The Wisdom Of The Fool
This course will examine the role of the fool and the trickster in myth, literature and society to illustrate
the lessons s/he may have to teach us today. We will look at the relationship between wisdom and
folly, status and delusion, comedy and tragedy and how these dynamics have been illuminated by the
funny man and the funny woman, the court jester and the clown. We all make the journey of the Fool
time and time again and there are many tools to aid us in this journey, including the major arcana of the
Tarot, to which reference will also be made.
Who is this course for
No prior experience or particular knowledge required. But students should have some interest in literature, drama and myth as well as psychology.
What does this course cover
Mythology and folktale presents us with a brilliant panoply of the buffoon and the divine eccentric. Coyote, Raven, Loki, Brer Rabbit and the rest connect us with Lila, the play of the world and provide us with a foundation for homo ludens (the person as player). In appreciating their roles in story and tradition, and their human transmutation into the street entertainer, the jester of the medieval court and the music-hall comedian we can reclaim the origins and functions of laughter in the psyche.
By the end of the course you should be able to:
- appreciate the universality of the trickster archetype
- acknowledge the role of the fool in one's everyday life
- understand the social value of burlesque
What will it be like
The course will involve group discussion, question and answer forum, lecture presentation and varied illustrative visual material. Relevant class handouts will also be distributed. Assessment will be via quality of responses and feedback together with overall enthusiasm displayed.
What else do you need to buy or do
Preferably, bring along a notebook, loose-leaf file or folder. Reading around the subject in advance is always recommended including anthropological literature on the trickster.
What this course could lead to
Students may be interested in psychology, literature or other courses in mythology, tutor to advise.
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why come to Mary Ward Centre?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’