Brant, Sebastian

Brant, Sebastian

Brant, Brandt, or Brand, Sebastian (sābäsˈtyän bränt), 1457–1521, German humanist and moralist. He taught law at the Univ. of Basel and in 1503 became town clerk of Strasbourg. His verse allegory Das Narrenschiff [ship of fools] (1494) became world famous. Illustrated with woodcuts, it went through six editions in Brant's lifetime alone. The story tells of 112 fools—each representing a fashionable foible—who sail out to sea and die because of their folly. An English translation by Alexander Barclay appeared in 1509.


See verse translation (with the woodcuts) by E. H. Zeydel (1944). The poem inspired the novel Ship of Fools (1962) by Katherine Anne Porter.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brant, Sebastian


Born circa 1458 in Strasbourg; died May 10, 1521, in Strasbourg. German writer-humanist. Doctor of law.

In 1494, Brant published a book of verse satires, Ship of Fools, in which he exposed “knights” who earned their living through robbery, usurers who ruined poor people, dishonorable rulers, and self-interested members of the clergy. Brant’s satire was successful even in his own life. In 1877 the book was translated into modern German.


Das Narrenschiff. Berlin, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Korabl’ durakov. Moscow, 1965. (Introduction by B. I. Purishev.)


Purishev, B. I. Ocherki nemetskoi literatury XV-XVII vv. Moscow, 1955.
Zeydel, E. H. Sebastian Brant. New York [1967]. (Bibliography, pp. 157–62.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?