Cervantes' Carnivalesque Ship of Fools in the Viaje del Parnaso

Horacio Chiong-Rivero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sebastian Brant's Das Narrenschiff (1494), or Ship of Fools, with its satirical galleries of fools in their vain quest for a utopian narragonia, or Fools' Land, launches a vogue of paradoxical folly that found safe haven in numerous ports flanking the vast mare magnum of the literature on folly. Deeply rooted in the classical and medieval tradition of satire, the literary concept of paradoxical folly is lucidly articulated by erasmus of rotterdam in his Praise of Folly (1511). ever the preferred tool of the satirist, and etymologically denoting that which is contrary or counter to (para) conventional opinion and expectation (doxa), paradoxical folly is intricately connected to the burgeoning motif of the ship of fools, which may be deemed a literary subgenre within the tradition of paradoxical folly and which serves as a venue for the expression of folly through irony, parody, and humour, all literary devices that aim to subvert and question established convention. cervantes' Viaje del Parnaso, intricately tied both to the literature on paradoxical folly and to journey narratives, may well be the culminating and most significant port of arrival in the long trajectory of the counter-voyage traversed by the ship of fools subgenre.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-519
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of Hispanic Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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