Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) was a Dutch humanist, scholar, and social critic, and one of the most important figures of the Renaissance. The Praise of Folly is perhaps his best-known work. Originally written to amuse his friend Sir Thomas More, this satiric celebration of pleasure, youth, and intoxication irreverently pokes fun at the pieties of theologians and the foibles that make us all human, while ultimately reaffirming the value of Christian ideals. No other book displays quite so completely the transition from the medieval to the modern world, and Erasmus's wit, wisdom, and critical spirit have lost none of their timeliness today. This Princeton Classics edition of The Praise of Folly features a new foreword by Anthony Grafton that provides an essential introduction to this iridescent and enduring masterpiece.