Fool By Peter K. Andersson

  • Narrated by: Mike Cooper
  • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
  • Release date: 10-24-23

Fool By Peter K. Andersson AudioBook summary

In some portraits of Henry VIII there appears another figure—a gaunt and morose-looking man with a shaved head. This is William or “Will” Somer, the king’s fool, a celebrated wit who reportedly could raise Henry’s spirits and spent many hours with him. Was Somer an “artificial fool,” a cunning comic who could speak freely in front of the king, or a “natural fool,” someone with intellectual disabilities, like many other members of the profession? Fool is the first biography of Somer—and perhaps the first of a Renaissance fool.

After his death, Somer disappeared, and historians struggled to separate myth from reality. Unearthing as many facts as possible, Peter K. Andersson pieces together the fullest picture yet of an enigmatic and unusual man with a strange job. Somer’s story provides new insights into how fools lived and what they did for a living, how monarchs and courtiers related to commoners and people with disabilities, and whether aspects of the Renaissance fool live on in the modern comedian. But most of all, we learn how a commoner without property or education managed to become the court’s chief mascot and a continuous presence at the center of Tudor power.


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