Sandra Langereis / Sandra Langereis – Erasmus: Life of a Maverick

Sandra Langereis – Erasmus: Life of a Maverick

Sandra Langereis – Erasmus: Life of a Maverick


Winner Libris History Prize 2021

Rights sold

  • Ullstein (Germany)
  • Mondadori (Italy)

Read our sample translation of Erasmus: Life of a Maverick

About the book

Erasmus is one of the greatest authors of the Netherlands and Belgium, and even all of Europe. He embodies the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern day. His significance for literary and scientific history is immense. Even today, thousands of his letters on subjects such as moral constraint and freedom of press have lost nothing of their significance.

The majority of Erasmus’ life and work has been neglected until now. Sandra Langereis is the first biographer who does justice to his life story by closely following his correspondence and describing the genesis of his entire literary legacy. She depicts him as the lively author of In Praise of Folly as well as a brazen biblical scholar who came up against inquisitors, but also Martin Luther. Erasmus’ life story sheds light on an eventful era: a century of dark humour and brutal violence, of religious fanaticism and the struggle for intellectual freedom. This rich biography makes history’s relevance palpable.

Erasmus has never been portrayed as this smart, sharp, brave, angry, scared and – in one word – human.  And never before has a biography shone as vivid a spotlight on Erasmus’ day and age.

‘This ambitious biography turns Erasmus into a man of flesh and blood.’ – Trouw

‘Because Langereis does this in a highly readable way, without pomposity or endless citations, the book has not only become a wonderful biography of Erasmus, but also an attractive and extraordinarily informative cultural history of the times in which he lived.’ – Historisch Nieuwsblad

‘Langereis’ biography gives a detailed picture of his life as a thinker and man of letters, but also as an intellectual beggar – as someone who was constantly dependent on the gold pieces he was thrown.’ – Vrij Nederland


Sandra Langereis is a historian and biographer. Her previous biography, The Wordsmith, about printer and publisher Christoffel Plantijn, was nominated for the Libris History Prize and chosen as best biography and best history book of 2014 by newspapers de Volkskrant and Trouw. With Erasmus: Life of a Maverick, she has once again published a committed biography that calls attention to culture’s indispensability in all times.

© Geert Snoeijers

Additional book information

  • Biography
  • ISBN 9789403120317
  • Number of pages: 784
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €39,99
  • English sample available