Behind Rabelais's obvious pleasure in lampooning effete erudition and the excesses of society is the humanist's genuine love of knowledge and belief in the basic goodness of human nature. The bawdy wit and uninhibited zest for life that characterize his unlikely trio of travelers have delighted readers and inspired other writers ever since the exploits of Gargantua and Pantagruel first appeared.
Born in the late fifteenth century, he first chose the monastic life, then left to become a lay priest and make a career as a physician, teacher, and writer. Donald M. Raymond C. Books Digital Products Journals. Frame Translator , Raymond C.
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Panurge, for instance, has no consistent nature. A resourceful and intelligent poor scholar in Pantagruel, he becomes a credulous buffoon in the third book and an arrant coward in the fourth. The first two books contain incidents close in feeling to the medieval fabliaux, but the third and fourth books are rich in a new, learned humour. Rabelais was a writer molded by one tradition, the medieval Roman Catholic, whose sympathies lay to a greater extent with another, the Renaissance or classical. His head is for the new learning, while his flesh and heart belong to the old.
It is in his absurd, earthy, and exuberant inventions, which are medieval in spirit even when they mock at medieval acceptances, that Rabelais is a great, entertaining, and worldly wise writer.
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