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Gargantua And Pantagruel (1532)

by François Rabelais

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,490452,146 (3.74)189
First published in four volumes between 1532 and 1552, Rabelais' comic masterpiece chronicles the adventures of a giant, Gargantua, and his son, Pantagruel. More than four centuries later, the terms "gargantuan" and "Rabelaisian" are synonymous with earthy humor, a surfeit of good food and drink, and pleasures of the flesh. This series of exaggerated fables was condemned upon its initial publication by the censors of the Collège de la Sorbonne. But beneath their bawdy, often scatological wit, the tales bear a deeper significance as the author's defense of daring and groundbreaking ideas. Using his ribald humor, Rabelais addresses timeless issues of education, politics, and philosophy. His parodies of classic authors as well as his own contemporaries offer a hilarious exposé of human folly and an enduring satire of history, literature, religion, and culture. This edition features the classic translation by Sir Thomas Urquhart and Pierre le Motteux.… (more)
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» See also 189 mentions

English (35)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Possibly the jolliest books ever written. ( )
  schumacherrr | Feb 21, 2022 |
Tough one to review it doesn't really have a proper story it wanders around touching on pretty much every social subject you can imagine. I seriously wonder how much of it i'm actually GETTING. The version i read had no annotations, that coupled with the age, the fact its a translation and the humor which rarely dates well, i doubt i'm really absorbing more than 65% of the original text.
Its crass toilet humor is probably the highlight of the work as it's so strange to see in something this old and it's so basic that transcends time.
The last two books are the most 'Gulliver' like. Book 3 is the weak link being one longggggg joke which can be a bit of a slog to get through.
You'll need patience to read this as Rabelais's style is quite long-winded. Overall its interesting enough, i still prefer it to Don Quixote but not quite sure why people go nuts over it. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
In the fall of 1532, Rabelais published a very different sort of text: Pantagruel, the first of the comic works to which he owes his fame. The book's considerable commercial success did not keep it (or Rabelais's subsequent works) from being condemned by the Sorbonne, whose faculty of theology acted as the church's office of censorship. Nonetheless, Rabelais's patrons shielded him well enough that he could follow up on Pantagruel's success by publishing Gargantua in late 1534 or early 1535. Gargantua was in its turn both successful and highly controversial; Rabelais chose, in the increasingly dangerous politico-religious climate of the mid-1530s, to publish less and to avoid France as much as possible. He spent a great deal of time in Italy in the late 1530s and early 1540s, often with members of the powerful du Bellay family, who continued to protect him. After twelve years of intermittent exile and silence, Rabelais published, in 1546, the Tiers Livre. Given the controversy it excited, Rabelais judged it prudent once again to leave town, taking refuge this time in Metz. In 1548 he returned to Rome at the request of Cardinal Jean du Bellay, along the way leaving an incomplete draft of the Quart Livre with his publisher in Lyon. The latter printed it immediately, perhaps to the annoyance of Rabelais, who did not produce the final version until January 1552. The Quart Livre was, like Rabelais's previous volumes, promptly attacked by the Sorbonne, but thanks to the author's fame and connections the censors could not prevent publication.

The four authentic books together constitute a comic masterpiece of the first order, unique in Western literature. Pantagruel, in appearance a mass-market book, a parody of popular chivalric romances filled with superhuman heroes, fabulous monsters, and often obscene humor, is in fact an immensely complex work, combining features of popular literature with deep learning, topical satire, and enthusiasm for the ideals of Renaissance humanism. Gargantua, the story of Pantagruel's father, shares features (for example, its narrative trajectory) with its predecessor but is more sophisticated, eschewing at least some of Pantagruel's raw slapstick in favor of elaborate political and religious satire, a clearer commitment to a tolerant Erasmian Christianity, and a not entirely un-ironic reexamination of the humanist project. The Tiers Livre is the least overtly comic of the four books; it is dominated by the contrast between the humanist sage Pantagruel and his irrational, appetite-driven sidekick Panurge (from the Greek, in the sense of 'one willing to do anything'), who consults a series of more-or-less outlandish "experts" in order to find out whether he should marry. This opposition continues into the Quart Livre, in which Pantagruel, Panurge and his companions embark on a sea voyage to visit the oracle of the Dive Bouteille ('holy bottle'). The islands they visit are populated by a range of odd beings ludicrously secure in their own varieties of folly, and the voyage thus represents to the reader the limits of human understanding, and the consequent (and dangerous) absurdity of any claim to definitive interpretation or knowledge, especially in matters of faith. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Nov 4, 2021 |
I'm done done done with this book and couldn't be more excited. It's like reading one of those teenage boy comedies... the humor is all about bodily functions and (classic though it may be) it doesn't contribute much to the quality of my life. I get why those old maids in The Music Man were so stubborn about it... and I don't get why they changed the song in the newest version (the alterers obviously never read it).

Hopefully, never again will I read this. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (80 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rabelais, FrançoisAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bonfantini, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckinx, ThéoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, J. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doré, GustaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hémard, JosephIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kauffer, Edward McKnightCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Clercq, Jacques Georges ClemenceauTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Motteux, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pape, Frank C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Putnam, SamuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raffel, BurtonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rieu, E. V.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandfort, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Screech, M. A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Urquhart, Sir ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Most noble and illustrious drinkers, and you thrice precious pockified blades (for to you, and none else do I dedicate my writings), Alcibiades, in that dialogue of Plato's which is entitled The Banquet, whilst he was setting forth the praises of his schoolmaster Socrates (without all question the prince of philosophers), amongst other discourses to that purpose said that he resembled the Sileni.
Quotations
So far as I am concerned, I would have every man put aside his proper business, take no care for his trade, and forget his own affairs, in order to devote himself entirely to this book. I would have him allow no distraction or hindrance from elsewhere to trouble his mind, until he knows it by heart; so that if the art of printing happened to die out, or all books should come to perish, everyone should be able, in time to come, to teach it thoroughly to his children, and to transmit it to his successors and survivors, as if from hand to hand, like some religious Cabala.
If you say to me: 'It does not seem very wise of you to have written down all this gay and empty balderdash for us,' I would reply that you do not show yourself much wiser by taking pleasure in the reading of it.
If you want to be good Pantagruelists, moreover - that is to say, to live in peace, joy, and health, always making good cheer - never trust in men who peer from under a cowl.
Friar John: "By my thirst, dear friend, when the snows are on the mountains - the head and chin, I mean - there's no great heat in the valleys of the cod-piece." Panurge: "By the blisters on your heels, you don't understand plain logic. When the snow's on the mountains there is thunder, lightning, whirlwinds, avalanches, tempests and all the devils in the valleys...You mock me for my greying hair, but you don't consider that my nature is like the leeks, which we find white on top when its tail's green, straight, and vigorous."
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This work does indeed contain all five of the books of Gargantua and Pantagruel (i.e. Gargantua, Pantagruel, The Third Book, The Fourth Book, The Fifth Book), even though in some cases (e.g. the Penguin Classics edition), only ‘Gargantua’ and ‘Pantagruel’ are mentioned on the front cover.

Any editions consisting of only ‘Gargantua’ and ‘Pantagruel’ (check the table of contents) should be separated from this work.
This work consists of the five books of Gargantua and Pantagruel, i.e.:
- Gargantua
- Pantagruel
- The Third Book (Le tiers livre)
- The Fourth Book (Le quart livre)
- The Fifth Book (Le cinquième livre)
Should not be combined with editions that contain only the first two books.
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First published in four volumes between 1532 and 1552, Rabelais' comic masterpiece chronicles the adventures of a giant, Gargantua, and his son, Pantagruel. More than four centuries later, the terms "gargantuan" and "Rabelaisian" are synonymous with earthy humor, a surfeit of good food and drink, and pleasures of the flesh. This series of exaggerated fables was condemned upon its initial publication by the censors of the Collège de la Sorbonne. But beneath their bawdy, often scatological wit, the tales bear a deeper significance as the author's defense of daring and groundbreaking ideas. Using his ribald humor, Rabelais addresses timeless issues of education, politics, and philosophy. His parodies of classic authors as well as his own contemporaries offer a hilarious exposé of human folly and an enduring satire of history, literature, religion, and culture. This edition features the classic translation by Sir Thomas Urquhart and Pierre le Motteux.

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Penguin Australia

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