Thursday, August 23, 2007
The last time I went to church, one Christmas day with my family I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from raising one of them to question the pontificating priest and engage in debate about hypochrisy in the church. It would be fun to create a ruckus in the cold stony cathedral. I complied and sat silently perhaps afraid I would be carted off to the Ship of Fools for causing mischief. Mind you, not practicing what you preach is another folly so I'd be joined there by most of the clergy.
Written in 1494 Das Narrenschiff, or The Ship of Fools is a long poem of morality, a catalogue of medieval vices give facinating window into how people lived. It was illustrated with woodcuts by Durer depicting 110 assorted follies and vices, each undertaken by a different fool, devoting chapters to such offenses as Arrogance Toward God, Marrying for Money, and Noise in Church. Some of the chapters are united by the common theme of a ship which will bear the assembled fools to Narragonia, the island of fools.