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42nd Erasmus Birthday Lecture by Brian Cummings – 10 November 2023

10 November 2023, 16:00 – 17:30, KNAW Trippenhuis – Kloveniersburgwal 29, Amsterdam. Sign up here.

In his Erasmus Birthday Lecture Brian Cummings, Professor of English, University of York (UK), will relate how Erasmus visited the cave of the Sibyl at Cumae in the company of Alexander Stewart, illegitimate son of James IV of Scotland. Johan Huizinga pronounces “What the Sibyl said to Erasmus, we shall never know”.

In asking what the Sibyl said, Huizinga comes as close as possible to Erasmus’ attitudes to prophecy and meaning, and to his feelings for the doomed youth who accompanied him. Erasmus wrote intense eulogies of Alexander studded across his works for the rest of his life, often hidden in obscure adages about the sayings of classical oracles. Brian Cummings will set out the surviving grounds for exploring that last unmentionable area of Erasmus’ biography: the luminous, ardent, secretive world of erotic love.