wisdom of the Wise, and will bring to nothing the Understanding of the Prudent. Where is the Wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the Disputer of this World? For after that in the Wisdom of God, the World knew not God, it pleased God by the Foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (I Corinthians i. 19-21 as quoted by Montaigne, II, 192) If one examines this portion of the argument closely, it takes something of a different trend from Erasmus'. Montaigne, like Erasmus' Folly, begins by asserting that most men would rather be happy than wise, but instead of merely assuming this is so, as Folly does, he supports his assertion by using the example of the wisest men, the philosophers of the ages, who since ancient times, he points out, have been recommending suicide and commending death. He asks, "What is it other than a Confession of . . . Impotency, and a sending back not only to Ignorance, to be there in Safety, but even to Stupidity, Insensibility and Non— entity?" (II, 187) He then goes on to show that reason is helpless to bring about either a happy commonwealth or the salvation of an individual. Erasmus, too, had written of the uselessness of reason in achieving the good of the commonwealth and the salvation of man, but he had deemed folly useful because it makes a man fearless, unlikely to hesitate because of modesty, and willing to dally with the fair sex. The Erasmian

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54 fool is characteristically brash and fearless, with a plentiful amount of self-love and self-deception. This is true even of his natural" fools, or idiots, who are completely innocent; he holds that their being without shame or fear is the essence of their foolishness (pp. 62-7). Montaigne's conception of the fool is quite different. His fool is meek and docile, and he counts this a virtue, for he says, "Humility, Fear, Obedience and Affability (which are the principal Things that support and maintain human Society) require an empty and docile Soul, and little presuming upon itself" (II, 189). The primitive societies of the New World are, he believes, striking examples of good societies founded on ignorance. This romanticization of ignorance makes Montaigne's view of folly seem simple-minded in comparison with Erasmus ' ironic, critical, and multifaceted view. There are, then, significant differences between Montaigne and Erasmus, but it is important to recognize their fundamental agreement. For both of them, folly was an emblem of man's dependence on God. The fool was a symbol of the sum of human weakness. He thus inspired both scorn and wonderscorn because of his despicable weakness, and wonder because he was nevertheless favored by God. Both Erasmus and Montaigne were fascinated by the paradoxical view of folly given in the New Testament, and both gave full accounts of it. Erasmus' treatment of Biblical

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55 material is complex, for since he always speaks through the mouth of Folly his own judgment about the material is conveyed only obliquely. At one point Folly maintains that God has "chosen the foolish things of the world" because, like Caesar, Nero, and Dionysius, he distrusts the crafty (p. 190). The reader can instantly perceive the falseness of Folly's parallel and is led to make his own meditation on why God has favored the foolish. Later, Folly maintains that Jesus' suggestions that his followers imitate "children, lilies, sparrows and "mustard" are recommendations that they be foolish (p. 192), but the reader, remembering the Biblical stories, will find himself critical of Folly's interpretation. Folly's citations of the scriptures are arranged so that even while she is using them to her own ends, the reader is led to an understanding of God's love of foolishness that Folly does not share. Montaigne's use of the same Biblical material presents the reader with interpretations very like those he might reach after reading Erasmus' account, but Montaigne's approach is simple and direct. Instead of arranging a series of Biblical quotations with a facetious commentary, allowing the reader to draw his own conclusions, Montaigne seriously explicates the Biblical passages, showing how they support his contentions. Erasmus' position is hidden; Montaigne's position is stated straightforwardly.

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56 God has sufficiently given us to understand that, by the witnesses he has chosen out of the common People, simple and ignorant Men, that he has been pleas'd to employ, to instruct us in his admirable Secrets: Our Faith is not of our own acquiring, tis purely the Gift of another's Bounty. 'Tis not by Meditation, or by Virtue of our own Understanding, that we have acquir'd our Religion . but by Foreign Authority and Command. (n, 191-2) Montaigne s "Apology," much more than Erasmus' Moriae , is a conventional attack on the pride in reason. It is only in the final step of his argument that Montaigne begins to sound radical and original. Until then he could almost be a preacher. His tone is judicious at times, at times stern, but only occasionally does he venture into the humorous irony that is the dominant mode of Erasmus' work. This difference in tone tends to obscure the similarities between Montaigne's and Erasmus' thought, but they are alike in their recognition of the value of the irrational. At one point in his "Apology" Montaigne indicates that he is intrigued by the insights men have in dreams, ecstasies or trances: Is it not a great boldness in Philosophy, to believe that Men perform the greatest Actions, and nearest approaching the Divinity, when they are Furious, Mad, and besides themselves? We better ourselves by the Astonishment and Privation of Reason. The two natural Ways to enter into the Cabinet of the Gods , and there to foresee the course of Destiny, are Fury and Sleep. This is pleasant to consider. By the Dislocation that Passions cause in our Reason, we must become Virtuous: By its Extirpation occasioned by Madness, as the Image of Death, we become Devinors and Prophets. I was never so willing to believe Philosophy in any Thing, as this. (II, 276-277)

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57 Though Montaigne does not explore the nature of these interesting psychic phenomena, it is likely he felt that it was the temporary freedom from corporeal existence that allows men to be closer to God, for at another point he suggests that man's understanding is limited by his fleshly existence. Tis no wonder," he says, "if our natural and earthly Parts cannot conceive that supernatural and heavenly Knowledge" (II, 192). Elsewhere, apparently alluding to miracles, he suggests that the things closest to God, those which manifest his power most clearly, are not governed by rational laws: of the Works of our Creator, those best bear his Mark, and are with better Title his, which we the least understand. To meet with an incredible Tiling, is an Occasion to Christians to believe (II, 190) Much of Montaigne's deprecation of reason is based on his belief that rational powers and pride are linked, but some of it is, evidently, attributable to his respect for the irrational as a path to understanding. As R. a. Sayce has commented, Montaigne treated ignorance as a positive value. 23 Montaigne's defense of folly in "Apology for Raymond Sebonde" is convenient for use in comparing his opinions to those of Erasmus because it is there more than any other place that his ideas on rationality and irrationality are gathered together. The ideas basic to the "Apology," however, may also be found in later essays.

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58 It is difficult to speak of the Essais as a single work, for it was written over a long period of time, between 1571 and 1592, and contains a host of inconsistent and contradictory statements. Over the years a number of critics have turned their attention to the difficult task of making sense of these contradictions. Olivier Naudeau points out that although some critics seized on one strand of Montaigne's thought and denied the existence of contradictions while others spoke of his "ecclecticism, " the most popular theory for a long time was that Montaigne's thinking evolved over the course of his composition of the three volumes. Pierre Villey was the most famous exponent of this point of view, and even yet it has its adherents. Donald Frame, for example, does not accept Villey 's view of Montaigne's evolution, but he does see signs of another sort of evolution, the "humanization" of Montaigne. 4 R. A. Sayce contends that "the presence of an evolutionary element is undeniable," but he does not feel this accounts for Montaigne's contradictions since the "evolution" is usually just a fuller development of an idea stated early along. Recently, other critical explanations of the contradictions have appeared. Naudeau suggests that Montaigne has simply strewn his writings with opinions taken from his reading, but that these are generally not his own opinions, 26 and Barbara Bowen believes that the contradictions are a part of a deliberate attempt to

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59 disconcert and puzzle the reader. She maintains that this way of writing was conunon in Montaigne's time, and that the contradictions, rather than reflecting deeply held opinions, are the result of Montaigne's interest in paradox and his playful attitude towards his writing . 27 Like Erasmus, Montaigne had the sort of supple mind that is loath to take a firm stand. He was prone to consider a subject first from one side, then another. "if j speak variously of myself," he says at one point, "it is because I consider myself variously. All Contrarieties are there to be found in one corner or another, or after one Manner or another." Sometimes he seems to speak clearly with the voice of Folly, showing the influence of the same current of thought one sees in the Moriae Encomium , but these statements do not express fully the complexity of the perceptions. Elsewhere one finds modifications and even contradictions of the "foolish" point of view. All of this greatly complicates the task of making general statements about Montaigne's "thought." Nevertheless, keeping this in mind, one may trace certain threads of thoughts in keeping with the praise of folly tradition not only in his "Apology" but throughout his essays . Montaigne's praise of ignorance, his expressed preference for the simple and unsophisticated, along with a kind of primitivism, form a thread that can be followed from his

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60 early essays through to the later ones, a persistent theme in his thought. He repeatedly suggests that reason and learning are dangerous things. Speaking of the appetite for learning, he remarks, "'Tis a Good , if duly consider'd, which has in it, as the other Goods of Men have, a great deal of Vanity," and he calls the acquisition of learning "more hazardous than that of all other Meat or Drink. "29 This is so because unlike other "goods " learning invades one's very self. For in other Tilings, what we have bought, we carry home in some Vessel, and there have Liberty to examine our Markets, how much it costs, and what 'tis worth, according to the Season; but Sciences we can, at the very first, bestow into no other Vessel than the Soul; we swallow them in buying and return from the Market, either already infected or amended. (Ill, 306, "Of Physiognomy.") Then, too, a moderate understanding may be more injurious to a man than total ignorance. He observes that good Christians may be made of those "of mean Understanding, little inquisitive, and little instructed." Not tempted into the byways of reasoning, these people "by Reverence and Obedience imbelieve, and are constant in their Belief." Such faithful Christianity may also be found among brilliant men who by a long and Religious Investigation of the Truth" have achieved a real understanding of the Scriptures and the Church. Those who take the hazardous path of reason in religion may never reach that splendid understanding, and "In the moderate Understandings, and in the middle sort of

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61 Capacities, the error of Opinions is begot." 30 m the face of the dangers of errors and pride, much can be said in favor of ignorance; and Montaigne, who admires the simple peasants and the simple savages, pronounces himself pleased to see "Men in Devotion vow Ignorance as well as Chastity, Poverty and Penitence . "31 It was chiefly the pride and the vanity associated with reason that led to Montaigne's suspicion of it. He did not uniformly and invariably reject the use of reason. Sayce points out that Montaigne "uses reason and learning to prove the inadequacy of reason and learning, 1,32 and Frame contends that it is only the "lunatic fringes" of reason that he attacks, man's claim to know what he cannot know. 33 Despite his repeated attacks on reason, Montaigne allows that it has a legitimate use in a limited sphere. In ordinary matters, everyday decisions about the management of one's life and estate, reason has its proper place. In the late essay "Of Experience" he exclaims, "Oh what a soft, easy and wholesome Pillow is Ignorance and Incuriosity" (in, 348). Montaigne is not recommending that men should avoid all thought whatsoever, but that they should confine themselves to their own natural sphere, reflecting on their own life and conduct, yet abjuring grand speculation. However, even though Montaigne's rejection of reason is not wholesale, his dramatic statements in praise of ignorance strongly remind one of Erasmus ' Folly.

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62 Another way in which Montaigne seems to echo Folly is xn his emphatic rejection of the role of sage. "if j pitch upon Subjects that are popular and gay," he says, " 'tis to follow my own Inclination, who do not affect a grave and ceremonious Wisdom, as the World does." 34 m keeping with his humble role, he denies that his intent is didactic. "I have no authority to be believ'd," he says, "neither do I desxre it, being too conscious of my own Inerudition to be able to instruct others." 35 These statements may be, as Jacob Zeitlin suggests, a strategy to win over and persuade the reader, 36 but it seems as likely that they are sincere and are an outgrowth of Montaigne's deeply held convictions about the nature of human perception. Ihese convictions are most clearly stated in the following famous passage from "Of Democritus and Heraclitus": Health, Conscience, Authority, Knowledge, Riches, Beauty, and their Contraries, do all strip themselves at their entering into us, and receive a new Robe, and of another Fashion, from every distinct Soul, and what Colour, Brown, Bright, Green, Dark, and Quality, Sharp, Sweet, Deep, or Superficial, as best pleases them; for they are not yet agreed upon any common Standard of Forms, Rules, or Proceedings; every one of them is a Queen in her own Dominions. Let us therefore no more excuse ourselves upon the external Qualities of Things; it belongs to us to give ourselves an Account of them. Our Good or 111 has no other Dependence but on ourselves. (i, 365) Montaigne is conscious that what he says is not necessarily the truth, but merely what he perceives as the truth.

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63 I speak my Opinion freely of all Things, even of those that, perhaps, exceed my Capacity, and that I do not conceive to be, in any wise, under my Jurisdiction. And accordingly, the Judgment I deliver, is to shew the Measure of my own Sight, and not of the Things I make *so bold to censure. (II 88, "Of Books." ) Montaigne s emphasis on the individual nature of perception and on the inability of one man to lay down laws for another is a natural development of ideas that were latent in Rabelais s suggestion that each man must decide in his heart and do as he wishes. What Montaigne sees in this is an implication Rabelais did not develop, for such a view of human existence eliminates the role of the sage or "wise man." If Montaigne so resoundingly rejects the role of sage, how is it that Donald Frame can call him "a basically earnest moralist" 37 and Jacob Zeitlin can speak of "the earnest moralist behind the genial mask" (p. lxxx ) . In part this is explained by Montaigne's undeniable interest in moral questions. If he is not preaching, he nevertheless treats a number of moral questions in his essays. Then, too, though he contends that his only goal is to portray himself and not to say how others should live, the self-portrait itself may be seen as exemplary. Philip P. Hallie says "Montaigne is not ultimately concerned with political or even moral philosophy; he is concerned with what he_ thinks and feels on certain matters, not with the absolute, universal Truth." Hallie adds that Montaigne wants the reader to understand Montaigne .

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64 but he also wants the reader to use what he says, if possible; he wants the reader to make this portrait exemplary, even if the reader has to take its instruction in reverse in order to fit it to his own life and mind." 38 r. A . Sayce, noting Montaigne's denial of didacticism, comments: "As long as he is only talking about himself, his moods and passing fancies, he can claim that they have no wider meaning; but once he has posited a necessary resemblance between himself and the rest of mankind he is bound to regard what he says as a lesson, if only negatively" (p. 116). This exemplary function does not necessarily make itself obvious to the reader, however. Zeitlin complains that Montaigne's moralism is so well disguised that most readers fail to discern it and instead see Montaigne as a wayward and idle fellow, egotistical and with no other aim than to live and be 39 merry. He complains, in other words, that Montaigne gives the reader the impression that he is a fool. Montaigne's "self-portrait" is an aspect of the Essais which has long attracted attention. In Cibber's only mention of Montaigne he speaks of his entertaining "vanity, " meaning by this, evidently, no more than his propensity to talk about himself. What Montaigne says about himself still fascinates readers, perhaps more than anything else in the essays. Though Sayce complains "It may be that in the past too much emphasis has been placed on the self -portrait as the sole

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65 centre of the Essais" (p. 50), he goes on to say that for Montaigne "there can be no doubt ... at least at the time of the 1580 preface, the principal and indeed the only object of the book is the depiction of himself" (p. 50). Certainly Montaigne speaks often of his desire to portray himself candidly and without hiding his faults. Most critics have taken these statements at their face value and a number of readers have been charmed, and some repelled, by the picture of the writer that emerges from the pages of the Essais . Barbara Bowen puts forth the interesting hypothesis that the portrait is chiefly a literary device and is not really a complete and candid portrait. She says: We know, to begin with, that many of Montaigne's statements, if taken at face value, are simply not true. . . . they give us a picture of an endearingly ordinary, run-of-the-mill fellow, a little thick-headed, with no pretensions to wit or elegance but full of good intentions. The picture is charming, but there is plenty of external and internal evidence for a very different Montaigne. 40 Similarly, Zeitlin believes that Montaigne's picture of himself as pleasure-seeking, egotistical, and "so lacking in strength of character that he usually allows himself to be carried along on the current of his passions" (p. lxxx), is a "mask" for the true Montaigne, designed to make his moral lessons more palatable (pp. xcvii-xcix ) , and Frame maintains that the self-portrait is unflattering because Montaigne had too much taste and humor to "make himself his hero." 41

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66 Whether true-to-life or not the portrait is, as Bowen suggests, a self-deprecating one, one perfectly in keeping with Montaigne's rejection of the role of sage. In it one may recognize many characteristics traditional to the fool. He portrays himself as an innocent, with an innocent's license and an innocent's gift for disarming enemies. He says that it is because men can read in his face his "innocency of . . . Intention" that they tolerate "the indiscreet Liberty" he takes to say whatever comes at "Tongue's End. 1,42 He avers that he is "very little inclin'd to Suspicion and Distrust " 42 but rather inclines towards "Excuse" and "the gentlest Interpretation" of others' actions. And he is too good-natured to have "the Knack of nourishing Quarrels and Debates" within 44 himself. He seems to claim the protection heaven traditionally accords to innocents and claims: "I . . . am moreover a Man, who willingly commit myself to Fortune, and throw myself headlong into her arms; and have hitherto found more reason to applaud, than to condemn my Conduct in so doing; having ever found her more solicitous of, and more a Friend to my Affairs, than I am myself. . . .We are, methinks, to blame, in not trusting Heaven enough with our Affairs. He claims that what virtue he has is merely the virtue of innocence, such as he was born with . 46 At times he seems to be attributing to himself the naive innocence which he praised in his "Apology. "

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67 He often emphasizes his lack of self-control, his habit of merely following his passions. He not only speaks off the top of his head without pausing to reflect , 47 but describes himself as "extreamly given up to my own Inclinations both by Nature and Art ," 48 and says "I have not . . . corrected my natural Complexions by the Force of Reason , and bave not in the least molested my Inclination by Art ." 48 This picture is in conflict with other trends in the essays which praise self-mastery and show Montaigne's attempts to control his passions, as some critics have pointed out .'Â’ 8 The contrasting views may each represent different aspects of Montaigne's true personality or one or both may be used for rhetorical effect, as Bowen suggests. In either case the suggestion that Montaigne is a whimsical child of nature following his inclinations willy-nilly gives his selfportrait a clownish cast. He repeatedly asserts that pleasure is his goal, and though such a position is not uncommon in philosophy, Montaigne's kinship with the praise of folly tradition is suggested by his assertions that he would choose pleasure over wisdom. "I make it my Business to bring Vanity it self in repute, and Folly too," he says, "if it brings me any Pleasure; and permit me to follow my own natural Inclinations without carrying too strict a hand upon them. " He finds it possible to reject certain opinions "though they be true,"

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68 if they are troublesome, 51 for, as he says elsewhere, "I would as willing be happy as wise. "52 If he seems virtuous, he says, it is only because the age is so corrupt that any man who is less than vicious appears good; it is not because he strives after virtue. He takes to himself the foolish characteristic of laziness and shows himself averse to any real effort. "Liberty and Laziness," he calls "the Qualities most predominant in me. Elsewhere he says, "I do nothing without Gaiety; Continuation, and a too obstinate Endeavour, darkens, stupifies and tires my Judgment. " 5 4 H e calls himself "extreamly idle" and says "there is nothing for which I will bite my Nails, and that I will purchase at the Price of the Torment of Mind and Constraint." 55 Montaigne's depiction of himself as a writer is an extension of these same "foolish" traits. "All Motions discover us," Montaigne says, and his writings seem to be designed to give the impression that it was written by the heedless, humorous fellow depicted in the self-portrait. As he is a pleasure-seeker, so he repeatedly claims that he writes in order to give pleasure to himself. "And tho ' no Body should read me," he asks, "have I lost my Time in entertaining myself so many idle Hours, in pleasing and useful Thoughts?"56 fls he ls a lazy fellow _ SQ hls lazineS3| as well as his pleasure-seeking, is reflected in his writing.

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69 He calls his writings "idle Whimsies," 57 and says that he is not ashamed of his ignorance of the things he writes about. "I could wish to have a more perfect Knowledge of Things," he says "but I will not buy it so dear as it will cost." He declares that ease and pleasure are more important to him than knowledge. "My Design is to pass over easily, and not laboriously, the Remainder of my Life," he says, "There is nothing that I will break my Brains about; no, not knowledge, of what Price soever. I seek, in the Reading of Books, only to please myself, by an irreproachable Diversion." 58 Explaining why he declines to write a history of his time, he says, "I would not give myself the Trouble, being a sworn Enemy, as I am to all Obligation, Assiduity, and Persever,,59 Since he is a lazy pleasure-seeker, Montaigne would have us believe he is not overly concerned about his writing and that consequently his writing has spontaneity. He claims to write casually. "words escape me with as much Indifference as they are little worth," he says, "I write as I speak in common Conversation." 60 As Barbara Bowen comments, his remarks about his writings seem designed to "emphasize the jumbled, spontaneous aspect of the Essais" (p. 125). Sayce, who explores the principles of order in the EjS5aiS in some detai1 ' notes that Montaigne himself seems to glory more in the apparent disorder of his writings, and adds

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70 that Montaigne's frequent statements about his ordering being purely fortuitous "confirm the reader's irmediate impression" (pp. 260-1 ) . It should be remembered that Erasmus' Polly, like Montaigne, gave her writings the appearance of jumbled spontaneity. Folly recommended the "painless," of f-the-top-of-thehead method of writing. TWo of Folly's nine attendants, of course, were Laziness and Pleasure, so it is natural that Folly expresses the greatest disdain and pity for "those graver drudgers to the press" who labor endlessly over their writings getting little reward for the "fastings, watchings, confinements, and brain-breaking tortures of invention" and their "debarment from all pleasures." 61 Folly would have approved of Montaigne's easy-going attitude towards revision, his writing of "whimsies" for his own pleasure. And his attitude of speaking his mind, bluntly and innocently, is perfectly foolish. This is not to say that Montaigne does not hint at a deep concern with form or give indications of a serious purpose in his essays; it is only to say that the "amiable mask" remarked on by his critics, is a foolish one, and in keeping with the praise of folly tradition.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER II 1 Marcel Tertel, Rabelais (New York, 1967), p. 82. 2 Lazare Sainean, "Les Interpretes de Rabelais en Angleterre et en Allemagne," Revue des Etudes Rabelai siennes . 7 (1909), p. 176. 3 Ibid. , p. 205. 4 Ibid. , pp. 200-1. 5 Ibid. , p. 176. Huntington Brown, Rabelais in English Literature (Cambridge, Mass., 1933), p. 192. 7 Barbara C. Bowen, The Age of Bluff; Paradox and Ambiguit y in Rabelais & Montaigne , Illinois Studies in Language and Literature, 62 (Urbana, Chicago, London, 1972), In my discussion of the Tiers Livre . I am indebted to Walter Kaiser's interpretation in Praisers of Folly . A similar interpretation is given by Ttertel, p. 64. 9 Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel , Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books, trans. Sir Thomas Urquhart and Peter Motteux (Chicago, London, Toronto, 1952), p. 188 (Bk. 3, Ch . 30). I have used this edition throughout. 10 Busby, pp. 63-4. 1] -I Corinthians iv. 10. Cited in Erasmus, p. 189. 12 Bk. 3, Ch. 45. Cited in Kaiser, p. 176. Kaiser maintains that Pantagruel, "the smiling ideal and example of all joyous perfection," is also a fool (Kaiser, P* 181 ) ( » but in "eulogistic sense." I do not find Kaiser s argument convincing and rather agree with M. A. Screetch, who sees Pantagruel as a wise man (see The Rabelaisian Marriage: Aspects of Rabelais's religion, ethics a 71

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72 c omic philosophy , London, 1958), and with Barbara Bowen, who asserts that Pantagruel is not a fool in any sense (p. 83). 14 Colie, p. 63. 15 Rabelais, p. 215, Bk. 3,-Ch. 45. 16 For a further exploration of Rabelais's use of wine as a symbol see Bowen, pp. 72-3; Kaiser, pp. 114, 123and Floyd Gray, "Structure and Meaning in the Prologue to the Llvre '" LjEsprit Createur, 3, No. 2 (Summer, 1963 ), Erasmus, Opera Omnia , ed. J. Le clerc, 10 vols (Leyden, 1703-6), X, 1454F-1455A, cited by Kaiser, p.95. 18 Epistle 1342, Opus e pistolarum Desiderii Erasmi (Basel, 1529), cited by John Joseph Mangan , The Life. Gha rII ^i^ — nfluence of Erasmus o f Rotterdam (New York, 1927 ), 19 • Desidenus Erasmus, Opus epistolarum. ed . p q H. M. Allen (Oxford, 1906-34), x/l30, cited by Kaiseh p. 104. 20 . 1)0031(5 M. Frame, Montaigne's Discovery of M am The humanization of a Humanist (New York, 1955, rpt. 1967), p. 58. 21 Cited in Montaigne's Essay s and Selected Writ-i nns. P n n o rS vo — . / » -r trans. and ed. Donald M. Frame (New York, 1963), p. 447 . 22 H onlaic f ne ' s Essays , trans. Charles Cotton, 3 vols. (London, 1738), H, 191-2. ! have used this eighteenth century edition throughout because it is the one Colley Cibber Tfipq P r ^ abl y read Cotton's translation first appeared in 1685. It was evidently popular. Supplanting the older translation by John Florio, it appeared in seven editions before Cibber's Apology was published. 23 R. A. Sayce, The Es says of Montaigne: A Critica l E xploration (Gerrards Cross, England, 1972), p. 175 . 2 4 01ivier Naudeau# La Pensee de Montaigne et la Gompn.^ i t ion des Essais (Geneva, 1972 ) , p. 3. See also Frame, Mo ntaigne's Discovery of Man : T h e Humanization of a Humanist . 25 0 Sayce, pp. 327-8. 26 Naudeau, p. 4.

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73 27 Bowen, pp. 121-40. 28 M II » 6, Of the Inconstancy of our Actions." 2 Q III, 306, "Of Physiognomy." 30 1/ 376, "Of Vain Subtilities." 31 III, 306, "Of Physiognomy." 32 Sayce , p. 176. 1% , 1 33DOn i a , 1 7 d M * Frame ' Montaignej A Biography (New York, ly65), p. 177. 34 II, 358, "Of Presumption." 35 I, 158, "Of the Education of Children." 36 v J v CO ?Qo!^ tlin ' ed " — S E ssa V s of Michel de Monte ignP (New York, 1934), pp. lxxx-lxxxi. 37, Frame , Montaigne; A Biography , p . 257. 38, . llllp Paul Ha H ie , Montaig ne and Philosophy as .q P if Portraiture , Monday Evening Papers; No. 9 (Center for Advanced Studies, Wesleyan University, 1966), p. 3. 39 Zeitlin, pp. lxxx , xcvii-xcix, 40. Bowen, p. 115. Donald M. Frame, Montaigne's Essais; A Studv (Englewood Cliffs, N. J. , 1969), p. 51. 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 III, 336, "Of Physiognomy." Ibid. , p. 334. IT, 106, "Of Cruelty." Ill, 334, "Of Physiognomy." II, 106, "Of Cruelty." III, 336, "Of Physiognomy." "Of Presumption." II, 365,

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74 50 p. lxxx. 51 III, 332, "of Physiognomy." Frame ' Monta igne's Essais: A Stndv . p. 49; Zeitlin, III, 256, "Of Vanity." 52 III, 290, "Of Managing the Will." ~^III, 252, "Of Vanity." 5455 56 57 58 59 60 61 III, 88, "Of Books." II, 365, "Of Presumption." II, 390, "Giving the Lye." I, 154, "Of the Education of Children." II, 87, "Of Books." I, 107, Of the Force of Imagination." i / 1/ Of Profit and Honesty. " Erasmus, p. 116.

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CHAPTE-R III COLLEY CIBBER, BRANDED A FOOL, ELECTS TO DEFEND HIMSELF DRAWING ON THE PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION AS IT IS SEEN IN THE MORIAE ENCOMIUM . THE TIERS LIVRE . AND THE ESSAIS In 1740 Colley Cibber wrote a book which was, as I shall show, a new addition to the praise of folly tradition. In An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber . Folly was again praising herself, as she had done in Erasmus' Moriae Encomium , but Folly was now represented not by an allegorical figure, but by a living man, Cibber himself. Yet Cibber's book is not an autobiography in the usual sense; the "Cibber" portrayed in it is closer to the stereotype of the fool seen in Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne than to the historical Colley Cibber. Cibber s decision to portray himself as a fool in his memoirs may have been inspired by the barrage of abuse that had followed him in his career. He had never been very popular. Even comparatively early in his career, he had been the subject of criticism, but in 1717, the year he wrote the NonJuror , the attacks began in earnest. 1718 saw the publication of two hostile pamphlets on his NonJuror , and Pope was among those offended by this piece of anti-Catholic prop2 aganda. In 1717 Pope's and Gay's play Three Hours After Marriage contained a character, Plotwell, evidently intended 75

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76 as a satire on Cibber's playwriting . 3 Cibber, with evident good-humor, played the part of Plotwell himself. Critics did not always confine themselves to criticizing CibberÂ’s work. His personal life, too, came under attack, and one newspaper accused him of shamefully neglecting his daughter. 4 That Cibber felt these and other attacks may be seen by his bitter preface to X imena , published in 1719, in which he complains that his plays have met with a cold reception because of his personal unpopularity. The following year Cibber was the victim of a heated attack by John Dennis, who portrayed him as an atheistic monster. After this, Nathaniel Mist began devoting more space in his newspaper to attacks on Cibber, ridiculing him and criticizing his management of the Drury Lane Theatre. Mist's attacks were widely read and seem to have contributed to the difficulties Cibber's theatre had during the 1720's. 5 m 1728 Pope aimed a barrage of criticism at Cibber in Peri Bathous : or of the Art of Sinking in Poetry . in this scriblerian work a couple of Cibber's more comically inept phrases are ridiculed, it is suggested that he is a plagiarist, and he is accused of having a low and sometimes indecent style (chs.6, 12,13). Afewmonths later. Pope attacked Cibber in the first edition of The Dunciad . Although Cibber did not, in this version, play the important role he did in the later versions, he did come in for assorted swipes at his writing, his personal life, and his

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77 management of Drury Lane. That same year, as Cibber relates in his Apoloqy , a good deal of public animosity was vented on him when he was accused of preventing the performance of John Gay's new play, Polly . The attacks on Cibber reached a crescendo when, in 1730, he was appointed poet laureate. Now his badly written odes to the king, performed to music twice a year at court and widely disseminated in the town, made him a highly visible, almost irresistible target. Pope wrote two epigrams and an article on the subject of the laureateship for the Grub St . J ournal , and from this time on his attacks on Cibber grew more frequent and more vehement. Six of the sixteen imitations of Horace contain satirical swipes at either Cibber or his son. Norman Ault suggests that Pope's animosity was directly caused by Cibber's abominable odes, which regularly lacerated Pope s sensibilities . ^ The year Cibber won the laureateship also marked the beginning of Fielding's attacks on him. For the next decade, in The Author's Farce, Histori cal Register for 1736 , and Pasguin , Fielding assailed Cibber with gibes that had become standard, ridiculing his shamelessness, his playwriting, his revisions of old plays, his odes, and his management of the theatre. When Cibber sat down to write his Ap ology , criticisms had been raining on him for twenty years. He had three important enemies in Mist, Pope, and Fielding, all of whom were persistently ridiculing

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78 him to large audiences. The laureateship, which must have pleased his snobbish heart mightily with its giving him a place at court and an entree into high society, had proved a mixed blessing and brought with it more attacks than ever. In writing his Apology , Cibber evidently decided to disarm his critics by pretending to accept their ridicule. He admists to using this technique in a couple of pamphlets published after his Apology The Egoist , almost certainly written by Cibber, 7 quotes verses asserting that Cibber has made himself invulnerable to critics by confessing his faults. That a man should not be ridiculed for faults he confesses was the conventional wisdom of the time. 8 In addition to admitting his faults, Cibber tried to turn the criticism upon itself by transforming a pejorative epithet into an honorable title. If he was to be called a fool, well, then, he would show that a fool was a good thing to he. The Egoist describes this approach to criticism. When the questioner asks Cibber why he is "so fond of being an avowed Blockhead," he responds, "i don't insist upon the Title] I am full as willing to pass for a Man of Sense; but when People won't let me, what have I to do but (like other Blockheads) think well of myself? (p. 35). The technique of transforming criticism into a compliment is clearly spelled OUt in AJ^tter from Mr. Cib ber to Mr. Pome , published in 1742. Cibber quotes an epigram calling him a fool and

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79 comments. But hold. Master Cibber I why may not you as well turn this pleasant Epigram into an involuntary Compliment? for a king's Fool was nobody's Fool but his Master's." 9 He goes on to draw on the traditional notion of the wise fool. Those Fools of old if Fame says true, Were chiefly chosen for their Wit; Why then, call'd Fools? because, like you. Dear Pope , too bold in shewing it. (p. 20) Cibber did not attempt to deal with every one of the diverse criticisms made of him. He focused his attention on the oft repeated accusation that he was a fool. This was a natural strategy for he was famous for his creations of the roles of fools on stage and his enemies had often made use of this in their gibes. It was an obvious comparison for critics to make the man and the roles he played. A couplet in Pope s Dunciad contends that, though his stage portrayal of the fop was faulty, in his life he played the role well (11. 187-192). The pamphlet Sawney and Colley identified him with his stage roles, and Fielding, commenting on the Apolog^, said "he calls it only an apology for the life of one who hath played a very comical part, which, though theatrical, hath been acted on a much larger stage than Drury Lane." 11 Cibber himself evidently felt he was so closely identified with his stage roles that the audience sometimes failed to distinguish between the roles and his real character. Sir Richard Steele put forth this idea in his essays on the

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80 theatre, and in the Apology Cibber says of his playing villains, "I knew it would not recommend me to the Favour of the common People," 13 for, as he says elsewhere, the vulgar are "apt to think all before them real, and rate the Actor according to his borrow'd Vice, or Virtue." 14 Early in his Apology, he promises to distinguish his stage character from his real character and satisfy the spectators' curiosity about his private personality. A Man who has pass'd above Forty Years of his Life upon a Theatre, where he has never appear'd to be Himself, may have naturally excited the Curiosity of his Spectators to know what he really was, when in no body's Shape but his own; and whether he, who by his Profession had so long been ridiculing his Benefactors, might not, when the Coat of his Profession was off, deserve to be laugh'd at himself. (p. 3) Certainly Cibber's self-portrait does bear little resemblance to the characters he played on stage. The fools Cibber played so successfully on stage were fops, full of fashionable affectations, inordinately concerned with their clothes and physical appearance. Of this character there is scarcely a trace m the A pology . Neither is the self-portrait a trueto-lif e picture of Cibber. Rather it is the portrait of a fool after the fashion of Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne. One prominent characteristic that allies Cibber's selfportrait with the fools written about by Erasmus and Rabelais is his heedlessness of consequences. As he himself puts it, "A giddy Negligence always possess'd me . ... The unskilful

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81 openness, or in plain Terms, the Indiscretion I have always acted with from my Youth, has drawn more ill-will towards me, than Men of worse Morals and more Wit might have met with" (pp. 5-6). If we are to believe Cibber's self-portrait, he bumbled through his life almost bereft of judgment, being driven first one way then another by his passions. His entrance to the stage, the beginning of an illustrious and profitable career, was due to an "inconsiderate Folly" (p. 45), the result of having an "unthinking head" (p. 36). Going on the stage, marrying, and turning poet were all, according to him, results of his carelessness of the consequences and were sheer folly. One might think, that the Madness of breaking, from the Advice, and Care of Parents, to turn Player, could not easily be exceeded: But what think you. Sir, of Matrimony? which, before I was Two-andtwenty, I actually committed. ... if after this, to complete my Fortune, I turn'd Poet too, this last Folly, indeed, had something a better Excuse-Necessity. (p. 107) In his autobiography, Cibber perfectly fits Erasmus' description of the fool, who "goes hand over head, leaps before he looks, and so ventures through the most hazardous undertaking without any sense or prospect of danger. Generally, it is ungoverned passion that makes Cibber and other fools precipitate. The passion-driven fool is perhaps best exemplified by Rabelais's Panurge, but Cibber's precipitousness also, though less obviously, springs from

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82 passion. As he himself says, he could never waste his time trying to be wise, because his "Appetites were in too much haste to be happy" (p. 2). In this, he also fits Erasmus' description of a fool, for in Erasmus* words, folly is "nothing else but the being hurried by passion. "I 6 The precipitousness of the fool need not always, however, be attributed purely to ungoverned appetites. Rabelais's simple-minded judge, Bridlegoose, can make his decisions by casting lots because he believes he is watched over by providence. The fool's heedlessness can be an act of faith. Even when he is driven by appetites, God may bring good out of his foolish actions, for as Pantagruel says, "it is usual . . . with him whose ways are inscrutable, to manifest his own ineffable glory in blunting the perspicacity of the eyes of the wise." 17 Sometimes Cibber's folly seems akin to Bridlegoose's. He more than once expresses wonder that providence has overseen his life in spite of himself, 18 suggesting that like other fools, he is under the special care of God. The heedlessness that so pervades the fool's life may also be seen in his speech and writing. The fool's customary style is e x tempore . Though this mode of writing and speaking is by no means limited to the fool, it is especially well suited to him, since, in Erasmus' words, "Whatever the fool has in his heart he betrays it in his face; or . . . discovers xt by his words." 19 The manner of writing, uncalculated and

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83 uncritical, is a natural effect of foolishness. Erasmus' Folly speaks e x tempore because, she says, "it was always my humour constantly to speak that which lies uppermost ." 20 For her it is the natural way to proceed. Rabelais's narrator in the Tiers Livre appears to achieve the same effect artificially by making himself foolish with drink. He declares that he does not know what he will write until he has drunk some wine ; 21 he is completely dependent on the wine for his inspiration, and, after drinking, the sentences simply roll out merrily as if by themselves. Montaigne also declares that he writes g_x tempore . "I have no other Officer to put my Writings in Rank and File but only Fortune," he says. "As Things come into my Head, I heap them one upon another ... I am content that every one should see my natural and ordinary Pose, as ill as it is ." 22 These similar sounding statements in the writings of Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne cannot be taken to be genuine descriptions of the writer's method. Though Erasmus' Folly calls her oration a "hodge-podge medley ," 23 it follows the traditional rules for the order of encomia and has no more digressions than classical orators considered proper. In the case of Montaigne, as he explains in "Of Vanity," his method is not so much digressive as it is elliptical. Like a poet, Montaigne expects his reader to make the connections between ideas. Still, the connections are logical

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84 ones, called forth by the material. Their order is not merely a reflection of Montaigne's wayward fancy. Of the three, Rabelais comes closest to having a truly ex tempore or digressive style. The Tiers Livre , in this respect, is a departure from the more conventional writing in the first and second books of Gargantua and Pantacrruel . and the narrator s statement that it was written under the influence of alcohol serves to prepare the reader for the looser style. But Cibber, more obviously even than Rabelais, embraced the "foolish" ex tempore manner in writing. That this method is an extension of his assumed role as fool is evident from his statement at the beginning of the book. "I hope," he says, . . .[the public] will not expect a Man of my hasty Head shou'd confine [this work] to any regular Method" (p. 4). Cibber calls attention to his digressions with such remarks as "To conclude this Digression" (p. 211), "i have done with my Digression" (p. 319), "let this Digression avail what it may (p. 241), and, "All this ... is leading my Reader out of the way" (p. 202). The frequency of the digressions is apparently intended to give the impression that Cibber is recording his thoughts just as they come to him, or perhaps trying to give the Apology the flavor of a soliloquy. Consider the following passage: from whence I shall lead them to our Second Union in— Hold! let me see— ay, it was in that memorable

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85 Year, when the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland were made one. And I remember a Particular, that confirms me I am right in my Chronology; for the Play of Hamlet being acted soon after. . . . (p. 173 ) Such a passage is clearly designed to indicate artlessness in arrangement. At another point he says, "Since I am got so far into this Subject, you must give me leave to go thro 1 all I have a mind to say upon it; because I am not sure, that in a more proper Place, my Memory may be so full of it" (p. 24). In the same vein is his statement, "Though, I believe, I may have said something like this, in a former Chapter, I am not unwilling it should be twice taken notice of (p. 255). He writes as if revision were unheard of. His thoughts are arranged on paper just as they are arranged in his mind, so the connections between them may at times be quite eccentric. The reader is to have the impression that Cibber writes without guile, that whatever he has in his heart he "discovers by his words." In his writing, as in other parts of his life, he is governed by passion. "Whenever I speak of any thing that highly delights me," he says, "I find it very difficult to keep my Words within the Bounds of Common Sense: Even when I write too, the same Failing will sometimes get the better of me (p. 31). He echoes the same thought when accounting for a nonsensical comment on one of Mrs. Oldfield's performances. "You may well ask me," he says, "How could I possibly

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86 commit such a Wantonness to Paper? And I owe myself the Shame of confessing, I have no Excuse for it, but that, like a Lover in the Fulness of his .Content, by endeavouring to be floridly grateful, I talk'd Nonsense" (p. 32). Such passions as Cibber confesses to, however, do not lead him into sins of anger, lust, or covetousness. He invests his self-portrait with a sizable dollop of the innocence which Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne had attributed to certain fools. Erasmus had seen natural idiots and wholehearted Christians as partaking of this innocence. Rabelais had given it to Bridlegoose, the simple-minded judge, and Montaigne had seen it in the ignorant aborigines of the New World. Cibber attempted the more difficult task of convincing the reader that he himself, a successful actor and theatrical manager, was a foolish innocent. My Ignorance, and want of Jealousy of Mankind has been so strong," he says, "that it is with Reluctance I even yet believe any Person, I am acquainted with, can be capable of Envy, Malice, or Ingratitude" (p. 6). Since, in the course of his narrative, Cibber recounts a number of examples of these deplorable motives working in others, the reader is evidently expected to believe that his blindness to such frailty comes not so much from ignorance as from purity of heart. When he describes a gentleman of his acquaintance in glowing terms, he admits only, "If I

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87 were capable of Envy, what I have observ'd of this Gentleman would certainly incline me to it" (p. H ) . The self-love which Erasmus had held to be a central characteristic of the fool, which Pantagruel had diagnosed as Panurge s chief problem, and which Montaigne had owned having a fair share of, is heavily emphasized in Cibber's self-portrait. He repeatedly returns to the theme of vanity, and while he maintains that vanity is a failing shared by all men, he does not hesitate to portray his own as having heroic proportions. Describing his entry onto the stage, he says, And, tho it may be as ridiculous, as incredible, to tell you what a full Vanity, and Content, at that time possess'd me, I will still make it a Question, whether Alexander himself, or Charles the Twelfth of Sweden , when at the Head of their first victorious Armies, could feel a greater Transport, in their Bosoms, than I did in mine, when but in the Rear of this Troop of Comedians. (p.107) It is his vanity, he maintains, that is the root of his goodnatured response to all criticism. Describing his response to unfavorable treatment in daily papers, he says, "Shall I be sincere? and own my Frailty? its usual Effect is to make me vain! For ... if I were quite good for nothing, these Pidlers in Wit would not be concern'd to take me to pieces" (p. 25). How factual is Cibber's portrait of himself as the perfect fool? was he indeed a good-natured, innocent, and harmlessly vain man, a man so secure in his own good opinion

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88 that he was completely unruffled by criticism? The evidence is that he differed significantly from his self-portrait in the Apology . One of Cibber's prime contentions in his Apology is that he is immune to criticism. Certainly it is true that he had a public reputation for shamelessness. In 1734, Henry Fieldin g' s Author 1 s Farce ridiculed Cibber by having "Marplay, Sr." say about hisses and catcalls, "Harmless music, child, very harmless music, and what, when one is well seasoned to it, has no effect at all." 24 in fact, Cibber was not so invulnerable to criticism as he would have had others believe. As early as 1719, in his preface to Ximena , he had shown resentment of his unpopularity and had attributed the failure of some of his plays to "a certain low latent malice" in human nature. Although he tried to appear unconcerned about criticism in his Apology , his biographer, Richard Hindry Barker, has pointed out that in it he strikes back at his principal critics, Mist, Fielding, and Pope. 2 ~^ Indeed, he struck back so fiercely at Fielding that one scholar who has analyzed the Cibber-Fielding conflict says that Fielding's sharpest personal attacks on Cibber were spurred by Cibber's criticism of him in the Apology . 2 ^ Furthermore , when Pope attacked Cibber anew in the New Dunciad , Cibber responded with a truly vicious attack on Pope, giving evidence that Pope's shafts had hit home. 27

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89 Cibber's true vanity, however, was well-known. Dr. Johnson once remarked that "by arrogating to himself too much" Cibber was "in danger of losing that degree of estimation to which he was entitled. Fielding ridiculed Cibber's vanity in the Historical Register for the Year 1736 (Act III), when he had Ground— Ivy (Cibber) explain how he planned to convince the public that they should accept his "improvements" on Shakespeare. "I'll tell them that no Actors are equal to me, and no Authors ever were superior," he says. Indications that these accusations of vanity were well-founded may be found in the Apology , where at times Cibber's vanity seems to pop out undesignedly . The example often quoted by his contemporaries is the following passage: Had she [Fortune] favour'd my Father's first Designation of me, he might then, perhaps, have had as sanguine hopes of my being a General, when I first took Arms, at the Revolution. Nay, after that, I had a third Chance too, equally as good, of becoming an Under-propper of the State. (p. 34) Since elsewhere he ridicules his hopes of being a general, however, it is possible that this passage was meant ironically, even though his enemies interpreted it in the worst light. A more solid example is the passage in which he goodhumoredly makes fun of his enjoyment in talking about himself, "A Privilege," he says, "which neither cou'd be allow'd me, nor wou d become me to take, in the Company I am generally admitted to (p. 18). Even in the midst of modestly admitting

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90 his vanity, he cannot resist slipping in an allusion to his mixing in high society. His admission of vanity, then, seems to be based on fact, though he seems to have intended that his confessions of vanity would be construed as a kind of modesty. At one point he says, "To say we have no Vanity then, is shewing a great deal of it; as to say we have a great deal, cannot be shewing so much" (p. 300). Cibber s claim to be good-natured is more tenuous than his claim to innocent vanity. He was often criticized for his ill-natured treatment of aspiring playwrights. Thomas Davies, a contemporary of Cibber, says of him, "Various complaints were continually circulated, in the prints, of his pride and impertinence to authors, especially to the youngest of them, whom he termed singing-birds , which he was fond of choking. 1 He was said to be gratuitously unpleasant in re. , q n jectmg a script. One anecdote relates that in 1711-12 he rudely rejected a manuscript after glancing at only the first few lines. Then he hurried to Button's coffee house and laughingly described the incident to his well-born friend. Colonel Henry Brett. Brett was unamused and after being frankly critical of his actions left Cibber, who tried to conceal his confusion by pretending to read a newspaper. 31 This sort of behavior won Cibber few friends, and it was said that he was generally disliked by the other actors of his 32 One contemporary reported that Cibber was "always company.

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91 at the success of others / 11 and said that on stage he makes all his fellow actors uneasy. "33 qj-j the other hand/ when in high society, Cibber was thought to be very agreeable 34 and remarkably entertaining, which he must have been to be so often included. In telling the story of how he won the animosity of his schoolmates when young, Cibber attributes their ill-will towards him to his innocent ignorance of their feelings; but while he may have had a certain natural lack of tact, his success with his betters and his unpleasantness to those in his power indicate that he was not so much ignorant of how to make himself pleasant as he was a person with a good share of malice who habitually vented it on his subordinates. While not notoriously vicious, Cibber had acquired the common faults of the Restoration rake, faults which were rapidly going out of fashion in the ever more sentimental eighteenth century. Though in his Apology he admits to and defends a concern for clothes, he conceals other less congenial vices. He was addicted to gambling for high stakes, and Davies reports that he had been known to lose every shilling and then heard to cry out, '"Now I must go home and eat a child. According to two accounts he was equally addicted 3 6 to swearing. He was known to have fought more than one 37 duel in his youth, and he had "intrigues," which he looked on as a natural part of the life of a gentleman. An amusing

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92 account of the collision between Cibber's old style morality and the increasingly dominant middle-class morality of Samuel Richardson is related in one of Richardson's letters. Did I ever tell you, madam, of the contention I had with Mr Cibber about the character of a good man, which he undertook to draw; and to whom, at setting out, he gave a mistress? ... a male-virgin' said he— -ha, ha, ha, ha I when I made my objections to the mistress, and she was another man's wife, too, but ill-used by her husband; and yesterday in company, some of which he never was in before, that he was distinguishing upon a moderate rake ... by urging that men might be criminal without being censurable! A doctrine that he had no doubt about and to which he declared that none but divines and prudes would refuse to subscribe to J— Bless me] thought I, and is this knowing the world? — What an amiable man was Mr B— in Pamela in this light ! 38 The same light is shed on Cibber's private character in a letter from Laetitia Pilkington pleading that Richardson end C l arissa Harlowe without the heroine's being raped. Her strongest point is that such an ending wounds even her and Mr. Cibber, when "neither of us set up for immaculate chastity ." 39 Although Cibber doubtless believed that his vices might be classed among harmless "follies," there is no mention of them in the Apology , perhaps because they would dispel the air of innocence he wished to create. He took pains to portray himself as naive, an attempt Fielding ridiculed in Joseph Andrews . ... . He [Parson AdamsJ did no more than Mr. Colley Cibber apprehend any such passions as malice and envy to exist m mankind; which was indeed less remarkable m a country parson than in a gentleman who hath

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93 passed his life behind the scenes, — a place which hath been seldom thought the school of innocence, and where a very little observation would have convinced the great apologist that those passions have a real existence in the human mind. (I. iii) The character Cibber had created for himself in his Apology bears some resemblance to his real character, but despite his many protestations of complete frankness, it is more an artful construction than a reflection of simple reality. This is perhaps why Cibber's Apology so rarely has the kind of genuine introspection that is now associated with autobiographies. For all his musing on "vanity," "good nature, innocence" reflections that might be thought to expose his true thoughts — his self-portrait remains a literary construction. It is to the tradition of fool literature rather than to Cibber's private character that one must look for the source of Cibber's self-portrait of the amiable fool. The praise of folly tradition can also be seen in Cibber s defense of his follies, for he not only takes care to portray himself as a fool, he engages in a lengthy and sophisticated defense of folly, most of which is very similar to defenses written by Erasmus and Montaigne. Erasmus had self-love "but the elder sister (as it were) of Folly, and her own constant friend and assistant ." 40 It is not surprising, then, that his Folly praises self-love. Rabelais made self-love one of the chief faults of his worldly fool. Panurge; but only with Montaigne, who, like Cibber, portrayed

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94 himself as foolish, does a serious defense of the fool's self-love arise. He paraphrases Plautus' " Mihi nempe valere . ^ — i vere doctus saying, "To love myself I very well can tell,/So as to live and to be well . " 4 ^ Montaigne took no pains to disguise his self-love. Sayce speaks of his revealing "more than a suggestion of self-love, indeed of narcissism," in parts of the self-portrait , 4 ^ and in "Of Presumption" Montaigne confesses outright that he has a plentiful amount of affection for himself. Speaking of this peculiar Affection," he says, "All that others distribute amongst an infinite Number of Friends and Acquaintance, to their Glory and Grandeur , I dedicate to the Repose of my own Mind, and to myself ..." (II, 382). Montaigne was no doubt conscious that his evident selflove left him open to criticism, and perhaps it was on this account that, as Frame has pointed out, he was much concerned with the question of how much affection and care a man properly owes himself. At one point he says that the person who knows what he owes to himself and acts on that knowledge has attained the height of human wisdom. 44 Though he believes it is difficult to be a good friend to oneself, Montaigne thinks that self-love has a proper place in a man's and he defends it in several ways. He asserts that a man has a right to live sometimes for himself, to be interested only in himself and his thoughts, to dedicate himself

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95 to his own "Ease, and Repose ." 45 it was out of such selfabsorption that Montaigne sought to gain self-knowledge, for his own sake . 46 in his view, self-love need not interfere with this self-knowledge. Differing from the more conventional view, he distinguishes between self-love and selfapproval. He argues that though he has more than the usual amount of affection for himself this does not interfere with his judgment for, even so, he is fully alive to his faults and has a low opinion of himself . 47 Rather than interfering with self-knowledge, the intense self-absorption, which grows in part out of his affection for himself, actually fosters self-knowledge . Cibber s defense of self-love has more in common with Erasmus' than with Montaigne's, but he was akin to Montaigne m hls def endmg a life of self-absorption. Unlike Montaigne, he admitted that self-love blinds a man to his faults, but Cibber transmutes this quality into an Epicurean virtue because it enables a man to be aloof from the world and enjoy his own happiness. This similarity in Montaigne's and Cibber s ideas of the best way to live is directly connected with their both portraying themselves as fools. Since each of them portrays himself as "foolish," that is, limited in perception of the truth and ill-equipped to prescribe behavior for other men, public and social duty become less important. As Epicurus advised that men retreat from the

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96 world when it had become so hopelessly corrupt that they could not make their influence felt, so Montaigne and Cibber saw retreat from the world as befitting a man because he is weak by nature. Self-sufficiency, rather than leadership in the world, is the fitting role for the fool. Fundamentally, Cibber rested his case for self-love on the assertion that it was conducive to happiness, thus using Folly's favorite argument. He preferred not to know his faults, he said, since that would only make him unhappy. Paraphrasing Horace, he said Me, while my laughing Follies can deceive. Blest in the dear Delirium let me live. Rather than wisely know my Wants, and grieve. (p. 14) The lines are a translation from Horace's Epistolarum, Libre II. 2., 126-8, from which Erasmus quoted lines 132-5 and both Erasmus and Montaigne quoted lines 138-40. Cibber's use of the epistle need not, however, have been suggested by either of these writers, for this Horatian poem was popular during the eighteenth century and was frequently quoted. In her survey of Horace's influence, Caroline Goad cites seven instances in which Cibber's contemporaries had quoted the poem; and, though in only one of these cases did the writer quote the same lines Cibber chose, most of the writers were concerned with the question of the pleasures of illusion. ^8 That happiness lay in self-deception was a common enough idea in Cibber's time, its most famous formulation being Swift's

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97 ironic statement that felicity was " the Possession of being w ell-deceived ; the Serene Peaceful State of being a Fool 49 among Knaves." For the most part, however, the idea was treated playfully and only briefly. Cibber chose to make it the center of his self-defense in the Apology , and he drew on another bit of common lore about the fool when he defended foolishness by asserting that most of mankind are fools. "if this be Weakness," he says, " defendit numerus . I have such comfortable Numbers on my side, that were all Men to blush, that are not Wise, I am afraid, in Ten, Nine Parts of the World ought to be out of Countenance" (p. 2). This assertion is found in Erasmus, Rabelais, and almost wherever else fools are mentioned. In addition to arguing that vanity makes a man happy, as Erasmus had argued, Cibber maintains that the man who appears to be modest is only a hypocrite, for all men are vain. For though to hide it may be Wisdom," he says, "to be without it is impossible; and where is the Merit of keeping a Secret, which every Body is let into?" (p. 300). Erasmus' Folly had maintained that self-love is the root of kindness to one s neighbor, and, taking a similar tack, Cibber asks, Do we not find, that even good Actions have their Share of it?" (p. 300). m Cibber's view, self-love is a fundamental characteristic of human nature. He compares it to nakedness, whxch , though men may cover themselves, all have in common.

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98 It is the humbling common denominator of wise man and fool, for "Vanity is of all Complexions; 'tis the growth of every Clime, and Capacity" (pp. 300-1). For the most part, Cibber's defense of vanity is, like Folly s arguments, a clever defense of a recognized vice. He broadens its definition so that even wise men can be accused of being vain. He contends that all men are guilty of it, so it should not be condemned. He looks at its positive side, pointing out the good that comes from it. And he gives a novel perspective on it by asserting that it is the ground for unshakable happiness. Unlike Folly, however, he spoils the pure foolishness" of his argument by acknowledging the truth of the conventional thought about vanity, that one should avoid all appearance of vanity if he wished to keep his fellows from hating him (pp. 21-2). Though he acknowledges the wisdom of this, however, he does not assert that he is able to follow the dictates of wisdom, and instead leaves the reader with a picture of himself as a foolish coxcomb bubbling over with vanity at every turn and unable to hide it. He does not hesitate to portray himself as a buffoon. Another way in which Cibber follows arguments seen in other praisers of folly is in his asserting that folly is a likable quality. Using the same argument Erasmus and Rabelais had used, he asserts that he is a good companion not in

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99 spite of his foolishness, but because of it. I can no more put off my Follies, than my Skin; • _ • • nor am 1 sure my Friends are displeased with them; for, besides that in this Light I afford them frequenc matter of Mirth, they may possibly be less uneasy at their own Foibles, when they have so old a Precedent to keep them in countenance. u He is much interested in the "art of complaisance," or how to make oneself agreeable. Some pages of the Apology read almost like a courtesy book, as when he commends the gentleman whose Ideas are always adapted to the Capacity and Taste of the Person he speaks to, " whose expression is "easy, short, and clear," and who does not monopolize the conversation (p. 9). He commends the manners of a certain witty gentleman of pleasure and of a good-humored man of business, speaking of their several virtues in conversation and praising, above all, their unfailing good-nature. He praises tolerance of the faults of others and an ability to laugh, rather than rail, at the world; and he suggests that he himself has these virtues. But though he places a high value on the social virtues and on giving and taking pleasure in the company of others, he calls these pleasures "fooleries," not virtues. One is reminded of Folly's contention that it is not wisdom, but folly, that enables a man to live happily with his family and friends. Cibber counts as "follies" all amusements, as does Erasmus Folly. Defined this way, folly is almost indispensable

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100 socially, but more important, it is that which is most truly human. To amuse oneself is to "unbend," and be oneself, and, though a man may be greater or wiser than his fellows, when he is amusing himself he has a great deal in common with them. "Nature has distinguish'd our Species from the mute Creation, by our Risibility" (p. 17), Cibber says, echoing an old commonplace. Amusement is so fundamentally human that the Wisest, or Greatest Man, is very near an unhappy Man, if the unbending Amusements I am contending for, are not sometimes admitted to relieve him" (p. 17). Ths importance of Cibber s assertion that amusements are the really essential ingredient in happiness and that in amusement all human beings are equal lies in the way such an assertion raises the fool s stature. While the didactics of the Middle Ages had seen the fool as a defective man, Cibber seeks to place him in the center of what is most human. Above all else, the fool portrayed by Cibber is frivolously happy. He does not go so far as to claim for the fool the highest happiness, for "in all the Dispensations of Providence, the Exercise of a great and virtuous Mind is the most elevated State of Happiness" (p. 17), but if providence has not granted the fool a great and virtuous mind, it has given him a plentiful supply of follies, and they will insure his happiness. I look upon my Follies as the best part of my

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101 Fortune, Cibber says (p. 14), and that is because they are his source of happiness. If I can please myself with my own Follies, have not I a. plentiful Provision for Life? If the World thinks me a Trifler, I don't desire to break in upon their Wisdom; let them call me any Fool, but an Unchearful one! I live as I write; while my Way amuses me, it's as well as I wish it. (p. 13) It is difficult to determine whether Cibber actually read Erasmus, Rabelais, or Montaigne, for their ideas were widely disseminated. Though Cibber's portrait of himself is very close to Erasmus' characterization of Folly, for instance, there is no evidence that Cibber actually read Erasmus. Cibber's writings are less similar to Rabelais's than to Erasmus' and, except within the Scriblerus circle, Rabelais was not popular in England at this time and was not often 51 read. Cibber is closest to Montaigne. In the Apology , Ci-tb^r himself suggested the comparison when, in defending his vanity, he asserted that Montaigne, though vain, was entertaining (p. 301 ) , and at times he seems to echo not merely the sentiments, but the words of Cotton 's Montaigne. Both Montaigne and Cibber profess to have the fool's complacence about their ignorance. Montaigne admits, "I could wish to have a more perfect Knowledge of Things, but I will not buy it so dear as it will cost. My Design is to pass over easily, and not laboriously, the Remainder of my Life. There is nothing that I will break my Brains about;

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102 no, not knowledge of what Price soever. Similarly, Cibber asks, is it a time of Day for me to leave off these Fooleries, and to set up a new Character? Can it be worth my while to waste my Spirits, to bake my Blood, with serious Contemplations, and perhaps impair my Health, in the fruitless Study of advancing myself into the better Opinion of those veryvery few Wise Men that are as old as I am?" (p. 12). Both, speaking as men in the twilight of life, describe the pursuit of knowledge as an activity of positive physical danger, one which will break your brains, to use Montaigne's words, or bake your blood, as Cibber says. Both smile at their own vanities as they write. Montaigne says, "I cannot but smile to think how I have paid myself in shewing the Foppery of this kind of Learning, who myself am so manifest an Example; for, do I not the same Thing throughout almost this whole 53 Treatise? ; and Cibber confesses, "It often makes me smile, to think how contentedly I have sate myself down, to write my own Life. ... This you will easily account for, when you consider, that nothing gives a Coxcomb more Delight, than when you suffer him to talk of himself; which sweet Liberty I here enjoy for a whole Volume together!" (p. 25). Both Montaigne and Cibber, in describing the intent of their writings, compare them to an artist's honest rendering of a face, in Montaigne's words an "old bald grizled Picture . . . where the Graver has not presented you with the perfect

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103 Face, but the Resemblance of mine" (I, 144). Cibber, too, speaks of his desire to "print off" a " Chiaro Oscnro of my Mind" (p. 3), "a true Portrait of my Mind" (p. 168), "my own , and not a good Picture, to shew as well the Weakness, as the Strength of my Understanding" (p. 7). They both express the opinion that the way they best reveal themselves is in their unamended writing of their opinions. Consequently, Montaigne says, "I speak my Opinion freely of all Things, even of those that, perhaps, exceed my Capacity . . . the Judgment I deliver, is to shew the Measure of my own Sight." 54 Similarly, Cibber says, "I pretend to talk of serious Matters, that may be judg d so far above my Capacity, " and contends that he does this because "as I have . . . promis'd, to give the Publick a true Portrait of my Mind, I ought fairly to let them see how far I am, or am not a Blockhead" (p. 168). Both Montaigne and Cibber say that what opinions they express are not intended to guide others but only to show what they themselves believe. Montaigne says, "I have no authority to be believ'd, neither do I desire it, being too conscious of my own Inerudition to be able to instruct others. He adds, "These are . . . but my own particular Opinions and Fancies, and I deliver them for no other, but only what I myself believe, and not for what is really to be believ d. Echoing the sentiment, Cibber says, "my Purpose ... is not to give Laws to others; but to shew by

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104 what Laws I govern myself" (p. 17). Because self-portraiture is their only purpose, they are the less concerned about the rightness of their opinions or the quality of what they write. Montaigne believes his writings will still serve as a self-portrait how inconsiderable soever these Essays of mine may be," 56 and Cibber says his "Reflections . . . whether flat or spirited, new or common, false or true, right or wrong ... will be still my own, and consequently like me" ( p. 6 ) . Both Montaigne and Cibber express a lively sense of the richness of entertainment to be found within oneself. Montaigne says, "Nature has presented us with a large Faculty of entertaining ourselves alone" (II, 391). Cibber, rather more fancifully, quotes an "old song," " My Mind my Mind is a Kingdom to me !" and comments, "If I can please myself with my own Follies, have not I a plentiful Provision for Life?" (p. 13). Taking a similar attitude towards their writing, both maintain that writing is amusing enough in itself for them to be indifferent about the reactions of their audience. As Montaigne puts it, "And tho ' no Body should read me, have I lost my Time in entertaining myself?" 5 ^ In a similar vein, Cibber says that even if he obtained neither fame nor profit and even if he failed to delight others, he would nevertheless write, for "the Amusement, at worst, will be a Reward that must constantly go along with the Labour" (pp. 2-3).

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105 Cibber is a true son of Montaigne in manifold ways, and his various defenses of folly suggest the influence of the other praisers of folly who came before him. When his Apol22 ^ is compared to the writings of Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne, however, one notices at once that certain qualities, evident perhaps in the older writers, seem strangely exaggerated in Cibber. Certain important trends in Cibber's time have left their mark on his praise of folly, accentuating some aspects of it and changing the significance of others . For example, although Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne all wrote their defenses of folly in a colloquial manner, Cibber's style seems even closer to speech than does theirs. While Erasmus ' Folly speaks directly to her listeners at the very beginning of her oration, she soon drops this manner, and the reader quickly forgets that she is addressing an audience. Rabelais, more than Erasmus or Montaigne, was inclined to address his audience as "Sir" or "Madam," but in Cibber s writing this habit is even more pronounced than in RabelaisÂ’s. Not only does Cibber use that favorite eighteenth century mode of address, "gentle Reader" (p. 315), he singles out particular members of his reading audience so that the audience occasionally functions like a character in his story. Discussing the opinions of the multitudes, he represents the average man as "Honest John Trott" and

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106 addresses him directly, saying, " Truly, Mr. Trott , I cannot but own, that I am very much of your Opinion" (p. 211). Another time, he singles out authors of plays. Reader, by your Leave — I will but just speak a Word, or two to any Author, that has not yet writ one Line of his next Play, and then I will come to my Point again — What I would say to him, is this — Sir, before. ... (p. 201) Or the "murmuring multitude, who frequent the Theatre" may be directly addressed (p. 206). Even when he does not address a part of the audience directly, he is constantly referring to them, imagining what sort of persons are reading the book and how they will react to a particular passage. The Apology is close to being a dialogue because Cibber is so aware of the audience. One very striking example of this is the occasion on which he imagines what ill-natured critics will say and incorporates a mock critique into the Apology . So thorough is this critique in its condemnation of the book that in fact it does anticipate things which were later said by critics . The imagined interchange between writer and reader was, perhaps, a natural consequence of the intimacy of informal, autobiographical writings. Anthony Shaftesbury, Lord Cooper, deplored the trend, pointing out that when the ancients wrote their memoirs "there was neither the l_ nor Thou throughout the whole Work. So that all this pretty Amour and Intercourse of Caresses between the Author and Reader was thus intirely

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107 taken away. 1,58 Shaftesbury could not be called a sympathetic observer of the “modern" devices, but he was acute about the way they worked. He said that first person addresses to the reader had two pernicious effects — they allowed the manipulation of the reader by emotion, an effect he compared to that of love letters, and they drew attention away from the subject of the discourse, focusing it on the writer himself . 59 Whether one regards it as pernicious or not, this is a fairly accurate description of the effect of Cibber's addresses to the reader. Besides this rhetorical device, there was a trend in his time that might give Cibber reason to hope that his peccadilloes would be regarded with a tolerant eye. There was a growing respect for the "humorist," an increasingly tolerate climate for eccentricity. Stuart M. Tave traces the beginning of this appreciation of "humors" to the following passage by Sir William Temple, in which he suggests that the genius of English comedy is rooted in the diverse humors of the English people, which springs in turn from the nature of the soil and climate of England: This may proceed from the native plenty of our soil, the unequalness of our climate, as well as the ease of our government and the liberty of professing opinions and factions. ... Plenty begets wantonness and pride; wantonness is apt to invent, and pride scorns to imitate; liberty begets a stomach or heart, and stomach will not be constrained. Thus we come to have more originals, and more that appear what they are; we have more humour, because every man follows his own, and takes pleasure, perhaps a pride to shew it .^ 9

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108 Tave reports that Temple's idea was immediately popular. Den nis, Congreve, Farquhar, Addison, and Steele were just a few of the writers who heartily supported Temple's theory. 61 The G uardian said, "there is scarce an Englishman of any Life and Spirit, that has not some odd Cast of Thought, some Original Humour, that distinguishes him from his Neighbor," 62 and the Spectator printed a letter saying, "'our Nation is more famous for that sort of Men who are called Whims and Humorists . than any other Country in the World.'" 63 This characteristic was credited not only with the superiority of English comedy, but also with keeping in English minds "an Aversion to Slavery. " The humor was "a standing Bulwark of . . . Liberties." 64 And not to be slighted was the tendency of the humorists to furnish a perpetual Change of Entertainment" and to make social interchange more gay and interesting. 65 A humor might be seen as a special natural aptitude or "genius." 66 At any rate, it was what was fundamental and natural to a man; hence, it could not be lightly condemned. Congreve defined it as " A_. singular and unavoidable manner of doing, or saving a . n y thing, — Peculiar an d Natural to one Man only; by which his Speech and Actions are distinguished from those of other — 3 n ' • it is distinguishable from affectation, which is a man s mask. " Affectation , shews what we would be," Congreve says. Humor, shews us as we are . "68 As the expression of a man s essential individuality, humor commanded respect in an atmosphere which idealized diversity. 6 ^

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109 Ta.ve regards Cibber s openness about bis eccentricities as a sign that humors were regarded not only with tolerance, but with approval : With a. comic figure like Sir Roger — a good— humor— ist We have arrived at something quite other than the humors of Jonson and Shadwell, this humorist is the friend of his creator . Humor is no longer the satirist's carrion, but the expression of good nature. People like Colley Cibber began to appear, parading their foibles, happy and complacent. (p. 104) E. N. Hooker comments on the general reluctance of people to be contemptuous of the follies of one another. 70 Though it was considered permissible to criticize affectations and behavior that clearly violated moral principles, the decent man was to regard other deviations from the ideal with goodnature . Indeed, good— nature was growing to be a fundamental virtue, and criticism of all kinds was beginning to be suspect. When William Darrell drew his portrait of the "virtuous and happy" gentleman, he was careful to exclude the man who, pretending to virtue, was happy to criticize others. I have seen a morose Zealot eternally harangue against the Corruption of the Age; all was wrong, all vicious that cross'd his sour Humour. One would have thought God had constituted him inspector General of Mankind; he kickt and flung after so unchristian a rate, 'twas dangerous to come within his reach. Now, though Scripture and Reason call this Sin , he mistook it (good Man) for Virtue. 71 A strong sense of the essential irrationality of human beings led some people to see criticism as futile in any case.

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110 La Bruy^re interpreted tolerance of humors as evidence that reform is despaired of, rather than as evidence of approval. "If we say of a cholerick, unsteady, quarrelsome, melancholy, formal, capricious person, 'tis his humor," he said, "this is not to excuse him, whatever we fancy; but owning, tho we don't think on it, that such great Vices are not to be remedy 'd. "^ 2 Cibber completely embraced, publicly at least, the ethic of tolerance and good— nature. He was fond of pointing out that men were slaves to their humors, and consequently often acted against their best interests. He judged this to be true of princes as well as theatrical managers and actors. One effect of this belief is that it leads him to portray himself and others as static characters governed by a fundamental temperament which causes them to act in the same characteristic fashion from infancy to old age. Another effect, however, is that it causes him to believe men exempt from criticism since they are unable to change themselves. When comparing his own temperament to that of a fellow actor, he says, "But let not this Observation either lessen his Merit, or lift up my own; since our different Tempers were not, in our Choice, but equally natural, to both of us" (p. 150). The effect that these notions would have on Cibber's willingness to portray himself as a harmless fool is obvious.

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Ill If humors, or follies, are not rightfully open to criticism, then there is no shame in exposing them. In a less direct way, this acceptance of eccentricity in personality might permit greater eccentricities in style for, to Cibber's mind, writing is merely a reflection of the writer's personality. He asks, does not every Man that writes, expose himself?" (p. 27 ) . ^kber s exceptionally lengthy defense of vanity is another element of his Apology that may have been shaped by the times in which he lived. His especial concern with vanity was doubtless related to the fact that vanity was one of his conspicuous personal faults, but it seems to have been affected as well by the simple fact that he was writing about himself. The autobiography was not yet a well-developed genre when Cibber was writing his Apology . Though the popularity of the informal essay, patterned after the autobiographical method of Montaigne, made writing about oneself commonplace, one gets the impression that the eighteenth century Englishman did not feel completely comfortable dwelling on his personal foibles. The Quakers (who wrote many of the autobiographies of the time) felt no need to justify their autobiographies, since this sort of personal accounting was encouraged by their religion, and a good many other religious autobiographies were unashamedly didactic; 73 but it was fairly common for secular writers to apologize for writing

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112 about themselves and to appeal to Montaigne as a precedent. In the Tatler , one finds the following justification: "it being a privilege asserted by Monsieur Montaigne and others, of vainglorious memory, that we writers of essays may talk of ourselves, I take the liberty." 74 A similar defense of personal remarks is found in Thomas Gordon's Humorist . to shew my Readers what a candid and impartial Person I am, I will, in this Disquisition, begin with myself, by bringing my own Heart first to the Bar, and trying it without Favour or Affection. I am willing that Mankind should gather Wisdom from my Weakness; and in this I but follow the Stile and Steps of old Mich. Montaign , who, in his Essays, tattled more about that queer Body and Mind of his, than about all the World beside; so much had he set his Heart upon himself. . . . 75 Cibber at first defends his talking about himself by main— taining that since his life was spent in the public eye the public might be expected to have curiosity about him; but he mentions this only once, while he repeatedly admits he writes out of vanity, for "nothing gives a Coxcomb more Delight, than when you suffer him to talk of himself" (p. 18), and he, too, appeals to precedent. Vanity is not just his personal quirk, but is characteristic of greater writers than he; for, he says, "you read Horace , Montaign . and Sir William Temple , with Pleasure" (p. 301). When a parody of Cibber's Apology was written, its anonymous author took the opportunity to criticize the whole trend of autobiographical writing of which Cibber maintained

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113 he was a respectable part. Not only Cibber, but Gordon (quoted above), and Montaigne were ridiculed in the following passage: And to shew my readers what a candid impartial Person I am, I will, in this Disquisition of myself, bring my own Heart to the Bar, and try it without Favour or Affection: I shall consequently betray much Folly, and talk much of myself, but I have very great Examples to authorize such a Liberty. 01d Mich. Montaign it seems in his Essays tattled more about his own queer Body and Mind, his Cat, and an old Woman, than all the World beside; so much had he set his Heart upon himself. It was perhaps partly because he expected attacks of this sort that Cibber dwelt so on his defense of vanity. In sorting out the influences of Cibber 's own times from the influences of the praise of folly tradition, it is helpful to compare Cibber s autobiography with one similar to it in spirit and very nearly contemporary with it. The Life and _ f.T s of John Dunton , published in 1704. Dunton 1 s work, like Cibber s, seems to reflect the eighteenth century's greater tolerance of eccentricity and humor both in matter and in style; yet unlike Cibber's work, it is not tied to the praise of folly tradition. Dunton, like Cibber, takes no very high view of writing; he writes for money and amusement. His work is a hackpiece , evidently thrown together in some haste, and designed to capitalize on the public's desire for moralizing, its interest in portraits of individuals, and its interest in travel adventures. As his story proceeds, Dunton

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114 humbly points out where he made "errors" and tells "How he'd Think, Speak, and Act, might he Live over his Days again," to quote from the book's subtitle. The reader learns that Dunton's interest in planning his life is no new thing, for he writes that when he was a child he was so engrossed in projecting his life's plan that he abstractedly walked right into a river and was only narrowly saved from drowning. 77 The book has plenty of moralizing, but there is no doubt that its chief interest lies in the characterization of Dunton. Like Cibber, Dunton sees himself as the victim of a humor, destined to act according to it all his days. Of his travels, which form a fair portion of the book, he says, "but I see now, when a Man is born under a Rambling Planet , all that he does to fix him at home, does but hasten his Travels abroad" (pp. 183, 320). Like Cibber, Dunton has no hesitation about making himself a figure of fun. He relates how, being forced to stay indoors to avoid his creditors, he dressed up in women's clothing in order to go hear a particularly interesting sermon. He was hard put to imitate the manners and gait of a woman and his disguise was penetrated by someone who called out, " I'll be hang'd if that ben't a Man in Woman's Cloaths " (pp. 197—8), so he was forced to "scower off" as fast as his legs would carry him. He tells how, on shipboard, going to America, he acted very brdve until one night the passengers

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115 were roused and told to arm themselves because a pirate had been spotted : every Man was set to his Gun in an Instant, but as for my self, I kept out o"f Sight, as well as I cou'd, till I heard 'er asking where's Mr. Dunton, that was so valiant over-Night? This I confess put me into a cold Sweat, and I cry'd Coming 1 coming 1 I'm only seeki ng my Ruffles ; a bad Excuse, you know, is better than none. . . . The Danger was immediately blown over, for our Pirate prov'd no more than a VirginiaMerchant . . . . Upon this News, my Courage return'd, and I seem'd very much dissatisfy ' d , that I shou'd lose the satisfaction of being engag'd at Sea (pp. 115-6) Dunton confessed also to blinding self-love and egoism. This Pride went on, deluding me into a mighty observation of the Faults and Imperfections of others, that I had not time to see my own ; I almost thought I had none, unless it were any defect that obstructed some Ambitious design. ... I submitted intirely to my Fancy , and made my own reason and discretion, the only Rule to Judge by, as well for others, as my self. (pp. 207-8) Though Dunton does show himself to be a fool, he does not defend his foolishness. The question of folly is not central to the book; and, more important, he shows no awareness of the traditional conception of the fool. He does not quote from Horace or from Ecclesiastes or any other of the traditional writings on folly, and he does not explicitly introduce the theme of folly. The central focus of the book is the characterization of Dunton. The author seems to expect that the audience will be interested in the characterization of individuals, for he attempts to characterize all the booksellers in London, catalogue style.

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116 Dun-ton' s book has the immediacy of Cibber's. It is written in a colloquial style in a haphazard, almost breathless, manner, and it is openly eccentric. However, while Cibber's book is tied together by a fairly coherent point of view derived from a tradition which values irrationality, individuality, and pleasure, Dunton's book has no such unity. Cibber's book is of his time, yet tied to the praise of folly tradition; Dunton's more journalistic book is simply a reflection of his time.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER III 1 Robert W. Lowe, ed., Colley Cibber , Days of the Dandies, 2 vols. (New York: Athenaeum Press, n.d.), n, 297. 2 Norman Ault, New Light on Pope (London, 1949), pp. 298-311. 3 D. F. Smith, Plays about the Theatre in England (London and New York, 1936), p. 107. 4 Richard Hindry Barker, Mr. Cibber of Drury Lane . Columbia U. Studies in English and Comparative Literature, No. 143 (New York, 1939), p. 19. 5 Barker, p. 125. 6 Au 1 1 , p. 316. 7 DeWitt C. Croissant, "A Note on the Egoist, or Colley upon Cibber," Philological Quarterly . 3 (1924), pp. 76-7. 8 See Jean de la Bruyere, The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, 4th ed. (London, 1705), p. 212; Jean Baptiste Morvan de Bellegarde, Reflexions upon Ridicule (London, 1706), P* 80 ' The Tatler, ed. George Aitken, 4 vols. (New York, 1899) II, 100-1, No. 63 (Sept. 3, 1709). 9 Colley Cibber, A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope Inquiring into the Motives that might induce hi m in his Satyr i, cal works , to be so frequently fond of Mr. rihhprÂ’g Name (London, 1742), p. 20. 4 8 Sawney and Col ley (1742) and Other Pope Pamphlets , Augustan Reprint Society, Publication No. 83 (Los Anqeles, 1960), p. 8. 11 The Complete Works of Henry Fielding, Esq. : Miscellaneous Writing s in three volumes , ed. William Ernest Henley (Frank Cass and Co., Ltd., 1967), II , 289 (Champion. April 22, 1740). 117

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118 12 . Richard Steele, The Theatre . 1720, ed . John Loftis (Oxford, 1962), p. 29. 13 Colley Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber , Comedian , and Late Patentee of the Theatre Royal , 1st ed. (London, 1740),, p. 150; I have used this edition throughout . 14 Cibber, Apology , p. 130. 15 Erasmus, p. 45. 16 Ibid. , p. 26 . 17 Rabelais, p. 213 (Bk. 3, Ch. 43). 18 Cibber, Apology , pp. 12, 35, 36, 37. See also pp. 43 and 324. 1 9 Erasmus , p. 63 . 20 Ibid. , p. 6. 21 Rabelais, p. 129 (Prologue to Bk . 3 ) . 22 Montaigne , II, 87, "Of Books." 23 Erasmus, pp. 207-8. 24 Author s Farce , Act II. Cited by Houghton W. Taylor, "Fielding upon Cibber," Modern Philology . 29 (1931), 81. 2 Barker, p. 32. 26 See Taylor, "Fielding upon Cibber," pp. 73-90. 27 See Thomas P. Gilmore, Jr., "Colley Cibber's Good Nature and His Relation to Pope's Satire," Papers on Lanquaqe and . Literature , 2 (1966), pp. 361-71. Also see Ault, pp. 302-3. 28 James Boswell, Life of Johnson , ed. George Birbeck Hill, 6 vols. (New York, 1891), I, p.464. 29 Thomas Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies, 3 vols. (Dublin, 1784), III, pp. 263-4. 30 r ^ ie Laureat (London, 1740), p. 121, cited by Barker, p. 113. See also An Apology for the Life of Mr. T. . . . C. . . . , CgPgdian. Supposed to be Written by Himself (London, 1740), p. 71.

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119 31, The La ureat , pp. 66-8, cited by Barker, p. 113. 32 Barker, p. 112. 33 ^ Comparison between the Two Stages (1702), p. 199, cited by Barker, p. 193. Davies repeats the story. III, 251. 34 -r , John Armstrong, Miscellanies (1770), p. 247, cited by Barker, p. 234. 35 Davies , III, 268. 36 John Taylor, Records of My Life (1832), I, 263, cited by Barker, p. 233. Barker also cites Boswell, I, 256-7. yisits __ from the S hades, or Dialogues Serious, Comical , slid — Political (1704), p. 23, cited by Barker, p. 193. 38 Samuel Richardson, Correspondence , 6 vols., ed. Anne Laetitia Barbauld (1804), VI, 65-7, cited by Barker, p. 254. 3 9 Richardson, Correspondence . II, 131, cited by Barker p. 251. 40 Erasmus , p. 33 . 41 II, 382, "Of Presumption." 42 Sayce, p. 53. 43 Frame, Montaigne's Essais: A Study , p. 46. ^111/ 268, "Of Managing the Will." ^ 3 I, 270, "Of Solitude." 46 Frame, Montaigne's Essais: A Study , pp. 32-3. 47 II, 382, "Of Presumption." 48„ See Caroline Goad, Horace in the English Literature o f . the Eighteenth Century , Yale Studies in English, 58 (New Haven, 1918). 49 t Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub: With Other Early Works 1696-1707, ed. Herbert Davis (Oxford, 1957 ), p. 110. 50 Cibber, Apology , pp. 12-3. See also p. 127.

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120 51 Brown, 52 ii, rCO 53 i, 144, 54 II, CD CO 55 I, 158, ~^Ibid . 57 II, 390 58 ^ Anthony I, 158, "Of the Education of Children. , -f ' uididcieristics o f Men, ajmers, Opinions, Times, etc. , ed. John M. Robertson, 2 vols (Gloucester, Mass., 1963), I, 200-1. 59 Ibid., I, 199-200. Sir William Temple, Five Miscellaneous Essays by Sir Will lain Temple , ed. Samuel Holt Monk (Ann Arbor, 1963 ), p. 199 61 Stuart M. Tave, The Amiable Humor 1 st ; a Study of the Comic Theory and Critici^n of the 18th and Early igth c Q ntunes (Chicago, 1960), pp. 94-6. ‘ 6 2 Tbe Guardian (London, 1731), II, 237 (no. 144). 63 Spectator , III, 396 (no. 371, Tuesday, May 6 , 1712). The Guardian , II, 240 (no. 144). 65 The Guardian , II, 239 (no. 144). 66 Edward N. Hooker, "Humour in the Age of Pope," Huntington Library Quarterly , ll (1948) p 373 6 7 Tb® — Compl ete Works of William Congreve , Summers (London, 1923), III, 165 ("Concerning Comedy" ) . ed . Montague Humour in 68 Congreve , III, 163 . 69 Hooker, p. 364. 70 Ibid. , p. 370.

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121 71 . William Darrell, The Gentleman Instructed in the Conduct of a . Virtuous and Happy Life . 7th ed. (London, 1720) p. 28. 72 La Bruyere , p. 197. See Puritanism and the Spiritual Autobiography, 11 L. D. Lerner , The Hibbert Journal . 55 (1957), 373-86. 7 4 The Tatler . II, p. 239. 75 Thomas Gordon, The Humorist: Being Essays TTno n Several Subjects (London, 1720), p. 39 . 7 6 An Apology for the Life of Mr. T. C . (London, 1740), p. 2. , Comedian , . John Dunton, Th e Life and Errors of John Dunton Late C itizen of London (1704; rpt . Ann Arbor; Microfilm-Herograph reprint, U. Microfilms, Inc., 1964), p. 10.

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CHAPTER IV CIBBER'S EXPERIENCE ON THE STAGE CAUSES HIM TO TURN OFTEN TO STAGE METAPHORS IN HIS EXPRESSION OF THE PRAISE OF FOLLY TRADITION In Cibber's time, few analogies were as commonplace as the comparison of the world to the stage. Sir Richard Steele declared that the world and the stage, "have been ten thousand times observ'd to be the Pictures of one another," 1 a thought that did not prevent him from using the comparison himself. That all the world's a stage" was one of Lord Chesterfield s favorite metaphors. He thought of himself as "an old stager upon the theatre of the world," 2 and his anxiety about his son's future he conceived of as vicarious stage fright for the day when he, too, would take his part O on "the great stage of the world." Comparisons between the world and the stage were commonly seen in the Tatler (#6, #99, #167, #193). When Samuel Johnson reflected on "The Vanity of Human Wishes," his thoughts turned to sad scenes on the "stage" of the world (11. 308, 315), and the Earl of Shaftesbury used the same figure when he praised John Somers, the Whig statesman, as the noblest actor "on this earthly stage. Pope drew heavily on the familiar metaphor in constructing his vision of a world gone wrong in Book IV of The Dunciad. 122

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123 For Cibber the figure was especially attractive, not only because he had spent a lifetime on the stage, but because the stage metaphor neatly lent itself to expressing certain ideas fundamental to the praise of folly tradition. Since the praise of folly tradition maintains that man is a fool, though on every side men strain to disguise their foolishness, it suggests that men are not what they appear, that the world is filled with illusions. And so on the stage, where actors may first appear as kings or counselors, and then by merely changing their costumes and manners appear to be fops, serving-men, or clowns, such easy metamorphoses suggest the superficiality of worldly honors; Erasmus used the stage metaphor for precisely this effect when he wrote that in the world, as on stage, the fun lies in "counterfeit and disguise and that those who insist on truth and go ripping costumes from actors will find that "such as acted the men will perhaps appear to be women: he that was dressed up for a young brisk lover, will be found a rough old fellow; and "that represented a king, will remain but a mean ordinary serving-man ." 6 The stage metaphor is also easily adapted to express another tenet of the praise of folly tradition, that man is helpless and dependent on God; for actors, however exalted the characters they play, are all merely acting out the role assigned by the author and stage manager. In their faithful acting out of a predetermined role, they are like

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124 man, whose role in life is assigned by God, though men, again like actors, can rebel and play their part badly or refuse to play it at all. It is not surprising then, that Cibber should turn frequently to the stage metaphor to express his views of man and his place in the world. Not every instance of his use of the stage metaphor involved a general comparison between the world and the stage. He was fond of comparing individual men to actors, and one dramatic instance of such a comparison is an anecdote telling how Cibber helped his friend, Colonel Henry Brett, dress to go see a lady. In this passage, Cibber compares a role he plays on stage to a role played by a gentleman in the world : When I had lock'd him in, I began to strip off my upper Cloaths , and bad him do the same ; for look you, said I . . . the Play is ready to begin, and the Parts that you, and I are to act to Day, are not of equal consequence; mine of young Reveller (in Greenwich-Park ) is but a Rake; but whatever you may be, you are not to appear so; therefore take my Shirt, and give me yours ... and so go about your Business. To conclude, we fairly chang'd Linnen, nor could his Mother's have wrap'd him up more fortunately; for in about ten Days he marry 'd the Lady. (p. 218) This passage, with its comical assumption that a clean shirt has an almost magical power to help in winning a lady's heart, emphasizes the importance of costume in playing apart. Images of costumes and disguises are often used by Cibber to suggest the vanity of appearances. He compares fine manners, high position, and dignities to costumes and

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125 disguises because these external beauties hide a man's true nature. In this series of comparisons, the similarity of men to actors is not made explicit but is strongly suggested by the references to costumes and disguises. He speaks of one's desire to know a man "when the Coat of his Profession was off" (p. 3), and elsewhere suggests that a man of high station "throw off his cumbersome Robe of Majesty to be a Man without Disguise" (p. 16). When he refuses to make any effort to be wise, he observes, "whatever I am. Men of Sense will know me to be, put on what Disguise I will" (p. 12). At another point he says, "it is not the Hood, that makes the Monk, nor the Veil the Vestal" (p. 82), a general observation that applies not only to the costumes actresses wear, but to all the costumes men wear and all the pretensions they assume. As Cibber associates costumes with man's feeble efforts to hide his real nature, so he compares man's real nature to nakedness. Vanity, for instance, "the universal Passion of Mankind" (p. 136), he describes as being "inseparable, from our Being, as our Nakedness" (p. 300); and speaking of his own foolishness, he compares it also to nakedness, saying "I can no more put off my Follies, than my Skin" (p. 12). The cumulative effect of these images is to suggest a world of costumed actors covering their weaknesses with rich raiment. Other comparisons of men to stage players appear throughout the Apology , most often when Cibber is speaking

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126 of himself and his own role as a "stager upon the theatre of the world," to borrow Lord Chesterfield's phrase. He begins speaking of himself as an actor on the stage of the world as early as the dedication, where he makes this graceful compliment to an anonymous nobleman: If this Apology for my past Life discourages you not, from holding me, in your usual Favour, let me quit this greater stage, the World, whenever I may, I shall think This the best-acted Part of any I have undertaken. . . . He begins the story of his life with an account of his birth, which he calls "the first Scene of my Life" (p. 4), and concludes his book by saying, "But it is now Time to drop the Curtain (p. 344). When he wishes to give special emphasis to an anecdote which shows him as a defendant in a court of law, he treats it as a stage scene and introduces it with "By your Leave then, Gentlemen I let the Scene open" (p. 307), and when he apologizes for the digressions which litter his tale, he compares them to "a Dance between the Acts" (p. 301). That Cibber conceives of his life as a stage play, with a script written by God, is suggested by occasional exclamations of thanks for God's providence, which guided him through life safely in spite of himself (pp. 12, 35). The dispensations of providence do not go so far as to regulate every step a man takes, for on occasion he conceives of a role as something assumed at will, at times speaking of Colonel Brett s wish to play the courting gentleman, and

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127 elsewhere speaking of Thomas Dogget 1 s caring to "be the Comedian only among friends (p. 288), so that it is clear that "courting gentleman" and "comedian" are roles a man may assume or not, as he pleases. He speaks in a similar way of certain roles he himself has assumed in the course of his life, telling of one occasion when the audience was abusing a play which he had written and in which he was acting, then describing how he "quitted the Actor, for the Author." Stepping out of his role as stage actor, he announced on stage that the play would not be performed again (p. 144). in another anecdote, he shows "your Comedian" in the role of defendant in a court of law, taking his defense upon himself (p. 307). He has even greater freedom in determining the role he will play in his autobiography than in determining any role he might play in life, as he admits frankly. He had told how he was not able to play the hero on stage because he was insignificant looking, but he announces that he has determined that he will play the hero in his own life story (p. 105). At other times, however, he seems to emphasize the role assigned to man by God, for though a man may choose to court a woman or not, may choose to amuse his friends or not, many aspects of his life and character are beyond his control. In the first place, he is born to a certain station in life. Anne Oldfield was able to act the part of the lady to

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128 perfection on stage because acting like a lady was natural to her. She acted with "Sense" and "Dignity" off stage as well as on, so that Cibber is moved to comment, "had her Birth plac'd her in a higher Rank of Life, she had certainly appear'd, in reality, what in this Play she only, excellently, acted, an agreeably gay Woman of Quality" (p. 177). But however suited she might be to such a station, she was not born to it, and it was not in her power to assume it. This was not as unjust as it might seem because high station has no intrinsic value. Morally, a king is not necessarily better than a beggar. It is how well a person plays the role assigned to him that ultimately determines his value. 'Tis not, sure, what we act, but how we act what is alloted us, that speaks our intrinsick Value I . . . the wise Man, or the Fool, be he Prince, or Peasant, will, in either State, be equally the Fool, or the wise Man. (p. 130) In addition to being born to a certain station in life, people are also born with certain humors which no experience and no cajoling by others will change. In Cibber's eyes, these humors are like great natural forces such as wind, fire, and water because they cannot be reasoned with or persuaded (pp. 286, 262-3). These "different Tempers" are not "in our choice," but are native to us (p. 150). In creating men with certain humors, providence is, in fact, parcelling out roles for them which they can escape only by divine grace;

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129 there is an absolute Power , in what is simply call d our Constitution, that will never admit of other Rules for Happiness, than her own; from which (be we never so wise or weak) without Divine Assistance, we can only receive it. (p. 17) In Cibber s Apology , the most important example of a role a man cannot escape is that of "fool." As Cibber sees it, foolishness is, for the most part, a humor. Like other humors, it is natural to a person and leaves a virtually indelible imprint on him. When he described his "full Spirits, his giddy Negligence" and "frequent Alacrity to do wrong, he emphasizes that he was that way "always" (p. 5). His impatience to satisfy his appetites and to be delighted, other foolish characteristics, he also "always had" (p. 215). He confesses, "I own myself incorrigible" and says of his that he cannot believe he "shall ever be rhim'd out of them (p. 14). His folly is as much a humor as is Robert Wilk's hot temperedness or Christopher Rich's craftiness, so no amount of satiric epigrams by Pope or his other critics can change it. Cibber s role as fool has a peculiar coloration, however. Though it is a role he cannot escape, it is also one that he embraces joyfully. Most men are created fools, so the role of fool is the most common one in the world; but Cibber is an unusual fool in that he is an unaffected fool, a fool delighted to admit that he is one. Because he does not strain to be more than he is, the role he has played in

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130 life has artistic unity. In the aesthetic sense, he has played it "well": No, the Part I have acted in real Life, shall be all of a piece. Servetur ad imum . Qualis ab incepto processerit . Hor . I will not go out of my Character, by straining to be wiser than I can be, or by being more affectedly pensive than I need to be; whatever I am, Men of Sense will know me to be, put on what Disguise I will. 1 Since Cibber is content to appear to be what most men are in fact, but try to hide, he is symbolically the naked man in a crowd of pompously dressed actors. As "fool," he symbolically represents the truth about all men. A passage in The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff analyzes this function of the fool : I asked an Acquaintance of mine, who is a Man of Wit, but of no Fortune, and is forced to appear as Jack-pudding on the Stage to a Mountebank: Prethee, Jack_, Why is your Coat of so many Colours? He reply d, I act a Fool, and this spotted Dress is to signify, that every Man living has a weak place about him; for I am Knight of the Shire, and represent you all. Cibber does not spell out the significance of his role so baldly as does this passage, but he is aware of it. At one point he suggests that men enjoy the company of a fool because it makes them more comfortable with their own hidden foolishness, and though he does not flatly accuse all of his readers of being fools, he does say, in the manner of the

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131 good-natured moralist, "were all Men to blush, that are not Wise, I am afraid, in Ten, Nine Parts of the World ought to be out of Countenance" (p. 2). While in the writings of Erasmus and Rabelais the symbol of the fool bears the full weight of representing man's dependence on God, in Cibber 's book some of that weight is borne by the stage metaphor. All of Cibber's comparisons of man to a stage actor, whether the references to the "fool" role or the incidental allusions to the various other cloaks and costumes men assume, work together to suggest that worldly honors are illusory and that man is a dependent and weak creature. They tend to suggest that men are the same whether their station is high or low, an opinion forthrightly expressed in the following passage: let the Degrees, and Rank of Men, be ever so unequal, Nature throws out their Passions, from the same Motives; 'tis not the Eminence, or Lowliness of either, that makes the one, when provok'd, more or less a reasonable Creature than the other: The Courtier, and the Comedian, when their Ambition is out of Humour, take just the same Measures to right themselves. 9 Cibber characteristically focuses on the entire society of the stage, not simply what appears under the proscenium arch. He most commonly sees the stage not as a mirror, but as a microcosm of the larger society of which it is a part. "The Government of the Stage, is but that of the World in Miniature' (p. 251), he says. Or, as he says elsewhere.

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132 "If the Government of a well-establish 'd Theatre were to be compar'd to that of a Nation; there is no one Act of Policy, or Misconduct in the one, or the other, in which the Manager might not, in some parallel Case ... be equally applauded, or condemned with the Statesman" (p. 238). Because the stage and the larger world are images of one another, it is possible for him to draw a larger moral for the world from some experience he has had with the stage, and now and again he concludes a stage anecdote with a homily. For instance, after telling of the instability in the government of the stage which finally ended in a period of calm, he comments, "As coarse Mothers may have comely Children; so Anarchy has been the Parent of many a good Government" (p. 247). After describing a contract between William Collier and the company of actors, he concludes with a comment about "the natural Consequence of all Treaties between Power, and Necessity" (p. 254). The most common of the parallels Cibber drew between the world and the stage were political in nature, and often he treats conflicts between various factions of the theatre as if they were military campaigns. He speaks of the "Theatrical Forces of Col 1 ier making a "Campaign" and then a "Treaty" (pp. 249-50). He tells of " Betterton , and his Chiefs" raising "Forces" and declaring "War" (p. 113). There is a "Civil War, of the Theatre (p. 116), a revolution "in the Government of

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133 the Theatre" (p. 254). A "Hero of a Menager," [sic] after much war, finally becomes "sole Monarch of his Theatrical Empire (p. 197), and after many convolutions, the actors, the "whole Society," takes on the look of "a rescued People" (p. 257). He speaks of other manoeuvrings as if they were courtly intrigues. Dogget hides his "Design with all the Art of a Statesman" (p. 269), and another "Theatrical Minister" acquires "the Reputation of a most profound Politician" (p. 227). The theatre's difficulty in finding good actors is, he says, like a court's difficulty in "breeding up a Succession of complete Ministers" (p. 324), and the " Lincolns-Inn^ ields Company were ... a Commonwealth, like that of Holland , divided from the Tyranny of Spain " (p. 131). The theatre seems to take on comic-heroic proportions as Cibber reaches into history for his parallels. Wilks is compared to that other irascible commander, Achilles (p. 266), and his eagerness to act in every play is compared to Prince Lewis of Baden's dejection upon missing the victory at Blenheim (p. 328). Hester Santlow is said to be as useful to the theatrical company as Joan of Arc was to the French (p. 246). Cibber s willingness to go against his theatrical convictions , he compares to Henry the Fourth of France's willingness to change his religion (p. 300), and he describes his own feelings about his theatrical success as being like Brutus' feelings on expelling the Tarquins (p. 259). The spectator's

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134 chagrin at a debased and fallen theatre is compared to Cato's depiction of Portius ' feeling as he looks on his ruined country (p. 334) . Evidently Cibber was conscious that some readers might think such comparisons pompous, for he cites precedent for the practice and begs the reader's indulgence for his freedom. 10 He also interposes occasional comments on the fundamental similarity between great and humble men which serve to justify his frequent parallels. When speaking of a manager s tendency to have favorites among the actors, Cibber comments, "Have we never seen the same Passions govern a Court!" (p. 326). When describing the petty revenge taken by the theatre patentees against actors who sued for redress of grievances, he comments, "How often does History shew us, in the same State of Courts, the same Politicks have been practis'd?" (p. 236); and describing the struggles for power in a fledgling company, he asks, "But have we not seen the same Infirmity in Senates?" (p. 132). Quite apart from the ideas about man that can be conveyed in comparisons between the world and the stage, Cibber seemed to be fascinated with the stage metaphor for its own sake. He enjoyed toying with it. For instance, in considering the possibility of using public money to support a tragedy, as was once done in Greece, he concludes that to gather the money for such a purpose would be likely to cause

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135 an insurrection, such an endeavor, he says, would result in a fit subject for a tragedy (p. 211). This fanciful idea of a stage tragedy producing a real tragedy which in turn could serve as the subject for a stage tragedy reveals something of Cibber s fascination with the relationship between the stage and the world. He speaks of a similar double relationship between the theatre and the world in the following passage, in which he reflects that the government of theatres is subject to the same vicissitudes as the government of nations : The greatest Empires have decay'd, for want of proper Heads to guide them, and the Ruins of them sometimes have been the Subject of Theatres, that could not be, themselves exempt, from as various Revolutions. (p. 210) Theatres, feeding on the ruins of empires, make imitations of the decay on stage, then decay in turn themselves, imitating the nation in reality, as well as on stage. Although this figure suggests, again, that the stage is mortal and flawed, like the real world, the implicit "moral" is not really the point of the passage. Cibber seems simply to enjoy musing on the possible complexity of relationships between the world and the stage. Cibber most commonly considers the stage as a microcosm reflecting the world, but he also considers the niche it occupies in the hierarchy of society. Looked at in one way, the king and the court are very like the managers and the

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136 players in the theatre; but looked at another way, the court has a superior station and the theatre is dependent on it. Cibber blames the court, for instance, not the stage, for the immorality depicted on stage during the Restoration. Believing the Court set the example which the stage merely followed, he quotes approvingly Dryden 1 s account of how "Vice by great Example thrives." Thus did the thriving Malady prevail. The Court, it's Head, the Poets but the Tail. (p. 156) The stage s dependence on the court was again evident during the Civil War and Interregnum, for when, as Cibber points out, Civil Wars ended in the Decadence of Monarchy, it was then an Honour to the Stage, to have fallen with it" (p. 316). Th® stage s actual position in the social hierarchy then, as now, was a peculiar one. To be associated with the stage was, paradoxically, both disgraceful and socially prestigious. Considering this paradox, Cibber tells an anecdote of a titled lady who had sunk almost to destitution when her family disowned her because of her sexual indiscretions. Being willing, in her distress to make an honest Penny of what Beauty she had left," she attempted to become an actress, but was prevented by her family's intervention. Commenting on her predicament, Cibber says. Now it is not hard that it should be a doubt, whether this Lady's Condition or ours were the more melancholy? For here, you find her honest Endeavour, to get Bread from the Stage, was look'd upon as an

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137 Addition of new Scandal to her former Dishonour! so that I am afraid, according to this way of thinking, had the same Lady stoop'd to have sold Patches and Pomatum, in a Band-box, from Door to Door, she might, in that Occupation have starv'd, with less Infamy, than had she reliev'd her Necessities by being famous on the Theatre. (p. 46) Despite the infamy associated with his profession, however, Cibber points out that an actor may be more able to move in high circles than members of more respectable professions. The actor may be "receiv'd among People of condition with Favour; and sometimes with a more social Distinction, than the best ... Trade he might have follow'd, could have recommended him to" (p. 52). Thomas Betterton, William Mountfort, Captain Benjamin Griffin, Anne Bracegirdle, and Anne Oldfield all moved in high society, as Cibber pointed out, and he might have added that he did, too. "Now let us suppose," Cibber says, "these Persons, the Men, for example, to have been all eminent Mercers, and the Women as famous Milliners, can we imagine, that merely as such, though endow'd with the same natural Understanding, they could have been call'd into the same honourable Parties of Conversation? (p. 52). Whatever the real reason for the ambiguous social position of the actor, Cibber attributes the low esteem in which the stage is held to a "Prejudice" whose origins are lost in history (p. 46). On the other hand, he feels that the favor actors enjoy in the eyes of people of quality is well

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138 deserved. He says of eminent actors, "People of Sense and Condition, could not but know, it was impossible they could have had such various Excellencies on the Stage, without having something naturally valuable in them" (p. 52). In Cibber's view, no praise could be too high for the fine actor. For him the actor seems to take on at times an almost symbolic significance, as if he, more than other men, had his finger on the pulse of reality. According to Cibber, the actor s ability to change himself into several distinct persons is not simple mimicry (p. 343), but is based on "Observations ... in the real World" (p. 287). The best actors, Cibber calls "Selfjudges of nature, from whose various Lights they only took their true Instruction" (p. 59). Sometimes an actor may draw on his personal experience and act out some hidden aspect of his own personality, 11 but even in this case he draws on his knowledge of reality. He must have greater insight into his own personality than the average man. Cibber s ability to act the fool on stage may come from his having enough of the fool in his composition to know about foolishness, but in this he is different from other men not in his foolishness but in his knowledge of his foolishness. In Cibber's opinion the skillful actor is not merely the perpetrator of an illusion; he is an initiate into the secret workings of the real world. An actor has special

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139 worth because to play many parts he must know more of life than the man who plays only a single role all his life. As Cibber demonstrates, however, the actor is no more immune than his audience is to the spell of the fantasy on stage. Cibber tells of an actress who began to acquire delusions of chastity when she successfully played the part of a virtuous woman. He remarks with some humor that art does not have the power to make the illusion real— the woman does not actually become chaste, she only imagines this will happen. He reports the same confusion between fiction and reality among tragedians. The Tragedians seem'd to think their Rank as much above the Comedians, as in the Characters they severally acted; when the first were in their Finery, the latter were impatient, at the Expence; and look d upon it, as rather laid out, upon the real, than the fictitious Person of the Actor; nay, I have known, in our own Company, this ridiculous sort of Regret carry'd so far, that the Tragedian has thought himself injur'd, when the Comedian pretended to wear a fine Coat i (p. 132) An actor's relationship to his part is not always so ludicrous. Sometimes, as is natural, an actor may find that in stressful moments the familiar words he spoke on stage may come unbidden to his lips and he will find himself acting out in private life a role he played on stage. Cibber tells of one actor who felt himself oppressed by his employers and who found revenge finally within his grasp when the court ordered the managers to close the theatre. Filled with emotion, the

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140 actor announced the order by "throwing his Head over his Shoulder, towards the Patentee, in the manner of Shakespear 1 s Ha ^ry t he Eighth to Cardinal Wol sey # cry'd Read o'er that! and now to Breakfast, with what Appetite you may " (p. 237). In the lives of actors the illusory world in which they play and the real world in which they live are apt to become curiously muddled. The occasional confusion between illusion and reality in an actor s life is natural enough since the stage mirrors reality and reality is invaded by illusion. The actor's confusion demonstrates the truth of the stage metaphor by showing the intimate relation between illusion and reality. It also tends, however, to show the actor in a comical and foolish light. The actor is not always the adept in the mysteries of life. He is also the dupe and the fool. The actor, more than most, suggests the frailty of man, not merely in his vanity and foolishness, but in his mortality. Because an actor s art is so perishable, he points up the evanescence of human existence. The poet, the glovemaker, the blacksmith, all have more of a claim to immortality than the actor, whose art exists only for an instant. The actor, more than most, reminds us of the mortality of man who struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. Cibber emphasizes this evanescent guality in acting :

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141 Pity it is, that the momentary Beauties flowing from an harmonious Elocution, cannot like those of Poetry, be their own Record' That the animated Graces of the Player can live no longer than the instant Breath and Motion that presents them; best can but faintly glimmer through the Memory, or imperfect Attestation of a few surviving Spectators. (p. 60) In his analysis of acting, he dwells on the virtues of dead actors rather than living ones. At one point, he names the dead and feeble as if tolling a bell to mark their loss, bemoaning their decay: Several of them . . . were now dead; as Smith , j5.y. nas ton , Sand ford , and Leigh : Mrs. Betterton , and Underhill being, at this time, also superannuated Pensioners, whose Places were generally but ill supply d. . . . Thus then were these Remains of the best Set of Actors, that I believe were ever known, at once, in England , by Time, Death, and the Satiety of their Hearers mould' ring to decay (pp. 186-7) Most of Cibber's analysis of the intricate relationships between the stage and the real world is centered on the actor. Nothing else about the stage excited his interest as much. He was contemptuous of the spectacle and music which were often added to plays to hold the audience's interest, and he has little to say about the qualities of particular plays and playwrights; but even after a lifetime on the stage, he continued to be fascinated by the actor. As he piles up anecdotes and illustrations of the various qualities of actors, the actor, with his amazing gifts, his pitiful mortality, and, above all, his laughable folly, becomes almost emblematic of man.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER IV 1 Steele , p. 28. 2 . . Philip Dormer Stanhope, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip D ormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield . To His Son , Phil ip Stanhope, Esq. , 2 vole. f London, 177 A) ' I, 380 (Dec. 20, 1748). 3 Stanhope, I, 359 (Oct. 29, 1748). 4 Anthony , Earl of Shaftesbury, p. 8, ("Enthusiasm," sect. 1 ) . 5 See Richard Francis Atnally, "Pope and the Stage Metaphor," Diss. U. of Fla., June, 1967. ^Erasmus, pp. 46-7. 7 The sentiment was commonplace. The Spectator (no. 349 Thurs., April 10, 1712) says "The end of a Man's Life is often compared to the winding up of a well-written Play, where the _ principal Persons still act in character, whatever the Fate is which they undergo." See also Seneca, Epistles — Lucubration s of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq . (London, 1710), I, 166 ( The Tatler , no. 19, May 21-24, 1709). 9 Cibber , p. 326, mistakenly numbered 225 in the first edition . 10 p. 238. See also pp. 259, 303, 326. 1:L pp. 52, 135, 250. 142

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CHAPTER V INFLUENCED BY CIBBER AND HIS GREAT PREDECESSORS, STERNE WRITES THE LAST IMPORTANT PRAISE OF FOLLY In 1759, some nineteen years after the publication of Cibber's Apology, the first volumes of Tristram Shandy were published. This book, strikingly similar to Cibber's Apology in some ways, yet so much greater and richer than the Apology , might be called the last great book of the "fool" tradition. I am by no means the first person to see Tristram Shandy as a part of an older tradition. The magpie nature of Sterne s talents, his persistent borrowing from other writers, readily suggests such a treatment of his book. Alan D. McKillop comments that readers of Tristram Shandy have been intrigued by the influences other writers have had on Sterne ever since Ferriar exposed Sterne's indebtedness to Rabelais, Montaigne, and others in his Illustrations of Sterne (1798),^ but no single view has emerged of the pattern of influence these writers had on Sterne. Even now, as John M. Stedmond notes, much of the recent work on Tristram Shandy has been devoted to placing it in a tradition, "to discovering, that is, what sort of thing it really is." 2 The tradition of which Sterne has been called a part has been variously called Menippean satire, "learned wit," "self-conscious narration," 143

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144 and Erasmian satire, with critics many times agreeing on the influence of a certain predecessor of Sterne, but seeing the nature of the influence in different ways. Northrop Frye calls Tristram Shandy a Menippean satire, or, to use a more modern term, an "anatomy." 3 Burton's Anatomy of a Melancholy , Gulliver's Travels . Candide, Erasmus dialogues, and Rabelais's work are some of the examples Frye gives of this form. The Menippean satire is characterized by a "free play of the intellectual fancy," an intellectual exuberance involving the piling up of enormous masses of erudition or quantities of pedantic jargon. It leans towards disorderliness , digression, and loose— jointed narratives. Its characterization is stylized, with the characters appearing as caricatures, "humors characters," or mouthpieces of the opinions they represent. Frye contrasts the outlook of novelists with that of anatomists, saying "the novelist sees evil and folly as social diseases, the Menippean satirist sees them as diseases of the intellect, as a kind of maddened pedantry" (p. 590). The intellectual nature of this type of satire determines that it should often be written by scholars and about pedants. Frye does not call Tristram Shandy a pure example of the form, but maintains that its digressive narrative, its catalogues, its stylized characters, the story of the great nose, the symposium discussions and the persistent ridicule of philosophers

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145 and pedants are all characteristics which Tristram Shandy shares with the Menippean satire. D. W. Jefferson treats some of these same characteristics, but the focus of his study is the comic mode of the work rather than its form. He contends that Sterne repeatedly employs forms of wit which depend on "pre-Enlightenment " materials and habits of mind. Jefferson suggests that the survival of this sort of wit into the eighteenth century may be attributed to the popularity of Rabelais, who was the great master of learned, or scholastic, wit. Learned wit centers on four main groups of subject matter, cosmology, physiology and medicine, law, and religion. In Tristram Shandy examples of it are seen in the Shandy marriage agreement and the discourse on the "petite canulle," both of which are witty plays on pre— utilitarian law. Characteristic of this type of wit is an unbridled rationalism like that found among the scholastics, an abundance of abstract speculation, and the listing of authorities and exempla . Jefferson, unlike Frye, does not suppose that Sterne is necessarily satirizing maddened pedantry." He sees this wit as the play of the learned man, irreverent, perhaps, but not necessarily critical. He agrees, however, with Frye about Sterne's kinship with Rabelais and Swift. Furthermore, the characteristics of learned wit, as Jefferson describes it, are not too different from the characteristics of Frye's anatomy.

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146 Jefferson points out that learned wit is related to burlesque, as a comic form, that it is intellectual in its approach and academic in its background. Both Jefferson and Frye link Tristram Shandy to Rabelais, whose work I have placed in the praise of folly tradition, but two other critics, Wayne Booth and John Stedmond, are much closer to my view of "what sort of thing it really is." In his article, "The Self-Conscious Narrator in Comic Fiction Before Tristam Shandy, Booth places a good deal of emphasis on the form given to the book by its narrator. He contends that what Sterne learned from Montaigne, from Burton, from Swift's Tale o f a Tub , and Cervantes' Don Quixote was how to impose a loose unity on disparate materials by using a self-conscious narrator" who interposes into his book comments about himself as a writer, comments about the moral and literary qualities of his book, anticipations of reader response, and explicit delineations of the technical decisions the author has had to make in the course of writing the book. For the most part, conscious narration is more characteristic of facetiae or satire than fiction, but Booth maintains that the self-conscious narrator became important in fiction with Don — Quixote and, in English, with Cervantes' imitator. Fielding . Booth discards the notion that Sterne's intrusions were designed to "explode the novel" and parody Fielding. Rather

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147 he sees Sterne as merely extending the devices that everyone was borrowing from Fielding, usually with dismal results — the prefatory material, the intrusions, and the chapter headings. The narrator of Tristram Shandy seems very different from the narrator in lorn Jones , but this is due more to Tristram's statements that he has no control over his narrative than to any fundamental difference in narrative devices. Booth points out that while Tristram asserts both that he hasn't the slightest idea of what is going on and that he will somehow miraculously make order out of the chaos, the second claim is repeated so much less often and is so out of tune with the reader's actual impression of the book that it is generally ignored. The narrator of Tom Jones , on the other hand, continually suggests that he has everything under complete control and that he is a very competent and original story teller, a notion supported by the obviously wellwrought structure of the story itself. In his discussion of the self-conscious narrator. Booth touches on some of the devices which have been discussed above as characteristic of the fool-narrator--characterization of the narrator, explicit discussion of his writing method, and intrusions. Indeed, the fool— narrator , with which I am concerned, may be seen as simply a particular type of Booth's self-conscious narrator.

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148 An extensive treatment of the fool-narrator as he is found in Cibber's Apology and in Tristram Shandy may be seen in Melvyn New's article "The Dunce Revisited ." 6 New contends that Tristram Shandy shares with Cibber's Apology some of the very characteristics that Fielding and the anonymous author ° f An, Apology for t he Life of T. . . . C. . . . had parodied— the dependence on transitory whim and a rejection of "the principals of selection and control." He contends that by imitating these aspects of Cibber's Apology Sterne intended to indicate that Tristram was a dunce like those Pope ridiculed. John Stedmond's description of the tradition of Tristram Shandy is also concentrated on the novel as fool literature, but he is concerned with the subject matter and outlook of the tradition and ignores the self-conscious narrative techniques found in this tradition. Stedmond links Sterne with Erasmus, Rabelais, and Cervantes, and in more modern times with Swift s Tale o f a Tub and Pope's Dunciad . This tradition might be called the tradition of Erasmian satire, for although Stedmond touches on the complex nature of Erasmian irony, with its "polar meanings," both of which "must be given full consideration," and though he alludes to Kaiser's notions that fools are "on the side of nature against human attempts to institutionalize man's instincts, he tends to see the Erasmian tradition as essentially satiric and places

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149 Pope, who was never a "praiser of folly," in it. Stedmond maintains that its "message" is that "man can experience the delights of the human state only by subjecting himself to its limitations ... if he can retain his sense of humour and his urge to make the best possible use of his admittedly limited powers, then he can attain a measure of human happiness" (p. 131). Stedmond, then, is in agreement with those critics who maintain that Sterne's stance is basically classic and orthodox in its insistence on human limitations. Perhaps with this in mind, Stedmond calls Tristram Shandy "one more engagement in the perpetual war between wits and 'dunces'" (p. 64). He sees Sterne, like Swift, Pope and the Scriblerians, as puncturing man's pride and pretensions but holds that Sterne's attitude is more mellow and less "bitter" than his Augustan predecessors. Sterne himself did not intend to praise fools, and it is to Tristram we must look for a praise of folly. In his unpublished dissertation, Brian Petrakis, like Stedmond, links Tristram Shandy to Erasmus' Moriae Encomium , but even more than Stedmond he emphasizes the difference between Sterne and the Augustan satirists. He contends that this difference is due, not as Stedmond would have it, to Sterne s beliefs being "less surely held" than were the Augu stans ' , but to Sterne's acceptance of man's inclination towards folly. In his tolerance of folly, Petrakis believes.

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150 Sterne truly reflects Erasmus . ^ Sterne tolerates folly because he knows that it is human, or as Petrakis puts it, "By accepting human nature, foolish as it may be, Sterne calls attention to his greater wisdom in siding with the wise fool Stultitia who claimed that 'to live in folly ... is what it is to be human. ' A number of the critics I have cited have linked Tristram — Shandy to books I have placed in the praise of folly tradition. Stedmond and Petrakis believe Sterne wrote in an Erasmian tradition, influenced by the Moriae Encomium. Others of these critics have linked Tristram Shandy to Rabelais ' s Tiers Livre , Montaigne's Essais , and Cibber's Apology . Laurence Sterne was undoubtedly familiar with writings in praise of folly. According to his biographer, Sterne spent some time studying the Moriae Encomium and was well acquainted with it. Evidently he was equally familiar with Montaigne, for he admitted to a correspondent his "conning Montaigne as much as my prayer book ." 11 Several times in Tristram Shandy Sterne alludes to Montaigne or his essays, on one occasion paraphrasing a section from "Of Experience." Sterne also had Tristram pay Montaigne the compliment of suggesting that he was one of the "good honest, unthinking, Shandean people. " 1 ^ Rabelais was even more important to Sterne. Many critics have commented on Sterne's affinity with Rabelais and

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151 a number have recorded a quantity of specific borrowings from him. Another index to the presence of Rabelais in Sterne s thought may be seen in his letters, where he twice makes comparisons between himself and the French satirist, 14 and from his participation in a facetious club called "the Demoniacs, composed of some friends who professed a common interest in Rabelais and in Rabelaisian jests and word 15 ^ games. Sterne seems to have kept a copy of Thomas Odell's Rabelais close at hand, and we may guess that Rabelais was seldom far from his thoughts as he wrote Tristram Shandy . Sterne also seems to have been acquainted with Cibber's Apology. It was one of a list of books he mailed to Diderot, and there are certain peculiar similarities between Tristram Shandy and Cibber 1 s book apart from their similar treatments of folly. They each claim an innocence of envy, Cibber asserting, "My Ignorance, and want of Jealousy of Mankind has been so strong, that it is with Reluctance I even yet believe any Person, I am acquainted with, can be capable of Envy, Malice, or Ingratitude" (p. 6), and later saying, "If I were capable of Envy ..." (p. 11). Cibber s assertion that he was innocent of envy was singled out for ridicule by his enemies, who said it was transparently false. A similar unconvincing assertion is made by Tristram when he says, "Certainly, if there is any dependence upon Logic, and that I am not blinded by self-love, there

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152 must be something of true genius about me, merely upon this symptom of it, that I do not know what envy is" (p. 615, Bk. 9, Ch. 12). Cibber's dedication of his Apology to an anonymous nobleman, which was also the butt of satire, was carried one step further with Tristram's dedication of his book to an unnamed lord and then his offering it up "fairly to publick sale. Another curious way in which Tristram Shandy appears to parody Cibber s Apology is in its minute descriptions of the characters' gestures, an idiosyncrasy of the book which has often been remarked. It is very like an exaggeration of Cibber's detailed descriptions of actors' performances, in which he tried to preserve their art for posterity. In a general way, Tristram's narrative techniques, his disjointed, whimsical manner were anticipated by Cibber; as Melvyn New poxnts out, 17 one sees throughout Tristram Shandy some of the most flamboyant aspects of Cibber's style emphasized and carried to an extreme. In view of Sterne's close familiarity with some of the works I have placed in the praise of folly tradition and their occasional influence on him in other respects, it is hardly surprising that when Sterne wrote about folly he followed, in certain ways, the praise of folly tradition. Early in Tristram Shandy Sterne alerts the reader, by the use of traditional symbols, to the theme of foolishness. Tristram often alludes to his "cap and bells," emblem of the

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153 professional fool, and lest the reader overlook the significance of the name Yorick, " he explains that Yorick is descended from a man who held "a considerable post" in the court of the king of Denmark, and he supposes "that this post could be no other than that of the king's chief Jester" (p. 24, Bk. 1, Ch. 11). But even if it were not for these indications of the presence of fools in the book, the eccentricities of Tristram, Uncle Toby, and Walter Shandy, and the unorthodox form of Tristram's autobiography, would be ample indications that Tristram Shandy is a veritable fool's carnival. As John Stedmond has said, "Most of the characters in Tristram Shandy are ‘fools, ' though they represent different 1 8 kinds of folly. Yorick is an unworldly fool, whom Tristram describes this way: "he was a man unhackneyed and unpracticed in the world, and was altogether as indiscreet and foolish on every other subject of discourse where policy is wont to impress restraint, " "he was utterly unpracticed in the world (pp. 25—6, Bk. 1, Ch. 11). Walter Shandy is the foolish philosopher, a man so lost in theories and pedantry that he muddles those things he pretends to care most about, such as the upbringing and education of his son. Uncle Toby is a newer kind of fool: in part, he is the miles glorioso , full of everlasting tales of battles; but, more important, he has many of the characteristics of the amiable humorist described by Stuart M. Tave. 19 He is definitely an eccentric;

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154 it is not too much to say he is ruled by an obsession, and he is painfully inadequate and ineffectual with women. The most important fool in the book is its narrator, Tristram Shandy, the unrepentant fool-as-hack -writer , 20 a type commended by Erasmus Polly and recognizable to greater or lesser extents in Montaigne, the narrator of Rabelais's Tiers biyre_, and Folly herself. Tristram's hack-writer methods are the natural outgrowth of his foolish character, which is itself a recognizable stereotype in many respects. Tristram has a number of things in common with the fools who preceded him. His vanity is his most conspicuous mark of kinship with the traditional fools. Like Erasmus 1 Folly, he explains that he must praise himself. The learned Bishop Hall . . . tells us . . . "That it is an abominable thing for a man to commend himself;" — and I really think it is so. And yet, on the other hand, when a thing is executed in a masterly kind of fashion, which thing is not likely to be found out; — I think it is full as abominable, that a man should lose the honour of it, and go out of the world with the conceit of it rotting in his head. (p. 72, Bk. 1, Ch. 22) Early along, Tristram announces that his book is very importa.nt . As my life and opinions are likely to make some noise in the world," he says, "and, if I conjecture right, will take in all ranks, professions, and denominations of men whatever , ——be no less read than the pilgrim's Progress itself (p. 7, Bk. 1, Ch. 4). Tristram says he thinks he shows

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155 the signs of true genius, unless he is "blinded by self-love" (p. 615, Bk . 9, Ch. 12). Of course, he is blinded by self-love, like all the fools who preceded him. His refusal to exert self-control in his writing, his insistence that he will not his fancy (p. 74, Bk. 1, Ch. 23), is another of the traditional signs of foolishness. Furthermore, speaking of Uncle Toby s study of the siege of Namur, Tristram warns against knowledge, in words that call to mind both Montaigne and Cibber : intricate are the troubles which the pursuit of this bewitching phantom, KNOWLEDGE, will bring upon thee. . . . — is it fit, good-natur'd man! thou should st sit up, with the wound upon thy groin, whole nights baking thy blood with hectic watchings? — Alas! 'twill exasperate thy symptoms, — check thy perspirations, — evaporate thy spirits, — waste thy animal strength, — dry up thy radical moisture, — bring thee into a costive habit of body, impair thy health, — and hasten all the infirmities of thy old age. (p. 90, Bk. 2, Ch. 3) Tristram's insistence on following his humors, his emphasis on the joys of riding one's hobbyhorse, and the high value he places on unfailing good-nature, or "universal goodwill," all have their precedent in Cibber, and in conception they date back to Erasmus. Together they make up the agreeable social aspect of Tristram's Folly, for whimsicality, tolerance of others' peccadilloes, and good nature are qualities one looks for in a boon companion. His claims that "true Shandeism " is a life force, a quality that "opens the and lungs ... and makes the wheel of life run long

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156 and chear fully round" (pp. 337-8, Bk . 4, Ch. 32), do not seem ridiculous in light of this. Erasmus and Cibber made much the same claim for the benign folly they portrayed. As a writer, Tristram also has an amiable aspect. He has not written a dull book. Nevertheless, he is unmistakably a fool in his writing as well as in his character and opinions. "I have a strong propensity in me to begin this chapter very nonsensically," he announces at one point, "and I will not balk my fancy" (p. 74, Bk. 1, Ch. 23). Nothing could better prepare the reader for the eccentricities of the book than this proclamation that he is determined to follow his fancy though it lead him into nonsense. It soon becomes apparent that, in Tristram's opinion, literature has nothing to do with discipline, but is based entirely on the author's following his whims. In the following passage, he sharply recalls to the reader the important part whims play in his composition : A sudden impulse comes across me — drop the curtain. Shandy I drop it Strike a line here across the paper, Tristram I strike it — and hey for a new chapter? (p. 281 , Bk . 4 , Ch . 10 ) The corollary to this whimsical method of writing is Tristram s rejection of rules. Very early in the book he announces, "I shall confine myself neither to his [Horace's] rules, nor to any man's rules that ever lived" (p. 8, Bk. 1, Ch. 4). It is his habit to "do all things out of all

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157 rule (p. 281, Bk. 4, Ch. 10), and he says hotly that if he had a rule he "would twist it and tear it to pieces, and throw it into the fire" (p. 281, Bk. 4, Ch. 10). What Tristram desires, as he says in an appeal to Apollo, is not " rules and compasses " but "one stroke of native humour" with a divine spark added to it (p. 181, Bk. 3, Ch. 12). He does not prize order but rather a continual variety which is an expression of the writer's individuality, as he makes clear in the following passage: I set no small store by myself upon this very account, that my reader has never yet been able to guess at any thing. And in this. Sir, I am of so nice and singular a humour, that if I thought you was able to form the least judgment or probable conjecture to yourself, of what was to come in the next page, I would tear it out of my book. (p. 80, Bk. 1, Ch. 25) The egocentrism of Tristram's philosophy of writing and the lack of control involved seems a natural manifestation of the "self-love" and impulsiveness of the fool. Not surprisingly, the result of Tristram's following his whims, and his determination to be singular, is an unconventional and even chaotic organization in his book. His most glaring departure from the narrative norm is his re juggling of chronological order. The usual place for certain conventions of book -making is also changed. The dedication is not at the beginning, and the marbled pages which conventionally mark the beginning and end of a book are found in the midst

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158 °f TjListram Shandy . More interesting, for purposes of comparing Sterne s work to Cibber's, are less eccentric devices, such as his use of digressions. Tristram s digressions are plentiful, but, what is more important, their presence is conspicuous. He points out that his digressions are unique, for the action of the story progresses while the digression is being made. Whatever other purpose his pointing this out serves, it certainly calls attention to the digressions. He further strengthens the reader s awareness of his digressions by using vivid images to describe them. At his most enthusiastic, he calls his digressions the sunshine ... the life, the soul of reading" (p. 73, Bk. 1, Ch. 22). More prosaically, they are the variety which in "good cookery" "forbids the appetite to fail" (p. 73, Bk. 1, Ch. 22). Perhaps the most memorable image Tristram uses in discussing digressions, however, is the image of the straight line. This line is actually printed on the page as are more eccentrically shaped lines, which represent the effect of digression on the story. There also is the comparison of the writer to a cabbage planter, "coolly, critically, and canonically, planting his cabbages one by one, in s i-£’ a i9btlines, and stoical distances." In this image, digressions are slyly associated with sexual excitement, which causes the cabbage planter to stray from the straight and narrow:

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159 I defy the best cabbage planter that ever existed . . . to go on coolly, critically, and canonically, planting his cabbages one by one, in straight lines, and stoical distances, especially if slits in petticoats are unsew'd up — without ever and anon straddling out, or sidling into some bastardly digression. (p. 539, Bk. 8, Ch. 1) Similarly, the story is compared to a journey, and the digressions are side trips off the main road. Although a study of the digressions may show method in their interposition , 2 ^ the reader is more likely to be left with the impression that Tristram s work is, as he calls it, "a wilderness" (p. 408, Bk . 6, Ch. 1). He does not seem to expect the reader to understand the construction of his work; he asks that the reader be generous enough to "be pleased he knows not why" (p. 182, Bk. 3, Ch. 12). Rather more oddly, Tristram himself does not always appear to understand what determines the order of the book. Here, but why here, — rather than in any other part of my story, I am not able to tell;" he says, "but here it is" (p. 224, Bk. 3, Ch. 34). He also makes claims that his writing is "properly managed" (p. 108, Bk. 2, Ch. 11) and that he takes great care to keep up that just balance betwixt wisdom and folly (p. 614, Bk. 9, Ch. 12), but as Wayne Booth points out, these claims are less frequent and make less impression on the reader than Tristram's assertions that his writing is not very well-controlled. 22 Tristram's statement that "Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different

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160 name for conversation" is on the face of it orthodox (p. 108, Bk. 2, Ch. 11). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, writers of prose often attempted to approximate genteel conversation. Robert Burton claimed to write "with as small deliberation as I do ordinarily speak." 23 Locke was praised by a contemporary for writing clearly and easily in "such a language as a man that is full of a subject and had a command of words would use in conversation." 24 Montaigne had striven for A natural simple and unaffected speech . . . such upon the paper as it is in the mouth, 1,23 and the essayists of The — ler and the Spectator , following Montaigne, also aimed at this informal effect. What Tristram means by conversation, however, seems to be quite different from the simple elegance which was the goal of the informal essayists. if his statement is to be taken seriously at all, "conversation" must refer simply to dialogue Tristram's habit of addressing various possible readers. Sir, Madam, and Sir Critic, as if they were in conversation. This habit often serves to loosen the thread of the narrative, though, as Booth has pointed out, the repeated intrusion of the narrator creates another sort of unity, since it tends to center the work on the personality of the narrator. it also creates an uncommonly vivid impression of spontaneity. Tristram seems to await the reader's response before he proceeds. He says, "nay, don't laugh at it

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161 do, --pray , get off your seats, only to take a view of it;" then, continuing as if the reader has refused or hesitated, says, "nay, lay your hands upon your hearts, and answer this plain question (p. 201, Bk. 3, Ch. 20). The extemporaneous effect is intensified as he appears to make decisions about what to write before our very eyes. Or consider the following passage, which seems to record mere seconds of emotion: but oh! — 'tis too much, — I am sick,— I faint away deliciously at the thoughts of it! — 'tis more than nature can bear! lay hold of me, — I am giddy, — I am stone blind, I'm dying, — I am gone. — Help! Help! Help! But hold, I grow something • better again (p. 195, Bk. 3, Ch. 20) The impression of spontaneity is an exaggeration of an effect which may also be seen in the Moriae Encomium and in Cibber's Apoloqy , where it serves to characterize the narrators as uncalculating fools. By abdicating control of the story, Tristram invites participation not only in a kind of dialogue, but also asks the reader to write certain parts of the story himself. Rather than describing the Widow Wadman , he says, "To conceive this right, call for pen and ink — here's paper ready to your hand. Sit down. Sir, paint her to your own mind" (p. 470, Bk . 6, Ch. 38), and leaves a blank page for the reader to do the drawing. Elsewhere he leaves a space "that the reader may swear into it, any oath that he is most accustomed to (p. 529, Bk. 7, Ch. 37). Then again, he imagines that the

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162 story is a stage play and requires the reader's assistance in moving away the old scenery as the story takes a novel turn (p. 45 5, Bk. 6, Ch. 29). These devices may be regarded as exerting a kind of control over the reader, much as does Tristram s demand that "Madam" re-read a section more carefully (p. 56, Bk . 1, Ch . 20), but they are also an abdication of his control over his material. Several times, he appeals to divine authority for help with his work, maintaining that it is the "POWERS" which "enable mortal man to tell a story worth the hearing, — that kindly shew him, where he is to begin it, — and where he is to end it, what he is to put into it, — and what he is to leave out" (p. 207, Bk. 3, Ch. 23). But Tristram's "powers" do not have the dignity one would expect in such traditional appurtenances. He addresses them as "Ye, who preside over this vast empire of biographical free-booters , and see how many scrapes and plunges your subjects hourly fall into" (p. 207, Bk. 3, Ch . 23), suggesting that they preside over disorder rather than a divinely ordained order, and that their subjects are "free-booters" suggests not only a low moral standing, but a catch— as— catch— can way of proceeding. And when Tristram implores them to "set up a guide-post ... to direct an uncertain devil" (p. 207, Bk. 3, Ch. 23), the effect is startlingly prosaic. Though gods acted in all sorts of humble capacities in the days of the Greeks, the muses

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163 appealed to by artists have tended to be remote and ideal, scarcely likely to be pictured as posting signposts. Similarly, Tristram's resorting to the use of a "day-tall critick," a hack writer who hires himself out by the day, is not particularly dignified, nor is it likely to improve the book. The reader begins to conclude that Tristram's abdication of his control of the story is a sign of weakness and that it will damage his book. At times, Tristram seems to suggest that his lack of control over his material is due to a kind of vigor in the material itself. He had, from the beginning, acted as if in writing he was ruled by forces beyond his control. He says of his pen, "it governs me, — I govern not it" (p. 416, Bk. 6, Ch.6). Speaking sympathetically of his father's failure to finish his Tr i s t opaed ia , Tristram comments, "Matter grows under our hands. — Let no man say, — "Come — I'll write a duodecimo (p. 373, Bk. 5, Ch. 16), implying that the material has a life of its own too vigorous for the author to fully control. Later he changes his figure and speaks not of the vigorous life of his material, but of his being "lost" in it, an image with a slightly mournful and ominous tone: so little service do the stars afford, which, nevertheless, I hang up in some of the darkest passages, knowing that the world is apt to lose its way, with a ll the lights the sun itself at noon day can give it and now, you see, I am lost myself! (p. 462, Bk. 6, Ch. 33 )

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164 Even when Tristram is expressing confidence in himself, the ominous suggestion that it may not be well-founded remains. When I can get on no further, " he says, after speaking of being lost in his material, " — and find myself entangled on sides of this mystick labyrinth, — my Opinion will then come in, in course, — and lead me out" (p. 469, Bk. 6, Ch. 37). The images of the book as a "mystick labyrinth" and as a wilderness with darkest passages" suggest that indeed there is a danger Tristram might get lost in the book and not be able to find his way out. Another suggestion that Tristram loses control over his writing is made in his repeated reference to the haste under which he works. "I have not the time to look into SaxoG rammaticus 1 s Danish history. . . he says, "but if you have leisure ... you may do it full as well yourself" (p. 24, Bk . 1, Ch . 11). This abdication of the author's responsibility for accuracy, while it indicates haste, seems to suggest more carelessness than haste. A later passage has a slightly more flurried sound, "Pray what was that man's name, — for I write in such a hurry, I have no time to recollect or look for it (p. 63, Bk. 1, ch. 21). Still further along, in Book 4, we are given a picture of a Tristram driven to write quickly: It is not half an hour ago, when (in the great hurry and precipitation of a poor devil's writing

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165 for daily bread) I threw a fair sheet, which I had just finished, and carefully wrote out, slap into the fire, instead of the foul one. (pp. 292-3, Bk 4 Ch. 17) Since, in this case, haste hascaused Tristram to do what he cannot possibly have wished to do — throw out a fair sheet and save an inferior one — it has more dramatic force than those statements of haste which could seem only an excuse for what he did not want to do anyway, such as confirm a reference. The carelessness of haste and the compulsion to write quickly in order to earn his keep label Tristram quite clearly as a hack-writer . He aims at compiling a mountain of work on trivial and salacious matters. "Have I not promised the world a chapter of knots?" he asks, "two chapters upon the right and the wrong end of a woman? a chapter upon whiskers? a chapter upon wishes? a chapter on noses?" (p. 280, Bk . 4, Ch . 9). It is no wonder that he is forced to exclaim, I shall never get half of 'em through this year" (p. 280, Bk. 4, Ch. 9). This overweening ambition, of course, can only lead to the necessity for haste and consequently to carelessness. His goal has something of self-love in it, too. He hopes that "nothing which has touched me will be thought trifling in its nature" (p. 11, Bk. 1, Ch. 6), and so determines to leave nothing out. Sounding remarkably like the hacks in satires, he exclaims, "Heaven prosper the manufactures of paper under this propitious reign" (p. 286, Bk. 4,

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166 Ch . 13), suggesting that the way to cope with vast amounts of material is not selection, but only more and more printing. Tristram, however, has a dimension that is absent from the satiric portraits of hack writers. As the book continues, his haste is associated not with carelessness or need of money, but with approaching death. There are numerous reminders of death throughout the book, culminating with Tristram s frantic rush across Europe in an effort to escape death. As the narrative progresses, it becomes dramatically evident that, given Tristram's desire to leave nothing out of his story, death will prevent him from ever finishing it. Of all the difficulties that have beset Tristram in his writing, this is the greatest, and it points up the foolishness of his ambitious plan for his autobiography. Tristram s shortcomings and difficulties as a writer at times seem to take center stage and become what the book is about. That he is a foolish writer can seldom be forgotten. Despite Tristram's manifold difficulties as an author, however, and despite his evident foolishness, the reader's attitude towards him somehow always falls short of contempt. Partl Y this is because he has written a lively and interesting book, but it is also because he remains an amiable figure and one with whom we feel some kinship. He has the bluster of the buffoon and all the worst characteristics of the hackwriter, yet he also has the appealing vulnerability of the

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167 too candid autobiographer, and he claims our sympathy as a limited, inadequate fellow-mortal. "I am not a wise man;" he says, "—and besides am a mortal of so little consequence in the world, it is not much matter what I do; so I seldom fret or fume at all about it" (p. 14, He. 1, ch. 8). Even if we disagree with his statement that what he does is of no importance, his proclamation of his own inconsequentiality has an appeal. Most people recognize the feeling that "I am not Prince Hamlet, but rather am "At times, indeed, almost ridiculous — / Almost, at times, the Fool." Sterne fosters our sense of kinship with Tristram in other ways. At one point, Tristram suggests that all men's lives may be much like his when he discards the notion that his volume is a farce, saying that he sees no reason to suppose it, "unless every one's life and opinions are to be looked upon as a farce as well as mine" (p. 371, Bk. 5, Ch. 15). The very number of fools in the book suggests that all men are fools, and this point of view is supported by Sterne's claim of kinship with his characters, his identification of himself with Yorick and with Tristram. The suggestion that men may be fools like Tristram tends to soften our judgment of him. Tristram is often shown, moreover, not merely as fellowfool, but as a fellow human in "unavoidable distresses." He says in the beginning that Fortune "has pelted me with a set

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168 of as pitiful misadventures and cross accidents as ever small HERO sustained" (p. 10, Bk. 1, Ch. 5), and the pages that follow chronicle these misfortunes. That his parents were distracted at the time of his conception is thought by Tristram to have affected his constitution. The broken nose he suffered at birth is thought by his family to affect his reputation for virility, if not his virility itself. That he is christened Tristram, " against his father's wishes, is another misfortune that falls soon after his entrance into the world. These three accidents he suffers early in his life are the chief ones, but other difficulties follow. Tristram is accidentally circumcised by a falling window, an unsurprising event in a household as haphazardly run as the Shandy household. In later years, the reader learns, Tristram experiences impotence. As an author he runs into innumerable difficulties, and as a man he runs into the difficulty all must face inevitable death. Many of Tristram's misfortunes are the consequence of the foolishness of his family. The train of accidents might be regarded as a comic treatment of the theme, "the sins of the father shall be visited on the children. Some of the other difficulties are the result of Tristram's own faulty thinking and foolishness. Whether they are the result of his family's foolishness or his own, however, Tristram's problems are so ridiculous that our sympathies are never really deeply engaged. The reader

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169 hovers between sympathizing with Tristram as innocent victim and laughing at him as foolish. Another complexity is introduced into the reader's perceptions of foolishness in Tristram Shandy by Sterne's occasional portrayal of his characters as "wise-fools." At one point Tristram reports " Yorick listened to my father with great attention; there was a seasoning of wisdom unaccountably mixed up with his strangest whims, and he had sometimes such illuminations in the darkest of his eclipses, as almost attoned for them (p. 326, Bk. 5, Ch. 42). Something similar could be said of Tristram, of Toby, and of Yorick himself, all of whom have something of the quality of the wise fool. Sterne twice alludes to the tradition that wisdom may come from a fool. He quotes Rabelais's suggestion that a man's search for knowledge may take him to a number of strange things, such as an oil bottle, an old slipper, or a fool (p. 200, Ek . 3, Ch . 30), and elsewhere he alludes to a writer who supposed idiots to be "under the more immediate tutelage of heaven" (pp. 232-3, Bk. 3, Ch. 38). Tristram's dual role as fool and wise man is neatly suggested by his having a fool's cap which he dons or doffs as his role demands. In keeping with the notion that even a fool may speak wisdom, there is some confusion about whether Tristram is actually wearing his cap; he once implores the reader to look for it and is told he has been wearing it "this last half hour" (p. 511,

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170 Bk. 7, Ch. 26). But even if the reader is sure Tristram is wearing his fool's cap, this may be no guarantee that he has been speaking pure foolishness. Early in the story, he warns the reader if I should seem now and then to trifle upon the road, or should sometimes put on a fool's cap with a ball to it, for a moment or two as we pass along, — don't fly off, but rather courteously give me credit for a little more wisdom than appears upon my outside" (p. 11, Bk . 1, Ch. 6), Like Tristram, the other fools in Tristram Shandy cannot be depended on to speak unmitigated foolishness. Except for the clownish Dr. Slop, none of the fools in the book can be completely discounted. They occasionally compel not only the reader s sympathy but his approbation. The effect of this is, as Traugott has said, that Sterne's rhetoric "like that of Erasmus, invites the reader to acknowledge himself as fool Always he suggests that the Shandys and their world are not 26 wholly eccentric." Like the Moriae Encomium . Sterne's book allows us to identify ourselves with the fool even as we criticize him.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER V 1 Alan Dugald McKillop, "Laurence Sterne," Laurence Sterne: ^Collection of Critical Essays , ed . John Traugott (Englewood Cliffs, N. J. , 1968), p. 41. 2 John Mitchell Stedmond, The Comic Art of Laurence Sterne : Convention and Innovation in Tristram Shandy and Sentimental Journey (Toronto, 1967), p. 11. 3 "Hie Four Forms of Prose Fiction," Hudson Review (Winter, 1950). 4h Tristram Shandy and the Tradition of Learned Wit," Criticism . 1, 225-48. 5 PMLA, 67 (1952), pp. 163-85. ^ "The Dunce Revisited: Colley Cibber and Tristram Shandy," South Atlantic Quarterly (1973), pp. 547-59. 7 Stedmond, p. 92. 8 Petrakis, p. 62. 9 Ibid. , p. 57 . Wilbur L. Cross, The Life and Times of Laurence Sterne (New York, 1919), p. 146. 11 Ibid. , p. 142. 12 Laurence Sterne , The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman , ed. Wilbur Cross (1925, rpt. London, 1947 ), p. 161 ( Bk . 3, Ch. 4). For an account of Sterne's debt to Montaigne see John Ferriar, Illustrations of Sterne: with other essays and verses (London, 1798); Tristram Shandy , ed. James A. Work (New York, 1940); Howard Anderson, "Associationism and Wit in Tristram Shandy , " Philological Quarterly. 48 (1969), pp. 27-41. 171

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172 Ferriar, illustration s of Sterne : Tristram Shandy , ed. James A. Work; Cross, The Life and Times of Laurence Sterne , p. 132; Gardner D. Stout, Jr., "Some Borrowings in Sterne from Rabelais and Cervantes," English Language Notes . 3 (1965), pp. 111-118; Melvyn New, "Sterne's Rabelaisian Fragment: A Text from the Holograph Manusc-ript, " PMLA , 87, No. 5, (Oct 1972), pp. 1083-92. 14 letter s — of Laurence Sterne , ed. Lewis Perry Curtis (Oxford, 1967, reprinted lithographically from sheets of the first edition, 1935), pp. 76, 132. 15 Cross, p. 241. 16 Ibid. , p. 279. 17 "The Dunce Revisited," pp. 547-59. -^Stedmond, p. 92. 19 Tave, p. 304. 20 Several critics have written of Tr i stram Shandy 1 s resemblance to the hack -written productions of the time. See Stedmond, p. 64; Ronald Paulson, Satire and the Novel in Eighteenth— Century En g land (New Haven and London, 1967), pp. 249-52; and Melvyn New, "The Dunce Revisited," pp. 547-59. 21 See William Bowman Piper, "Tristram Shandy's Digressive Artistry," Studie s in English Literature , 1 (Summer, 1961 ) , pp. 65-76 . 22 Booth, "The Self-Conscious Narrator," p. 177. 22 Stedmond, p. 33. 2 ^Peter Dixon, The World of Pope's Satires; An Introd uction to th e Epistles and Imitations of Horace (London, 1968), p. 17, cites The Diary of Dudley Ryder . 1715-1716, ed. W. Matthews (London, 1939), p. 75. 25 Henri Fluchere, Laurence Sterne : From Tristram to Yorick , trans. and abridged by Barbara Bray (London, 1965), p. 404, cites Montaigne's Essays , I, xxv, Florio translation. 26 John Traugott, "The Shandean Comic Vision of Locke," Laurence — Stern e: A Collection of Critical Essays , p. 141.

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CONCLUSION During the Middle Ages, the "feast of fools" was a Christinas festival at which celebrants were given license to cavort about, free from the restrictions ordinarily imposed by the church and civil authorities. Something of this festival aura clung to the praise of folly tradition. A certain lxght-heartedness, a love of play, a lack of ponderous morality always characterized it; and it tended to be allied with natural impulses against civilized controls. While writers in the tradition share the same traditional materials and repeat the same themes, one may also recognize a less definable kinship xn their gaiety and their celebration of natural impulses . Cibber was a true child of the tradition. His obstinate refusal to be anything but happy is one of the keynotes of his Apology , and the gaiety of the book shines through its occasional pettiness. His celebration of egoism may be seen as an acceptance of one of man's most basic characteristics. Egoism may be clearly seen in the infant. It is only gradually and painstakingly civilized out of him; perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is painstakingly disguised, for it continues to motivate men's actions and to pop out 173

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174 unexpectedly in spite of society's strictures. Cibber's acceptance of it is a mark of his alliance with nature over civilization. The tradition to which he was heir had a strong earthly and worldly strain. it is no accident that the medieval celebrants of the Feast of Fools loved to satirize the scholastics and academes and that centuries later Sterne did the same thing with undiminished gusto. Praisers °f folly preferred life over intricate theories. This quality is easily recognizable when it has a Rabelaisian coloration, as in the Tiers Livre . Tristram Shandy , and parts of the Moriae Encomium, but it is just as genuine in its genteel version, in Cibber's praise of egoism, of the joys of a fine periwig, of a clean shirt, and of a gay, witty lady. Cibber's alliance with nature is one of the things that makes his Apology attractive today, for though creeds and philosophies make slow changes through the centuries, natural passions are persistent in their claims on us, and Cibber's lively appreciation of the world about him has an attraction that Contra Gentiles lacks. His persistent gaiety and his blind optimism are foolish, to be sure; but as Erasmus pointed out, this sort of folly has attractions that reason cannot match.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Janice Lucile Forrester Harrell was born on February 2, 1945 in Hampton, Virginia. She attended Florida public schools and was graduated from Ocala High School in June 1963. The following September she entered Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd College) in St. Petersburg, Florida. She was graduated with honors in June 1967. in September 1967, Mrs. Harrell entered the graduate program in English at the University of Florida. She received her M. A. in 1969. Her thesis was a study of Thomas Shadwell's The Virtuoso . In March 1969, she was married to Evans Emmett Harrell. They have a daughter, Waverly, born in June 1975. 175

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I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as u dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Aubrey L. Williams, Chairman Professor of English I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. D. A. Bonneville Professor of French I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. i/ji 2 Melvyn New Professor of English I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Phiiaaophy . fJ. B. Pickard j /Professor of English

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I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Professor of Psychology This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. August, 1976 Dean , Graduate School