[PDF] ↠ Gargantua and Pantagruel Author François Rabelais – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Gargantua and Pantagruel

  1. says:

    Good fellow pantagruelists, join us in our feast Trinck Read Pass another pint of tripe All you pouty agalasts, I fart upon you To the devil with you, you black beetles, you dull and dappled drips Here we make it merry Pantagruelists of goodreads, unite You have nothing to lose but the contents of your bowels Trinck Laugh Burst Properly to give Rabelais his due, to pursue you and persuade you that as our Good Book says , Pantagrueling is the beginning of wisdom, would require the s Good fellow pantagruelists, join us in our feast Trinck Read Pass another pint of tripe All you pouty agalasts, I fart upon you To the devil with you, you black beetles, you dull and dappled drips Here we make it merry Pantagruelists of goodreads, unite You have nothing to lose but the contents of your bowels Trinck Laugh Burst Properly to give Rabelais his due, to pursue you and persuade you that as our Good Book says , Pantagrueling is the beginning of wisdom, would require the subtlety of a soft shoe but all I have is a flagon of our best vendange Can you do justice to one such as Shakespeare Is there any word one can say about that great bard Which hyperbole do you prefer, you donkey, you aardvark, you zebra So with our French Shakespeare, that laughing monk, that Doctor of our melancholy, his gentle and jovial giants Gargantua and Pantagruel, hyperbole says always just never quitewhat I mean to say is that your logorrhea will never be adequate to the task Would that in our schools the erudition of such a man were taught, that pantagruelian laughter were the curriculum, satire of those stodgy dip shits yes, those dip shits ran rampant, the motto of the Abbey of Th l me, Do what thou wilt, were emblazoned across our grammar books Or one might parody the satirist, a task again out of my reach, my humility swamped but we have our own Rabelaisian erudition, 21st century style, Pynchonian panache may 78 devils take me could I pantagruel my way to review Herr Magister Rabelais with the proper gargantuan garishness No erudite essayist am I, nor parodic peacock encomia to our First Novelist, our Best Novelist, a Man of Letters bestriding our centuries, the copious stream from his lower belly of littered letters drowning us in laughter he pisses like a horse , such encomia would that I could, but forget all of that and pass another pint of tripe, together we might break a bit of wind Tap another hogshead We ve got all night for our feast ___________ If on a friend s bookshelf You cannot find Joyce or Sterne Cervantes, Rabelais, or Burton, Gaddis or Gass, Pynchon or McElroy, David Foster Wallace, William T Vollmann, Alexander Theroux or Gilbert Sorrentino, You are in danger, face the fact, So kick him first or punch him hard And from him hide behind a curtain Alexander Theroux Erg nzung von N.R _____________Why Rabelais With the motto Do What You Will, Rabelais gave himself permission to do anything he damn well pleased with the language and the form of the novel as a result, every author of an innovative novel mixing literary forms and genres in an extravagant style is indebted to Rabelais, directly or indirectly Out of his codpiece came Aneau s AlectorNashe s Unfortunate TravellerL pez de beda s JustinaCervantes Don QuixoteB roalde de Verville s Fantastic TalesSorel s FrancionBurton s AnatomySwift s Tale of a Tub and Gulliver s TravelsFielding s Tom JonesAmory s John BuncleSterne s Tristram Shandythe novels of Diderot and maybe Voltaire a late convert Smollet s Adventures of an AtomHoffmann s Tomcat MurrHugo s Hunchback of Notre DameSouthey s DoctorMelville s Moby DickFlaubert s Temptation of Saint Anthony andBouvard and BecuchetTwain s Adventures of Huckleberry FinnFrederick Rolfe s ornate novelsBely s PetersburgJoyce s UlyssesWitkiewicz s InsatiabilityBarnes Ryder and Ladies AlmanackGombrowicz s Polish jokesFlann O Brien s Irish farcesPhilip Wylie s Finnley WrenPatchen s tender novelsBurroughs s and Kerouac s mad onesNabokov s later worksSchmidt s fictionthe novels of DurrellBurgess especially A Clockwork Orange and Earthly Powers Gaddis and PynchonBarthCooverSorrentinoReed s Mumbo JumboBrossard s later worksthe masterpieces of Latin American magic realism Paradiso, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Three Trapped Tigers, I the Supreme, Avalovara, Terra Nostra, Palinuro of Mexico the fabulous creations of those gay Cubans Severo Sarduy and Reinaldo ArenasMarkson s Springer s ProgressMano s Take FiveR os s Larva and otros librosthe novels of Paul WestTom RobbinsStanley ElkinAlexander Theroux W M SpackmanAlasdair GrayGa tan Soucy andRikki Ducornet Lady Rabelais, as one critic called her Mark Leyner s hyperbolic novelsthe writings of Magister GassGreer Gilman s folkloric fictions andRoger Boylan s Celtic comediesVollmann s voluminous volumesWallace s brainy fictionsSiegel s Love in a Dead LanguageDanielewski s novelsJackson s Half LifeField s UluluDe La Pava s Naked Singularity andJames McCourt s ongoing Mawrdew Czgowchwz saga from Steven Moore, The Novel An Alternate History volume 1 Beginnings to 1600, p330 331.The fore going list which is NOT MY list , has now been turned into a Listopia List by Friend Aubrey Go and VOTE Here s the list _____________M.A Screech s translation published by Penguin should be the standard English translation for years to come I had previously read the Burton Raffel translation but was disappointed, had a deep suspicion that I was not hearing the full range of Rabelais voice I quickly grabbed Screech s edition Screech provides short introductions to each chapter which identify the context and target of Rabelais wit, points out difficulties involved in the translation, such as his handling of puns and wordplays, and indicates variations among the various editions published during Rabelais lifetime footnotes are kept to a minimum The principle of this edition seems to be maximal transparency with minimal scholarly intrusions Screech is perhaps the most respected Rabelaisian scholar working in English His translation is smart, verbose, and rich A life time of Rabelaisian research means that he knows both the letter and spirit of our most sacred pantagrueling For Bakhtin s thesis regarding the carnivalesque, Rabelais and His World an indispensable treatise


  2. says:

    You know what philosophy needsFran ois thought to himself More fart jokes And excrement jokes Also some obscenity, blasphemy, over eating, and sex Ooh, and giants But most of all,fart jokes.Personally, the philosophical discourses were the part I found most interesting, but if you think several hundred pages of various characters calling one another prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy rascals, shite a bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy l You know what philosophy needsFran ois thought to himself More fart jokes And excrement jokes Also some obscenity, blasphemy, over eating, and sex Ooh, and giants But most of all,fart jokes.Personally, the philosophical discourses were the part I found most interesting, but if you think several hundred pages of various characters calling one another prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy rascals, shite a bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy loiterers, slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubberly louts, cozening foxes, ruffian rogues, paltry customers, sycophant varlets, drawlatch hoydens, flouting milksops, jeering companions, staring clowns, forlorn snakes, ninny loblocks, scurvy sneaksbies, fondling fops, base loons, saucy coxcombs, idle lusks, scoffing braggarts, noddy meacocks, blockish grutnols, dollipol joltheads, jobbernol goosecaps, foolish loggerheads, flutch calf lollies, grouthead gnat snappers, lob dotterels, gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninnyhammer flycatchers, noddypeak simpletons, turdy gut, shitten shepherds etc would brighten your weary hours, this is the book for you Plus it is a classic so you can claim to be improving your mind


  3. says:

    An Exuberant MasterpieceThis novel is almost 600 years old, yet it s hugely entertaining, farso than I had expected.In both content and style, there were times when I couldn t have guessed when it was written.It s no longer argued that it was the first ever novel However, its narrative diversity highlights that the institution of the novel has always been about stylistic innovation and that there is little that differentiates the origins of the novel from subsequent Modernism and Post Mod An Exuberant MasterpieceThis novel is almost 600 years old, yet it s hugely entertaining, farso than I had expected.In both content and style, there were times when I couldn t have guessed when it was written.It s no longer argued that it was the first ever novel However, its narrative diversity highlights that the institution of the novel has always been about stylistic innovation and that there is little that differentiates the origins of the novel from subsequent Modernism and Post Modernism.I read the early translation begun by Sir Thomas Urquhart, both in ebook form and in a lovely old hardback version that I had bought in 1983, because I loved the stylish pen and ink drawings by the Australian artist Francis J Broadhurst who also illustratedThe DecameronSome of his illustrations accompany this review.There have been several translations since Urquhart s However, I couldn t fault his version It read easily Any lengthy sentences wereplayful than turgid Steven Moore describes it as anexuberant masterpiecebut they took too many liberties with the text and made too many mistakesI was oblivious to these flaws Suffice it to say that I felt that they never detracted from the fluidity and humour of the prose that ended up on the page This must be a tribute to either the author or the translators.Urquhart was anextravagant and eccentricScottish writer who shared a fascination with neologisms, especially those inGargantua. There s an interesting site dedicated to him here PrimerThe novel is actually a compendium of five books, each of which consists of up to 60 chapters that are usually two to four pages long with headings that clearly announce the subject matter.The first book to be written and published appears second, the first being a prequel The success of these two books was so great that Rabelais was tempted to keep adding to them until his death, a tradition maintained by Hollywood.The adjectiveRabelaisianderives from the character of the book, meaningdisplaying earthy humour or bawdyormarked by gross robust humor, extravagance of caricature, or bold naturalism.These characteristics are evident However, what surprised me was the underlying serious intent of the novel While couched in a satirical framework, it targets important social, political and religious issues It attacks perceived evils and promotes or investigates alternatives At times, particularly in relation to the excesses of lawyers, it resembled Machiavelli sThe Princepublished in 1532, the year of publication of the first book at one extreme and Jonathan Swift sGulliver s Travels1726 at the other It is a sort of primer in social studies without being overtly or overly didactic Rabelais and His World It is difficult to read aboutGargantuawithout encountering Mikhail Bakhtin sRabelais and His World. I haven t read it yet However, I have utilised some of his approach in my review, and tried to identify where I might have felt differently about it.Bakhtin analysesGargantuain terms ofCarnivalandGrotesque Realism. Carnival The tone of the novel iscarnivalesquein the sense that most of us have come to understand the word However, while I was aware of Bakhtin and his use of the word, I certainly wasn t aware of how extensive and important his work was in defining its literary connotations.The novel creates a superficial impression of humour, pleasure and ribaldry It is verbally playful, and its subject matter is often the role of recreation or play within a broader context Each chapter is a comic set piece, much like an individual act in a circus There are frequently crowds or large numbers of people who form an audience for the rituals, performances and activities that are described.Bakhtin contributes four additional characteristics to the context Free interaction between people of different classes Tolerance of otherwise eccentric behavior The unification of cultural traits or tropes that would usually be separated or opposed and The absence of sanction or punishment for sacrilegious or transgressive behavior.Historically, various carnivalesque celebrations totaled about three months of the Roman Catholic calendar year To some extent, they reflected the retention or preservation of pagan traditions and practices Thus, in a way, they were safety valves for social, political and religious tensions.Bakhtin s analysis isn t one that is superimposed on the text from outside The Festival of Carnival is mentioned many times in the novel If a modern reader had some knowledge of the implications of Carnival, then some of Bakhtin s analysis would become apparent from the text itself.As you learn to appreciate Rablelais perspective, it becomes increasingly apparent that the two alternative worldviews that he is contrasting are Carnival and Lent, two aspects of the Christian calendar.Carnival represents idleness, leisure, exuberance, excess, libertinism, ribaldry and hedonism.Lent represents abstinence, sobriety, asceticism, puritanism, rigidity and self discipline.The characters and the reader are confronted with a choice between the two Alternatively, they might have to find a third road of their own making.The relative importance of alcohol is revealed in the narrative structure as early as the first sentence of the Author s Prologue, Rabelais addresses Readers asmost noble and illustrious drinkers.The novel is not just about passively observing or participating in a public spectacle It s equally, if not , about conversation within the confines of a public house or inn The narrative style belongs to an oral, spoken, occasionally a dramatic or theatrical, tradition The narrator is talking to us while we re all consuming alcohol Each chapter is a discrete tale It s just the right length before it s time to refill our mugs or glasses This is story telling at its best Only the purpose of this story telling is both enlightenment and laughter.It doesn t occur outdoors in a public forum It happens in an intermediate semi private, semi public sphere that is still quite distinct from the private or intimate sphere of the individual.Nevertheless, like a public arena, status or class distinctions are abolished Anyone who is present is entitled to both speak and drink, provided of course that they can afford to pay for their alcohol.The inn, therefore, represents Carnival, while the Church represents Lent.Challenging the Status QuoAnother aspect of the carnivaleque or drinking context is that it temporarily suspends the enforcement of the status quo The carnival showcases alternative options, while the inn provides a venue to discuss them Thus, the tales told while drinking are what if or speculative accounts about what it might be like if life and society were otherwise.This theory is applicable to the events within the novel On the other hand, the novel itself is a tangible object that must submit to the full jurisdiction of the law For a long time, it encountered problems with both civil and ecclesiastical law.Within the novel, the explicit challenge to the status quo is disguised by the fact that both Gargantua and Pantagruel are giants They are inflated, gross, exaggerated and excessive Nothing about them is average or mediocre Everything about them is realistic apart from theirgargantuansize and strength However, it s almost as if they have a gigantic licence to do things differently because of their size They are not open to challenge.It helps that they are also royalty in their milieu Gargantua s son, Pantagruel whose name meansall thirst , has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an insatiable appetite for food and alcohol He receives the best tuition and acquires both wisdom and judgement The novel effectively describes his adventures in learning, both within France and offshore His diplomatic status assures him of safe passage Thus, Rabelais is able to experience and assess other political options by observation without overtly challenging the status quo of his fictional royal family, precisely because it is a member of the family the Prince who is conducting the investigation.The narrative is a number of successive inquisitions It doesn t betray any particular preference or bias Information and knowledge are goals in their own right They do not have to be purposive within the framework of the novel, even if Rabelais own goal might have been to encourage greater freedom of choice in real life Grotesque Realism Just as the world of Pantagruel is gross, it isgrotesquein Bakhtin s eyes.Grotesque Realism conceives of reality or the human body as structured in a hierarchical or stratified manner.At the highest level is the abstract, ideal, spiritual and noble aspect of the mind At the lowest level is the material, vulgar, irreverent, wanton aspect of the genitalia.Bakhtin sees the one transform into the other by a process of death, decay and degradation.The middle level is that of the belly, the gut or the womb, which represents the process of excretion, transformation, renewal, rebirth or birth of a new being.These anatomical metaphors apply just as much to the body politic as the human body Thus, the middle level is the process by which society and social order changes, e.g., by way of elimination, rebellion or revolution The top level is both inverted and subverted from below.Rabelais would argue that these processes are not just violent, vulgar and offensive, but natural, inevitable and necessary Hence, his novel, in which he describes the processes explicitly, is both ribald and profoundly serious It is both sexual and revolutionary, hence its perceived threat to the status quo upheld by King and Pope.The Opposite Sex and the Opposing SideThrough our genitals and our mouths, we interact with each other and the world by way of sex, eating and drinking, all of which proliferate in the novel Bumguts, tripes, bowels, codpieces, gashes and congress abound.Often, women are the mere target of male sexual activity This has attracted much criticism, starting at the time of publication when a number of women wrote fictional rejoinders However, in its defence, there are a number of women who are queens or abbesses or in other positions of power in their own right Equally importantly, there is a sense of wonder or ignorance, of apprehension or fear about the female body and mind For all the sexual congress, women are a mystery, an unknown, an inexplicable The institution of marriage represents both an opportunity and a concern Surely, without marriage, there cannot be infidelity Therefore, concludes the Prince s adviser, Panurgeall will or drive, the best way to avoid being cuckolded is to eschew marriage.Thus, Rabelais suggests that the progress of life is not just about comprehending the workings of the social order, but also the nature of the opposite sex and the union with it in holy or unholy matrimony.Where Rabelais places conflict, Pantagruel seeks resolution He seems to have a unique ability to placate opponents, resolve disputes and achieve a new order He shepherds people through the process of change The subjects he most despises are not his opponents, but the lawyers who would provoke, inflame and prolong disputes for their own profit no doubt billed at hourly rates or per folio of written word Do What You Will The closest Rabelais gets to some sort of Utopian vision is his description of the Abbey of Th l me and its residents as early as the first book In itAll their lives was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure this one clause to be observed, Do What Thou Wilt The logic is that Men and Women long after things that are forbidden to them and desire what is denied to them Therefore, freedom, honour and contentment can be achieved by giving to us what we long for and desire En Oino Aletheia Rabelais alerts us early in his novel that it would be misguided to think that his words containnothing in them but jests, mockeries, lascivious discourse, and recreative lies Therefore is it, that you must open the book, and then shall you find that it containeth things of far higher value than the box did promise that is to say, that the subject thereof is not so foolish as by the title at the first sight it would appear to be you would have found athan human understanding, an admirable virtue, matchless learning, invincible courage, unimitable sobriety, certain contentment of mind, perfect assurance, and an incredible misregard of all that for which men commonly do so much watch, run, sail, fight, travel, toil and turmoil themselves On reflection, the claim to unimitable sobriety might be an exaggeration.Towards the end of the book, he describes another mottoEn Oino Aletheia This phrase might befamiliar to us asIn Vino VeritasorIn Wine Truth.Thus, regardless of the quest or the grail, truth is really to be found in the cup itself, and its contents the real sanc greal,a most divine thingHence, Rabelais counsel that the only way to satiate your thirst for knowledge is to drink, to drink eternally and to drink of eternity At which point, most noble and illustrious drinkers, it s time we all returned to the inn


  4. says:

    That is why, Drinkers, I counsel you to lay up a good stock of my books while the time is right as soon as you come across them on the booksellers stalls you must not only shuck them but devour them like an opiatic cordial and incorporate them within you it is then that you will discover the good they have in store for all noble bean shuckers. Reading Rabelais over the last few months has been an enlightening and perplexing and stimulating pleasure, a delirious encyclopaedic cornucopia of cod That is why, Drinkers, I counsel you to lay up a good stock of my books while the time is right as soon as you come across them on the booksellers stalls you must not only shuck them but devour them like an opiatic cordial and incorporate them within you it is then that you will discover the good they have in store for all noble bean shuckers. Reading Rabelais over the last few months has been an enlightening and perplexing and stimulating pleasure, a delirious encyclopaedic cornucopia of codpiece cracks, heftily quoted Erasmus adages, early renaissance medical insights, highbrow fart humour, lowbrow fart humour, pyromaniacal punning, witchy and wizardy wordplay, unbothersome biblical allusions, magical and phantasmagorical adventures, saucy swiving scenes, Panurgian cowardice, inept marriage advice, proto neo cleo surrealist larks, over my head erudition, and welcome thumb agony This edition places the notes and comment before each chapter, making the GP experience twice as cerebrally satisfying and infinitely clearer to read sans notes M.A Screech as a translator has as much panache as a humorist, word spinner, and egghead as one demands from this monolith and made my daily reading a delight Take up your Rabelais, noble bean shuckers


  5. says:

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  6. says:

    I miss having time to write reviews But you pick something up and something has to fall from you Human hands hold very little A skull blinks centuries have dusted awaySince RabelaisI miss having time to readUninterrupted hours and time to think about what I readBut we take on other tasks knowing we must make and remake ourselves and the ones we care about every day all day A chisel is a tool against time, but one starts feeling stupid chiseling at wind really I still have time I miss having time to write reviews But you pick something up and something has to fall from you Human hands hold very little A skull blinks centuries have dusted awaySince RabelaisI miss having time to readUninterrupted hours and time to think about what I readBut we take on other tasks knowing we must make and remake ourselves and the ones we care about every day all day A chisel is a tool against time, but one starts feeling stupid chiseling at wind really I still have time to readAnd remember to live joyfullyAnd drink and don t despairToday I read an essay about someone I once spent a weekend with and it made me dwell seriously on our far flung fates and the old questions raised by Yorick and what it is to be absent mistaking ourselves about presenceI do the same thing because I need to live and others say they need meBut something must slip away when something else is taken upAnd remembering to live joyfullySaying farewell to holidays and empty ends isn t everything We once walked this earth unconcerned all of us not so long agoCenturies dusted away since Rabelais most of living is fighting dispersalQuite stupidlyAll thought has been thought before into dust we ve thrown armies against those walls we ve laughed and drank through our severed heads since time began Back then it felt like the center of everything happening on earth and all kinds of people would come and go but they were always working on something talking about something making something all I knew is he was a good guy and he constantly made me aware that I could be better than what I am right now Blinked away blinked away there s these little containers inchesxinches in dimension they can hold everything and all time open them to any place and you re miles deep againAwayOne day I will have written a review of Rabelais


  7. says:

    Rabelais is not to be skipped in literary history as he is a source of so much proverb, story joke which are derived from him into all modern books in all languages Ralph Waldo EmersonIt is perhaps one of the most reassuring aspects of reading great books of the past how often you come across an individual who lived in a different time and place, who spoke a different language and held different beliefs, whose life was shaped by none of the same technologies or institutions but who is none Rabelais is not to be skipped in literary history as he is a source of so much proverb, story joke which are derived from him into all modern books in all languages Ralph Waldo EmersonIt is perhaps one of the most reassuring aspects of reading great books of the past how often you come across an individual who lived in a different time and place, who spoke a different language and held different beliefs, whose life was shaped by none of the same technologies or institutions but who is nonetheless immediately recognizable and even intimately familiar Such is Montaigne, such is Cervantes, and such is Rabelais.It s hard to describe Rabelais without comparing him to his great successor, James Joyce Like Joyce, Rabelais was enormously learned unlike many of his contemporaries, he knew how to read Greek, and translated many of the works of Hippocrates and Galen He buttered his bread by working as a doctor During his lifetime, he corresponded with many of the brightest lights of Europe, including Erasmus This book is full of references to theology, history, law, science, and virtually any other subject that existed at the time And yet, as in Joyce, all this massive learning is marshaled to better deliver jokes about defecation, micturation, flatulation, copulation, and inebriation.I am told by scholars that, despite all this, Rabelais was a real believing Catholic but it s a bit hard to swallow I can t imagine a bookpagan,irreverent,hedonistic, andcarnal and earthy than this one When religion is examined, it is inevitably to parody the hypocrisies of monks and clergyman, and eventually of the papacy itself Certainly, one finds no avowals of atheism or even open hostility towards religion as a whole in these pages But the entire spirit of this work is so much closer to Aristophanes than to, say, Dante, that picturing Rabelais as a monk is about as easy as picturing Karl Marx shouting Buy Buy at the top of his lungs on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Like his great predecessor, Aristophanes, Rabelais proves that repetition is one of the comedian s most useful tools A joke that is at first merely amusing becomes, after iteration and iteration, and after it is blown up to the most absurd proportions, side splittingly hilarious Just so, the most characteristic Rabelaisian technique is the list The book is overflowing with absurd catalogs and inventories, wherein Rabelais, whose learning appears endless and whose linguistic ingenuity is nigh infinite, shows off his inexhaustible inventiveness To pick just one example, Rabelais portrays how the cake bakers of Lern insulted the shepherds of Grandgousier s country calling them babblers, snaggle teeth, crazy carrot heads, scabs, shit a beds, boors, sly cheats, lazy louts, fancy fellows, drunkards, braggarts, good for nothings, dunderheads, nut shellers, beggars, sneak thieves, mincing milksops, apers of their betters, half wits, gapers, hovel dwellers, poor fish, cacklers, conceited monkeys, teeth clatterers, dung drovers, shitten shepherds, and other such abusive epithets.But the use of these incredible lists isn t enough for Rabelais to satisfy his linguistic thirst, he must constantly parody myriad other works, veering chaotically from style to style, from subject to subject, as if he is determined to satirize not only his era, but the whole preceding history of the world before he s through The narrative and the characters of this novel are just vehicles for the author Rabelais is not in the business of writing stories and forming consistent personalities rather, the stories and the personalities are invented on the spot often causing serious inconsistencies, as characters behave one way in one chapter, and then are repurposed in another chapter In other words, Rabelais isn t interested in creating the kind of immersive experience we have come to expect from novels, where the internal world is so fully realized and consistent that we can forget it isn t real Rabelais doesn t want you to forget his characters and stories aren t real they are just puppets for him, just a way to organize the torrent of his overflowing brain spilling onto the page If this work consisted only of the first two books, I would be giving it five stars They are as exuberant and hilarious as anything in literature, the equal even of Don Quixote After that, however, my enthusiasm somewhat cooled The third book repeats the same joke one too many times and, further, the oracles and divinations and the paranoia of cuckoldry that tie the story together are less interesting for the modern reader The fourth book is rather various in quality, containing much of Rabelais s best, but also much that is meandering and pointless And the fifth book, which was published after Rabelais s death, was clearly put together from some half completed notes that Rabelais left behind, and may even contain some writing that wasn t his.But for all the clumsiness and inelegance that one finds in these pages, for all of the dead ends and inconsistencies, and for all of the jokes that are stretched beyond their useful life, there is no denying that this is one of the great books in world literature Rabelais was not a craftsman he did not polish his phrases, he did not round out his narratives Rather, Rabelais was an adventurer, pushing the vessel of his mind was far as it could go, traveling across all the oceans of the world, seeing all there was to see, eating and drinking everything offered to him, following the wind wherever it led him He scorned nobody except the scornful he only snubbed his nose at snobs The final result is this work, which is perhaps the most slipshod, irregular, rough, coarse, bumpy, lumpy, uneven, shaggy, slapdash, messy, untidy, soiled, grimy, bedraggled, disheveled, muddled, chaotic, jumbled, and grubby of all the great classics in history, but which, for all that, contains as much parable as the New Testament, as much myth as Homer, as much wisdom as Socrates, as much humor as Aristophanes, andexuberance and ebullience than anyone since


  8. says:

    How to describe this book You don t describe it, you read it, hahahaha This book is absurd It makes me think absurd things and make stupid jokes It has some funny moments, yes, but it s sort of like when you re with that one funny friend who just takes it all a step too far and can t let a joke go, and pretty soon it s just like, Yeah, dude, shut up already That s how it felt reading Rabelais and his fart joke after fart joke, references to other bodily functions and other dirties, and How to describe this book You don t describe it, you read it, hahahaha This book is absurd It makes me think absurd things and make stupid jokes It has some funny moments, yes, but it s sort of like when you re with that one funny friend who just takes it all a step too far and can t let a joke go, and pretty soon it s just like, Yeah, dude, shut up already That s how it felt reading Rabelais and his fart joke after fart joke, references to other bodily functions and other dirties, and absurdity after absurdity.But the thing is there s this whole other stuff going on And it s worth reading through the muck to get to it, even if you don t understand all of it or any of it Rabelais was a master of language, and I think this book illustrates that impressively He made up a lot of words, way before people like David Foster Wallace or Alexander Theroux were making up words There are whole paragraphs where you re trying to follow along and at the end of it you realize that less than half of those words were probably even real words, and ain t nobody got time to go looking them all up just to be certain This is a ride, a Gargantua and Pantagruel ride, and you re better off just shutting up and going along with it.Obviously some words are easier to realize are made up than others Some of these words are not like the others, for example But what harm had poor I done cried Trudon, hiding his left eye with his kerchief, and showing his tabour cracked on one side they were not satisfied with thus poaching, black and blueing, and morrambouzevezengouzequoquemorgasacbaquevezinemaffreliding my poor eyes, but they have also broke my harmless drum.WTF, right And on the same page One of the querries, who, hopping and halting like a mumping cripple, mimicked the good limping Lord de la Roche Posay, directed his discourse to the bum with the pouting jaw, and told him, What, Mr Manhound, was it not enough thus to have crocastebezasteverestegrigeligoscopapopondrillated us all in our upper members with your botched mittens, but you must also apply such moderegripippiatabirofreluchamburelurecaquelurintimpaniments on our shinbones with the hard tops and extremities of your cobbled shoes p 541 Undoubtedly there will be a GR review reader out there who will tell me I just misspelled one of those words Let s just get this out of the way now, shall we Eat shit.There are lots of occasions like that where even if you remove the goofy words, the sentences don t make a whole lot of sense, and you re still sort of reeling from trying to tell from the big word what is really being said that the whole page just needs to be lit on fire.It almost seems like I didn t like this book, doesn t it There s no point in really discussing the story itself though there are unicorns I like unicorns because for me the real magic of this book is the language itself Funny, considering I didn t read this in the actual French because that would be cray cray , so how can I say anything about the language Two different translators were involved in this particular edition, the second of whom is apparently considered sort of a hack, so who s to say that the last two books out of the five that make up this behemoth are even close to the original French I mean besides bilingual people who are insane enough to read the French and English side by side and not expect to get paid for it In some of the made up words that didn t take off, there are other words that Rabelais used in this book that are now actual words that we use like every day Neat Gargantuan is just one of them Poor Pantagruel his name didn t become an adjective The introduction tells me these are words that Rabelais introduced the modern reader, which means he was wicked smart, right Or the modern reader was terribly stupid Whichever agriculture, aspect, catastrophe, ecstasy, encyclopedia, excrement, imposture, inscription, maritime, parasite, prelude, and sympathy Thanks for making modern readers smarter, Rabelais It makes one wonder if Rabelais friends who got to read advanced readers copies of this book totally hated him for making up words, because they probably didn t know either which ones were real and which were made up Stop trying to make esperruquanchuzelubelouzerireliced happen, Gretchen Wieners, it s not going to happen Of note, the introductions compares these books to Homer s The Iliad and The Odyssey Good stuff, right And for once I m glad I read the introduction first because I would probably not have figured that out on my own because I m not all that smart But it makes complete sense The first two books arelike The Iliad and the last two books arelike The Odyssey not surprisingly I enjoyed those booksthan the first few since I thought The Odyssey is Homer s bestest , but the introduction doesn t say what the third book is like Apparently the third book isn t Homer esque at all and is therefore of no real importance.But, anyway, since you re not asking, the story itself is about giants who tell fart jokes and there s talk of 16th century boners and food And unicorns I m pretty sure some other stuff happened too


  9. says:

    Rabelais The foreman of farts The sheik of shit The rajah of rectums The first joke in the world was a fart joke Sophocles, Shakespeare, Melville, all liked fart jokes Louis CK calls the fart the perfect joke But no one has ever farted like Rabelais.Here s the dirty truth if you re not super into 1100 pages of 16th century fart jokes, you can read the first two books and skip the rest I KNOW Only assholes do that Look, you don t have to take my advice, I don t care, I m justdo kids Rabelais The foreman of farts The sheik of shit The rajah of rectums The first joke in the world was a fart joke Sophocles, Shakespeare, Melville, all liked fart jokes Louis CK calls the fart the perfect joke But no one has ever farted like Rabelais.Here s the dirty truth if you re not super into 1100 pages of 16th century fart jokes, you can read the first two books and skip the rest I KNOW Only assholes do that Look, you don t have to take my advice, I don t care, I m justdo kids still say keeping it real No No, they never actually said that Whatever I fart in your general direction, pedant You can read the first two books and love Rabelais, or read the whole thing and be annoyed Your choice.Book One in the order they were written is Pantagruel, and here s what Pantagruelism is, so you know what your pretentious college professor friends are talking about it when they start throwing that word around p.s people who use this word are like 30 seconds from hinting that they swing, so just be aware of that it s A certain merriness of mind pickled in contempt for things fortuitous It means talking about heavy things, but not too heavily There s a lot of drinking involved But not drunkenness You know how Europeans are Pantagruelists are educated and intelligent they re very pleased with themselves for being educated and intelligent they swish wine around in their glasses before drinking it they cultivate a certain smug detachment from the world They re annoying, but not the most annoying they do have interesting things to say, although they tend to bang on quite a bit.And there are a lot of them this is like 80% of college literature professors so you might as well read this first book to understand them better.More stuff about Pantagruelists They will never take in bad part anything they know to flow from a good, frank and loyal heart There was but one clause in their Rule Do what thou wilt, because people who are free, well bred, well taught and conversant with honourable company have by nature an instinct a goad which always pricks them towards virtuous acts and withdraws them from vice See, they re not bad. Just sorta douchey.This book also introduces the character Panurge, who is initially a terrific scoundrel He wears a cloak with over 26 pouches and pokes , containing verjuice, which he flung into the eyes of the folks he came across in another, burrsin yet another, he kept a pile of little cornets full of fleas and lice which he threw on to the collars of the most sugary of the young ladies He s a dastardly prankster Fun stuff.Book Two is Gargantua, and this is great too It features the famous bit where the young Gargantua describes all the different things he s tried wiping his ass with cats, roses, hats, pigeons, but the best, he says, is a goose Which is not true, because geese are cruel, but who are you gonna believe, me or a famous writer Anyway, Gargantua is driven insane by dumb medieval learnin , which I think we can all identify with this is similar to what happens to Don Quixote 65 years later Rote memorization is what turns Gargantua into a blithering idiot A reeducation in the humanist, Renaissance style a focus on being well rounded, understanding texts, and also physical education saves him.This book also introduces the fightin , fuckin cleric Frere Jean, one of Rabelais better characters young, gallant, lively, lusty, adroita galloper through of mattinsa polisher off of virgins in short, a true monk if ever there was one since the monking world first monked about with monkery Book Three is the most philosophical book, otherwise known as the most boring one Panurge suddenly turns from a scoundrel to a dunce he spends the whole book whinging about whether he should get married, which Rabelais uses as an excuse to expound on a number of Renaissance debates that you don t care about I was greatly vexed there for three reasons first because I was vexed Second because I was vexed Third, because I was vexed Book Four is pretty okay It s just like an Odyssey style journey, so that s fun But inessential.There s a lot of controversy over whether Book Five was written by Rabelais at all my translator, whose name is seriously Screech, is positive it wasn t That should give you enough of an excuse to skip it it s fine but you certainly have the idea by now anyway, and it has nothing amazing to add.Rabelais is pretty cool There are some good jokes in here It s also possibly the world s greatest repository of band names, including such hits as Farthing, Farthing Up Your Bum Angel Nards Fields of Enemas Farty Kick back Bollocks Lawless CodpieceHe doesn t love women, when he thinks about them at all There s this aside Madam, mind you don t fall in there s a great dirty hole right there in front of you and this great story from a parlourmaid of Sparta Have you ever had anything to do with men No, but men have occasionally had something to do with me But If Rabelais dreamt it was of flying phalluses scrambling up walls This is a man s world Look, Rabelais is right someday you shall die, all peacefully pickled in farts There s time to visit his terrific writing first But maybe not all of it


  10. says:

    SeptemberThis is going to be a long term, yet highly enjoyable, reading project Gargantua and Pantagruel is the anti novel before the novel, a proto Swift, a proto Pynchon, who combines and blurs the boundary between low and high culture It s also highly readable, as each chapter is maybe 1 3 pages long.DecemberThe behemoth has finally fallen, slain at my feet by my feat What memories have I of the battle That it was one of the greatest battles I ve ever fought Gargantua and Pantagruel i SeptemberThis is going to be a long term, yet highly enjoyable, reading project Gargantua and Pantagruel is the anti novel before the novel, a proto Swift, a proto Pynchon, who combines and blurs the boundary between low and high culture It s also highly readable, as each chapter is maybe 1 3 pages long.DecemberThe behemoth has finally fallen, slain at my feet by my feat What memories have I of the battle That it was one of the greatest battles I ve ever fought Gargantua and Pantagruel is a simultaneously a history of, commentary on, and parody of, the Occident from the dawn of civilization through the European Renaissance, as seen through the eyes of a probably twisted 16th century French monk named Francois Rabelais Its scope covers the classics works of Greek and Latin, medieval romances, epics, as well as such low topics as cuckoldry, codpieces, and any bodily function you can think of It is about this book, after all, that Bahktin formed his theory of the Carnival, in which the king is turned on his head, his crown on his ass, and thus the low being elevated and conflated with the high.But Rabelais is not just about destroying the boundary between the vulgar and the classic he also imbues his stories with unique ways of looking at the world One such example of this comes from Book 4 which, along with Book 5, comprises the story of a quest for the Oracle of the Bottle, a parody of the Holy Grail While Pantagruel and his crew are out to sea, they hear strange noises, as if words from humans mouths, though no one else is around Eventually, Pantagruel discovers these sounds to be the thawing of frozen words and other sounds in the air from years before One could literally pluck the words out of the air hear their utterances as they melt into sound once again.There are only two possible things to detract one from reading Gargantua and Pantagruel the length and the archaic language As for the latter, I find that the Shakespearean English makes the ribaldry all thehilarious As for the former i.e the length , there is no getting around that Rabelais is a maximalist to the core, using 100 words where 10 would do just fine, creating insanely long lists of ridiculous epithets, books, games, etc, in parody of the epic convention of the catalogue.In short, never has a monster such as Gargantua and Pantagruel walked the earth before, and never shall one again


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Gargantua and Pantagruel The Dazzling And Exuberant Moral Stories Of Rabelais C Expose Human Follies With Their Mischievous And Often Obscene Humour, While Intertwining The Realistic With Carnivalesque Fantasy To Make Us Look Afresh At The WorldGargantua Depicts A Young Giant, Reduced To Laughable Insanity By An Education At The Hands Of Paternal Ignorance, Old Crones And Syphilitic Professors, Who Is Rescued And Turned Into A Cultured Christian Knight And In Pantagruel And Its Three Sequels, Rabelais Parodied Tall Tales Of Chivalry And Satirized The Law, Theology And Academia To Portray The Bookish Son Of Gargantua Who Becomes A Renaissance Socrates, Divinely Guided In His Wisdom, And His Idiotic, Self Loving Companion Panurge