Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World

Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World

by Beatrice K. Otto
Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press

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Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World

In this lively work, Beatrice K. Otto takes us on a journey around the world in search of one of the most colorful characters in history—the court jester. Though not always clad in cap and bells, these witty, quirky characters crop up everywhere, from the courts of ancient China and the Mogul emperors of India to those of medieval Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. With a wealth of anecdotes, jokes, quotations, epigraphs, and illustrations (including flip art), Otto brings to light little-known jesters, highlighting their humanizing influence on people with power and position and placing otherwise remote historical figures in a more idiosyncratic, intimate light.

Most of the work on the court jester has concentrated on Europe; Otto draws on previously untranslated classical Chinese writings and other sources to correct this bias and also looks at jesters in literature, mythology, and drama. Written with wit and humor, Fools Are Everywhere is the most comprehensive look at these roguish characters who risked their necks not only to mock and entertain but also to fulfill a deep and widespread human and social need.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226640921
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 08/01/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 444
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Number of Fools Is Infinite
1. Facets of the Fool
2. The Scepter and the Bauble
3. In Risu Veritas, or Many a True Word Spoken in Jest
4. Overstepping the Mark: The Limits of His License
5. Religion, Erudition, and Irreverence
6. All the World's a Stage
7. Stultorum Plena Sunt Omnia, or Fools Are Everywhere
Epilogue: Future Fooling?
Appendix: Table of Named Jesters
Glossary of Chinese Characters
List of Abbreviations
Illustration Credits

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