Dr Mary Boyle is one of the co-founders of Teaching the Codex, and a Visiting Scholar at the Großbritannien-Zentrum at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Here we reblog her post on her summer project looking at marginalia in surviving copies of Sebastian Brant’s ‘Narrenschiff’.
I’m lucky enough to have been spending this summer as a visiting scholar at the Großbritannien-Zentrum (Centre for British Studies), which is part of Berlin’s Humboldt University. Two months of this period was funded by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst/ German Academic Exchange Service) as part of a project looking at reader responses to Sebastian Brant’s Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools), which was first published in 1494.
The Narrenschiff is often described as a work of moral satire. To expand on that, it’s an extremely comprehensive list in verse of the different ways in which humans are fools, which doesn’t necessarily sound like an enticing description to the modern reader. There are over one hundred options, ranging from those who do not raise children properly to ignorant or otherwise inappropriate candidates for ordination, and from adultery to insufficient preparation for death. Each ‘fool’ is illustrated with a woodcut. This was an…
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