Foolsareeverywhere.com is not a digital version of the book which informs and inspired it. Websites are ‘works in progress’, always evolving, never complete; it’s part of their complementary beauty and strength alongside print.
As such, we don’t expect anything shared here to be considered final and if something seems ‘missing’ it may simply be that it hasn’t yet found its way into the jam-packed pipeline of jesterly materials. Additions, correctives, nuances and improvements will be part of that pipeline.
The subject is vast, like the humour that underpins it, and a website lends itself to re-ordering information structured in one way for a book but which can now be revisited for other purposes and audiences.
A quotation from the 16th century French Treatise on Laughter (Traité du Ris) by Laurent Joubert (1529-83) sums up the joy of pursuing a boundless topic in a fluid medium. And I am sure you can spot the subtle signs of humour in Joubert’s portrait …
‘Now, this is what made me advance my argument so far in this matter of laughter, the nicest and most exciting that has ever been touched. For from one proposition I am led to another, and with a curious desire I go searching constantly, as though insatiable, all that I can grasp. I think that surely I shall never finish, and that there will always be more to say or add.’
‘Or c’et ce qui m’a fait, si avant anfoncer au discours de mon argumant, an cette matiere de Ris, la plus jantile & galharde qui ayt eté jamais touchee. Car d’vn propos je suis conduit à l’autre, & d’vn curieus desir je vay toujours recherchant, comme insatiable, tout ce que j’an peus comprandre. Ie panse bien que je n’auray jamais achevé, & qu’il aura toujours à redire, ou ajouter quelque chose.’
Source: Laurent Joubert (1529-83), Le Traité du Ris, facsimile of 1579 edn (Geneva: Saltkine Reprints, 1973). See also ibid., Treatise on Laughter, trans. and annot. by Gregory David le Rocher (Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1980).
Image credit: Portrait of Laurent Joubert, Musée d’Histoire de la Medecine, Paris