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Fools and Folly in Erasmus and Porter (Jewel Spears Brooker)

Edited byThomas Austenfeld UNT Press PDF

Fools and Folly in Erasmus and Porter

Jewel Spears Brooker

In the articulation of her literary ancestry, Katherine Anne Porter created a place of honor for Erasmus, and in her personal canon, she made room at the top for The Praise of Folly. She told her nephew that she had been formed by Erasmus "from her tenth year" (Letters 415). In 1932, she was reading him in Basel, and on June 19, 1941, she signed a contract with

Doubleday to write his biography. After the publication of Ship of Fools, she reiterated her admiration, hinting that her representation of folly was inspired by his. Porter was drawn to Erasmus in large part because of his moral imagination. Both were keen observers of human nature and both considered folly to be endemic in the human condition. But they present strikingly different concepts of folly. For Erasmus, folly is foolishness, and although it is the butt of his satire, he generally finds it amusing.

For Porter, on the other hand, folly is innate wickedness. When writing of ordinary human life in The Praise of Folly, he is tolerant and urbane; in contrast, in Ship of Fools, she is harsh and scornful. Unlike Porter,

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Ship of Fools the Film: In Context (Christine Hait)

Edited byThomas Austenfeld UNT Press PDF

128

Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools

Nineteen-sixty-five was a hallmark year for American films about

Hitler and the Holocaust, furthering what some call the "Americanization" (Doneson 61) of the Holocaust through American popular culture.

Scholars interested in Hollywood’s handling of the Holocaust have given significant attention to the film and, because of both it and Judgment at

Nuremberg, to Kramer. The film version of Ship of Fools can therefore also be understood in the context of Kramer’s career. One of many films that he produced or directed that take as their original source material a Broadway play or literary novel, it can be seen in the context of his varying successes and failures in film adaptation and his intense interest in literary form, story, and character. In addition, it is one of the films, including Judgment at Nuremberg, he made in collaboration with screenwriter Abby Mann, and as Robert Brinkmeyer observes, Judgment at

Nuremberg and Ship of Fools are companion pieces that allowed Mann and

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"Before the Voyage Ended": An Examination of the Serial Publication of Ship of Fools, 1944–1959 (Beth Alvarez)

Edited byThomas Austenfeld UNT Press PDF

86

Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools

1950, November 1953; Atlantic, March, April 1956; Mademoiselle, July

1958; Texas Quarterly, Autumn 1959). There is also correspondence with editorial staff of the seven periodicals in her papers and additional relevant correspondence in the papers of Seymour Lawrence and Cyrilly

Abels. My research began with the manuscripts and correspondence, followed by reading the twelve excerpts in the order in which they were published. After reading the text of the entire novel, I compared it with the texts of the excerpts and noted differences between them. What follows are the results of these efforts and some preliminary conclusions.

Appended to the paper are charts detailing the relationship between the excerpts and the novel.

Although it has long been known that the genesis for Ship of Fools was the log or notes Porter made during her first voyage to Europe in the late summer of 1931, Porter initially conceived of the work, originally titled

"Promised Land," as one of five short novels to be published in a single volume. (The other works were to be "Noon Wine," "Old Mortality,"

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