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Satire, Travel, Objectivity & Materialism
To jump right into this critical juxtaposition of some aspects of the treatment of materialism in Erasmus’ In Praise of Folly and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, let’s start with consideration of the passage of Folly that will set this discussion’s tone and agenda. It is the passage beginning with the line, “In the mean while observe what a cheap purchase of happiness is made by the strength of fancy…” (Erasmus, 1876, n.p.) Erasmus here makes a seemingly prosaic point regarding the power of “fancy”—the power of desire and need—to alter perception so powerfully as to make it possible for “real” satisfaction and happiness to be had in response to items or quality that may not in fact be, objectively, proportional to such contented reaction...
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