The Who's Who you've been waiting for

Fools Are Everywhere included a table of named jesters to help keep track of these elusive types as they cavorted through the court, sometimes niftily passing from monarch to successor.  

The aim of that book meant that accounts of their interactions with the Head Honchos of History were served up on thematic platters, which led to the obvious idea, along with that tantalizing table, that they deserved their own Who’s Who in Fooldom.

Aims and approaches

This then, is – or will be – it. There were some 333 of these characters in the Table of Named Jesters, so that’s what we’re aiming for, to begin with.  Ideally we will discover new fools as we go.   

As we feed stories, quotations and anecdotes through the pipeline, these initially slender biographies will fill out to their full stature. Copyright restrictions and reproduction fees permitting, we will also add images. But we’ll get started and let the sponsorship flow to cover such costs.  

A bias on my part: the perfectionist hesitation to create a Biography until it has the completeness of an encyclopaedic entry. I have overcome this by viewing these not as ‘entries’ but as ‘files’.  The Fool Files, if you will.  A file by its nature is a work in progress, never complete, always open to addition or amendment.  Ah, that feels better: now I can plough ahead and ‘open a file’ rather than ‘post an entry’.  

Bear with me, this will lead to a searchable index of jesters – historical, fictional, folk and legendary, and sometimes a mix.  

First up – Chunyu Kun – China

Next up – Birbal – India


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Book cover - Beatrice Otto - Fools Are Everywhere - University of Chicago Press

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