Fools Are Everywhere: The court jester around the world

The fool as a universal archetype blazed into my consciousness the day I discovered the vivid biographies of Chinese court jesters by China’s Herodotus, Sima Qian (145-c. 86 BC).   Flourishing over 1,500 years before Shakespeare encoded Lear’s fool in our cultural DNA, they were strikingly similar to everything a Western education told me a court jester was and did.  I was intrigued.

This prompted five years’ research pursuing every lead, including languages I could barely read (amazing how helpful people are if you ask), and one I supposedly could read, classical Chinese.  With the guidance of a great sinologist, William Dolby, I ploughed through over 400 stories of Chinese jesters, ranging across two millennia worth of primary sources.

Fools Are Everywhere: The court jester around the world was published by Chicago University Press complete with a flip-book cartoon and original Chinese language inserts.   It won critical kudos, with lively reviews and the American Association of Publishers’ award for outstanding book of the year in its class. But one of the greatest rewards has been the reactions of readers, some of whom have become friends, and I hope this introduction will attract new ones, with the sharp insights they often bring.   Click below to find out more and see some reviews … 

 

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www.beatriceotto.com

Providing a slightly more colourful profile than LinkedIn allows, though I have one of those too.

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Project 001 - www.writingredux.com

You are here!   Sharing a lifelong love of reading and writing and bringing to light hidden gems of fresh and original phrasing.   Launched 23 April 2016 for three very good reasons.

Image credit: Liliia Rudchenko, creativemarket.com

Fools Cap World Map - hand-coloured print of an original dating from c. 1590 in the Bodleian Library

Project 002

‘Stultorum plena sunt omnia’, said the ancients, or ‘fools are everywhere’, and so it has proved.

To highlight this universal fact, we are building the most sparkling, scholarly and sweeping online treasury to promote the appreciation of fools and jesters, throughout history and across the world.

Image credit: The Fool’s Cap World Map

Project 003

Bringing a new angle to an ancient theme: love of life.   Look forward to celebrating many of its marvelous moments with you.   Leaping onto a screen one bright day soon.

Photo credit: Pexels.com

Project 004

Dedicated to makers and making and the beauty of things, with a focus on one thing in particular and a celestial shade of blue. Clue: she has wheels and recently turned 60.  Look forward to taking you for a spin around her website.

Photo credit: Dustin Lee, stocksnap.com

Project 005

An affectionate look at an adoptive country.   To be launched in time for its national day.

Photo credit: Joshua Earle, unsplash.com

Of Time, Wine & Trees

Of time, wine and trees

Time, in the sense of how we live and perceive it, enthralls me.   This essay was prompted by various perspectives that struck me, including Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate.  As an entry for an essay prize, this isn’t currently available online, but will be soon, whether it wins the prize or not.

Myths metaphors and autochthonous grapes

Myths, metaphors & autochthonous grapes

An essay on myths and metaphors, inspired by visits to Greece in the company of Homer and Zorba.

Again, this will be available online once the essay prize has been awarded (to this, or somebody else’s, efforts).

Why sustainability?

Having long been interested in human happiness and a healthy environment, these seemed separate if related issues until sustainability gave me their meeting point.

For twenty years I have worked with designers, business people and government to try to expand that point into a growing space for positive action.   An overview of reports, projects and clients can be found by clicking below … taking you to another website.

Photo credit: www.pixabay.com

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