THE ART OF FOLLY by Paul Tabori


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Another compendium of human irrationalities by the author of The Natural Science of Stupidity. This one is divided into three sections. Fad, Fashion, and Folly. Mr. Tabori gives us glimpses of all countries and all centuries, and of subjects which range from physical research and astrology to duelling, the history of corsets, the fashion in names during the French Revolution, and the South Sea Bubble. There is even a final summing-up of the characteristics of the human race, purportedly by a Martian. The distinction between a fad and a fashion is sometimes hard to grasp--one wonders why hiking, for instance, is a fad, and the European Grand Tour is a fashion. But the illusion of organization is there as one reads the book, which is all that the reader requires. The only serious criticism that one can make of this plethora of delightful nonsense is that the author has included details of the activities of tyrants and dictatorships that warrant more serious treatment. The light tone of the book, which admirably befits most of the subjects covered, is too frivolous for a discussion of the Hungarian Revolution or of a king who used his subjects as archery targets. Surely there is a distinction between folly and evil; and if there is, some subjects which are included in this unusual and amusing book should properly fall outside its scope.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1961
ISBN: 0548442436
Publisher: Chilton