"Ship of Fools" is the only novel of the American writer Katherine Anne Porter, published in 1962.
The idea of the novel was born during her voyage from Mexico to Europe in 1931. To the work on a book Porter launched ten years later and had been writing it for two decades. The book's title refers to the medieval allegory, the most famous of which were the embodiments of Sebastian Brant’s poem and written by Hieronymus Bosch a painting: a ship, populated and managed by fools and madmen, is the entire humanity.
In the novel, Porter’s model of humanity is the passengers of the transatlantic liner sailing for Europe in 1931: prevailing society on the ship is portrayed as a model of society in general, and at this example, the social and psychological causes of totalitarianism and racial hatred are traced.
The novel was the basis for the film of the same title made in 1965 by Stanley Kramer.