"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
mattress,/
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).


Friday, February 3, 2012

Holy Fools

I gave a paper at an academic conference last September on the role of holy fools and suggested in the course of my essay, which will be published late this year as part of a collection, that one could see the phenomenon of holy fool at work in certain characters and novels of the great English Catholic writer Evelyn Waugh. Now a new book gives us an occasion to take a fresh look at them: Priscilla Hunt and Svitlana Kobets, eds., Holy Foolishness in Russia: New Perspectives (Slavica Publications, 2011), 413pp. (Slavica is a division of Indiana University Press.)

Kobets in particular has been publishing a number of extremely insightful essays on the topic of holy foolery over the years. Many of these are available at, or linked from, her website, which is a rich resource in this regard. 

About this book the publisher tells us that "this richly illustrated volume’s innovative interdisciplinary approaches and engagement with the newest scholarly literature presents a new basis for exploration of holy foolishness in Russia as a unique expression of national identity." The website also helpfully gives us PDFs of the introduction and table of contents. 


In the coming weeks, I hope to feature on here an interview with Dr. Kobets about her work and this book. 

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