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Twentieth Annual Roland H. Bainton Presidential Lecture: Intertextual Play: Erasmus' Use of Adages in the Colloquies

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A copious use of ancient adages is a prominent feature of the Praise of Folly. Focusing on the Colloquies, this essay discusses passages where a source or subtext has previously not been recognized. In the Ciceronianus, his plea for eclectic imitation, Erasmus declares that the basic principle of art is concealing the technique. This rule is taken as a point of departure for analyzing the ways in which he handles adages. Rather than concealing a borrowing, Erasmus adapts it, using paraphrase, parody, inversion of the sense, and by combining it with other materials. Angelo Poliziano's writing was an important model for him.


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