Linked bibliography for the SEP article "Desiderius Erasmus" by Charles Nauert

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Erasmus' Works

The sheer bulk of Erasmus' writing is enormous. The complete edition of his works put together under the direction of the administrator of his estate, Bonifacius Amerbach, Opera omnia, filled nine large volumes, published at Basel in 1540. This collection, with a few titles added from time to time, was reprinted several times until the early eighteenth century, when an even more comprehensive edition in nine folio volumes appeared. This edition is still the most complete, and is still the standard source for works not yet published in a modern critical edition; but such a modern edition is in course of publication. In the early twentieth century, Erasmus' letters were collected and published in a critical edition by P.S. Allen and his associates. Letters from the correspondence are normally cited by the sign Ep and the sequential number of the letter in Allen's edition; the same letter numbers are valid for the ongoing edition of Erasmus' correspondence in English translation, an integral part of the series Erasmus in English, in course of publication by the University of Toronto Press. The standard citation forms follow, in alphabetical order, with “Erasmus, Desiderius,” as the universal author entry:

Allen Opus epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami, 11 vols + index volume. Edited by P.S. Allen and others. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1906–1958.
ASD Opera omnia. Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Co., 1969. (Many volumes, with critical introductions and annotations, have already appeared.)
CWE Collected Works of Erasmus. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974-. (English translation of all works of Erasmus, in course of publication. Many volumes have already appeared. Where a particular work has appeared in ASD [see above], the English translation is based on the ASD text. The Correspondence subseries is incorporated into CWE. Except for a small number of letters discovered after the publication of Allen, the English translation is based on the Latin text in Allen.)
LB Opera omnia. 10 vols. Edited by Johannes Clericus. Lugduni Batavorum [Leiden]: Peter van der Aa, 1703–1706. (LB is commonly used for the Latin text of works not yet published in ASD.)

In addition to these texts, a number of works not included in LB were discovered after its publication and edited by Wallace K. Ferguson as Erasmi opuscula. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1933. The present article contains no citations from this source.


There have been many biographies of Erasmus, some of high quality and some highly partisan and tendentious. The following are among the best available in English:

Secondary Works

Interest in Erasmus has produced a great number of publications, addressed to both scholarly and general audiences. What follows is a rather small selection from this vast literature. Readers should also be aware that some of the introductions to the texts published in ASD and CWE contain valuable discussions of questions of broad interest for understanding Erasmus' thought. Not all books listed below are cited in the text.

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