The Fool in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period was either a person who capitalized on his natural deficiencies, which were then considered amusing, or a professional entertainer the artificial Fool who specialized in clowning. His distinctive clothing and bauble are known to us through numerous Psalter illustrations where he is shown in connection with Psalm 52, which asserts that The fool has said in his heart there is no God. Attitudes toward the Fool varied, but his place was to become assured on stage, where his role is best known to us through the plays of Shakespeare. The articles in the present volume provide indispensable analyses of the Fool from a number of different perspectives.
About the Author
Clifford Davidson is professor emeritus of English and Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations Introduction by Clifford Davidson The Cheval fol of Lyon and Other Asses by Sandra Billington The King His Own Fool: Robert of Cicyle by Martin W. Walsh Forgotten Fools: Alexander Barclay's Ship of Fools by Robert C. Evans Staging Folly in the Early Sixteenth Century: Heywood, Lindsay, and Others by Peter Happe The Fool as Social Critic: The Case of the Dutch Rhetoricians' Drama by W. N. M. Husken Sienese Fools, Comic Captains, and Every Fop in His Humor by Robert W. Leslie Index