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Sebastian Brant

Brant, Brandt, or Brand, Sebastian (sābäsˈtyän bränt) [key], 1457–1521, German humanist and moralist. He taught law at the Univ. of Basel and in 1503 became town clerk of Strasbourg. His verse allegory Das Narrenschiff [ship of fools] (1494) became world famous. Illustrated with woodcuts, it went through six editions in Brant's lifetime alone. The story tells of 112 fools—each representing a fashionable foible—who sail out to sea and die because of their folly. An English translation by Alexander Barclay appeared in 1509.

See verse translation (with the woodcuts) by E. H. Zeydel (1944). The poem inspired the novel Ship of Fools (1962) by Katherine Anne Porter.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: German Literature: Biographies


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