Desiderius Erasmus

Literary Birthday – 27 October – Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus was born  27 October 1466, and died 12 July 1536.


  1. You must acquire the best knowledge first, and without delay; it is the height of madness to learn what you will later have to unlearn.
  2. Do not be guilty of possessing a library of learned books while lacking learning yourself.
  3. When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.
  4. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  5. I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.
  6. The desire to write grows with writing.
  7. There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
  8. I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree.
  9. I put up with this church, in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that I will become better.
  10. For what is life but a play in which everyone acts a part until the curtain comes down?

Desiderius Erasmus was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian. He wrote Praise of Folly and Discourse on Free Will. He was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance, the first editor of the New Testament, and an important figure in patristics and classical literature.


Hans Holbein the Younger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 27th October 2013