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Elizabeth Chesney Zegura

Westport, Connecticut • London
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

The Rabelais encyclopedia / edited by Elizabeth Chesney Zegura.

p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0–313–31034–3 (alk. paper)
1. Rabelais, François, ca. 1490–1553?—Encyclopedias. I. Chesney, Elizabeth A., 1949–
PQ1694.R32 2004
843'.3—dc22 2004042479
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available.
Copyright  2004 by Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be
reproduced, by any process or technique, without the
express written consent of the publisher.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2004042479
ISBN: 0–313–31034–3
First published in 2004
Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881
An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this book complies with the

Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National
Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984).
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For Krista

Introduction ix

Chronology xiii

Abbreviations xv

Alphabetical List of Entries xvii

Topical List of Entries xxi

The Encyclopedia 1

Selected Bibliography 267

Index 273

About the Contributors 285


The very thought of a Rabelais encyclopedia is somewhat daunting to anyone familiar

with the Renaissance physician’s fiction. Not only would the project be gargantuan if
every name, theme, rhetorical device, and learned reference in the Five Books of Pan-
tagruel were included, but the sheer hubris of attempting to catalog the “living waters”
(3BK prol.—see Abbreviations) of this self-styled alchemist’s cauldron seems worthy of
Rabelais’s trickster, Panurge, or even the fool Triboullet. The Pantagrueline tales are
themselves encyclopedic, not just in the hyperbolic curriculum that Gargantua sets forth
for his son (P 8), urging him to become an “abyss” of knowledge, but also in the
compendium of allusions to navigation, theology, music, art and architecture, philosophy,
medicine, and other disciplines that Rabelais amasses in his magnum opus. His interests
and areas of expertise are vast, in keeping with the ideal of the uomo universale or
Renaissance Man; one goal of this volume is to showcase the fascinating array of topics
that are grafted onto the mock-epic framework of the chronicles, transforming them into
a richly textured tapestry of life in the sixteenth century.
Some would argue that this richness is a double-edged sword: not only a treasure trove
of laughter, mind teasers, mock-epic hijinks, and insights into the French Renaissance,
Rabelais’s hybrid and multifaceted discourse also offers a host of lexical and interpretive
challenges. For readers accustomed to well-defined genres, classically crafted plots, and
transparent meanings, the hodgepodge of ingredients that make up Rabelais’s fiction,
ranging from genealogies, lists, and a library catalog to surrealistic battle narratives, a
flying pig, and the chatter of drunks, can at times be overwhelming. True, works of
fantasy requiring leaps of logic and a suspension of disbelief abound in modern culture,
as evidenced by the enormous popularity in film and fiction of Tolkien’s Lord of the
Rings, a saga often likened to Rabelais’s magnum opus for its epic proportions and
inspiration, or even the Harry Potter books, similar to Rabelais’s earliest chronicles in
their focus on children, games, education, and magic. Adding more fuel to the narrator’s
claim that Pantagruel is “incomparable” (prol.), however, these modern works of fantasy
lack the verbal prolixity, rapid shifts in tonality, and distinctive blend of high and low
culture, scatology and learned references, piety and irreverence that keeps readers off
balance in Rabelais.
Not accidentally, given the risk of arrest and execution that faced humanists in Ren-
aissance France who were too outspoken, Rabelais’s encyclopedic text is itself a literary
shape shifter, at least from the reader’s standpoint. Depending on our familiarity with
Rabelais’s learned allusions, the particular thematic threads we follow as we navigate his
prose, and the critical apparatus or perspective we bring to the interpretive process, the
unstable admixture of ingredients he includes in the crucible of his fiction seem to com-
bine and recombine in a host of different patterns, which vary from one reader or reading
to the next. The result is a Rabelais who is many things to many people: both a “mad
dog” and a “refined genius”; a good Catholic, an Evangelical, and an atheist; a misogynist
and a closet feminist.
x Introduction

At least to some degree, Rabelais foresaw and orchestrated this plural response to his
chronicles. In addition to being a literary pack rat, whose cornucopian text overflows
with marketplace invective, scatology, riddles, and classical references, Rabelais also
dabbles in verbal magic, offering us a polysemic work that he likens to a bottomless
barrel: replicating the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the Gallic physician intentionally
fashions an interpretive wellspring so rich in conundra, multiple entendres, polyvalent
symbols, and connections between episodes that the “joyeuseté et raillerie” (3BK prol.)
never run dry. Suspending us between the positivistic lure of hidden messages about
“religion,” “politics,” and “economics” (G prol.) on the one hand, and hints, on the other
hand, that his text is purely ludic and has no meaning, Rabelais beckons and eludes us
at the same time, whether we are first-time readers or longtime aficionados of his work.
Like any complex varietal, Rabelais’s overflowing wine cask brings the reader back
for repeated tastes: but while his text’s complexity makes the work mesmerizing, at least
for those willing to linger and “gnaw the marrowbone” (G prol.) or look beneath the
surface of his fiction, his chronicles also resist the neatly circumscribed categories, au-
thoritative definitions, and claims to comprehensiveness that we often associate with
encyclopedias. To borrow a metaphor from Rabelais himself, one might just as easily
paint the “Ideas of Plato,” the “Atoms of Epicurus,” or even the invisible Echo (4BK
2). Despite the host of containers he invokes as metaphors for his book, including a box,
bone, cask, and bottle, the Gallic physician’s ideas, imagery, themes, style, and verve
can by no means be summed up “in a nutshell.”
By the same token, few texts cry out for an encyclopedia or dictionary as the Panta-
grueline tales do. Rabelais is a notoriously challenging author, especially for those who
read him in English translations without extensive footnotes to help them navigate his
“motz epaves” or “strange and unusual” words (P 6). And while he resists our efforts to
pin him down, we might recall that his own Fourth Book is accompanied in some editions
by a dictionary of sorts, the Brief Declaration. Although the authorship of this glossary,
which may or may not be in the Gallic physician’s own hand, is questionable, its very
existence acknowledges the difficulty of his chronicles and lays the groundwork for future
reference works designed to make his world more accessible. It is probable, of course,
that one function of the author’s verbal roadblocks is to exclude the “hypocrites” (“ca-
gotz”) and “humbugs” (“caphars” [GP 247; P prol.]) bent on censuring him. Yet Rabelais
himself seems to encourage, both in his marrowbone analogy and through his own use
of dialogic processes, any type of exercise, dialogue, or discussion that promotes under-
standing: “When did it ever hurt,” asks Pantagruel during the Third Book, when Panurge
balks at consulting a sibyl, “to keep acquiring knowledge, whether from a sot, a pot, a
bottle, a feather, or shoe leather?” (GP 285; 3BK 16). By putting our heads together, he
implies, and weighing perspectives other than our own, we increase the probability of
learning and growing.
This volume, a compilation of readings by more than seventy contributors, is based
on a similar premise: that our own understanding of Rabelais will be enhanced if we
pool our resources and approach his text dialogically. Although this dictionary may not
solve every riddle, explain every unfamiliar word, or settle all the controversies surround-
ing Rabelais’s work, it is intended to furnish general readers with both a basic historical
framework that will allow them to appreciate the Gallic physician’s fiction within the
context of sixteenth-century France; and with several hundred articles, contributed by
scholars representing a variety of critical perspectives and methodologies, on selected
characters, episodes, and textual references in Rabelais. Far from offering either a com-
plete Rabelais concordance or a single, definitive interpretation of any individual episode,
the goal of the volume is to open the Gallic physician’s world to new readers, provide
Introduction xi

a forum for differing approaches to the chronicles, trigger new debate among veteran
readers, and serve as an informational resource for students and teachers of his work.
Of all the goals represented here, the first may be the most critical: to help realize
Rabelais’s own hope, expressed in the prologue to Pantagruel, that even if “we forgot
the art of printing, or all the books in the world were destroyed,” his chronicles would
“forever and forever” be passed “down from hand to hand” (GP 133). Despite the pri-
macy of electronic texts and cyberspace learning in our own era, of course, Rabelais
continues to be read by new generations of students, suggesting that our concern about
the future of his text is oddly placed. After all, excellent editions of his opus abound in
France, including the recent 1994 Pleiade offering edited by Mireille Huchon (Gallimard
1994); the Livre de Poche version (1994) edited by Jean Céard, Gérard Defaux, and
Michel Simonin; and the highly regarded critical editions of Pantagruel (1959), Gar-
gantua (1970), the Third Book (1964), and the Fourth Book (1947) in the Textes Littér-
aires Français series, edited by Verdun Saulnier, Ruth Calder, M. A. Screech, and Robert
Marichal, respectively. In English, moreover, translations of his mock epic are relatively
plentiful and easy to obtain: versions by Sir Thomas Urquhart and Peter Motteux (En-
cyclopedia Britannica “Great Books” 1955), Jacques LeClercq (Everyman’s Library:
Random House), John Michael Cohen (Penguin Classics 1955), Donald Frame (Univer-
sity of California 1991), and Burton Raffel (W.W. Norton 1990) are currently in print;
and while they may not appear among the holdings of all public libraries, the volumes
are readily accessible at university libraries and through major booksellers. Although
each of these translations—ranging from the archaic but poetic English of Urquhart to
LeClercq’s flavorful attempt to capture Rabelais’s word play, Cohen’s more direct trans-
lation, and Frame and Raffel’s renderings of the text in Americanized English—has its
strengths and weaknesses, all are generally faithful. Even more dramatically, Internet
access to electronic versions of the Rabelaisian chronicles is readily available in both
French and English thanks to the Gutenberg Project, Athena, and the Great Books col-
When we speak of making Rabelais’s works accessible, then, something more than
mere “availability” is at stake. To borrow a metaphor from the Frozen Words episode,
where cries from a naval battle months earlier are miraculously reconstituted, it is a
question of “thawing” the chronicles, of bridging the distance between Rabelais’s world
and our own. Constructing his text as a “source vive” or living monument, the author
urges readers to approach his wine barrel or banquet not in the manner of “graveyard
ghouls” (GP 247; 3BK prol.) who censor, plunder, and deaden works of literature, but
rather as fellow tipplers willing to linger over his banquet, let the wine breathe, and savor
its full body and complexity. Thus, while the length constraints of this volume require
the simplification of topics that merit much richer treatment, its overall goal is not to
reduce the play of signifiers or strip the text of its life: on the contrary, the aim is to
help perpetuate the Rabelaisian colloquium, not just by encouraging readers to revisit the
text and reflect on its paradoxes and challenges, but also by renewing dialogue on its
controversies, and by providing suggestions for further reading about Rabelais and his
In terms of its organization, this Encyclopedia offers an alphabetized collection of
short articles on selected topics pertaining to Rabelais: on literary and philosophical
movements, characters and episodes in his text, political and religious figures from his
era, Renaissance and classical authors with whom he shares similarities, and on related
cultural manifestations of the Renaissance, such as art and architecture, music, and print-
ing. Particularly to assist those who might otherwise be perplexed by the interpretive
differences of opinion in this volume, there are also entries on the major movements in
xii Introduction

Rabelais criticism, which provide an overview on traditional and more recent approaches
to his text. Although as many terms as possible are alphabetized under the English version
of their name, with the original French in parentheses, to facilitate the access of English
speakers to his text, episodes and characters whose names vary significantly from one
English translation to the next remain in French. For readers unfamiliar with the French
text of Rabelais or, alternatively, with terminology used in its English translations, an
extensive set of cross references in both languages and a comprehensive index at the end
of the volume will allow readers to locate items more easily. As for quotations of Rabelais
in this reference work, those in French are consistent with the text established by Mireille
Huchon in the 1994 Pléiade edition of the Oeuvres complètes; and the English translations
provided, unless otherwise indicated, are those of the contributors and editor. As noted
in the text, translations not furnished by the authors are most often taken from Burton
Raffel’s Gargantua and Pantagruel. In instances where the spellings used are inconsis-
tent, this typically stems from Rabelais’s own fluid orthography, a tendency that is com-
mon among French humanists of the sixteenth century.
Finally, a number of important terms, episodes, and characters in the Pantagrueline
Tales receive less attention than they deserve in this volume, and some necessarily go
untreated, not because they are without interest, but because the material is so vast that
only selected topics could be accommodated. Particularly in the case of the Fifth Book,
whose authenticity is disputed, the number of entries is quite limited: but for those who
wish additional information, either on the Cinquiesme livre or on other books in the
Pantagrueline chronicles, we have included numerous suggestions for further reading.
Indeed, this volume should be viewed not as an end in itself, but rather as the stimulus
for a more in-depth investigation of Rabelais, his chronicles, and his times.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has participated in this
project. A word of thanks, first of all, to the extraordinarily diverse range of rabelaisants
who were willing to share their talents, knowledge, and expertise, many of them on very
short notice. What began as a project firmly rooted in the United States, purely for reasons
of practicality, has crossed oceans and bridged generations of scholars, not unlike the
Rabelaisian text itself: to all of these colleagues, ranging from veteran Pantagruelistes,
whose enthusiasm for Rabelais has not waned in “retirement,” to young scholars who
combine flawless erudition with new critical approaches, and to those in midcareer as
well, who so graciously agreed to make time for this project when they had none to
spare, I am most grateful. Thanks are due as well to Dr. George Butler at Greenwood
Press, who first broached the idea of this reference work, for his continued assistance
and immense patience; and for his guidance and support in bringing this project, unfin-
ished though it may be, to its conclusion. To my family, finally, there is no need for
words—instead, let us toast the journey’s end, savor the marrowbone, and enjoy the

Elizabeth Chesney Zegura


c. 1483–94 François Rabelais, the fourth son of a successful lawyer named Antoine, is born at La
Devinière near Chinon. Some scholars maintain he was born as early as 1483, while
others place his date of birth a good deal later, possibly in 1494.
1510–11 Enters a Franciscan monastery at Fontenay-le-Comte, where he remains for well over a
1520 Wrote a letter, now lost, to Guillaude Budé.
1521 Sends a second letter to Budé, who replies.
1523–24 Involved in translations of Herodotus and Lucian into Latin. With Pierre Amy, encounters
difficulties over his study of Greek.
1525 Becomes a Benedictine during this time period, moving to Saint-Pierre-de-Maillezais.
1527–30 Natural children Junie and François are born. Rabelais may have studied medicine in
Paris during this period.
1530 Registers on September 17 for school of medicine at the University of Montpellier, where
he receives a bachelor’s degree in medicine on November 1.
1531 Lectures April 17 to June 24 on Hippocrates and Galen. While in Montpellier, either
during the fall or early the next year, performs in Farce of the Man who Married a
Dumb Wife.
1532 Named as the physician at the Hotel-Dieu in Lyon (November 1). Pantagruel first appears
in print, possibly at the Lyon fair in November. In late 1532, or early the next year, the
Pantagrueline Prognostication and Almanac for the Year 1533 are published. Rabelais
dedicates his Epistolae Medicinales by Manardi to Tiraqueau, Hippocratis ac Galeni
Libri Aliquot to Bishop Geoffroy D’Estissac, and Lucii Cuspidii Testamentum to Amaury
1533 Pantagruel reportedly denounced by Sorbonne theologian Nicolas le Clerc on October
1534 Rabelais leaves for Italy in January as the personal secretary and doctor to Jean du Bellay,
bishop of Paris. Remains in Rome during February and March before returning to Lyon
in May. At Rabelais’s behest, Sebastian Gryphius publishes Marliani’s Topography of
Ancient Rome, dedicated to Jean du Bellay; and later in the year, the Almanac for 1535
appears in print. Gargantua is probably published sometime later in 1534 or early in
1535 Death of Antoine Rabelais. François makes his second trip to Rome with Jean du Bellay,
who is appointed to the College of Cardinals in May. Rabelais’s son Théodule is born
in 1535 or 1536.
xiv Chronology

1536 Returns to Lyon, then departs for Paris with Cardinal du Bellay, who is in charge of
fortifying the capital against Charles V.
1537 Receives M.D. degree at Montpellier. Dissects the body of a hanged man.
1538 Third illegitimate child, Theodule, dies, at age 2.
1540 Surviving children, François and Junie, are legitimized. Rabelais goes to Turin with
Guillaume du Bellay, Sieur de Langey and the cardinal’s eldest brother.
1542 Returns to France in December with Langey, who dies in January 1543 before reaching
their destination.
1543 The Sorbonne censures Gargantua and Pantagruel.
1545 Francis I licenses Rabelais to publish another work.
1546 Third Book published. New censure, refuge at Metz.
1547 Returns to Paris, but leaves for Rome in July with Jean du Bellay. While passing through
Lyon gives first 11 chapters of Fourth Book to publisher.
1549 In September sends Sciomachie back to French court. Description of Roman festivities
celebrating birth of Louis d’Orléans, second son of Henry II.
1550 Official license for Fourth Book.
1551 Given vicarship of two parishes and financial security. Receives help from Cardinal du
1552 Fourth Book published. The Sorbonne renews its harassment.
1553 Resigns vicarships. Dies in March or April.
1562 L’Isle Sonante published, usually attributed to Rabelais.
1564 Fifth Book is published.

AJFS Australian Journal of French Studies

ASMAR Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
BAARD Bulletin de l’association des amis de Rabelais et de la Devinière
BHR Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance
CI Critical Inquiry
CL Comparative Literature
CLS Comparative Literature Studies
EC Esprit créateur
ER Études rabelaisiennes
FF French Forum
FR French Review
FS French Studies
JMRS Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
KRQ Kentucky Romance Quarterly
MLN Modern Language Notes
MLS Modern Language Studies
PMLA Proceedings of the Modern Language Association
RAR Renaissance and Reformation
RER Revue des études rabelaisiennes
RHLF Revue d’Histoire littéraire de la France
RHR Réforme, Humanisme, Renaissance
RN Romance Notes
RQ Renaissance Quarterly
RR Romanic Review
SCJ Sixteenth Century Journal
SEDES Société d’Edition d’Enseignement Supérieur
SF Studi Francesi
THR Travaux d’humanisme et Renaissance
TLF Textes littéraires français
YFS Yale French Studies
xvi Abbreviations

G Gargantua
P Pantagruel
PP Pantagrueline Prognostication
3BK Third Book (Tiers livre)
4BK Fourth Book (Quart livre)
5BK Fifth Book (Cinquiesme livre)
GP Gargantua and Pantagruel, trans. B. Raffel
OC Oeuvres complètes, ed. M. Huchon
List of Entries
Agrippa, Henry Cornelius, of Nettesheim Chaneph (4BK 63–64)
Alchemy Charity
Alcofrybas (Alcofribas) Nasier Charles V
Allegory Cheli (4BK 10)
Almanacs (Almanachs) Chicanous (Chiquanous) (4BK 12–16)
Alterity or Otherness Cicero, Marcus Tullius
Anarche Clothes
Andouilles (Chitterlings, Sausages) Codpiece (Braguette)
Androgyne Colonna, Francesco
Animals Colors
Aristotle Community, portrayal of
Art and Architecture Coq-à-l’âne
Asclepiades Cornucopia
Astrology Correspondence
Bacbuc Couillatris (4BK prol.)
Badebec Critical Theory
Baisecul and Humevesne Cuckoldry, fear of
Bakhtin, Mikhail Death, treatment of
Basché (4BK 12–15) Debt or Debtors, praise of (3BK 2–5)
Béda, Noël Decretals (Les Décrétales) (4BK 48–54)
Body, representations of Des Périers, Bonaventure
Bottle, Divine or Holy (Dive Bouteille) Devils and Demonology
Briçonnet, Guillaume Dindenault (4BK 5–6)
Bridoye Diogenes the Cynic
Brief Declaration (Briefve Déclaration) Dipsodes
Bringuenarilles (4BK 17) Disciple of Pantagruel (Le Disciple de Pantagruel)
Budé, Guillaume Dogs
Calumny Dolet, Etienne
Calvin, Jean or John Doribus (D’Oribus, Dorisius)
Carnival Dream of Pantagruel (Le Songe de Pantagruel)
Cartier, Jacques Dreams
Castiglione, Baldassare Du Bellay, Guillaume
Censors and Censorship Du Bellay, Jean
Cervantes, Miguel de Ecolier Limousin (Limousin schoolboy) (P 6)
xviii Alphabetical List of Entries

Economy, in Renaissance France Haughty Parisian Lady (Haulte Dame de Paris)

Education (P 21–22)
Emblems Hebrew Language and Culture, references to
Encyclopedism Hell, depiction of
England Henry II
Enigmatic Prophecy (Énigme en Prophétie) (G 58) Her Trippa
Ennasin, or Island of the Alliances (4BK 9) Heresy
Epistémon Hero
Erasmus, Desiderius Héroët, Antoine
Eudémon Hieroglyphs
Eulogy, Satirical (Éloge Paradoxal) Hippocrates
Evangelism Hippothadée (3BK 30)
Fanfreluches Antidotées Homenaz (4BK 49–54)
Farce, elements of Homer
Fezandat, Michel Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon
Ficino, Marsilio Humanism
Fifth Book (Cinquiesme Livre) Humor
Folengo, Teofilo Idleness
Food Illustrations
Fools and Folly Imitation and Parody
Forests Interpretations
Fourth Book (Quart Livre) Irony
Francis (François) I Italy
Frère Jean (Frère Jan, Friar John, Brother John) Janotus de Bragmardo
Friendship Jews
Frozen Words (Paroles Gelées) (4BK 55–56) Judiciary
Galen Juste, François
Games Kabbala (Cabala, Qabbalah)
Ganabin (4BK 66–67) Knowledge
Gargamelle Language
Gargantua Lanternois
Gargantua Law
Gargantuan Chronicles (Chroniques Gargantuines) Lefèvre d’Etaples, Jacques
Gaster, Messere (4BK 57–62) Letters
Gastrolatres Lists
Genealogies Loup Garou
Geography Lucian
Giants Luther, Martin
Golden Age Lyon
Grace and Free Will Machiavelli, Niccolò
Grandgousier Macreons
Gross Medlars (P 1) Macrobe
Grotesque Realism Major (Maioris, Mair), John
Alphabetical List of Entries xix

Mardigras Plague
Marguerite de Navarre Pliny, the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus)
Marot, Clément Plotinus
Marriage Popular Culture
Marrow or Marrowbone Power, discourses of
Medamothi (4BK 2) Printing
Medicine Prognostications
Menippean Paradox Prologue, to Pantagruel
Mercury Prologues, Fourth Book
Moderation (Mediocritas) Prophecy and Divination
Money Propos des Bien Yvres, Les (G 5)
Monsters Quaresmeprenant
More, Sir Thomas Queneau, Raymond
Mouth, World in Pantagruel’s Quintilian
Music Raminagrobis (3BK 21–23)
Narrator, figure of Ramus, Peter
Nature Reading, portrayal of
Nazdecabre (3BK 19–20) Reception and influence in France
Neoplatonism Reformation
Niphleseth Religion
Nourry, Claude Renaissance
Novel Rhetoric
Nursemaids Ringing Island (L’Isle sonante)
Orlando Furioso (Roland Furieux) Rondibilis (3BK 31–34)
Pan, death of Ronsard, Pierre de
Pantagruel Ruach
Pantagruel Saint-Gelais, Mellin (or Merlin) de
Pantagruelion (3BK 49–52) Saint-Victor, library of (P 7)
Pantagruelism Saints, imaginary
Panurge Saints, real
Papacy Salmigondin
Papimanes and Papefigues (4BK 45–48, 49–54) Satin/Ouy-Dire (Hearsay)
Paris Satire (satyre)
Parlement Scatology
Paul, Saint Scholasticism
Petrarch and Petrarchism Science
Philautia (Self-love, amour de soy) (3BK 29) Shakespeare
Physetere (4BK 33–34) Sibyl (3BK 16–18)
Physis and Antiphysie (4BK 32) Sileni (G prol)
Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni Skepticism
Picrochole Social Class
Placards, affair of (L’Affaire des Placards, October Sophists
17–18, 1534) Sorbonne
xx Alphabetical List of Entries

Sporades Travel Literature

Symbolic System Trent, Council of
Syphilis (La Vérole) Triboullet (Triboulet)
Tahureau, Jacques Trickster
Tarande (4BK 2) Trouillogan (3BK 29, 35–36)
Tartareti (Tartaret, Tateret), Pierre Turks
Tempest, or Storm (4BK 18–24) Urquhart, Sir Thomas
Tempête, Pierre Utopia
Thalamège Villon, François
Thaumaste (P 18–20) Violence
Thélème, Abbey of (Abbaye de Thélème) Virgil
Thenaud, Jean Voyage
Third Book (Tiers Livre) Warfare
Thirst Wechel, Chrétien
Tiraqueau, André Wine
Translations, Dutch and German (16th–17th centuries) Women
Translations, English Xenomanes
List of Entries
Characters Nursemaids
Alcofrybas Pantagruel
Anarche Panurge
Andouilles or Chitterlings Papimanes and Papefigues
Bacbuc Picrochole
Badebec Quaresmeprenant
Baisecul and Humevesne Raminagrobis
Basché Sibyl
Bridoye Sophists
Chicanous Episodes
Couillatris Andouilles
Dindenault Baisecul and Humevesne
Dipsodes Bridoye
Ecolier Limousin Bringuenarilles
Epistémon Chaneph
Eudémon Cheli
Gargamelle Chicanous
Gargantua Debts or Debtors, praise of
Gastrolastres Dindenault
Giants Ecolier Limousin
Grandgousier Enigmatic Prophecy
Her Trippa Ennasin
Hippothadée Frozen Words
Homenaz Ganabin
Janotus de Bragmardo Gastrolastres
Lanternois Gross Medlars
Loup Garou Haughty Parisian Lady
Macreons Her Trippa
Macrobe Hippothadée
Mardigras Homenaz
Mercury Janotus de Bragmardo
xxii Topical List of Entries

Lanternois Héroët
Medamothi Hippocrates
Mouth, World in Pantagruel’s Homer
Pan, death of Juste
Pantagruelion Lefèvre d’Etaples
Papimanes and Papefigues Lucian
Physetere Luther
Physis and Antiphysie Machiavelli
Propos des bien yvres Major
Quaresmeprenant Marguerite de Navarre
Raminagrobis Marot
Ruach More
Satin/Ouy-Dire Nourry
Sibyl Paul
Sophists Petrarch
Tempest, or Storm Pico della Mirandola
Thélème Pliny the Elder
Historical Figures Queneau
Aristotle Quintilian
Asclepiades Ramus
Béda Ronsard
Briçonnet Saint-Gelais
Budé Shakespeare
Calvin Tahureau
Cartier Tartareti
Castiglione Tempête
Cervantes Thenaud
Charles V Tiraqueau
Colonna Triboullet
Des Périers Urquhart
Diogenes Villon
Dolet Virgil
Doribus Wechel
du Bellay, Guillaume
du Bellay, Jean Literary Figures and Devices
Erasmus Allegory
Fezandat Body, representations of
Ficino Colors
Folengo Coq-à-l’âne
Francis I Cornucopia
Galen Encyclopedism
Henry II Eulogy, satirical
Topical List of Entries xxiii

Farce, elements of Lyon

Genealogies Money
Grotesque Realism Music
Hero Neoplatonism
Humor Papacy
Imitation and Parody Paris
Irony Parlement
Language Petrarchism
Letters Placards, affair of
Lists Popular Culture
Menippean Paradox Printing
Narrator, figure of Religion
Novel Renaissance
Prologues Scholasticism
Rhetoric Science
Satire Social Class
Scatology Trent, council of
Symbolic System Turks
Texts and Books
Renaissance Culture and Civilization Almanacs
Alchemy Brief Declaration
Art and Architecture Correspondence
Astrology Decretals
Calumny Disciple of Pantagruel
Carnival Dream of Pantagruel
Censors and Censorship Fifth Book
Clothes Fourth Book
Devils and Demonology Gargantua
Dreams Gargantuan Chronicles
Economy, in Renaissance France Illustrations
Emblems Orlando Furioso
Encyclopedism Pantagruel
Evangelism Printing
Food Prognostications
Fools and Folly Ringing Island
Games Third Book
Genealogies Translations
Italy Themes
Judiciary Alterity or Otherness
Knowledge Astrology
Law Calumny
xxiv Topical List of Entries

Charity Medicine
Community, portrayal of Asclepiades
Cuckoldry Galen
Death Hippocrates
Debts or Debtors Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon
Dogs Medicine
Education Mercury
Food Plague
Fools and Folly Syphilis
Friendship Navigation, Exploration, and Invention
Genealogies Andouilles
Giants Animals
Golden Age Bringuenarilles
Grace and Free Will Cartier
Idleness Dindenault
Marriage Forests
Moderation Frozen Words
Money Geography
Pantagruelism Lyon
Philautia Medamothi
Power, discourses of Monsters
Reading, portrayal of Nature
Religion Pantagruelion
Skepticism Paris
Social class Physetere
Thirst Physis and Antiphysie
Violence Pliny the Elder
Voyage Printing
Warfare Ruach
Women Salmigondin
Magic and the Occult Thalamege
Alchemy Travel Literature
Astrology Utopia
Devils and Demonology Voyage
Enigmatic Prophecy Reception, Influence, and Interpretations
Hieroglyphs Bakhtin
Monsters Censors and Censorship
Prophecy and Divination Critical Theory
Topical List of Entries xxv

Interpretations Symbolic System

Queneau Thaumaste
Reception and Influence, in France Wine
Translations, Dutch and German
Translations, English Community, Society, and Politics
Religion Censors and Censorship
Béda Charles V
Briçonnet Community, portrayal of
Budé Debts or Debtors
Calvin Dipsodes
Censors and Censorship Economy
Decretals Francis I
Evangelism Friendship
Grace and Free Will Henry II
Hell, depiction of Judiciary
Heresy Law
Homenaz Marriage
Kabbala Moderation
Luther Money
Papacy More
Papimanes and Papefigues Panurge
Reformation Parlement
Religion Picrochole
Saints, imaginary Power, discourses of
Saints, real Social Class
Sorbonne Thalamège
Turks Thélème
Symbols and Symbolism Warfare
Androgyne Exploring Otherness
Bottle, Divine Alchemy
Clothes Alterity
Codpiece (Braguette) Andouilles
Colors Androgyne
Cornucopia Animals
Emblems Astrology
Frozen Words Bacbuc
Hieroglyphs Badebec
Marrow and Marrowbone Baisecul and Humevesne
Sibyl Bringuenarilles
Sileni Carnival
xxvi Topical List of Entries

Cartier Plague
Chicanous Popular Culture
Devils and Demonology Power, discourses of
Dreams Ruach
Fools and Folly Scatology
Geography Sibyl
Giants Sileni
Grotesque Realism Syphilis
Hell, depiction of Tarande
Jews Travel Literature
Loup Garou Triboullet
Monsters Trickster
Mouth, World in Pantagruel’s Turks
Nature Violence
Physetere Voyage
Physis and Antiphysie Women
AGRIPPA, HENRY CORNELIUS, OF NET- Readings: Jean Céard, La nature et les prodiges.
TESHEIM (1486–1535) One of the most elu- L’insolite au XVIe siècle, en France (Geneva: Droz,
sive figures of the Renaissance, Henry Cornelius 1977); Abel Lefranc, “Rabelais et Cornelius Agrippa,”
Agrippa of Nettesheim (Heinrich Cornelius Mélanges offerts à M. Emile Picot (Paris: Librairie Da-
Agrippa von Nettesheim), a magus and skeptic mascène Morgand, 1913); Charles Nauert, Agrippa
philosopher born near Cologne, is chiefly asso- and the Crisis of Renaissance Thought (Urbana: Uni-
ciated by Rabelais scholars with Her Trippa, the versity of Illinois Press, 1965).
comic astrologer and cuckold in the Third Book Agnieszka Steczowicz
(3BK 25). The name of Her Trippa may in fact
be an amalgam of Agrippa and Trithemius, a ALCHEMY The pseudoscience of transform-
German occultist to whom Agrippa dedicated his ing base metals into gold or other riches. Even
Of Occult Philosophy (De occulta philosophia without evidence from the body of his work, we
[1533]). Although the fictive character bears little can be relatively certain that Rabelais would
likeness to the real Agrippa, nearly all the divi- have been familiar with the practices of alchemy.
nation methods with the aid of which Her Trippa The process of extracting a precious substance
predicts that Panurge will be cuckolded, robbed, through the repeated heating and distilling of or-
and beaten by his future wife are listed in dinary matter had been of interest since antiquity.
Agrippa’s Of Occult Philosophy, a compendium From ancient and Hellenic Greece through the
of Renaissance magic and occult sciences, and in Islamic enlightenment a large body of technical
his equally well-known On the Vanity and Un- manuals, philosophical treatises, and occult lore
certainty of Arts and Sciences (De incertitudine concerned with alchemy had passed into the six-
et vanitate scientiarum et artium [1526]), a dec- teenth century. By this time the practice had also
lamation denouncing all worldly wisdom. As come under the influence of Christian Neopla-
well as being an attack on the occult philosophy tonism and had become associated with the re-
of the magus, the unsympathetic portrayal of Her demption of fallen matter and transubstantiation.
Trippa could equally be seen as a rejection of Alchemy offered the promise of producing a fifth
Agrippa’s support of love marriages—explicitly essence, or quintessence, in the form of a pre-
denounced by Gargantua (3BK 48)—in Dec- cious metal or a life-giving elixir known as the
lamation on the Sacrament of Marriage (De sa- philosopher’s stone (pharmakon athanasias). Al-
cramento matrimonii declamatio [1526]). though judging by satirical accounts of Chaucer,
Agrippa’s On the Nobility and Preeminence of Erasmus, Jonson, and others, one can surmise
the Female Sex (De nobilitate et praecellentia that alchemy attracted charlatans who would prey
foeminei sexus [1529]) is also linked to the theme on gullible victims in search of a short cut to
of marriage and women in the Third Book. Ref- wealth or longevity, the techniques of alchemical
erences to Agrippa’s works abound in the Third transformation were, nevertheless, evolving in
Book, and Abel Lefranc claims that the two men, the sixteenth century into the modern practices
both free thinkers who had sympathies for re- of pharmaceutical medicine. Distilled substances
formed ideas, may have met in Lyon or in Gre- were thought to provide more effective medicinal
noble, when both took refuge from persecution remedies than the more natural material medica
in François de Vachon’s household. catalogued in medieval herbals. Rabelais would
2 Alcofrybas Nasier

have been familiar not only with the humbug of nival barker hawking the text in the hyperbolic
alchemy but through his medical training, with language of the marketplace. Our uneasiness
its legitimate possibilities. over these claims is strengthened in the final
References to alchemy are scattered through- chapter of Pantagruel. The narrator asserts that
out the Five Books of Gargantua and Pantagruel one should read his text for “mere amusement”
and appear in a variety of settings. In Book 5, and nothing else. Bad readers are compared to
Pantagruel and Panurge arrive in a land of al- those who “rake through” the excrement of chil-
chemy, the Kingdom of Quintessence or Land of dren searching for the pit of a digested cherry so
the Fifth Essence, and encounter a group of royal that it might be distilled into “pomander oil.” If
abstractors. Some are drawing water from pum- one were searching for some magical panacea,
ice by pounding it in a marble mortar. A spodi- some nugget of truth hidden beneath the surface
zateur or metal oxidizer is extracting “farts from of the narrative and revealed through exegetical
a dead monkey” (GP 5BK 22; OC 5BK 23), and distillation, Rabelais would seem to suggest that
Panurge becomes physically ill upon observing one would not find it here. “Never trust in men,”
another “putrefying a great potful of human urine he concludes, “who peer from under a cowl,” be
with horse dung” into a “sacred distillation” (GP they academics, evangelists, or alchemists.
5BK 22; OC 5BK 23). Something of the same Readings: Roland Antonioli, Rabelais et la méde-
mocking attitude is expressed through Panurge’s cine (Geneva: Droz, 1976); Carl G. Jung, Psychology
extended justification for borrowing and spend- and Alchemy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
ing in Book 3. Panurge argues that the human Press, 1968); Douglas McFarland, “Rabelais and Al-
body is a microcosm of an economic system chemy,” Rabelais in Context (Birmingham: Summa,
based upon credit borrowing and is analogous to 1993); Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to
an alchemical furnace (see Debts or Debtors, Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance
Praise of). In the human body base matter is (New York: Karger, 1982).
transmuted into blood, a restorative even greater Douglas McFarland
than any known by the alchemist, which in turn
lends itself to all parts of the body in order to ALCOFRYBAS (ALCOFRIBAS) NASIER
sustain life. Panurge incorporates the specious The first two of Rabelais’s five books were pub-
arts of alchemy into his own specious justifica- lished under the pseudonym of Alcofrybas Na-
tion for self-indulgence. Moreover, the argument sier. This anagram of François Rabelais was
is itself a parody of the alchemical model of the wonderfully well suited to the character of the
universe in which microcosms form a complex works, with its combined suggestions of mysti-
system of analogies (see Imitation and Parody). fication and broad humor. The first syllable, Al-,
Rabelais’s attitude is less clear, however, when suggests a derivation from Arabic and hence a
he offers alchemy as a metaphor for the produc- deep knowledge of science, while “fry” and
tion of his own text. On the title page of both “bas” have much more homely associations (fry-
Gargantua and Pantagruel and the end page of ing, lowness). Nasier suggests noses (Latin na-
Pantagruel, Rabelais refers to his persona, M. sus), a traditional subject for humor.
Alcofrybas, as the “abstractor of the fifth es- Maistre Alcofrybas first presents himself to us
sence.” This suggests that the text is the end (P prol.) as a trusted retainer of the Grandgou-
product of an alchemical distillation. This im- sier/Gargantua/Pantagruel royal family. He is
plicit claim is elaborated upon in the prologue to a kind of tame scholar, family historian, or
Gargantua. The narrator compares his work to praise-singer: sometimes he describes events as
a Silenus Box in which are contained “fine an eyewitness, and at others he cites written his-
drugs” which one might find in an apothecary’s tory, family documents, folk tales, or even ar-
shop and which will cure digestion and provide chaeological remains as his sources. Rabelais
bodily comfort (see Sileni). In short, this text cheerfully defies consistent chronology, since
possesses the curative powers of the philoso- each generation of giants lives several hundred
pher’s stone. The seriousness of this metaphor, years, but Alcofrybas, a human being, manages
however, is undermined by the voice of this car- to have known them all (for example, to have
Allegory 3

acquired inside information from Gargantua’s are heading). Rabelais indicates in the prologue
nursemaids). On the title page of the second edi- to Gargantua that this type of allegory is appli-
tion of Gargantua, the work is ascribed to cable to his chronicles; and in the Third Book
“l’abstracteur de quinte essence,” a phrase nor- prologue he hints that his wine is “living water”
mally meaning an alchemist, and later title pages like the Bible and that his works are to be inter-
make reference to “Maistre Alcofribas, abstrac- preted in like manner.
teur de quinte essence,” but we do not see him The third traditional type of allegory is prefig-
engage in any alchemical pursuits in the actual uration, consisting of words and acts in the Old
story. Testament which, according to Christian theol-
His function is to be a highly visible narrator, ogy, prefigure the coming of Christ. From this
to engage in imaginary disputes with the readers perspective, Moses leading the Israelites across
(always imagined as a merry group of listeners), the Red Sea prefigures the action of Jesus in re-
and to provide ostensible evidence for the verac- deeming humanity. In Rabelais, the incidents of
ity of the story. His language is a rich mixture the fabula look back in the person of the replicate
of learned, popular, and vulgar elements, with Christ, Pantagruel, to the acts of Jesus, partic-
recurring emphasis on wine and drinking. ularly the forgiving of Panurge’s debts/sins
On the title pages of the later books he is re- (3BK 5), the surviving of a storm (4BK 18–24),
placed by Maistre François Rabelais, but the and the overcoming of death (4BK 34). Rabe-
style of this new narrator, particularly in the pro- lais’s chronicles also look forward to the Second
logues, shares many features with that of Alcof- Coming and the transcendence of humanity (e.g.,
rybas. the evocation of Armageddon in Gargantua and
Readings: Dorothy Gabe Coleman, Rabelais: A the concatenation of marriages which signals the
Critical Study in Prose Fiction (Cambridge: Cam- Second Coming after the Bottle episode in the
bridge University Press, 1971); Gérard Defaux, “So- Fifth Book).
phista loquitur: Rabelais et son masque comique,” ER To the aforementioned systems Rabelais adds
11 (1974): 89–135; Pierre-Paul Plan, Bibliographie ra- two more hierarchies implicit in the allegorical
belaisienne: les éditions de Rabelais de 1532 à 1711 tradition, the first of which is a movement from
(Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1904). the particular to the general: for example, in Gar-
Carol Clark gantua the Abbey of Seuilly is a part of Rabe-
lais’s environment in the fabula; at a higher level
ALLEGORY The Renaissance inherited three of significance (allegory and tropology) the at-
basic types of allegory from the Middle Ages. tack on the Abbey represents the Sack of Rome
First, the extended metaphor, such as Pilgrim’s as indicated by the reference to the plague (G
Progress or Le Roman de la Rose, consists of a 45); and at the highest level (anagogy) the Abbey
story (fabula) that represents another order of is the Church on earth, assailed by the forces of
meaning. For example, Guillaume de Lorris’s evil. The second system extension is Neoplatonic
Garden represents the attributes of his lady’s and is based on the theory of emanation and re-
beauty, and the Rose, her love, while Mr. Chris- turn. (See Neoplatonism.) It is essential to an
tian’s journey enacts the passage of the Christian understanding of the Third Book, the Fourth
through life to salvation. Rabelais’s giants and Book, and the Divine Bottle episode in the Fifth
the multitude of symbols in his chronicles cor- Book, followed by the return of the companions.
respond to this type. Within this system, Goodness, Truth, and Beauty
Second, there is the exegetical allegory, de- stream from the Divine and are replicated at the
vised as an instrument to interpret the Bible. The levels of Intellect, Soul, and Matter, at each level
story (historia) is subjected to three or more in- retaining the characteristics of the level above but
terpretative processes: allegory, or doctrinal ex- diminished until at the level of Matter the qual-
tensions (quid credas—what you believe); tro- ities of the source are almost lost. This outward
pology, or moral considerations (quid agas— movement is mirrored in an urge to return in love
what you do); and anagogy, the implications of up the stages of the emanation until fused back
the story for salvation (quo tendas—where you into the Divine from which all derived. Human-
4 Allegory

ity, caught in the toils of Matter, is too self- to Books 3, 4, and 5 is the paradox that marriage
preoccupied to heed the longing for union with is problematical for Panurge and proper for Pan-
the Divine unless started from its lethargy by one tagruel.
of the four Frenzies: Madness (Triboullet [3BK Numerous signs point to the presence of alle-
37–38, 45–46]), Drunkenness (Rabelais’s theme gory. For example, the walls of Paris, constituted
of wine), Prophecy (e.g., the Sibyl, [3BK 16– of human genitalia (P 15), are revoltingly ob-
18]), and Love (cf. the marriage theme). scene until it is noted that minds and ideas and
Rabelais’s chronicles are a virtuoso display of the interaction between them are a better defense
allegorization. From Gargantua on, all episodes of what Paris stands for than inert stone. Simi-
contain a mixture of all these types, creating a larly, the brutal butchery effected by Frère Jean
multilayered text carrying multiple meanings si- at Seuilly is morally unacceptable. But when
multaneously. Often one level of text is paradox- seen as the unremitting combat waged against
ically opposed to another. A relatively simple ex- evil by the Church, armed with a symbolic cross
ample is the pilgrim episode in Gargantua (38, and braquemard representing the “Sword of the
45). At story level, the pilgrims are mistaken for Spirit” or the Word of God, it becomes appro-
snails by Gargantua and eaten; they escape by priate. The exegetical tradition within which Ra-
means of their staves but are nearly washed away belais has chosen to create his text has rules to
by the giant’s piss, following which they are guide the interpreter. Clear passages are used to
snared in nets, captured by Picrochole’s rabble, interpret difficult ones; Rabelais guides us to key
and freed by Frère Jean who brings them into passages by small clues, which are often remote
the giant’s household. They are given a good ser- from the episode they reveal: “Du passé je vous
mon by Grandgousier and sent on their way on délivre” (“I free you from your past” [3BK 5])
horseback with provisions for their journey. signals Pantagruel’s status as a replicate Christ;
Reform commonplaces—such as the literal the Y of 3BK 26 explains Pantagruel’s bizarre
exegesis of Psalms which the story seems con- naval strategy in 4BK 34; and the two appear-
trived to expose, superstition about saints, and ances of Gargantua’s little dog in the Third Book
the uselessness of pilgrimages—are garnered direct the reader to the Book of Tobit, which de-
from the allegorical (doctrinal) and tropological scribes the program of the Fourth and Fifth
(moral) levels. But the pilgrims’ naı̈ve attitude to Books. A triangle links the condemnation of fac-
the Bible, which is ridiculed at the lower levels, tionalism in the 4BK Prologue 2 with the empty
is affirmed and praised in the anagogy (pertain- words of the Island of Ennasin (4BK 9), the
ing to salvation). The ignorance of these com- death of the Physetere (4BK 34) and the Frozen
mon folk exposes them to grave dangers in the Words episode (4BK 55–56), inviting the atten-
encounter with the new Church (Gargantua), but tive reader to make comparisons and draw con-
they are saved and healed by their pilgrim’s clusions. Other episodes are grouped in proxi-
staves (bourdons), that is, by their faith. By their mate clusters around common topics and need to
faith they are saved from the consequences of be seen against each other to release their secrets.
their ignorance or the river of piss, brought into Such is the group constituted by the Physetere,
the communion of the true Church, and sent on the Isle Farouche, Papefiguière and the Papi-
their way rejoicing. manes. As relationships between episode and ep-
Allegory has three principal purposes: to goad isode are established, themes such as material-
the sincere searcher to penetrate below the sur- ism, death, factionalism, and the fulfillment of all
face of the text, to exclude those who are un- things in time emerge, defining the structure of
worthy from that same kernel of significance (see the chronicles as understanding is deepened.
the exclusions from Thélème and in the prologue Studying Rabelais requires the “careful reading
to the Third Book), and to give delight in the and frequent meditation” which he counsels in
solving of riddles. Paradoxes are frequent in Ra- the prologue to Gargantua.
belais’s chronicles and a key tool in their deci- The principle of the Forest of Meanings is im-
pherment. To state the paradox is the first step to portant. No single meaning is to be derived from
solving the enigma. For example one of the keys a biblical (and by analogy Rabelaisian) text. Ra-
Almanacs 5

belais says as much in the prologue to Gargan- tagruelian chronicles for which he is better
tua. Two powerful constraints on the interpretive known.
liberty suggested by this textual polyvalence, Ptolemy of the second century initially distin-
however, are, first, the sensus germanus, or the guished two facets of the science of astrology:
meaning that fits the context, requiring each part judicial astrology—that is, the prophetic qualities
to be interpreted as a function of the whole; and of the heavenly bodies—and natural astrology,
second, Rabelais’s own contention that his “mys- or the study of their physical properties. Rabelais
teries” are “living waters” to be read within the was well versed in the latter category, and his
context of his faith. Amid their baffling copia, astronomical knowledge is demonstrated in his
viewed by scholars such as Terence Cave as an single nonsatiric almanac of 1541. This two-page
attempt to bamboozle the reader by offering false work is distinctive from the others in that it con-
paths that lead nowhere, and which ultimately tains no prose but consists instead of an iconog-
have no meaning, Rabelais’s chronicles hold for raphy of zodiac signs indicating celestial
other readers the allure of a coded and esoteric phenomena throughout the course of the year.
text, which he intended to be deciphered by According to available historical evidence, only
“Gens de Bien” or right-minded initiates, while two astronomical errors exist in this diagram. Ra-
erecting barriers against the arrogant and unwor- belais’s satirization of predictive astrology was
thy. Indeed, for 450 years Rabelais’s allegories most likely influenced by Pico della Miran-
have tempted people to seek la sustantificque dola’s fifteenth-century, twelve-volume opus en-
mouelle or marrow; and whether revealing or titled Arguments against Astrology.
concealing their meaning, they continuously ex- Rabelais’s Pantagrueline Prognostication
emplify the dedicatory assertion (G) that “laugh- (1533) is a concise six-page tract narrated by his
ter is the characteristic of humanity” (“le rire est pseudonym Master Alcofrybas Nasier. Its intro-
le propre de l’homme” [G “To My Readers”]). duction and ten chapters treat the same topics
Readings: Don Cameron Allen, Mysteriously addressed in prophetic almanacs: the predomi-
Meant: The Rediscovery of Pagan Symbolism and Al- nant sicknesses of the coming year, the most
legorical Interpretation in the Renaissance (Balti- fruitful crops, the fate of various countries, and
more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970); Terence the coming meteorological conditions. The first
Cave, The Cornucopian Text (Oxford: Clarendon chapter succinctly sums up Rabelais’s objections
Press, 1979); Henri De Lubac, Exégèse médiévale: Les to claims of the prognosticators: “Whatever you
Quatre Sens de l’Ecriture, pt. 1, bk. 1, vol. 1 (Paris: may be told by those crazy astrologers . . . don’t
Aubier, 1959–64); John MacQueen, Allegory, Critical believe that this year there will be any governor
Idiom Series (London: Methuen, 1970); Fred W. Mar- of the universe other than God the Creator, Who
shall, “Les symboles des allégories de Rabelais,” by His divine Word rules and moderates all . . .
BAARD 5.2 (1993): 86–102; Fred W. Marshall, “The not Saturn, nor Mars, nor Jupiter nor any other
Allegory of Rabelais’ Gargantua,” AJFS 24.2 (1987): planet, certainly not the angels, or saints, or men,
115–54; Fred W. Marshall, “The Great Allegory,” or devils, will have any virtue, efficacy, or influ-
AJFS 26.1 (1989): 12–51. ence, unless God, in His good pleasure, gives it
Fred W. Marshall to them.” Rabelais guardedly excuses believers
of the almanacs as they may be dimwitted but
not malicious. The remainder of the text consists
ALMANACS (ALMANACHS) Widely con- of broad, whimsical truisms. The accumulation
sulted calendars based on astrology and folklore, of obvious conditions, along with the occasional
almanacs constitute a medieval text that Rabelais insult to narrow-minded scholars, makes for a
disparaged and yet copied. He composed a total surprisingly funny text. In contrast to prophetic
of five such works—three called almanacs and almanacs, Rabelais’s parody foretells the future
the other two, prognostications—between 1533 of the lower classes rather than that of the pow-
and 1544. The Prognostications and Almanachs erful or noble. Rabelais’s subsequent parodies
reveal the unorthodox literary style and complex are much shorter. His final New Prognostication
philosophical grounding found in Rabelais’s Pan- for 1544 (Pronostication nouvelle pour 1544) is
6 Alterity or Otherness

an amalgam of vague prophecy and serious where we later (16) learn he was placed on a spit,
study of lunar eclipses. wrapped in bacon, and almost roasted alive be-
Composed during his first, and some would fore escaping. For Timothy Hampton, Panurge’s
claim finest, creative period, Rabelais’s almanacs escape shows the language difficulties experi-
and prognostications have been overshadowed by enced by the Christian humanist community
his longer and undoubtedly superior works. Ra- when faced with cultural difference. The anec-
belais was attracted to the medieval tradition as dote is peppered with elements that highlight
a literary source while still critical of the igno- Panurge’s awareness of the differences between
rance of figures of medieval authority—notably Christians and Turks such as the continued
the Sorbonne theologians who themselves would references to drinking wine and eating bacon.
not categorically reject the claims of prophetic Furthermore, the clear evidence of the Turks’
astrologers. The composition of his almanacs al- kindness and charity is negated by their trans-
lowed him to simultaneously challenge lax the- formation from figurative to literal dogs at the
ological tenets and to expand his experimentation end of Panurge’s account, highlighting the dan-
with French prose. gers of an overly reductive reading and revealing
Readings: Eugenio Garin, Astrology in the Renais- the need to state a moral message that privileges
sance (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983); Christian values.
Margaret Harp, “François Rabelais’s Almanachs,” “Otherness” is also apparent in the marvels
Halcyon 16 (1994): 223–34; François Rabelais, Pan- and monsters represented in the strange world of
tagrueline prognostication (1533), Almanach de 1533, voyage and adventure in the Fourth Book. For
Almanach de 1535, Almanach pour 1541, Pronosti- Kristeva, although it develops the theme of
cation nouvelle pour 1544. travel, the Fourth Book does not so much de-
Margaret Harp scribe the wonders of foreign lands as give shape
to the “excess” that originates in the dreams and
ALTERITY OR OTHERNESS The concept political conflicts of the reader’s world. Further-
of “alterity” or “otherness” originates in psycho- more, Rabelais succeeds in provoking a sense of
strangeness and disquiet in the reader, which pre-
analytical literary theory. Broadly speaking, in
figure Freud’s work on the “Unheimliche” (un-
the context of Rabelais it is the way in which a
canny). Carla Freccero has explained how the
dominant discourse constructs another (usually
Haughty Lady of Paris’s resistance to Panurge
subordinate) group or idea as being different
constitutes an “alien voice” in the text. Similar
from itself by projecting its own fears, desires,
observations can be made about other female
rejections, and frustrations onto it. Sexual, geo-
characters concerning the way in which they re-
graphical, and ethnic differences are therefore not
sist description or are excluded from the narra-
so much represented as reconstructed from the
tive. Freccero has also used “otherness” to elu-
repressed and subsequently rediscovered experi-
cidate the particular problems experienced when
ence of writer and reader. Recent criticism has reading Rabelais’s text as a woman, when one
enabled Rabelais to be reevaluated in the light of might be unable or unwilling to acquiesce with
theories such as alterity, signaling a shift in crit- the dominant ideological and narrative dynamics.
ical interest away from debates that privileged Readings: Carla Freccero, “Damning Haughty
the importance of the rise of Protestantism. In Dames: Panurge and the Haulte Dame de Paris (Pan-
Rabelais, the encounter with the “Other” has tagruel, 14),” JMRS 15 (1985): 57–67; Timothy
three primary manifestations: the Turk (Panta- Hampton, Inventing Renaissance France: Literature
gruel), the discovery of the New World (Fourth and Nation in the Sixteenth Century (Ithaca, NY: Cor-
Book), and the representation of women nell University Press, 2001); Timothy Hampton,
throughout the work. Feminist critics have used “ ‘Turkish Dogs’: Rabelais, Erasmus, and the Rhetoric
the concept of “otherness” extensively to de- of Alterity,” Representations 41 (1993): 58–82; Julia
scribe the position of the female reader. In his Kristeva, Étrangers à nous-mêmes (Paris: Folio,
first meeting with Pantagruel (P 9) Panurge al- 2001).
ludes briefly to his imprisonment in Turkey, Pollie Bromilow
Andouilles 7

ANARCHE From the Greek a¬narxoz (“with- or a fool. Probably because andouille is gram-
out authority”). King of the Dipsodes (the matically feminine, Rabelais’s warlike, phallic
“Thirsty”), who invade the Amaurotes in the creatures are all females, including Niphleseth,
“Dipsodic Wars” (P 23, 25–32), leading to yet their queen, whose Hebrew name means “phal-
another illustration of Pantagruel’s title of lus.”
“King of the Thirsty” on the title page. It is again These creatures, hereditary enemies of Quar-
Panurge, however, whose initiative seals the fate esmeprenant, attack Pantagruel’s company,
of the defeated “antiprince.” Whereas Pantagruel mistaking them for their foe. An earlier peace
treats the defeated army in a humane fashion, treaty between Quaresmeprenant and the An-
even bringing a new “Golden Age” to the lib- douilles was frustrated when Quaresmeprenant
erated countries, Panurge, inspired by Episté- refused to accept the “Boudins saulvaiges” (“sel-
mon’s account of the inverted destinies in the vaticques”) and the “Saulcissons montigenes”
underworld (P 30), is bent on humiliating Anar- (4BK 35) as allies of the Andouilles. Alban
che by taking away his splendid clothes, marry- Krailsheimer identifies the boudins or blood sau-
ing him to an old repulsive woman, who will end sages as inhabitants of the Black Forest; Bucer’s
up beating her emasculated husband, and turning adherents, the saulcissons or large sausages as
him into a hawker of “green sauce” (P 31). Most the Swiss, or Zwingli’s adepts; Quaresmepren-
importantly, the symbolic killing of the bad ruler, ant, as Charles V. The Andouilles, he believes,
Panurge’s final victim in Pantagruel, foreshad- are Lutherans: Rabelais chose to represent them
ows the trickster’s own destiny in the Third as tripe sausages after witnessing the intrafaith
Book, where he, too, will sing the praise of the conflict at Schmalkalden. (Schmal ⫽ narrow ⫹
“green sauce” in an effort to justify his bad man- Kaldaunen ⫽ small intestines or tripe ⫽ an-
agement of the Castellany of Salmigondin (3BK douilles). The carnal hordes are revealed as the
2). This praise will ultimately lead to the pivotal Protestants allied against the emperor.
and unconvincing paradoxical Praise of Debts, Barbara Bowen and Walter Kaiser show that,
the beginning of Panurge’s decline. The behavior although the struggle resembles the traditional
of Anarche’s wife will also come back to haunt battle between Lent and Carnival, neither side
Panurge, as his main concerns are to be assured represents Lent or Carnival unequivocally. The
that he will not be beaten or cuckolded by a fu- Andouilles are compared with eels, Lenten food,
ture wife. The trickster’s new clothes in the and Quaresmeprenant presents certain traits com-
Third Book provide an additional hint: as in An- mon to Carnival.
arche’s new garb, the predominant colors blue Pantagruel’s ships, after defeating the Physe-
and green (pers et vert) seem to indicate the di- tere, land on the Isle Farouche, where they cel-
minished status of both characters. They no ebrate a thanksgiving banquet. Rabelais’s ban-
longer fit in the respective “new worlds” and rep- quets can generally be interpreted as informal
resent a ridiculed, perverted example of outdated masses. During the “second service,” Pantagruel
modes of ruling, thinking, and behaving. sees Andouilles climbing a tree near the “retraict
Readings: Gérard Defaux, “De Pantagruel au Tiers du guobelet,” the tabernacle where the Chalice is
livre: Panurge et le pouvoir,” ER 13 (1976): 163–80; kept. They are observing Pantagruel’s style of
Edwin Duval, “Anarche in Utopia: The Political Di- celebrating the Eucharist, the sacrament causing
mension,” The Design of Rabelais’s Pantagruel, ch. 5 the greatest friction between Christian factions.
(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991). The Andouilles attack and are winning until
Bernd Renner Frère Jan and the cooks appear on the battlefield
in a huge Truye (sow), a tanklike vehicle like the
ANDOUILLES (CHITTERLINGS, SAU- Trojan horse, containing two hundred combat-
SAGES) Chapters 35–42 of the Fourth Book cooks (note the similarity between Troie/Troye
are devoted to the Pantagrueline encounter with and Truye). The Andouilles are decimated.
the Andouilles. Literally tripe sausages, meta- Arriving in time to save them is the deity and
phorically andouille designates the phallus and/ source of all Andouilles, “un grand, gras, gros,
8 Androgyne

gris pourceau”: a gigantic winged hog, whose (1988): 131–41; Walter Kaiser, Praisers of Folly:
wings and eyes are red, ears green, teeth yellow, Erasmus, Rabelais, Shakespeare (Cambridge, MA:
tail black, transparent feet, and a collar bearing Harvard University Press, 1963); Alban Krailsheimer,
the motto “HUS ATHENAN, a pig teaching Mi- “The Andouilles of the Quart Livre,” François Ra-
nerva” (4BK 41). This absurd figure comes from belais: Ouvrage publié pour le 4e centenaire de sa
“la Transmontane,” across the mountains. For mort, 1553–1953 (Geneva: Droz, 1953); Robert Mar-
Rabelais in Lyon, these would be the Alps: the ichal, “Rabelais et les censures de la Sorbonne,” Le
flying hog could be flying from Wittenberg. If Quart livre de 1548, ER 9 (1971): 138–41; Florence
Andouilles are Lutherans, their “deity” and M. Weinberg, “Strates de prose emblématique: L’Isle
source would be Martin Luther, characterized des Andouilles,” Rabelais et les leçons du rire (Or-
as a hog in the opening sentence of Pope Leo léans: Paradigme, 2000): 181–93.
X’s Bull of excommunication, Exsurge Domine: Florence M. Weinberg
“Arise, O Lord, and judge thy cause. A wild boar
has invaded thy vineyard.” ANDROGYNE The first use in French litera-
The red, green, yellow, black, and transparent ture and the only direct reference to the Andro-
colors of the pig (named Mardigras) are iden- gyne in the works of Rabelais occurs in the de-
tified with precious stones: eyes like rubies, ears scription of the badge on young Prince
like emeralds, teeth like topazes, tail like Lucul- Gargantua’s hat (G 8). Rabelais refers the
lian marble, feet like diamonds. These colors and reader to the myth of the Androgyne as it is
stones contain religious symbolism: ruby ⫽ di- found in Plato’s Symposium and creates his own
vine love, emerald ⫽ hope, diamond ⫽ faith, variant Androgyne for the prince’s device. The
black stones and the color black ⫽ penitence and ideal reader presumably recalls that Plato’s orig-
humility. Topaz (yellow) is an antivenom, per- inal Androgynes are Janus-faced, gender-marked
haps an antidote for Luther’s invective. Thus, the combinations specifically precluded from carnal
hog incarnates faith, hope, charity, the cardinal union: Plato explains that after they were parted
virtues, plus resistance to poison—spreading at the belly Zeus “turned the parts of generation
twenty-seven barrels of mustard over the battle- round to the front for this had not always been
field. This mustard acts as a healing and resur- their position, and they sowed the seed no longer
recting balm for the Andouilles—their as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but
“sangréal” (holy or royal blood—another Eucha- in one another” (Symposium 191). Rabelais’s
ristic metaphor). However, mustard is a common changes are deliberate. He turns the heads 180
Rabelaisian and contemporary symbol for fecal degrees so that they look at, not away from, each
matter. The number 27 is a composite of 9s (the other and turns Plato’s gendered figure into one
number for theology, as seen in Dante): 27 is 9 with “deux culz” (“two pairs of buttocks”). This
⫻ 3; 2 ⫹ 7 ⫽ 9. Rabelais lampoons Lutheran now apparently copulating Androgyne is to be
theology as “mustard.” combined with the badge’s Pauline motto, “car-
The Andouilles have Mardigras in common itas non quaerit quia sua sunt” (“charity seeketh
with Pantagruel’s company, whose password is not her own” [1 Corinthians 13.5]), given only
also Mardigras—both parties accept and partici- in Greek.
pate in bodily life and its pleasures. However, Some critics consider Rabelais’s Androgyne to
the Andouilles represent a fleshly extreme; the be just another comic obscenity. But Gargantua’s
Pantagruelistes embody moderation. device, a defining hieroglyphic self-representa-
Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, “L’Episode des An- tion, the other half of which is Pauline, invites
douilles (Rabelais, Quart Livre, chapitres XXXV– interpretation. A device was personal, its visual
XLIIII), esquisse d’une méthode de lecture,” Cahiers element hieroglyphic, so that only properly tuned
de Varsovie 8 (1981): 111–26; Barbara C. Bowen, minds would understand. The difficulties critics
“Lenten Eels and Carnival Sausages,” L’Esprit créa- have had with Gargantua’s Androgyne speak to
teur 21 (1981): 12–25; Edwin M. Duval, “La messe, its hieroglyphic nature as does Rabelais’s choice
la cène, et le voyage sans fin du Quart Livre,” ER 21 to present the motto only in Greek, which in
Animals 9

1535 was a way of severely limiting those who 14 (1977): 265–75; Jerome Schwartz, “Gargantua’s
could interpret the badge. The altered head po- Device and the Abbey of Thélème: A Study in Ra-
sition has been seen as a reference to Marsilio belais’ Iconography,” YFS 47 (1972): 232–42.
Ficino’s treatment of love as a first step toward Marian Rothstein
the contemplation of the Divine; the heads gaze
at one another in order to rise to the Idea of ANIMALS The standard definition of “ani-
Beauty and beyond, toward God, toward the time mal” for Rabelais is based on Aristotle’s “that
when we will be able to contemplate the Divine which moves by itself” (GP 5B 26; OC 5BK 25),
face to face (1 Corinthians 13.12), although Fi- or that which is inhabited by an “animus,” soul.
cino’s commentary (4.3) dismisses the physical, The boundary between human and nonhuman an-
and nothing suggests that Rabelais was influ- imals is thus fluid, as many of Rabelais’s tales
enced by Ficino. witness. The “Turkish dogs” in Pantagruel 14
A solution that follows from Schwartz, who are both insulted Turks and actual dogs, the
Screech, Masters, and others is that Gargantua’s liveryman called Malicorne in the Fourth Book
Androgyne is intended to evoke marriage, to (3) who returns to Gargantua with three licornes
join Plato and Moses (Genesis 2.24: “erunt duo or unicorns, and the fables of metamorphosis in
in carne una”) to show “human nature at its mys- the Third Book (3) all evoke a metamorphic
tic beginning” (G 8). On Gargantua’s hat, along- world of transformation—linguistic or literary—
side the badge, there is a “grande plume bleue, between human and animal. The moving roads
prinse d’un Onocrotal” (“a big blue feather taken (GP 5B 26; OC 5BK 25) are also declared to be
from an onocrotal”), the strange name veiling the animals, as are the trees of the Isle des Ferre-
nature of the bird, a kind of pelican, just as the ments (Toolmaking Island [5BK 9]). Ongoing
Greek letters do the message of charity on the teratological debates also influence many of Ra-
badge. The pelican, thought to feed its young belais’s animal scenes—Gargantua’s mare is
from its breast, was a symbol of charity. As a certainly a monster both in its size and appear-
marriage impresa, a statement of what one in- ance. For our purposes, we will limit ourselves
tended to do, the badge is not controversial. The here to the common modern understanding of
young prince will one day marry—Pantagruel, “animal.”
published two years earlier, put this beyond Animals are both a theme and an important
doubt, and the place given to marriage in the narrative tool in the Rabelaisian corpus. Their
Third Book is worth recalling here. Marriage representations and functions are as multifaceted
may also be understood in a figurative sense: the as the texts themselves. Rabelaisian animals can
young prince will embrace, cleave to, his evan- be quotidian, exotic, monstrous, fantastic, bibli-
gelical Christian faith, based on the principle of cal, fabled, literary, or scientific, vacillating be-
charity; as a ruler, he will be married to his peo- tween realism, improbability, and pure fantasy.
ple, as Christ did the Church, and as the Christian This constant variety and permeability is not only
faithful espouse Christ. Taken in the broadest at the heart of Rabelais’s conception of nature,
sense, image and motto together, the badge lays but is also a reflection of the diversity and con-
forth a program appropriate for the young prince. tradictions of the discourses on animals in the
Readings: Guy Demerson, François Rabelais sixteenth century. Rabelais seems to delight in
(Paris: Fayard, 1991); G. Mallary Masters, “Rabelais the narrative possibilities offered by the conflu-
and Renaissance Figure Poems,” ER 8 (1969): 58–68; ence of different systems of zoological knowl-
Marian Rothstein, “Gargantua: Agape, Androgyny and edge, and tales of animals, that characterize his
the Abbaye de Thélème,” FF 26.1 (2001): 1–19; Mar- period. For in the sixteenth century, animal lore
ian Rothstein, “The Mutations of the Androgyne: Its (pagan and Christian) and authoritative classical
Functions in Early Modern France,” SCJ 34.2 (2003): texts coexist with humanistic textual criticism
407–34; Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (London: and a spirit of experiential enquiry. It would be
Duckworth, 1979); Jerome Schwartz, “Scatology and simplistic to present sixteenth-century zoology as
Eschatology in Gargantua’s Androgyne Device,” ER an abandonment of medieval “fables” in favor of
10 Animals

a new rationalism, or as a clean transition from from Pantagruel to his father accompanying the
textual authority to direct observation. Rather, gift of the Tarande and three unicorns chal-
the animal world was for a long time understood lenges Pliny’s assertion that no man has ever
and interpreted with varying ideological struc- seen a live unicorn (4BK 4). (It is typical of Ra-
tures: rational-observational, theological, classi- belais that the “new” information is by no means
cal, teratological, occult. Rabelais’s animal world less dubious than the old!) At the climax of the
is refracted through all of these lenses. Dindenault episode, the narrator assures us that
Classical zoological works were widely avail- Aristotle (4BK 8) affirms the stupidity of sheep
able in sixteenth-century France, including Ar- (4BK 8). The fauna of the Pays de Satin (5BK
istotle’s treatises on animals and Pliny’s Natural 29) forms a veritable compendium of contem-
History, although sometimes subject to chal- porary zoological knowledge, opinions, and leg-
lenges based on direct observation. Also widely ends. A description of elephants that borrows
read were Christian moralizing treatises on the from Pliny is also used to refute Pliny and Ar-
animal world, such as the Natural Mirror of Vin- istotle on the question of elephants’ joints; a con-
cent de Beauvais or the many bestiaries. Tera- temporary debate on whether tusks were horns or
tological texts from antiquity to Ambroise Paré teeth is also evoked. Yet the discourse of direct
were frequently reprinted. In the second quarter observation is only one of many discourses that
of the sixteenth century, there was an increased compete cacophonously for space. The animals
philological interest in animals, and attempts of this country are, for example, all made of tap-
were made to bridge the cognitive gap between estry but are nevertheless invoked as evidence
Latin zoological vocabulary and observed reality against the opinions of those who have only seen
by providing glossaries or dictionaries: for ex- such creatures “in the land of tapestry.” De-
ample, Charles Estienne’s On Greek and Latin scribed as being “just like” familiar animals “ex-
Names of Trees, Fish . . . (1536). This etymolog- cept for” some more or less incredible difference,
ical quest is an important component of Rabe- these creatures—like the Tarande (4BK 2), a sort
lais’s animal world: the physetere (4BK 33–34) of reindeer-moose with chameleonlike proper-
is, among many other things, an exploration of a ties—are suspended indefinitely in the Rabelai-
neologism from Pliny. sian imaginary between worlds, discourses, and
The 1550s—the decade of Rabelais’s Fourth knowledges.
and Fifth Books—was a landmark decade for the Animals provide comic effect, often obscene—
publication of vernacular natural history works, the goslet “torchecul” or arse-wipe (G 13), the
many in French: Conrad Gesner’s encyclopedic fable of the fox and the lion (P 15)—or used as
Histories of Animals (first volume 1551); Pierre a measure of gigantism, for example, Pantagruel
Belon’s History of Strange Seafish (1551) and eating cows and a bear (P 4), or Gargantua’s
History of the Nature of Birds (1554); and Guil- mare drowning Picrochole’s men in her urine (G
laume Rondelet’s On Marine Fish (1554). A 36). Fantastic or monstrous animals also provide
voyage to the Near East prompted Pierre Gilles some of Rabelais’s most biting satire: the An-
to write a New Description of the Elephant douilles (4BK 35–42) or the Siticine birds (5BK
(1562), which the compiler of the Fifth Book al- 2).
most certainly read. Another important develop- Contemporary accounts of travel to the New
ment was the influence of accounts of New World influence the descriptions of animals in
World voyages, in which creatures were de- the Fourth and Fifth Books. The sightings of fly-
scribed whose very existence was nowhere pos- ing fish (4BK 3), almost a cliché of New World
ited in classical texts: André Thevet, The Sin- travel writing, are mentioned by many explorers,
gularities of Antarctic France (1558). All of from Jacques Cartier to Jean de Léry. Panta-
these works often relied heavily on classical gruel’s gift to his father of the Tarande and three
sources, while also challenging or adding to them unicorns (4BK 4) reflects the common practice
to some degree (see Travel Literature). of European explorers sending exotic beasts back
Rabelais’s animals are often dialogic sites for to their kings with instructions on how to tend to
these varying systems of knowledge. A letter their needs. Like many animals in reality, the An-
Aristotle 11

douilles that were sent to the king of France via “Aspects du discours zoologique dans le Cinquiesme
Gargantua (4BK 42) die owing to a change of Livre,” ER 40 (2001): 103–14; Marcel Tetel, “Le phy-
climate and diet. setère bicéphale,” Writing the Renaissance (Lexington,
A certain pragmatism is involved in the use KY: French Forum, 1992); Florence Weinberg, “Lay-
made of some animals in the Fourth Book. The ers of Emblematic Prose: Rabelais’ Andouilles,” The
Gozal or homing pigeon (4BK 3) allows political Sixteenth Century Journal; Journal of Early Modern
news to fly across the world faster than is pos- Studies 26.2 (1995): 367–77.
sible with a boat. Even the physetere (4BK 33– Louisa Mackenzie
35), which partakes not so much of contempo-
rary travel accounts as of long-standing literary ANTIPHYSIE See Physis and Antiphysie
and biblical traditions, is gutted and dissected, its
kidneys harvested and declared “most useful” for ARIOSTO See Orlando Furioso
profit. Consideration of ways in which animals
could be profitable was rather novel in zoological ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Although Plato
works. Rabelais is up to date with contemporary is more in evidence in Rabelais’s works, the
debates and even anticipates them: in Rome, French author shares the traditional view that Ar-
three years after the publication of Rabelais’s istotle was the “paragon of all philosophy, and
fourth book, Olaus Magnus will insist in his His- first among men” (GP 563; 5BK 19), and Aris-
tory on the utility of certain animals to human- totelian thought patterns inevitably suffused his
kind, including whales, considered both highly writing. Aristotle’s emphasis on man’s natural
dangerous and useful. desire for knowledge which opens the Meta-
Rabelais’s baffling animal world may be read physics seems to have appealed to him (Alman-
as a metaphor for Rabelais’s own conception of ach pour l’an 35), and he gives prominent place
his “monstrous” and hybrid text, a reading en- to “Rire est le propre de l’homme” (G ded.), or
couraged by Rabelais himself: the prologue to “laughter is the characteristic of humanity.” Ar-
Gargantua describes the exterior of the Sileni as istotle is depicted sympathetically, carrying a
painted with fantasy animals such as harpies and lantern and “watching, examining, and writing
flying goats. And in the prologue to the Third everything down” (GP 5BK 31; OC 5BK 30).
Book, the narrator frets about scaring his read- Rabelais often refers to him directly (everywhere
ers in the same way that Ptolemy of Egypt except in Pantagruel) and indirectly, ranging
shocked his subjects by presenting them with a over most of the corpus, especially the Organon,
Bactrian camel. As well as serving as sources of the Problems, the scientific works, the Politics
comedy and satire and as vehicles for the pres- and the Ethics, appealing to him as an authority,
entation of multiple discourses, animals, then, are for example, on natural history (GP 5BK 30; OC
also coterminous with the “ugly surface” of Ra- 5BK 29), meteorology (4BK 17), physiology
belais’s text, whose amusing aspect hides the se- (eleven-month pregnancies [G 3], the insatiabil-
rious hidden content. ity of women [3BK 27], the origin of sperm
Readings: Marie Madeleine Fontaine, “Une Narra- [3BK 31]), optical questions (G 10), and meta-
tion biscornue: Le Tarande du Quart Livre,” Poétique physics (Entelechy, GP 5BK 19; OC 5BK 18).
et narration: Mélanges offerts à Guy Demerson, ed. The references are at times purely facetious, such
François Marotin and Jacques-Philippe Saint-Gérand as a nonexistent text on the art of invisible writ-
(Paris: Champion, 1993): 407–27; Bernard M. Henry, ing (G 1) or Gargantua’s assertion that the prob-
“Sur la jument de Gargantua,” BAARD 2 (1969): 244; lem of the freshness of a young girl’s thighs is
Laurent Pinon, Livres de zoologie de la Renaissance, not to be found in his works (G 39); and even
une anthologie (1450–1700) (Paris: Klincksieck, when they are real and pertinent, the learning is
1995); Lazare Sainéan, L’histoire naturelle et les rarely to be taken seriously. In spite of Rabelais’s
branches connexes dans l’œuvre de Rabelais (Paris: knowledge of Greek, he was working from Le-
Champion, 1921); Verdun-Louis Saulnier, Rabelais fèvre d’Etaples’s translation, compendia such as
dans son enquête. Etude sur le “Quart” et le “Cin- Erasmus’s Adages, or secondary authors such as
quième” livre (Paris: SEDES, 1982); Paul J. Smith, André Tiraqueau. Moreover, his knowledge of
12 Art and Architecture

Aristotle often comes from the scholastics whom responding mosaics in the emblémature over the
he has studied deeply and whom he despises, and door, and in the vaulted ceiling, and the fantastic
he does not seem particularly affected by the fountain, is derived in part from Francesco Co-
neo-Aristotelianism of his day. lonna’s Dream of Polyphilus (Hypnerotomachia
Readings: Gérard Defaux, Rabelais agonistes: Du Poliphili [Venice: Aldus, 1499; Paris: Kerver,
rieur au prophète. Etudes sur Pantagruel, Gargantua, 1546]). The ceiling mosaic of Bacchus’s battle
Le Quart livre (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Alban J. Krailsh- with the Indians shows Rabelais’s use of ec-
eimer, Rabelais and the Franciscans (Oxford: Oxford phrasis coupled with the enargeia or vivid rep-
University Press, 1963); Jean Plattard, L’oeuvre de Ra- resentation characteristic of such a visual writer,
belais (Paris: Champion, 1967). as does his account of the Pays de Satin in
Peter Sharratt which the reader enters the marvelous world de-
picted in tapestries (GP 5BK 30–31; OC 5BK
ART AND ARCHITECTURE Rabelais wrote 29–30). He was concerned, too, with optical the-
at a moment of artistic transformation in France ories of the effects of light and color (“Une
that saw the building, decoration, and furnishing Lampe admirable,” GP 5BK 41; OC 5BK 40).
of royal and princely chateaux in a classical man- Rabelais often refers to commonplaces about
ner derived from Italy, and, in painting, the es- classical art: Polycletus’s perfect statue (GP 5BK
tablishing of the School of Fontainebleau, with 42; OC 5BK 41), Zeuxis’s painting of grapes
the arrival of Rosso (1530) and Primaticcio pecked at by birds (GP 5BK 38; OC 5BK 37),
(1532). Rabelais’s friendship with Philibert de Daedalus capturing movement in sculpture (4BK
l’Orme, “grand architecte du roy Megiste” (4BK 50), Heliogabalus’s feast of painted and sculpted
61), responsible for Chambord and Anet, and food (GP 5BK 31; OC 5BK 30), and Apelles’s
with Guillaume Philandrier, pupil and friend of and Aristides’s choice of impossible subjects
Serlio and editor of Vitruvius, gave him direct (“tonnerres, esclaires, fouldres, ventz, Écho, les
access to the latest architectural thinking. He also meurs et les espritz” [GP 5BK 40; OC 5BK 39]).
became increasingly interested in the ancient art Elsewhere, in describing what Panurge and his
and antiquities of Egypt and of Rome. The list companions bought on Medamothi, Rabelais
of the ruined temples, obelisks, pyramids, mon- refers to imaginary and impossible paintings
uments, and tombs on the Isle des Macreons (4BK 2), among which were canvases of Charles
(4BK 25) reflects exactly the contemporary artis- Charmois who worked at Fontainebleau, Saint-
tic ethos. Rabelais includes painting and sculp- Maur-les Fossés, and Anet, a rare allusion to a
ture in the school curriculum (at a time when contemporary painter. Architecture, archaeology,
they were still considered to be sordid and me- sculpture, and the decorative arts were more to
chanical arts) and advocates that pupils should Rabelais’s taste.
visit craftsmen’s workshops (G 24). He was also Readings: Jean Guillaume, “Le ‘Manoir des Thé-
interested in the applied arts, writing knowled- lèmites’: Rêve et Réalités,” Rabelais pour le XXIe siè-
geably and copiously about furniture (G 55), cos- cle, ed. Michel Simonin (Geneva: Droz, 1998); Mir-
tume (G 8 and 56), jewelry and precious stones eille Huchon, “Thélème et l’Art Sténographique,”
(G 8, 56; 5BK 38, 42), silverware (4BK 13), mo- Rabelais pour le XXIe siècle, ed. Michel Simonin (Ge-
saics (GP 5BK 38–40; OC 5BK 37–39) and tap- neva: Droz, 1998); Antoinette Huon, “Alexandrie et
estry (4BK 2, 4; GP 5BK 24, 30, 31; OC 5BK l’Alexandrisme dans le Quart Livre: L’escale à Me-
23, 29, 30). damothi,” ER 1 (1956): 98–111; Paul J. Smith, Voyage
In his architectural descriptions Rabelais is et écriture. Étude sur le Quart Livre de Rabelais (Ge-
resolutely modern. He first links Thélème with neva: Droz, 1987) (originally in Neophilologus, 70
Bonnivet, now destroyed, and in 1542 adds the [1986]: 1–12).
names of Chambord and Chantilly, all still in the Peter Sharratt
process of building, with traditional elements and
much fantasy. The Temple of the Divine Bottle ASCLEPIADES Ancient doctor who, in ad-
with its marble staircase, automatic doors, its tes- dition to extolling the therapeutic benefits of
sellated pavement of precious stones, with cor- wine and passive exercise, reformed traditional
Astrology 13

Hippocratic theoretical practice and devised a gave crucial information about the physical and
physical theory used to explain all biological emotional constitution of the patient; they studied
phenomena in uniformly simple terms. Although the heavenly bodies to know when to administer
none of his texts survive, Rabelais gained knowl- certain treatments, to predict the course of a dis-
edge of Asclepiades by way of other Greek au- ease, and to predict and explain the occurrence
thors including Galen and Pliny the Elder, who of epidemics. Judicial astrology involved trying
give testimony to the value of his theories. Ech- to describe specific personal characteristics and
oing Galen’s belief in the need for doctors to be to predict specific human events from the heav-
in good health themselves in order to heal others, enly bodies. Most opponents of astrology were
Rabelais uses Asclepiades as a model in the pro- motivated primarily by religious reasons: astrol-
logue to the Fourth Book. The passage relates ogy interfered with divine providence and human
Asclepiades’s pact with Good Fortune that, as a free will, and it provided a secular explanation
doctor, his reputation should stand on the ex- for phenomena that some would have preferred
ample of his own health—required to be excel- to attribute to divine retribution for human sin-
lent from the time any physician begins practic- fulness. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Dis-
ing medicine until he breathes his last breath. putations against Judicial Astrology (1494), the
This was the case for Asclepiades, who died most widely discussed work against astrology,
without ever being ill, at a ripe old age following was motivated by the religious belief in an ab-
an unfortunate fall from a tower. Aside from this solute contradiction between human free will and
biographical anecdote, the true value of Ascle- astrological prediction.
piades’s theory for Rabelais lies in the manner in In Gargantua’s letter to Pantagruel, Rabelais
which he promotes the positive virtues of wine. suggested that the humanist education should in-
Knowing this theory as he did, our Renaissance clude astronomy but should leave off judicial as-
doctor could in good conscience promote the cy- trology (P 8). Rabelais’s disapproval of divina-
cle of thirst, drink, and satiation—all in good tion is shown when Thaumaste, an expert in
moderation—as natural, normal, and necessary reading signs including those of astrology, is
to the maintenance of human health. bested by the obscene gestures of Panurge (P
Reading: J. T. Vallance, The Lost Theory of Ascle- 19). It is further underscored through much of
piades of Bithnya (New York: Oxford University Press, the Third Book as Panurge consults various peo-
1990). ple about the possibility of his being cuckolded
Lesa Randall in marriage. Her Trippa consults Panurge’s
horoscope among other forms of divination, both
ASTROLOGY A distinction between “astron- real and fabricated by Rabelais; he concludes
omy” and “astrology” did exist during Rabelais’s from the horoscope that Panurge will not only be
time, and a vigorous debate arose about the va- cuckolded but also robbed and beaten by his wife
lidity of “astrology.” Nonetheless, until the mid- and get the pox to boot, but Her Trippa does not
dle of the seventeenth century, most astronomers know that he himself is a cuckold (3BK 25). Ra-
accepted the validity of at least some astrological belais’s Pantagrueline Prognostication (1533) is
prediction, the words “astronomy” and “astrol- an extended satire of astrological divination in
ogy” were often used interchangeably, and the almanacs. But in his satires Rabelais showed fa-
more important distinction was between “natural miliarity with the specifics of astrological predic-
astrology” and “judicial astrology.” Natural as- tion even as he mocked it. He also published al-
trology dealt with the weather and medicine. It manacs, possibly every year, though only four
was the most successful means of predicting the survive, and the almanac for 1541 gives serious
weather in the sixteenth century. Rabelais was advice to physicians about the best times to per-
trained as a physician and would have studied form various medical procedures during the year.
astrology as part of his medical training because Furthermore, his Pantagrueline Prognostication
most physicians believed that the heavenly bod- suggests that the problem with astrological prog-
ies influenced both individual and public health. nostication is that people trust in it rather than
They believed that the birth chart, or horoscope, trusting in God. Thus, Rabelais rejected judicial
14 Astrology

astrology, at least partly for religious reasons, but the Five Books of Rabelais,” Paracelsian Moments:
accepted natural astrology. Science, Medicine, and Astrology in Early Modern Eu-
Readings: G. Mallary Masters, Rabelaisian Dialec- rope, ed. Gerhild Scholz Williams and Charles D.
tic and the Platonic-Hermetic Tradition (Albany: State Gunnoe, Jr. (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University
University of New York Press, 1969); Dené Scoggins, Press, 2002): 163–86.
“Wine and Obscenities: Astrology’s Degradation in Sheila J. Rabin
BACBUC The last fifteen chapters of the Fifth Most Obscure Terms Contained in the Fourth
Book depict Rabelais’s heroes, who in the Third Book, added to the 1552 edition of the Fourth
Book decided to visit the Oracle of the Divine Book: “Bacbouc. Bottle. In Hebrew also used for
Bottle to receive the “mot” or “word” within the the sound it makes when emptied.” This defini-
temple itself, which is described at length and tion, which assimilates Bacbuc with the Bottle,
from a Bacchic perspective. Their initiatress is may be compared to the Thesaurus by Sante Pag-
“the princess Bacbuc, lady in waiting of the Bot- nino published by R. Estienne in 1548 and to the
tle, and pontiff of all mysteries.” She has them definition given in the French-Latin Dictionary
drink from the fantastic fountain, which trans- of R. Estienne in 1539: “The Hebrews call a bot-
forms the taste of wine according to the drinker’s tle “Bacbuc,” and it seems that Bacbuc and bou-
imagination. After dressing Panurge in sacra- teille (“bottle”) are nomina ficta a sono quem edit
mental habits, making him execute a series of lagena quando depletur inversa” (“the names
ritual gestures and sing a Bacchic ode (repre- created from the sound a flask produces when
sented in the text as verses in the form of a bot- being emptied out when upside down”).
tle), and pronouncing conjurations in Etruscan, The Bottle and Bacbuc designate the same per-
she invites him to receive the “word” of the sa- son; however, in the Fifth Book the Bottle and
cred bottle (“garbed in pure crystal, half im- the priestess Bacbuc are very distinct. Since the
mersed in the water of a fine alabaster fountain”) second part of the Fifth Book was drafted con-
and casts a spell that causes the water to boil. temporaneously with the Third Book, we can sur-
Bacbuc then interprets the word of the bottle, mise that Rabelais was not familiar with glosses
“trinch,” as an “oracular word, celebrated and of this word in 1548.
understood by all nations, which to us means In fact in the Fifth Book, it would appear that
“drink” (GP 5BK 46; OC 5BK 45): for drink Rabelais introduces additional glosses of Bacbuc.
rather than laughter is the “propre de l’homme” The idea of the bottle’s immersion in water was
(G ded.)—or “the characteristic of humanity”— probably borrowed from Reuchlin, who in his De
in this work. rudimentis hebraicis (1506) supplies the follow-
The character Bacbuc, whose name is taken ing definition: “A hard or brick-colored (testa-
from the Hebrew word for “bottle,” only appears ceum) vessel that is almost throat-shaped, taking
in Rabelais’s work in the second part of the Fifth its name from the sound heard when it is im-
Book, which corresponds to the second series of mersed in water.” Further, the textual reference
sketches for that volume, and in the Fourth Book to boiling water may derive from the explanation
of 1552, where she is identified with the Bottle of R. Estienne in his Dictionnaire françoislatin
itself. In the title of chapter 1 in the 1552 version (1539): “Bottle or bubble which rises up on the
of the Fourth Book (“How Pantagruel Set Sail to water, especially when it rains.”
Visit the Oracle of the Divine Bacbuc”), in con- Marie-Luce Demonet has suggested parallels
trast to the 1548 edition, Rabelais substituted the between the end of the Fifth Book and the Sefer
term “Bacbuc” for “Bottle” and added a refer- ha-baqbuc ha-navi, the Book of the Prophetic
ence to “the oracle of the Divine Bottle Bacbuc.” Bottle, a Jewish Provençal parody of the four-
The term “Bacbuc” is glossed in this way by teenth century, attributed to the philosopher Levi
Rabelais in the Brief Declaration of Some of the ben Geron. This book, intended to be read during
16 Badebec

the period of Jewish carnival, plays upon the outdated methods and authorities fail to equip the
words Habakuk (a book of the Bible) and ha- Parlement for its task. Second, it facilitates a
baqbuc (“bottle”), and “is founded upon a positive statement for humanist jurisprudence via
mystico-carnivalesque conception of wine.” Pantagruel who, arraigning the conseilliers et
Readings: Michel Bastiaensen, “L’hébreu chez Ra- docteurs for their wrong approach, insists spe-
belais,” Revue belge de Philologie et d’histoire, 46 cifically that the litigants address the court in per-
(1968): 725–48; Marie-Luce Demonet, “Le nom de son rather than have their case assessed through
Bacbuc,” RHR 34 (1992): 41–46. documents, and generally that good legal exper-
Mireille Huchon tise is based on classical philology and philoso-
phy, not medieval ignorance. The points are sup-
BADEBEC Wife of Gargantua, mother of ported by Du Douhet, a member of the panel of
Pantagruel. Her name, derived from the Gascon, experts, but one clearly identifiable as a human-
means “wide-open mouth,” reflecting her role in ist, whereupon four donkey-loads of paperwork
the text as a receptacle to carry Gargantua’s are burned and the parties invited to speak for
child. Badebec appears in the work briefly in themselves. Here the textual modality changes,
Pantagruel in the two chapters (2–3) that de- since the two speeches that follow (by Baisecul
scribe her pregnancy, Pantagruel’s birth, and her as plaintiff and Humevesne as defendant), al-
resulting death. These events seem inextricably though mostly composed of comprehensible
linked in the narrator’s mind. Badebec’s impact words, are deliberately made incoherent in the
on the narrative is minimized by the fact that her way the words are put together. As a result, the
death is announced in the same sentence in which lawyers’ perplexity becomes, at a literal level,
she is first mentioned. Throughout the episode, entirely justified. Must the reader not agree that
her presence in the text is eclipsed because her “We have heard indeed, but—in the name of the
experience is exploited as a way to affirm the devil!—we certainly haven’t understood” (P 13;
importance of the male protagonists. The narrator GP 174)? Pantagruel’s reaction, however, is not
presents her death as an inevitable consequence to prosecute the satire, but rather to enter into
and confirmation of Pantagruel’s prodigious size. the same linguistic game as the two parties in-
Badebec is seen as devoid of specific character- asmuch as Rabelais has exploited the theme to
istics: she herself does not speak, and the details his satisfaction in previous chapters. Pantagruel
of her death are not recorded, whereas the text declares the issue to be less complex than the
retains the words spoken by the midwives in re- assembled authorities have declared. Then he
sponse to Pantagruel’s birth. Similarly, Gargan- takes a couple of turns around the room, appar-
tua’s grief at his wife’s death is quickly replaced ently deep in thought, before delivering a judg-
by joy at his newborn son. ment no clearer than the two previous speeches
Readings: Françoise Charpentier, “Un Royaume qui and using a broadly similar register. The ruling
perdure sans femmes,” Rabelais’s Incomparable satisfies both lords, not inconceivably because it
Book: Essays on His Art, ed. Raymond La Charité exempts them legal costs. Meanwhile, the assem-
(Lexington, KY: French Forum, 1986); Jefferson bled experts all swoon in ecstasy at Pantagruel’s
Humphries, “The Rabelaisian Matrice,” RR 76.3 apparent brilliance, before being revived with
(1985): 251–70. vinegar and rose water.
Pollie Bromilow Rabelais’s readers have a strategic choice in
this episode. They may understand it as an alle-
BAISECUL AND HUMEVESNE This epi- gory of his theories on law, which supported
sode forms one of Pantagruel’s exploits in Paris Guillaume Budé’s historical approach and at-
where he completes his education and achieves tacked the traditional mos italicus. In that case
fame for a variety of reasons, in this instance by the speeches become irrelevant nonsense into
solving a lawsuit whose complexities have de- which Rabelais has inserted various encoded ref-
feated the most exalted French legal brains. Ra- erences (for example, to the Gallican policies of
belais exploits the theme in various ways. First, various French kings). They may alternatively
it links with his satire of scholasticism, whose see the satiric material as merely preluding a
Bakhtin, Mikhail 17

piece of theatrical farce consonant with the old spirit of opposition to the fixed social and
traditions of the basoche, whereby court proce- ideological hierarchies of the Middle Ages, and
dures become distorted parodies of themselves, which reached its apex in the communal festivi-
as here a judge crowns gibberish with gobble- ties of Carnival and the literature of the Ren-
dygook and is lionized for his triumph. Further aissance, where it penetrated high culture for the
options reside in the way one assesses the main last time. As revealed in his comic verbal crea-
figures. Are Baisecul and Humevesne to be con- tions, his adaptation of popular pageants, and his
demned for perverting language when they vulgarity, especially the comic exploitation of the
speak (and perhaps for wasting the court’s time body’s lower organs (stomach, buttocks, and
in mounting a preposterous case), or are they to genitals) rather than the higher (heart and brain),
be celebrated as clowns proficient in the coq-à- Rabelais’s sense of humor was significant for
l’âne? Pantagruel is, to be sure, the fulcrum of combining negative derision with positive cele-
the episode, but is he playing a game with his bration in an ambivalent matrix of creativity and
audience, is he mocking the two participants, is destruction equally apparent in the comic coun-
he adversely infected by their logorrhoea, or does terculture of the people, but lost to a modernity
he really understand the case on their level and whose humor was predominantly satiric. Previ-
in their terms? After all, he does fully satisfy ous analyses of Rabelais’s work had either con-
them, though one does not know precisely why. centrated on his ideas rather than his humor, or
Such intentional gaps as that effacing Panta- else had reduced that humor to a mere facetious-
gruel’s thoughts (before delivering sentence, is ness devoid of philosophical meaning. Though
he actually reflecting “deeply” [“bien profunde- never denying it, Bakhtin diminished the signif-
ment, comme l’on povoit estimer”]?) are crucial icance of Rabelais’s humanist awareness, seeing
to Rabelais’s technique. One reads as one the key to his work as the “culture of the market
chooses, provided other readings are granted ap- place and of folk laughter.” His contribution to
propriate respect. Rabelais studies (which in fact extends beyond
Readings: Gérard Defaux, Rabelais agonistes (Ge- Rabelais and His World) was thus deliberately
neva: Droz, 1997); Claude Gaignebet, A plus hault controversial and has even been interpreted as an
sens, vol. 1 (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1986); allegorical attack on the Stalinist repressions to
John Parkin, “Comic Modality in Rabelais: Baisecul, which he himself fell victim.
Humevesne, Thaumaste,” ER 18 (1985): 57–82; Fran- Admirers have praised its originality, its im-
çois Rigolot, “The Highs and Lows of Structuralist mense range and imaginative power, together
Reading: Rabelais’s Pantagruel, cc. 10–13,” Distant with an infectious force of argument that suc-
Voices Still Heard, ed. John O’Brien and Malcolm ceeds even in translation: the Rabelais has been
Quainton (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, seen as Bakhtin’s finest book. Opponents have
2000); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (London: Duck- criticized the paucity of his detailed apparatus,
worth, 1979). his question-begging assumptions about the pop-
John Parkin ular spirit, his relegation of Rabelais’s human-
ism, including his erudite wit, to secondary im-
BAKHTIN, MIKHAIL (1895–1975) Mikhail portance, and a bland disregard of historical
Bakhtin’s monograph on Rabelais, translated into theories countering his own. In fact, these theo-
English as Rabelais and His World, was first ries have disproved much of Bakhtin’s sociology.
published in the West in 1968, a mere seven For instance, the carnival was for him the ex-
years prior to its author’s death. Yet it comprises pression of the people’s indomitable and rebel-
a reworking of a thesis presented over twenty lious free spirit as reflected in numberless pas-
years previously to the Moscow Gorky Institute sages where Rabelais presents violent and
and on which he had been working as far back taboo-breaking comic scenes and converts norms
as the late 1930s. Bakhtin aimed to revolutionize into a grotesque travesty of those norms. It tends
Rabelais studies by laying bare the popular roots now to be considered not as an implicit rebellion,
of his humor, which, though ill understood in all but as a subtle means whereby the authorities
periods since his own, stemmed from a centuries- contained rebellion. In addition and to an extent
18 Bakhtin, Mikhail

accordingly, carnival events and performances crocholine War in Gargantua and the Basché
were created less by a general populace acting sequence of the Fourth Book) achieve a richness
spontaneously in riotous disorder than by specific and complexity seldom matched elsewhere. He
groups drawn particularly from the aspiring mid- identifies the positive implications of Rabelaisian
dle classes who perpetuated set traditions of an scatology (as in, say, the walls of Paris episode
essentially conservative nature. in Pantagruel, or Gargantua’s invention of the
The debate has deep philosophical implica- arse-wipe). He reexamines to great effect the role
tions concerning humor’s very nature, but, that and adaptation of folk rituals in Rabelaisian fic-
controversy notwithstanding, Bakhtin studies, tion (the arrivals of the giants in Paris are but
both within and without the Rabelaisian context, one case in point), and the mocking of his own
continue to expand in range and quality. His key status as author, which has misled so many in
errors are perhaps two. First in identifying Ra- their tedious reexaminations of the “sustantif-
belais’s humor as an epitome of that of the peo- icque mouelle” or marrow symbol and is easily
ple at large, he insists that it is a virtually unique explained via Bakhtin’s notion of comic ambiv-
blending of two comic modes: satiric attack and alence and desacralizing humor. Rabelais, here
comic celebration. In fact, these modes, though in dialogue with himself, considered nothing too
different in kind, combine with varying degrees exalted to be spared comic transformation—not
of stability in writers of almost any period (Ra- the sacred texts of the Bible, not the highest civil
belais’s included)—hence, Bakhtin’s own ex- or religious authorities, not his personal friends
amples which, despite his argument, spread back or objects of serious study, and not the very work
from the Renaissance to ancient Greek drama he was himself producing.
and forward into twentieth-century fiction. Sec- Given Bakhtin’s insistence that all fruitful dis-
ond, he appears to confuse a state of mind (the course be to some degree dialogic, and the fact
carnival spirit, which does imply complete lib- that he was constantly revising his own conclu-
eration, “contrary to all existing forms of . . . or- sions and perspectives, it is more than appropri-
ganization” [Rabelais and His World 255]), with ate that his approach and conclusions be ques-
a social reality, namely, the actual events of car- tioned, even radically. Although detractors still
nival, which fit far more ambiguously into the abound, the reinsertion of dialogism and pluri-
political life of Rabelais’s times than Bakhtin can vocity into Rabelais studies has led to interesting
bring himself to admit. Parodic humor such as advances. Among many instances, one may cite
that invested in Panurge may thus defy respon- the importance of discussion in the humanist ed-
sibility toward God and his church, king and ucation of Gargantua, the dialogic cast of mind
country, womanhood and the family, friendship apparent in Rabelais’s mentor Erasmus, carni-
and the very duties of self-respect, but the actual valesque interpretations of Thélème (which
behavior of real clowns, jesters, and actors was Bakhtin actually excludes from study), Michel
far more restrained and ritualized than his. Were Jeanneret’s notion of the noninterpretability of
it not so, then the pre-Lenten and other holidays scenes like the Gaster episode where the au-
enjoyed in traditional society would have in- thor’s imagery defies the narrator’s allegory, and
volved not merely a relaxation of various restric- finally the importance of good company, in some
tions and sanctions, but the entire collapse of or- ways Rabelais’s entire message, and clearly the
der. License is not anarchy. means by which Panurge, that amiable devil and
Consequently, Bakhtin’s work on Rabelais has rambling idiot, may be wholeheartedly re-
been judged utopian and idealistic, even atypical deemed.
of the main trend of his thinking which is ques- Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His
tioning and dialogic rather than assertive and pre- World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT
determined: the associated debate remains lively Press, 1968); Michaël Baraz, Rabelais et la joie de la
among his students and followers. At the same liberté (Paris: Corti, 1983); Richard M. Berrong, Ra-
time, his detailed readings of various comic ep- belais and Bakhtin (Lincoln: University of Nebraska
isodes (two examples among many are the Pi- Press, 1986); Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist,
Béda, Noël 19

Mikhail Bakhtin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University taigu in Paris for the purpose of producing dis-
Press, 1984); Michel Jeanneret, Le Défi des signes (Or- ciplined clergy to reform the Church, Béda suc-
léans: Paradigme, 1994); Samuel Kinser, Rabelais’s ceeded Standonck in 1504 as principal. Montaigu
Carnival (Berkeley: University of California Press, flourished under his direction (pace Erasmus’s
1990); John Parkin, Interpretations of Rabelais (Lew- colloquy “A Fish Diet” [1526]). After writing
iston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002). three books in 1519–20 against humanist biblical
John Parkin exegesis, Béda proposed reviving the office of
syndic in the Paris Faculty of Theology to im-
BASCHÉ (4BK 12–15) Panurge recounts the prove its ability to deal with controversial issues
story of Lord Basché in the Fourth Book, chap- and was elected to it. For the next fifteen years
ters 12–15. In this episode, the fat prior of Saint- he implemented a policy of censorship and re-
Louant sends the Chicanous (or Chiquanous) to pression of reformers and humanists, arguing that
harass the nobleman. Basché subverts the system the humanists’ opposition to scholastic theology
by creating a ruse—when the Chicanous arrive, and their philological approach to the Vulgate
Basché’s household is pretending to hold a wed- Bible gave aid to heretics. Rabelais (P 7) satirizes
ding celebration. As part of the festivities, guests Béda as the author of De optimate triparum (On
playfully hit each other. The Chicanous partici- the Excellence of Tripe). One author sees Rabe-
pate and end up being severely beaten, and each lais’s character Picrochole as, at a symbolic
time a new one returns, he receives an even level, a depiction of Noël Béda. The Parlement
greater drubbing. It has been hypothesized that of Paris allied itself with Béda and the Faculty
the real-life Lord Basché was René du Puy from to form a conservative party that opposed re-
Indre-et-Loire and that the prior was Jacques Le formers, humanists, and the tolerant stance of
Roy. This episode can be seen as a critique of King Francis I (who forbade the sale of Béda’s
the contemporary harassment of the nobility by Annotationes [1526] against Erasmus and Le-
members of the clergy, although Pantagruel and fèvre d’Etaples). Undaunted, Béda led a Faculty
Epistémon express reservations about Basché’s censure of Erasmus and published his Adversus
methods (see 4BK 16). The description of Bas- clandestinos Lutheranos (1529). Béda’s opposi-
ché’s actions represents the first use of the term tion in 1530–31 to the French king’s support for
tragicomedy in French (4BK 12), consisting of King Henry VIII’s annulment, his campaign in
five acts: In Act I, preparations are made for the 1533 to silence the preaching of Gérard Roussel
farce; in Act II, the first Chicanou arrives and is (a protégé of the king’s sister Marguerite), and
beaten; Act III is an interlude with a story about his judicial suit challenging the right of Francis’s
François Villon’s punishment of a stingy prior; lecteurs royaux to use biblical texts in their
in Act IV, a second Chicanou arrives and is Greek and Hebrew lectures led to his exile in
beaten; Act V concludes with a Chicanou, along 1535 to Mont-Saint-Michel (Normandy), where
with his witnesses, being severely beaten. he died on January 8, 1537.
Readings: Mireille Huchon, ed., Oeuvres complètes Readings: Walter Bense, Jr., “Noël Beda and the
de François Rabelais (Paris: Gallimard, 1994); Robert Humanist Reformation at Paris, 1504–1534” (Ph.D.
Marichal, “René Du Puy et les Chicanous,” BHR 11 diss., Harvard University 1967); Walter Bense, Jr.,
(1949): 129–66. “Noël Beda’s View of the Reformation,” Occasional
E. Bruce Hayes Papers of the American Society for Reformation Re-
search 1 (1977): 93–107; James K. Farge, “Beda,
BÉDA, NOËL (c. 1470–1537) A scholastic Noël,” Biographical Register of Paris Doctors of The-
theologian and leader of the Paris Faculty of The- ology (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Stud-
ology, Béda was born in Picardy (northern ies, 1980): 31–36; James K. Farge, Orthodoxy and Re-
France), received an M.A. at the University of form in Early Reformation France. The Faculty of
Paris circa 1492 and a doctorate in theology in Theology of Paris, 1500–1543 (Leiden: L. J. Brill,
1508. A protégé of the Flemish theologian Jan 1985); Jean Larmat, “Picrochole, est-il Noël Beda?”
Standonck, who reformed the Collège de Mon- ER 8 (1969): 13–25; Erika Rummel, Erasmus and His
20 Body, Representations of

Catholic Critics II: 1523–36 (Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, eleven months, offers Rabelais the opportunity to
1989). expose such contemporary debates as the ques-
James K. Farge tion of the length of a pregnancy, in order to
ascertain the legitimacy of a child. In subsequent
BODY, REPRESENTATIONS OF A subject chapters, the alimentary, digestive, and excretory
matter that constitutes the basic framework of the routines of the young Gargantua’s body are ex-
whole of Rabelais’s novels and figures in many amined. Self-absorbed in the physicality of child-
Renaissance works. The sixteenth century is hood activities, the young prince is seen drink-
widely regarded as a period that engendered reas- ing, eating, defecating, and urinating (G 11).
sessments in all fields of learning. Correspond- Elsewhere, he is observed searching, by trial and
ingly, humanist physicians amplified the anatom- error, for the perfect torche-cul or “arse-wipe” (G
ical teachings bequeathed to the Renaissance 13), in an episode linked to intellectual devel-
from antique sources (Aristotle, Hippocrates, opment and satire of scholastic argumentation.
and Galen), to produce a more accurate repre- In the opening chapters describing Panta-
sentation of human anatomy, one based on the gruel’s birth (P 1–2), Rabelais continued to focus
practice of dissection. The publication of such on gigantification and on the genetic mutation
works as A Short Introduction to Anatomy (1522) that engendered the race of giants. Clearly, Ra-
by Jacopo Berengario da Carpi and On the Fab- belais was inspired by the wide popular interest
ric of the Human Body (1543) by Andreas Ve- in giants circulating in the early sixteenth cen-
salius led to radical changes in the teaching of tury, which included Annian (Giovanni Nanni,
medicine that challenged Galenism and assured 1432?–1502), notions of the antediluvian giant
the dominance of this new anatomical science. Noah, and other pseudohistories, including those
As a physician, known for his participation in of Jean Lemaire de Belges.
early anatomical dissections, Rabelais demon- Elsewhere in his Pantagruel, Rabelais devel-
strated a medical and anatomical interest in the ops a favorite corporeal leitmotif in a passage
body, which he readily transferred to his writ- focusing on bodily orifices and lower bodily
ings. functions as he provides an example of a death
Representations of the body are omnipresent as irrational as the birth of Gargantua. In the
in all four authentic books of Rabelais’s writings, well-known passage, Panurge uses excrement as
where they revolve around an imaginary family a curative medicine in reattaching Epistémon’s
of giants. Although many of these representa- decapitated head (P 30). This combat injury had
tions incline toward scatological or epistemolog- allowed Epistémon to glimpse life in a postmor-
ical musings delivered in hyperbolic form, all ex- tem underworld “workhouse” and to return with
hibit rather remarkable forms of physicality. a report. In another episode noted more for its
Rabelais was fond of incorporating corporeal political and philosophical implications than for
themes such as birth, death, growth, deforma- its sexual innuendos, female body parts are con-
tion, dismemberment, castration, mutilation, out- sidered as potential building material as Panurge
rageously monstrous figures, giants, and other discourses on his fantasy of rebuilding the walls
purely delusory bodies. In addition to exploiting of Paris using women’s genitals (P 15). Gener-
these bodily images for comic effect, Rabelais ally, the female body is not physically visible in
frequently linked the passages to satire of the Rabelais’s work but commonly appears as mis-
scholastics, or employed them to expose contem- cellaneous sexual parts, as distortions of nature,
porary political, philosophical, or religious dis- or in debates on the humanness of females.
putes. The list of material bodily images found in
In his Gargantua (G 3, 6) where the themes Rabelais’s work might be expanded with ease.
of birth and the growth of giants prevail, Rabe- With its more learned discourse devoted to mar-
lais presents physiological reflections on a pre- riage and reproduction, the Third Book exposes
posterous birth, which occurs not through the a carnivalesque succession of monsters, fools,
conventional bodily orifice but instead through oddities, and anomalies. In the more pessimistic
the left ear. This parturition, occurring only after Fourth Book, the theme of death returns. By
Briçonnet, Guillaume 21

means of an anatomical inquiry that elucidates Bottle is finally revealed by the priestess Bacbuc
Renaissance anatomical and medical practices, in the Fifth Book: and its long awaited “word,”
Rabelais performs a postmortem dissection of a proffered in response to Panurge’s bottle-shaped
monstrous figure named Quaresmeprenant incantation, is the ambiguous directive to
(4BK 29–32). “Drink!”
Scholars have noted that the body Rabelais Readings: G. Mallary Masters, “The Hermetic and
represents in his writing, whether it be celebrated Platonic Traditions in Rabelais’ Dive Bouteille,” SI 10
or denigrated, is quintessentially grotesque and (1966): 15–29; G. Mallary Masters, Rabelaisian Dia-
open rather than classical and closed. To be sure, lectic and the Platonic-Hermetic Tradition (Albany,
Rabelais often relied on his extensive range of NY: State University of New York Press, 1969); Ray-
bodily representations to reflect the cultural, po- mond Mauny, “La Dive Bouteille et autres boutilles à
litical, and religious assumptions of his time and vin,” BAARD 3 (1973): 23–26; Flora Samuel, “Le Cor-
to appeal to the diverse readers for whom the busier, Rabelais and the Oracle of the Holy Bottle,”
books were ultimately destined. Word and Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry,
Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His 17.4 (2001): 325–38; Florence Weinberg, The Wine
World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT and the Will (Detroit: Wayne State University Press,
Press, 1968); Samuel Kinser, Rabelais’s Carnival; 1972).
Text, Context, Metatext (Berkeley: University of Cal- Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
ifornia Press, 1990); Anne Lake Prescott, Imagining
Rabelais in Renaissance England (New Haven, CT: BRIÇONNET, GUILLAUME (1470–1534)
Yale University Press, 1998); Walter Stephens, Giants Bishop of Meaux who was a prominent figure in
in Those Days (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, the evangelism movement in France. From a
1989). family of top diplomats and high-placed church
Karen Sorsby officials, Guillaume Briçonnet began his career
with a position at the Cour des Comptes (Court
BOTTLE, DIVINE OR HOLY (DIVE BOU- of Auditors) of Parlement and as the bishop of
TEILLE) Oracular goal of Panurge’s matri- Lodève. In 1507, he was named as abbot of Saint
monial quest in the Fourth and Fifth Books. Germain des Près. The ecclesiastical vocation
Seeking to know whether he should marry and, seems to have called to him with more insistence,
if so, whether his wife will be faithful, Panta- for he put enormous energies into reforming the
gruel’s roguish companion consults a variety of abbey during his tenure there. A skillful diplo-
expert opinions to no avail. He does attribute mat, Briçonnet participated in church councils
meaning, however, to the empty bottle—origi- and was sent as an envoy to the Pope. His efforts
nally a gift of wine from Panurge to his visitor— to press the French position during the final
that the fool Triboullet hands back to him (3BK stages of the Concordat of Bologna gained him
45). While Pantagruel interprets this gesture as a the respect and trust of the powerful. He was
sign that Panurge’s wife will be a drunkard, the consequently named bishop of Meaux (1515) and
prospective bridegroom instead sees the bottle as began his reforms anew.
a referent to the Dive Bouteille, an oracle that During Briçonnet’s time, few high-ranking
promises to resolve his matrimonial quandary church officials remained in their dioceses, pre-
with a transcendent “mot” or “word” (3BK 47). ferring a comfortable life at court. Thwarting
Located in Cathay in upper India (4BK 1), the convention, the new bishop of Meaux took up
Bottle has the same ambiguous connotations that residence in Meaux. Leading by example, he en-
are present in the narrator’s previous allusions to couraged his parish priests to do the same. He
drink: if on one hand it seems inscribed within denounced clerical depravity, promoted those
the Christian tradition, recalling the wine and with a taste for learning, and created official
word of Christ, the drinking vessel also conjures posts for preachers. Briçonnet’s vision of reform
up images of Bacchic furor and everyday drunk- was a complete program that touched the people,
enness. Lending its form in the Fourth Book to places, and things around him.
the insignia on Pantagruel’s ship (4BK 1), the Briçonnet garnered support from the French
22 Bridoye

court for his reforms. Letters to his protector What qualifies Bridoye for this role is presuma-
Marguerite de Navarre show a sensitive spiri- bly his extraordinary judicial record: of the more
tual guide. As he glosses Bible passages for his than four thousand sentences he has handed
royal correspondent, the sacred text springs to down over his long career, all have been found
life; each verse gains meaning for personal de- equitable and none has ever been overturned on
velopment and the establishment of a relationship appeal. Bridoye is unable to perform the advisory
with God through Christ. But Briçonnet’s reform function intended for him, however, because he
did not apply only to the well heeled. The bishop has been arraigned by the regional Parlement (the
of Meaux gathered a vibrant, erudite group, “Parlement Myrelinguoys en Myrelingues”) on
known as the “Circle of Meaux,” by inviting charges that he handed down an inequitable sen-
Guillaume Farel, Lefèvre d’Etaples, Gérard tence against a certain Toucheronde. Questioned
Roussel, François Vatable, and Michel d’Arande by the president of the Parlement, Bridoye re-
to assist him. Along with a dynamic intellectual veals that in his forty years on the bench he has
life, Briçonnet nurtured service and spiritual ste- always sentenced by throwing dice, without ever
wardship in his diocese. Preaching formed the troubling to learn what is at issue in any of the
core of his program, but he also fought the Fran- cases he has adjudicated. This astonishing reve-
ciscans who responded with accusations of her- lation creates a judicial dilemma for the Parle-
esy. ment and its president, Trinquamelle: should Bri-
Briçonnet offended partisans of the status quo doye be condemned for his obvious judicial
and encountered resistance. The Sorbonne itself incompetence, or should he be acquitted for his
attacked the Circle of Meaux through the censure remarkable record of equitable judgments? The
and inquisition of his old friend Lefèvre episode ends with a moving plea for pardon by
d’Etaples. The fragile equilibrium of the Pantagruel, and some highly contrived specula-
forward-looking group could not last in a climate tions by Epistémon about the way Providence
of growing unrest, and a clampdown dispersed may have intervened in Bridoye’s throws of the
the Circle of Meaux in 1525 (see also Religion). dice.
Readings: Philippe Auguste Becker, “Les idées re- Bridoye’s long, rambling testimony is one of
ligieuses de Guillaume Briçonnet, évêque de Meaux,” Rabelais’s greatest comic tours de force. Choked
Revue de théologie et des questions religieuses de with hundreds of highly technical references to
Montauban (1900): 318–58, 377–416; Guillaume Bri- real statutes in civil and canon law and veering
çonnet and Marguerite de Navarre, Correspondance constantly into irrelevant digressions, anecdotes,
(1521–1524), 2 vols. (Geneva: Droz, 1975–79); Lu- and banalities, Bridoye’s speech brilliantly rep-
cien Febvre, Le cas Briçonnet: idée d’une recherche resents the self-satisfaction of a falsely learned
(Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1945); Henry Heller, fool. Over the course of four dense and difficult
“Marguerite de Navarre and the Reformers of Meaux,” chapters (39–42) Bridoye flaunts an immense le-
BHR 33 (1971): 271–310; Michel Veissière, Autour de gal learning while revealing that he understands
Guillaume Briçonnet (1470–1534) (Provins: Société nothing at all of the law, citing at every turn laws
d’histoire et d’archéologie, 1967); Michel Veissière, and legal tags that he consistently misinterprets
L’évêque Guillaume Briçonnet (1470–1534): contri- and misapplies. Bridoye’s most obvious and
bution à la connaissance de la Réforme catholique à comical failing is his naive literalism. For ex-
la veille du Concile de Trente (Provins: Société ample, he understands the common legal expres-
d’histoire et d’archéologie, 1986). sion “alia judiciorum” (the risks and hazards of
Amy C. Graves litigation) literally to mean the “dice” with which
judges are required to arrive at their “judgments,”
BRIDOYE An aging provincial judge, desig- and the principle that “semper in obscuris quod
nated by Pantagruel as a representative of legal minimum est sequimur” (obscure laws must al-
learning to counsel Panurge (along with the the- ways be interpreted and applied conservatively)
ologian Hippothadée, the doctor Rondibilis, and to mean that cases involving lots of paperwork
the philosopher Trouillogan) on the question of should be decided by small dice rather than large
whether or not to marry (3BK 29, 36, 39–44). dice. Such gross misinterpretations are comical
Brief Declaration 23

instances of an excessive respect for the letter of 16 (1954): 41–57; Michael A. Screech, “The Legal
the law at the expense of the spirit of the law. Comedy of Rabelais in the Trial of Bridoye in the
Modern scholars have interpreted Bridoye in ‘Tiers Livre de Pantagruel’,” ER 5 (1964): 175–95.
very different ways. For some, Bridoye is merely Edwin M. Duval
an incompetent fool. For others he is a “fool in
Christ” whose recourse to dice is a pious means BRIEF DECLARATION (BRIEFVE DÉ-
of deferring to God’s providential judgment. In CLARATION) “Brief Declaration (⫽ Clarifi-
this disagreement much hangs on the legitimacy cation) of Some of the More Obscure Terms
of resorting to dice in judging and on Episté- Contained in the Fourth Book of the Heroic
mon’s favorable view of Bridoye’s manner of Deeds and Sayings of Pantagruel.” This is the
doing so. There is in fact solid legal authority for complete title in English translation of an anon-
casting dice in undecidable cases where convic- ymous list attached to some copies of the 1552
tion and acquittal would be equally justified. Bri- edition of the Fourth Book. It contains 178 en-
doye himself cites (without understanding) many tries, of which the majority (79) explain Greek
authentic laws on this subject, but the cases he words and expressions, while the remaining part
decides do not meet any of their criteria for re- explains, translates, or comments upon words
course to dice. Nor does his method correspond and expressions from other languages (Latin,
to the one supposed by Epistémon. His use of Italian, German, Hebrew, Arabic) as well as
dice cannot therefore be viewed as legitimate in French dialectic idioms. In comparison with the
itself. text of the Fourth Book itself, this list often ap-
And yet because Bridoye’s method of judging pears to be very useful, even necessary for a
has inexplicably resulted in a perfect record of good understanding of the work. But there are
good sentences, it is impossible to say that he is also redundancies (for instance, lasanon has two
guilty of malfeasance. It would seem that the entries, both referring to the explanation given in
problem of interpreting Bridoye is precisely the the text [“Lasanon: this term is explained
point of the episode and that Bridoye’s impor- there”]), as well as explanations that are contra-
tance lies less in his methods of judging than in dictory to the significance the words have in the
the dilemma he poses as an object of judgment. text, the most problematic ones being parallèle,
This dilemma is highlighted by Trinquamelle’s canibales, periode, and Venus. There are also
perplexity at the end of the hearing, and even by many terms in the Fourth Book which urgently
Bridoye’s own name. “Oison bridé” (“bridled need some explanation but are not mentioned in
gosling”) was a common sixteenth-century ex- the Brief Declaration. Therefore, it is no surprise
pression for a “silly goose” or a fool. A “bride- that critics disagree about the authenticity of this
oie” (“goose bridler”) would therefore be a list. Raymond Arveiller and André Tournon con-
maker of fools, a confounder of the wise who tend that it is inauthentic, whereas for Mireille
defies the judgment even of Trinquamelle and the Huchon its author is Rabelais. Marie-Luce De-
areopagites of Myrelingues. Pantagruel’s solu- monet considers the list to be a satirical pastiche
tion to the aporia of Bridoye is to transcend it. by Rabelais on contemporary glossators and lex-
In recommending pardon rather than acquittal, icographers. If the Brief Declaration is indeed
the hero refuses to judge altogether, preferring to authentic and serious, it gives some interesting
forgive rather than condemn the failings of a autobiographical information on, for instance, the
fool, on the grounds that love alone fulfills the lessons in Arabic Rabelais may have taken dur-
law. ing his stays in Rome (see the entry on Catad-
Readings: J. Duncan M. Derrett, “Rabelais’ Legal upes du Nil).
Learning and the Trial of Bridoye,” BHR 25 (1963): Readings: Raymond Arveiller, “La Briefve Decla-
111–71; Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s ration est-elle de Rabelais?” ER 5 (1964): 9–10;
Tiers Livre de Pantagruel, ER 34 (Geneva: Droz, Marie-Luce Demonet, “Rabelais métalinguiste,” ER 37
1997): 33–53; Charles Perrat, “Autour du juge Bri- (1999): 115–28; Mireille Huchon, Rabelais grammair-
doye: Rabelais et le De Nobilitate de Tiraqueau,” BHR ien (Geneva: Droz, 1981): 406–11, 491–95; André
24 Bringuenarilles

Tournon, “La Briefve Declaration n’est pas de Rabe- an as (c. 1515), and the “Passage from Hellenism
lais,” ER 13 (1976): 133–38. to Christianity” (1535), an impassioned plea for
Paul J. Smith “true” Christianity.
Budé is mentioned only once in the works of
BRINGUENARILLES (4BK 17) One in a se- Rabelais: in chapter 18 of the Fifth Book (OC
ries of swallowing mouths and Fourth Book 767), in a list of contemporary humanists dispar-
monsters, Bringuenarilles is a superficially be- aged by the warriors of Quinte Essence. A Latin
nign and farcical enemy of the wind eaters who letter from Rabelais to Budé has survived (OC
consumes windmills and other detritus before 993–97, 1744–46); probably written in 1521, it
falling ill of a stomach ailment and dying. Iron- is Rabelais’s first known work, so we need not
ically, his death results not from the hardware he be surprised by its obsequious tone. The two hu-
has consumed, but rather from the cure pre- manists have more in common than we might
scribed by doctors: a pat of butter, probably in- suspect; both were devout Christians of the kind
tended to lubricate the pots and pans he has swal- we now call “evangelical,” both were thoroughly
lowed, suffocates the giant. Linked by Alice grounded in law as well as in ancient literature,
Berry to the “archetypal myth of the male made both were political conservatives and ardent sup-
pregnant by what he eats” (149–51), Bringuen- porters of the monarchy.
arilles is a figure borrowed from the Disciple of Rabelais owes most to Budé’s De asse, whose
Pantagruel whose demise foreshadows the death numerous editions in the sixteenth century attest
of Pan later in the narrative. As Michael Heath to its popularity. The first edition had 172 folios,
points out, moreover, there is a potentially dark while the 1542 edition (quoted here) has 819
side to this farcical episode: for windmills are pages. Ostensibly a numismatic treatise in five
used in the production of flour, without which books, it is in fact a rambling discourse on money
the people will starve (101). Underneath the ve- and many other subjects, most notably religion,
neer of fantasy, then, Rabelais links the theme of good government, civilization, language and lit-
unbridled consumption, which served in 1532 as erature, and the glory of France. Budé’s special-
a positive figure of humanistic curiosity, to in- ized knowledge is staggering: he speaks of ancient
equities of class and power. monetary systems, gems, ostentatious banquets,
Readings: Alice Fiola Berry, The Charm of Catas- and extravagance in general; of Roman history
trophe: A Study of Rabelais’s Quart Livre (Chapel and politics; of drinking measures, utensils and
Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000); Mi- habits; of astronomy, Egyptian hieroglyphics, an-
chael J. Heath, Rabelais (Tempe, AZ: Medieval and cient funerals, gardens, ships, and much, much
Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1996); Elizabeth Ches- more. We may learn in passing about such dispa-
ney Zegura and Marcel Tetel, Rabelais Revisited (New rate subjects as the price Marc Antony paid for the
York: Macmillan/Twayne, 1993). severed head of Cicero, the boundaries of the Ro-
Elizabeth Chesney Zegura man Empire, the measurement of the earth,
French bread, and the lack of owls in Crete.
BUDÉ, GUILLAUME (c. 1467–1540) Budé Budé is fond of underlining the lack of struc-
is the greatest French humanist of the sixteenth ture in his book (“Verùm ut ad rem redeamus”
century. Geofroy Tory called him “the jewel of [302]). Like a Montaigne essay, his work deals
the noble and studious Pharisees” (“diamant des simultaneously with a number of subjects, so that
nobles & studieux Pharrisiens)” and set him the attempt of some modern critics to find order
alongside Erasmus (with whom he frequently in it seems to me misguided. Budé quotes some
corresponded), but he is hardly read today be- ancient jokes (facetiae) and would like to be
cause he wrote almost exclusively in Latin. He thought a “Democritus gelasinus” (792), but Ra-
studied law, was secretary to the king from 1497 belais’s debt to him is more obvious than that
to 1515, and published translations as well as and has yet to be thoroughly explored. Budé sup-
original works. Of these, the three most impor- plied him with some important names: Panurgus
tant are the “Annotations on the Pandects” (Di- (239–40), Thalamegos (654), islands of the blest
gest), the essential book of Roman Law (1508), called Macaron (750), as well as several terms
the De asse, a treatise on the Roman coin called used in passing (Coraxian sheep, Pastophores,
Budé, Guillaume 25

Ucalegon, Arimaspien, Otacuste, celeusma, and anderie, Christianisme et lettres profanes (1515–
the Trojan Pig). And high on the list of both 1535): essai sur l’humanisme français (1515–1535) et
authors’ aims is publicity for the intellectual su- sur la pensée de Guillaume Budé, 2nd ed. (Paris:
periority of France. Champion, 1995); David O. McNeil, Guillaume Budé
Readings: Guillaume Budé, Gulielmi Budaei Pari- and Humanism in the Reign of Francis I (Geneva:
siensis, Consiliarii Regii, De asse et partibus eius libri Droz, 1975).
V (Lyon: Sebastien Gryphe, 1542); M.-M. de La Gar- Barbara C. Bowen
CALUMNY Calumny can be considered in re- lais’s patrons, the du Bellay family, had by 1552
lation to Rabelais in two ways: first, with refer- strengthened their influence; and the dedicatory
ence to the attacks that his books received during letter of the Fourth Book was addressed to the
his lifetime, which he described as “calumnious”; cardinal de Châtillon, a powerful protector of
and second, with reference to how calumny can Christian humanists. In this letter, Rabelais
be represented in these works. In both the pro- claimed that his books were simply “folastries
logue to the first version of the Fourth Book joyeuses” (joyful sport) that had been misinter-
(1548) and in the dedicatory letter of the 1552 preted and that any detection of heretical material
version, Rabelais attacked his critics whose ac- could only come from a perverse misreading and
cusations of heresy had almost stopped his writ- willful misinterpretation, as, in the words of
ing. In chapter 32 of the 1552 Fourth Book, Pan- Luke 11.11–12, “comme qui pain, interpretroit
tagruel explicitly condemns the “Demoniacles pierre: poisson, serpent: oeuf, scorpion” (“as if
Calvins imposteurs de Geneve,” “les enraigez you interpreted bread to mean stone, fish to mean
Putherbes” and “Maniacles Pistoletz”—three real serpent, or egg to mean scorpion” [4BK ded.]).
and virulent critics, John Calvin, the monk Ga- At the heart of the anxiety over calumny is, then,
briel de Puy-Herbault, and possibly Guillaume an anxiety about interpretation and reading, a
Postel, figure in a list of fantastical monsters. return to the problem of interpretation famously
Rabelais’s most dangerous enemies, however, elaborated in the prologue to Gargantua. Cal-
and those for whom he reserved the most biting umny represents another term in the reader’s in-
satire, remained the theologians of the Sorbonne. terpretation of a text, effectively separating
After the publication of the Third Book in 1546, reader and text. Indeed, as Rabelais pointed out,
the Faculty of Theology reiterated its condem- “l’esprit Calumniateur” is the spirit of discord
nation of Rabelais’s books, although all three re- and the devil: in Greek, diabolos was originally
tained the royal privilege and were indeed re- a calumniator, etymologically that which sepa-
printed, with adjustments and revisions, after this rates and divides (4BK ded.). If it was in the
censure. An accusation of heresy was, of course, Fourth Book that Rabelais most explicitly de-
a serious one; and Rabelais’s remark in the 1552 nounced those who attacked and calumniated his
dedicatory letter that if he were guilty of heresy work, the link between calumniators and the di-
as accused he would gather the wood for his own abolical was already made in Pantagruel: the
pyre was by no means careless. censors at the Sorbonne criticized “diabliculant,
Rabelais possessed a number of strategies to c’est à dire callumniant” (P 34).
combat these “calumnious” accusations of Calumny thus runs counter to the Pantagrue-
heresy. He had already modified his first two line principle of interpreting all things in the best
books for the authorized editions of 1546, cutting and most charitable spirit: Pantagruel “toutes
direct references to the Sorbonne and to any choses prenoit en bonne partie, toute acte inter-
“theologiens.” Francis I enjoyed and supported pretoit à bien” (“took all things in good part, in-
the publication of the first books; Henry II sub- terpreted all actions favorably” [3BK 2]). Cal-
sequently allowed the Third Book to be sold in umny, false accusation, equally raises the
Paris despite the Sorbonne’s censure and the question of intention. Laughter at Rabelais’s
Paris Parlement’s suspension of its sale. Rabe- equivocations was never straightforward: Rabe-
Calvin, Jean or John 27

lais was himself accused of calumny against the vent many people from coming to the pure doc-
monastic orders by Puy-Herbault, who clearly trine of the Gospels and lead others astray from
read the “folastries joyeuses” as more biting sat- it.” Although by no means taking him as his prin-
ire. The continuing polemic over the Gargantua cipal target, Calvin does group Rabelais with
prologue demonstrates that the question of inten- other influential humanist scholars, including
tion and interpretation is still far from resolved. Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim
Readings: Michel Charles, Introduction à l’étude (1486–1535) and Etienne Dolet (1509–46),
des textes (Paris: Seuil, 1995); Natalie Zemon Davis, whom he reviles for “proudly scorning the Gos-
“Rabelais among the Censors (1940s, 1540s),” Rep- pels” and “vomiting up their execrable blasphe-
resentations 32 (1990): 1–32; Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, mies against Jesus Christ and his teachings,” be-
Rabelais et l’humanisme civil, ER 27 (Geneva: Droz, fore singling him out: “the others, like Rabelais”
1992); Lucien Febvre, Le problème de l’incroyance au who “after having tasted of the Gospels, were
seizième siècle: la religion de Rabelais (Paris: Albin struck with a similar blindness,” occasioned by
Michel, 1947); François Rigolot, L’erreur de la Ren- their “diabolical pride.” Rabelais’s middle road
aissance (Paris: Champion, 2002). was essentially that of many other evangelical
Emily Butterworth humanists whom Calvin would label “moyen-
neurs” (moderates or moderators). However crit-
CALVIN, JEAN OR JOHN (1509–64) ical they were of contemporary Catholic institu-
French-born reformer who was a prolific theo- tions, doctrine, and conduct, their relative
logian, preacher, and polemicist. His major work, moderation was as unacceptable to Calvin as
the oft-revised and expanded Institutio chris- Catholicism itself. Rabelais’s works were, in ad-
tianœ religionis or Institutes of the Christian Re- dition, all the more dangerous for their apparent
ligion (first Latin edition, 1536; first French edi- mocking tone, easily (mis)taken for rejection of
tion, 1541), lay the foundation for the French the sacred truths and of those who communicated
Protestant or Reformed Church. Geneva, where or interpreted them.
he settled permanently in 1541, was to become, Rabelais had perhaps indirectly provoked Cal-
after considerable struggle, the Church’s epicen- vin’s attack and even set its terms in the 1546
ter for the conversion of neighboring France. The Third Book, with his definition of Pantagruel-
efforts of the French Calvinists or Huguenots ism, arguably the overarching and unifying
throughout the 1550s would culminate in several moral philosophy of the chronicles, the tenets of
decades of openly violent religious and civil con- which include the injunction never to “se scan-
flict, starting in 1562. As Calvin was fifteen years dalizer” (3BK 2). This can be understood in both
Rabelais’s junior, his considerable influence be- Rabelais’s and Calvin’s writings as “to turn away
gan too late to be reflected in Rabelais’s first two (or to allow oneself to be turned away) from the
major vernacular works, Pantagruel (1532) and path of righteousness.” It is based on the Gospel
Gargantua (1534), in which current evangelical notion of the ska¬ndalon (skandalon), a “trap” or
and, to a lesser extent, Lutheran thought figure “stumbling block,” that is, an impediment to
prominently. In the later, “definitive” François faith, an etymology that is developed at length in
Juste edition of these works (Lyon, 1542), how- Calvin’s treatise. In this very specific sense, Ra-
ever, Rabelais does include derisive topical ref- belais and Calvin each viewed the other and the
erences to “predestinators” and “imposters” (G other’s understanding of and efforts toward re-
prol.), which critics have taken as evidence of form as “scandalous.” Rabelais responded di-
Rabelais’s negative reaction to the dissemination rectly and in kind to Calvin’s treatise in the 1552
of Calvinist doctrine. Fourth Book, classing the “Demoniacal Calvins,
The primary recorded connection (or confron- imposters of Geneva” among “deformed and
tation) between Rabelais and Calvin came in misshapen monsters against Nature” (4BK 32).
1550 with the publication of the Traité des scan- Similarly, Calvin himself, as editor Olivier Fatio
dales, Calvin’s own vernacular translation of his notes in the most recent critical edition of the
De scandalis (On Scandals), a virulent attack, as Traité des scandales, continued the quarrel, at
its full title indicates, on those “who today pre- least from the pulpit, even after Rabelais’s death
28 Carnival

in 1553 (see also Evangelism; Reformation; ings of fool-societies and the acting of plays in
Religion). fools’ costume.
Readings: Jean Calvin, Des scandales, ed. Olivier Another type of play for which several scripts
Fatio (Geneva: Droz, 1984); Lucien Febvre, Le prob- survive is a battle between Carnival, personified
lème de l’incroyance au XVIe siècle. La Religion de as a fat, jolly Father-Christmas-type figure, and
Rabelais (Paris: Albin Michel, 1942); Alban J. Lent, a thin, kill-joy female figure, and their re-
Krailsheimer, Rabelais (Les écrivains devant Dieu) spective followers, armed on the one hand with
(Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1967); Michael Screech, chickens and sausages and on the other with
Rabelais and the Challenge of the Gospel: Evangel- leeks and salt herrings. Lent has to win, but she
ism, Reformation, Dissent (Baden-Baden/Bouxwiller: is reminded that her reign will last only six
Valentin Koerner, 1992). weeks, after which plenty and jollity will return.
Jeff Persels All these observances seem to flout received wis-
dom (for a few days, children and madmen will
be allowed to teach adults and the sane), and nor-
CARNIVAL In the pre-Reformation liturgical mal decorum and common sense (men may dress
calendar, Shrove Tuesday (the day when the as women or animals, women as men, “indecent”
faithful were shriven, that is, confessed their sins acts are permitted, food is consumed in unaccus-
and had them forgiven) and Ash Wednesday tomed quantity or wasted entirely by being
marked the beginning of the penitential season of thrown at the other side in the “battle” plays).
Lent, forty days of prayer and fasting in prepa- Such observances as these might seem to express
ration for Easter. But in the observances of lay- popular resentment against rulers and the Church
people and junior clerics, a period of days or which closely ordered people’s lives. Recent his-
even weeks culminating in Shrove Tuesday (also torians, however, have questioned how subver-
called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday) was given the sive these rituals actually were, and some have
name of Carnival (derived by some from the argued that by confining reversals of power to a
Low Latin Carne vale, goodbye to meat) and de- limited season and to these well-established tra-
voted to celebrations and physical indulgence of ditional forms, Carnival in fact acted as a safety
various kinds. In many places, similar celebra- valve which helped ensure the survival of tradi-
tions marked the twelve days between Christmas tional authority.
and the Feast of Kings (January 6), and a good In the Fourth Book, chapters 29–42, Rabelais
number of the rituals discussed in modern writ- gives a lengthy description first of Quaresme-
ing as examples of Carnival in fact belonged to prenant (Lent, or more accurately, “Lent-
the winter celebration. Carnival food ideally con- coming-on,” the beginning of Lent) represented
sisted of meat, particularly fat meat, sausages, as a bizarre, forbidding hybrid monster, and then
eggs, butter, and cheese—all the foods forbidden of his traditional enemies, the Andouilles (tripe-
in Lent, when the faithful were supposed to sub- sausages). The personified sausages have as their
sist on fish, cereals, and vegetables. Carnival ob- god a flying pig, and their war-cry is “Mardi
servances were often of an apparently subversive gras!” A strange misunderstanding means that
kind: at feasts, someone might be designated by Pantagruel and his men, despite their initial
lot as king for a day and allowed to give orders friendly approaches (“Vostres, vostres, vostres
to his social superiors. Some towns or courts sommes-nous trestous,” they cry; “we are at your
even chose a “Lord of Misrule,” while in some service one and all” [4BK 41]), find themselves
cathedrals a Boy Bishop was chosen from among fighting against the Andouilles rather than
the choristers to go up into the pulpit and preach against Quaresmeprenant, but after the interven-
a facetious sermon while other junior clerics per- tion of the flying pig the conflict is resolved and
formed a parody of the usual rites. The text for a new friendship established.
the Boy Bishop’s sermon was usually “Stultorum These chapters are plainly based upon tradi-
numerus infinitus” (“the number of fools is infi- tional Carnival rituals, but some critics, most no-
nite” [Ecclesiastes 1.15]), and the pre-Lenten tably Mikhail Bakhtin, have argued that many
Carnival season was often marked by the meet- more elements in the book are inspired by a car-
Cartier, Jacques 29

nival, or “carnivalesque” spirit: that is, one of of Cartier’s expeditions, since he wanted to give
irreverence, privileging of the physical, and even the French an advantage over the Portuguese and
intellectual or political subversion. Spanish who were deriving considerable eco-
It was in his study of Dostoevsky, published nomic gain from their trade routes to the East via
in 1929, that Bakhtin introduced the notion of the Cape of Good Hope. It is interesting to note
“carnivalesque” writing and the idea that subjects that the account of Cartier’s first journey in 1534
could be “carnivalized.” He developed these was first published in Italian (Venice, 1556) and
ideas at length in his study of Rabelais (Tvor- was published in France (Rouen, 1598) only after
chestvo Fransua Rable, written between 1935 being retranslated into French. The account of
and 1940 but not published until 1965 in Rus- the second expedition was published much ear-
sian, and then translated into both English and lier (Paris, 1545), although a manuscript version
French in the opportune year of 1968). Despite of this text also exists and was perhaps given to
questioning by historians of Bakhtin’s historical Francis I before this date. Cartier’s second voy-
account of Carnival as an institution, his critical age also departed from Saint-Malo and, like that
notion of the carnivalesque has had a consider- of Pantagruel, was preceded by a service of wor-
able influence in recent critical writing in Eng- ship.
lish. In his analysis of the relationship between Ra-
Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His belais and Cartier, Abel Lefranc suggests that
World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT Cartier’s influence on Rabelais was direct and
Press, 1968); “Carnivalization/carnivalesque,” A Dic- far-reaching. Following the lead of Margry’s
tionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 4th ed. French Navigations of the Maritime Revolution
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1998); Carol Clark, The from the Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century (Les
Vulgar Rabelais (Glasgow: Pressgang, 1983); Samuel navigations françaises de la Révolution maritime
Kinser, Rabelais’s Carnival: Text, Context, Metatext
du XIVe au XVIe siècle [Paris, 1867]), he identifies
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).
Jamet Brayer, the captain of Pantagruel’s fleet,
Carol Clark
as Jacques Cartier, on the rather slim evidence
that “Jamet” is a familiar form of Jacques. (Other
CARTIER, JACQUES Although travel be-
scholars have found a Jamet Brayer among Ra-
comes a major theme of his work only in the
belais’s relatives.) However, Lefranc goes even
Fourth Book, Rabelais displays considerable in-
further than Margry, suggesting that Rabelais
terest in voyages of exploration as early as the
could well have consulted Cartier in person.
Pantagruel (1532) where, at least until its final
Lefranc bases this hypothesis on the work of a
stage, Pantagruel’s return journey to Utopia rep-
licates the route taken by the Portuguese to reach local historian, Jacques Dorement of Saint-Malo,
the Indies (24), and where in chapter 32 Panurge who claims that Rabelais came to Saint-Malo not
discovers in Pantagruel’s mouth a “new world.” only to learn the details of Cartier’s voyages, but
Since the structure of the Third Book (1546) also to familiarize himself with the technical sail-
does not allow for any sort of sea voyage, it is ing and navigational terms that would subse-
only with the appearance of the Fourth Book that quently appear in the Fourth Book (Lefranc
we are once again in the domain of travel. In- 1984: 59–60). This would certainly help to
deed, throughout this and the Fifth Book, Pan- explain the extensive nautical knowledge Rabe-
tagruel and his companions sail from island to lais displays in this work, although Rabelais
island in search of the Oracle of the Dive Bou- could also have acquired this knowledge from
teille or Divine Bottle. It becomes obvious at the treatises on navigation and seamanship, as well
beginning of the Fourth Book that Rabelais has as accounts of sea voyages. However, what is
at least heard about and possibly read some of certain is that Rabelais intends the Fourth Book
the accounts of Cartier’s three journeys to Can- to pay homage to the exploits of Jacques Cartier,
ada (1534, 1535, 1541), since the ships of Pan- perhaps out of admiration and personal contact
tagruel’s fleet sail from Saint-Malo in search of with the navigator, but undoubtedly because he
a shortcut to Cathay. This was precisely the goal wished to endorse the political dimension of Car-
30 Castiglione, Baldassare

tier’s expeditions, undertaken to further the in Pantagruel’s ultimately fruitless dinner-party

king’s political aspirations in New France. plan.
Readings: Marius Barbeau, Pantagruel in Canada The charge of courtisanie may be significant,
(Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1984); Jean- however. Is Rabelais associating Panurge’s re-
Philippe Beaulieu, “La Description de la nouveauté duced status as Pantagruel’s sycophant with at-
dans les récits de voyage de Cartier et de Rabelais,” titudes that Castiglione presents with approval?
RAR 9.2 (1985):104–110; Kim Campbell, “Of Horse, Some editors imply this strongly. M. A. Screech,
Fish, and Frozen Words,” RAR 14.3 (1990): 183–92; for instance, observes that “evidently R[abelais]
Jacques Cartier, Brief Recit . . . (Rouen, 1545); feels very little sympathy for the ideals of the
Jacques Cartier, Discours du voyage fait par le capi- Courtisan.” However, in pulling the joke back
taine Jaques Cartier . . . (Rouen, 1598); Jacques Do- into a serious context, Pantagruel is merely add-
remont, De l’antiquité de la ville et cité d’Aleth . . . ing a moralistic gloss to a Renaissance topos that
(1628); Abel Lefranc, Les navigations de Pantagruel Castiglione (and Panurge) had chosen to treat
(Geneva: Slatkine, 1967); Guy Sylvestre, “Jacques comically. It is for the reader to say, here as else-
Cartier et les lettres,” Etudes canadiennes/Canadian where in the text, which perspective appeals
Studies: Revue interdisciplinaire des études canadien- more: Panurge’s irreverence or Pantagruel’s
nes en France 10.17 (1984): 221–23. conscientiousness. Undeniably, however, the di-
Lance Donaldson-Evans alogues orchestrating the Cortegiano and Rabe-
lais’s work, especially the Third Book, are both
CASTIGLIONE, BALDASSARE (1478–1529) similar and different. They share a spirit of free
Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano first appeared in print debate, an avowed debt to classical precedent,
in 1528, well in time for Rabelais to have dis- and an atmosphere of enlightenment and relaxa-
covered it when visiting Italy. The classical tion. Rabelais differs from Castiglione in all but
scholar Jacques Collin penned the first surviving excluding female voices, in dramatizing his
French translation (1537), and Mellin de Saint- themes via Panurge’s behavior, and in spending
Gelais and Etienne Dolet collaborated on the re- far less time theorizing humor than practicing it.
vised Lyonnais edition of 1538. The work gen- Readings: Sydney Anglo, “The Courtier. The Ren-
erated intense interest, both favorable and hostile. aissance and Changing Ideals,” The Courts of Europe,
While Rabelais quotes it at least once (3BK 29), ed. Arthur G. Dickens (London: Thames and Hudson,
Pauline Smith opines correctly that his work con- 1977); Richard Cooper, “Les lectures italiennes de Ra-
tains little anticourtier satire such as the Corte- belais: une mise au point,” ER 37 (1999): 25–49; Mi-
giano stimulated and may indeed have sought to chael A. Screech, ed., Le tiers livre (Geneva: Droz,
nullify via the ideal figure it portrays. Neverthe- 1964); Pauline M. Smith, The Anti-Courtier Trend in
less, the Third Book passage is significant both Sixteenth Century French Literature (Geneva: Droz,
as prefacing the erudite symposium to follow and 1966).
as cueing yet another hostile judgement on Pan- John Parkin
urge. Paraphrasing the words of Castiglione’s
character Giuliano, Panurge questions the value CENSORS AND CENSORSHIP The Age of
of asking advice (a) from theologians, most of Print increased the volume and speed of the cir-
whom are heretics, (b) from doctors, who uni- culation of ideas, and that in turn necessitated
versally abhor medication, and (c) from lawyers, new mechanisms for the control of those ideas.
who never sue one another. Such words are those The earliest measures in that direction were taken
of a courtisan, says Pantagruel, who (going be- by the popes Innocent VIII and Alexander VI at
yond Castiglione) combines seriousness and in- the beginning of the sixteenth century, consoli-
genuity in answering the charges. Good theolo- dated by the Fifth Lateran Council in 1515. The
gians extirpate heresy by inciting faith; good concern was with religious control, not (as later)
doctors rely on prophylaxis, thereby preempting with the control of pornography.
any need for cures; meanwhile, good lawyers are In France, the mechanism of censorship was
too busy pleading for others to take up their own installed only slowly. In March 1521, King
affairs. Panurge makes no answer and acquiesces Francis I, in response to a request from the rec-
Censors and Censorship 31

tor of the University of Paris, instructed the Par- the problem changed dramatically, and the proc-
lement to forbid the printing of books on relig- ess of censorship evolved accordingly. The the-
ious questions without inspection by the Faculty ologians took to drawing up lists of titles, with-
of Theology of the University of Paris (the “Sor- out detailed explanations. A first list, made “at
bonne” to those who did not like it); the Parle- the request of the Parlement” between Christmas
ment duly complied, in an edict dated March 21, 1542 and March 2, 1543, involved forty-three ti-
1521. This already shows the main parties in the tles in French and twenty-two in Latin. This list
censorship process: the theologians could pass remained in manuscript form; however, its exis-
doctrinal judgments on suspect texts, but they tence was known, and several authorities in the
had no power to enforce a condemnation. For French provinces requested copies of it. This was
that they needed the civil magistrates of the Par- one of the reasons given by the theologians in
lement who could order the confiscation of books 1544 for the decision to publish a Catalog of the
and the banishment, or burning, of persons. But Books Censored by the Paris Faculty of Theol-
the magistrates always needed to avoid offending ogy (Catalogue des livres censurez par la faculté
the monarch, who could transfer a case to his de Theologie de Paris [Paris, Benoist Prevost for
Privy Council (which normally delivered verdicts Jean André, 1544]). The list includes 230 titles—
pleasing to His Majesty). As long as Faculty, 109 in Latin and 121 in French. This world pre-
Parlement, and king were in agreement, censor- mière of a printed Index of forbidden books was
ship could work; but when Francis I favored hu- backed by the spiritual authority of the Faculty;
manists like Erasmus, Louis de Berquin, or Le- but there was no means of enforcing that au-
fèvre d’Etaples, representatives of a movement thority. In 1545 the Inquisitor Matthieu Ory pro-
that the Sorbonne detested, conflict could arise; posed that the list be republished with the back-
this happened notably in 1523, 1526, and 1533. ing of an edict from the Parlement; the edict
The gravity and the exact nature of these con- appeared on June 23, 1545, and the related edi-
flicts is a subject of debate: James Farge argues tion of the Catalogue on July 20, 1545 (with con-
that the Faculty was always the respected guard- tents identical to the 1544 edition except for the
ian of religious orthodoxy, that the Parlement addition of four mixed items at the end). It is this
systematically supported the Faculty, and that the version of the Catalogue, backed by its edict,
problem was the inconsistent attitude of the king which represents the first authoritative list of
and his protection of “humanists.” Francis Hig- condemned works.
man disagrees on all three points. Further editions of the Parisian Catalogue ap-
The 1521 edict was designed to control book peared in 1547, with eighty-four new condem-
production at its source: permission had to be nations (thirty-six in Latin, forty-eight in
obtained before a manuscript text was printed. French); 1549 (thirty-one new titles in Latin and
This was inadequate, since books were fre- four in French); 1551 (thirty-one new titles in
quently printed without the necessary permission, Latin, eighteen in French); and 1556 (seventy-
and foreign printings could not be controlled in two new titles in Latin, sixty in French). No new
this way. Already by 1526 edicts were issued de- lists were published in France after this date,
manding that copies of vernacular translations of though the Faculty decided individual condem-
Scripture and certain other texts be handed in to nations; the Catalogues were replaced by the Ro-
the authorities. A new step in 1531 was the prac- man Index from 1557 on.
tice of searches in suspect bookshops. The Af- In France, the Edict of Châteaubriant (1551)
faire des Placards in October 1534 provoked an comprehensively summarized censorship dispo-
outburst of book-burning and executions, as well sitions to that date. All printed books, it stated,
as the famous edict of January 13, 1535 banning should carry the name of the author and of the
all printing in the French kingdom. printer, the printer’s address and mark, and the
Until 1540, censorship involved examination date of printing. Regular inspections of book-
of a text, quotation of heretical propositions, and shops were to be held, in which the Catalogue
explanation of the condemnation (often just should be available alongside the list of books on
“plainly Lutheran”). But after 1540 the size of sale. The import of foreign books was to be
32 Cervantes, Miguel de

closely controlled, and new works would require Readings: Jesus Martinez de Bujanda et al., Index
a certificate from the Theology Faculty before des livres interdits. Vol. 1: Index de l’Université de
permission to print was granted. And so on. Paris, 1544, 1545, 1547, 1549, 1551, 1556 (Sher-
The development of this censorship system co- brooke: Centre d’Études de la Renaissance, 1985);
incides with the period of Rabelais’s intellectual James K. Farge, Orthodoxy and Reform in Early Ref-
activity. There are three points of contact. First, ormation France: The Faculty of Theology of Paris,
in 1524 Rabelais, then a Franciscan friar, had 1500–1543 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985); Francis Hig-
certain books in Greek confiscated by his relig- man, Censorship and the Sorbonne. A Bibliographical
ious superiors. This was an internal matter to the Study of Books in French Censured by the Faculty of
Franciscan order, not based on an official eccle- Theology of the University of Paris, 1520–1551 (Ge-
siastical decree. Second, despite many statements neva: Droz, 1979).
to the contrary, it seems that Pantagruel was not Francis Higman
condemned by the Sorbonne in 1533. Our only
source on the subject, a letter from John Calvin CERVANTES, MIGUEL DE (1547–1616)
to François Daniel of Orléans (October 1533), Spanish novelist whose masterpiece Don Quijote
reports on the row within the University con- displays many affinities of narrative technique
cerning Marguerite de Navarre’s Miroir de and verbal exuberance with Rabelais’s work. Al-
l’ame pecheresse; Nicolas Le Clerc, representa- though Cervantes is unlikely to have had any di-
tive of the theologians, protests that Marguerite’s rect knowledge of Rabelais, both authors shared
work was not condemned by the Faculty depu- an enthusiasm for Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso,
ties, but certain other works should have been— and both made crucial contributions to the de-
like Pantagruel, the Sylva cunnorum and similar velopment of Renaissance comic narrative. Crit-
works. It would seem that Le Clerc wanted to icism has acknowledged the prominent role of
denounce Rabelais’s novel not for heresy but for proverbial speech in both authors as well as their
obscenity (a criterion not otherwise evident in the predilection for lexical experimentation and lin-
period); Calvin adds a comment concerning Le guistic parody. Each author conceives his work
Clerc’s evident ignorance—implying perhaps in part as a parody of chivalric romance, and
that the significant message in Pantagruel con- each resorts to linguistic means to reveal the
cerns the Saint-Victor library rather than Pan- anachronism of the chivalric tradition.
urge’s pranks. In any case, no censure of Ra- One technique that the two authors share is a
belais’s work dates from this period. burlesque form of verisimilitude that they may
Third, the first certain evidence of a condem- have borrowed from Ariosto. Like Rabelais’s
nation of Rabelais’s works is in the list of 1542/ narrator Alcofrybas Nasier, Cervantes’s narrator
3, where the final item (apart from a later addi- Cide Hamete Benengeli recounts the most im-
tion) is: “Grandes Annales tres-veritables des plausible and fantastic events with rigorous pre-
gestes merveilleux du grand Gargantua et Pan- cision and an indignant pretension to the strictest
tagruel Roy des Dipsodes.” This must refer not veracity. This parodic technique, known in Ari-
to the original editions of 1532 and 1534, but to osto studies as the Turpin method, allows Ra-
the combined edition by [Pierre de Tours], belais and Cervantes to assert the autonomy of
[Lyon], 1542– in which the attacks on the “Sor- fiction from historical criteria of truth and false-
bonagres” and so on have been watered down. hood.
In 1544, the same title is transcribed; in addition, Readings: Helmut Hatzfeld, El “Quijote” como
there is the condemnation of “Pantagruel et Gar- obra de arte del lenguaje (Madrid, 1966); Eric
gantua” (which is transcribed into the Anvers MacPhail, “The Ethic of Timing and the Origin of the
Index of 1570 and sqq., and thence to the Spanish Novel: Speaking Too Soon in Rabelais and Cervan-
and Roman lists). In the 1547 Catalogue, the tes,” Symposium 52 (1998): 155–64; Eleanor O’Kane,
Third Book of Pantagruel is added. The Fourth “The Proverb: Rabelais and Cervantes,” CL 2 (1950):
Book, which caused so much difficulty for Ra- 360–69; Sergio Zatti, Il “Furioso” fra epos e romanzo
belais, does not appear on any of the lists of cen- (Lucca: Maria Pacini Fazzi, 1990).
sured books. Eric MacPhail
Charity 33

CHANEPH (4BK 63–64) Chaneph (meaning Duval) with Pentecostal undertones: the (twelve)
“hypocrisy” in Hebrew) is the name of the pe- companions assembled sadly together, their glad-
nultimate island encountered in the Fourth ness caused by the raising of the wind (spiritus),
Book. The episode begins by relating a moment their apparent drunkenness and their linguistic in-
of deathly calm (the lack of wind causing a stag- spiration (glossolaly) remind readers of the story
nation of the joyful quest, Pantagruel and his of Pentecost, Acts 2.1–47 (P. J. Smith). Other
companions dozing in lethargy). Frère Jean thematic impacts and intertextual allusions are
breaks “that obstinate silence” by asking: visible in this hybrid episode: its place in the
“What’s a way to raise a breeze during a calm?” overall theme of the wind (the death calm being
In this untranslatable wordplay, the expression opposed to the Fourth Book’s tempest scene),
“haulser le temps” also means “drink hard until the insertion of dialogue (allusions to Erasmus’s
the weather is clearing up.” To this and similar Convivium religiosum), natural history (borrow-
questions asked by his companions, Pantagruel ings from medical manuals on poisonous ani-
promises to give one single answer, not by mals), and classical mythology (the myth of the
words, but by “signs, deeds, and results” (4BK Winged Bacchus).
63). Epistémon informs the Pantagruelists on the Readings: Paul Delaunay, “Les animaux venimeux
Island of Chaneph and its sinister habitants. Dur- dans Rabelais,” Mélanges Abel Lefranc (Paris: Droz,
ing a copious banquet-lunch, the initial lethargy 1936); Edwin M. Duval, “La messe, la cène, et le voy-
quickly disappears; the habitual joy and linguistic age sans fin du Quart Livre,” ER 21 (1988): 131–40;
virtuosity are returning as is clear from the in- Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s Quart Li-
sertion of other discourses: anecdotes, rhymes, vre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1998); Verdun-L.
and a long, alphabetic list of venomous animals Saulnier, Rabelais II: Rabelais dans son enquête.
(4BK 64). Finally, Pantagruel answers the ques- Etude sur le Quart et le Cinquième livre (Paris:
tion asked by Frère Jean, by pointing the atten- SEDES, 1982); Michael A. Screech, “The Winged
tion of the others to what is happening during the Bacchus (Pausanias, Rabelais and Later Emblema-
banquet: with the raising of the spirits, the wind tists),” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Insti-
has risen “by occult sympathy.” Pantagruel tutes 43 (1980): 259–62; Paul J. Smith, Voyage et écri-
promises to tell more about it “elsewhere and at ture. Etude sur le Quart livre de Rabelais (Geneva:
another time.” The episode ends with Panta- Droz, 1987).
gruel’s cheerful reflexion on Bacchic furor (4BK Paul J. Smith
For Edwin Duval, this episode belongs to the CHARITY Caritas, the Latin equivalent of
threefold sequence of increasingly dangerous an- agape or love, the highest of the three Christian
ticaritas (Gaster, Chaneph, Ganabin) which con- virtues (faith, hope, charity) according to a tra-
cludes the Fourth Book. The episode itself is dition originating in Saint Paul (1 Cor. 13.13).
based on the opposition of the banqueting com- “Charity” in the biblical sense of “brotherly
panions and the dreadful habitants of Chaneph. love” is the moral foundation of the Christian
Modern critics of the episode are largely in- religion and the single commandment of the New
debted to V.-L. Saulnier’s seminal interpretation Testament: “You shall love your neighbor as
of this opposition: Chaneph represents an “anti- yourself” (Matt. 22.39). As such, it fulfills and
Thelema” opposed to the merry company of the supersedes the entire Law of the Old Testament:
Pantagruelians whose feasting echoes the depar- “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
ture’s banquet, related in the opening chapter of . . . Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore
the Fourth Book. Saulnier also stresses the allu- love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13.8–10;
sion to the Last Supper and the christological im- cf. Gal. 5.14). The “golden rule” (Matt. 7.12) and
pact of Pantagruel, who seems to repeat Christ’s Christ’s various injunctions not to judge (Matt.
eschatological words during the Last Supper 7.1–5) but to forgive (Matt. 6.12) and to love
(John 16.12–25). even one’s enemies (Matt. 5.43–48) are all ex-
Other critics underscore the allusions to the pressions of the single law of charity.
practice and significance of the Holy Mass (E. Much in Rabelais’s books is predicated on the
34 Charles V

ideal of Christian charity, including Panta- of defeats for the French at the hands of Charles
gruel’s role in restoring friendship to the feud- V: Francis I’s loss in the election to Holy Roman
ing litigants Baisecul and Humevesne and in re- emperor, his decisive defeat in the Battle of Pa-
placing the fratricidal reign of Anarche with a via, his subsequent imprisonment, and finally the
utopian reign of brotherly love in Dipsodie (Pan- taking of his two oldest sons as hostages. Picro-
tagruel), Grandgousier’s attempts to buy peace chole (the very name meaning “bitter bile”)
from his aggressive neighbor Picrochole and serves as a foil to Rabelais’s wise giant-kings,
Gargantua’s institution of the Abbey of Thé- Grandgousier and his son Gargantua. Rabelais
lème in which everyone defers to the wishes of features the enlightened humanistic and Christian
all (Gargantua), Pantagruel’s abiding love for upbringing received by Gargantua in the first half
the wastrel Panurge and his forgiveness of the of the book. It is a dramatization of Erasmus’s
incompetent judge Bridoye (Third Book), and 1516 The Education of a Christian Prince (In-
Pantagruel’s repeated attempts to befriend ene- stitutio principis christiani), which had been
mies and to broker peace between antagonistic written with Prince Charles, the future Charles
forces (Fourth Book). Although all of Rabelais’s V, in mind. In contrast, Picrochole’s irrational
books promote the ideal of a tolerant, all- behavior presented in the latter half of Gargan-
inclusive brotherhood based on charity, they tua offers a primer of how a king should not
show an increasing tendency to favor love over behave. The absurd war begun over a dispute
knowledge as the remedy for all the ills of a between bakers and shepherds also serves to
post-lapsarian world, and to encourage in the highlight Gargantua’s rise to leadership and
reader a particular form of charity called Pan- hence manhood. Picrochole is both a cautionary
tagruelism. example of an unwise king and a richly devel-
Readings: Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s oped comical character. Picrochole’s dominant
Pantagruel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, role as a ridiculous adversary but one that the
1991); Ulrich Langer, “Charity and the Singular: The giants must take seriously may well reveal the
Object of Love in Rabelais,” Nominalism and Literary anxiety the French felt over Charles V’s power
Discourse: New Perspectives, ed. Christoph Bode, and foreshadows the resumption of hostilities be-
Hugo Keiper, and Richard J. Utz, Critical Studies 10 tween Francis I and Charles in 1536.
(Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1997); François Rigolot, “Ra- Readings: Margaret Harp, “Charles V as Picrochole
belais, Misogyny, and Christian Charity: Biblical In- in Rabelais’s Gargantua,” Young Charles V 1500–
tertextuality and the Renaissance Crisis of Exemplar- 1531 (New Orleans: University Press of the South,
ity,” PMLA 109.2 (1994): 225–37. 2000); Royall Tyler, The Emperor Charles the Fifth
Edwin M. Duval (London: Allen & Unwin, 1956).
Margaret Harp
CHARLES V (1500–58) Considered the
greatest of the Hapsburg emperors, Charles V de- CHELI (4BK 10) An island encountered by
veloped an empire on which “the sun never set.” Pantagruel and his companions in the Fourth
Spain, South America, the Low Countries, Na- Book, chapter 10. The island’s name is borrowed
ples, Sicily, and parts of Austria made up his from Hebrew and is in direct correlation with
kingdom. Rival and adversary to the French the content of the chapter. Cheli (pronunciation,
kings Francis I and Henry II, Charles is best kli) is the biblical word for “pots and pans.” In-
known for his simultaneous promotion of Cath- deed, the seemingly culinary chapter recounts
olic reform and his fight against Protestantism. Frère Jean’s enthusiastic visit to King Panigon’s
The conquest of Mexico and Peru became ar- kitchens. Under the guise of setting up an argu-
guably his most lasting legacy. Having aban- ment on the merit of “cooking matters” versus
doned his titles, Charles V retired in 1556 to a that of kissing ladies, the chapter introduces one
monastery in Yuste, Spain. of the various kabbalistic keys to be found in the
The choleric Picrochole found in Gargantua Fourth Book. Because of the proximity of the
(1534) is Rabelais’s caricature of Charles V. word Cheli to other hermetically opaque terms
Gargantua appeared within a decade of a series such as Ruach, Tohu, Bohu, and Belimah, one
Cicero, Marcus Tullius 35

can envision that beyond the immediate transla- ous arrive. As part of the festivities, guests play-
tion of Cheli as “pots and pans,” Rabelais hides fully hit each other. This tradition is taken to ex-
a motif pertaining to speculative kabbala. While tremes, and on three different occasions, the
Belimah is a term attached to the Sephiroth, or “wedding guests” gruesomely beat the Chican-
“numbers,” Cheli is linked to esoteric elabora- ous. While Pantagruel and Epistémon condemn
tions about Creation. It is associated with the var- Basché’s excessive actions, Frère Jean decides
ious steps of the creation of beings and forms in to test it himself and pays a Chicanou and then
the Divine plan and their ideal hierarchy. Ac- beats him (4BK 16). The Chicanous’ harassment
cording to the Shevirath HaKelim, or “breaking of Lord Basché can be read as a critique of the
of the Vases,” during the creation of the material practice of summons against the nobility by
world, divine light sprang forth in various stages. members of the clergy and the third estate.
In one of these stages, light beamed from the first Readings: Mireille Huchon, ed., Oeuvres complètes
being, Adam Kadmon. This light was captured de François Rabelais (Paris: Gallimard, 1994); Robert
and kept in special vases (kelim or cheli), some Marichal, “René Du Puy et les Chicanous,” BHR 11
of which broke when hit by sudden light. Laden (1949): 129–66.
with hermetic value, the metaphor of the Cheli, E. Bruce Hayes
or cups or vases, through which God acts, is
present at the beginning and at the end of the CHITTERLINGS See Andouilles (Chitterlings,
companions’ journey—at the end, since the ul- Sausages)
timate goal of the Fourth Book is to reach Bac-
buc, the Divine Bottle, the divine recipient; at CHRONIQUES GARGANTUINES See Gar-
the onset, because an emblem akin to a vase is gantuan Chronicles
symbolically reproduced on eleven out of the
twelve ships (bouteille, hanat, potet, brocq, CICERO, MARCUS TULLIUS (106–43 B.C.)
bourrabaquin, entonnoir, guoubelet, brinde, Noted Roman statesman, lawyer, philosopher,
breusse, portouoire, barrault). and orator who was revered by humanists and
Readings: Moshe Idel, Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah heralded as a master of eloquence. Ciceronian
(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988); rhetoric, characterized by florid language, peri-
Gershom G. Scholem, Les grands courants de la mys- odic sentences, extensive amplification, and
tique juive (Paris: Payot, 1983); François Secret, Les overstatements used for persuasive purposes, was
Kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (Paris: a mainstay of learned discourse throughout the
Dunod, 1964). Renaissance. The Gallic doctor’s own use of
Katia Campbell lofty, erudite rhetoric, described by Donald
Frame as “more or less Ciceronian” (142), is par-
CHICANOUS (CHIQUANOUS) (4BK 12–16) ticularly evident in his neo-Latin correspon-
Pantagruel and his fellow travelers arrive at the dence and in speeches (G 29, 50) and letters (P
country of Procuration (4BK 12) where they first 8, G 29) in the chronicles, which differ markedly
meet the Chicanous, who are described as hairy in style and tonality from the exuberant prose,
men (“gens à tout le poil”). Their name is derived outrageous scatology, and carnivalesque banter
from the root word chicane, or chicanery. They popularly associated with Rabelais. As a result,
are in fact process-servers, often collecting dam- Rabelais’s Ciceronian passages, viewed by some
ages for the beatings they receive while harassing readers as models of sincerity and earnestness,
nobles. This curious encounter leads Panurge to strike others as ponderous and heavy-handed—
tell the story of Lord Basché’s ruse to punish the diametrically at odds with the “natural” speech
Chicanous (4BK 12–15). The Chicanous in this that Pantagruel advocates in P 6. This interpre-
episode are sent by the fat prior of Saint-Louant tive quarrel yields radically different readings of
to harass Basché so that he will beat them and key texts: taken seriously, Gargantua’s letter on
then be charged with having assaulted officers of learning (P 8) represents a manifesto of human-
the crown. Basché circumvents the system by istic pedagogy; but its inflated style, similar in
holding a mock wedding party when the Chican- many ways to Rabelais’s “mock serious” dis-
36 Clothes

course, leaves open the possibility that he is ei- fabrics (satin, brocade, linen, taffeta, damask,
ther parodying or interrogating the aging giant’s velvet), rich colors (gold, silver, purple, orange,
ambitions for his son. green, yellow), ornate accessories (collar pieces
Textual allusions to Ciceronian rhetoric do lit- with fine gems, lace veils, hats garnished with
tle to resolve this ambiguity. When the author berries and buttons, feathers in the hair, taffeta
compares Eudemon to Cicero (G 15), our first petticoats), and fashion-conscious design (form-
impression is positive. Yet the youth is painfully fitting stockings and breeches for the men,
effete, and his ornate language and eloquent topped with luxurious jackets and decorative
voice, unnatural in a child of twelve, make Gar- weaponery; and for the women short or long
gantua “cry like a cow.” The veiled satire of this gowns, embroidered with rich silk thread and
episode sets the stage for overt mockery in chap- studded in pearls) of clothing at Thélème.
ter 39 of Gargantua where Frère Jean, accused
In the prologue to Gargantua, of course, Ra-
of taking God’s name in vain, defends his moral
belais focuses on the frequent discontinuity be-
lapse on rhetorical grounds, claiming the swear
tween outward appearance and inner worth,
words are “Ciceronian” embellishments (G 39).
Rhetoric is just one dimension of Cicero’s legacy which seems on one level to suggest that “l’habit
to French humanists, however. Like many of his ne fait pas le moine,” or, as we say in English,
contemporaries, Rabelais alludes frequently to that one cannot judge a book by its cover. In
the Roman orator’s historical, philosophical, and Pantagruel this adage may apply to the clergy
political writings on topics ranging from military and to haughty ladies, who find their impressive
history to debt and divination. If on one hand garments torn to shreds or pulled up above their
these learned references serve a rhetorical func- waists by Panurge’s sly stitchery (P 16). How-
tion, they also enrich the ideological content of ever, Rabelais more frequently seems to revel in
Rabelais’s chronicles with principles of social the symbolic and aesthetic possibilities of cloth-
justice, reciprocity, and tolerance. ing, which serve as indicators of taste, wealth,
Readings: Richard L. Enos, The Literate Mode of power, masculinity, and—hypothetically—inner
Cicero’s Legal Rhetoric (Carbondale: Southern Illinois nobility of character that is externalized through
University Press, 1988); Donald Frame, François Ra- the language of clothes. As Count Ludovico da
belais. A Study (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanov- Canossa points out in Castiglione’s Book of the
ich, 1977); Ann Vasaly, Representations: Images of Courtier, after all, outward appearances are at
the World in Ciceronian Oratory (Berkeley: Univer- times our only clues to a person’s character. And
sity of California Press, 1993); Neal Wood, Cicero’s while Pantagruel admits that sartorial eccentrici-
Social and Political Thought (Berkeley: University of ties, such as Panurge’s decision in 3BK 7 to tie
California Press, 1988). spectacles to his cap, take off his breeches, and
Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
wear a flea-studded earring, are in themselves
neither good nor evil, he nonetheless chastises
CLOTHES From Panurge’s initial appear-
his friend gently for flouting “current usage.”
ance in rags (P 9) to his hooded initiatory smock
Readings: Lance Donaldson-Evans, “Fashioning
(GP 5BK 44; OC 5BK 43) and the Lantern
Gargantua: Rabelais and the History of Costume,”
Queen’s embroidered and bejeweled gown in the
Mots pluriels 10 (1999); Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter
Fifth Book (GP 5BK 33; OC 5BK 32), clothes
permeate the Rabelaisian text. As Lance Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials
Donaldson-Evans points out, “no author of the of Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
early Renaissance in France evinces a greater 2000); Daniel Russell, “Panurge and His New
interest in clothes than François Rabelais” (2), Clothes,” ER 14 (1977): 89–104; Florence Weinberg,
who devotes three chapters to Gargantua’s lav- “Platonic and Pauline Ideals in Comic Dress: ‘Com-
ish livery and its symbolism (G 8-10), focuses at ment on vestit Gargantua,’ ” Illinois Classical Studies
length on Panurge’s decorative codpiece, and re- 9 (1984): 183–95.
gales us with myriad details about the luxurious Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
Colonna, Francesco 37

CODPIECE (BRAGUETTE) Taking their or- Romanesque style” (P 21). As Panurge moves
igin from plated suits of armor, Renaissance toward victory in his debate by signs with Thau-
braguettes or codpieces exaggerated the size of maste (P 19), he draws out, extends, and shakes
the male member underneath and were often dec- his braguette. In this debate, Panurge’s braguette
orated. Very much in style among the nobility in represents virilized humanism in opposition to
the first half of the sixteenth century in France, the nonvirile, outdated school of scholasticism
the braguette is a very prominent aspect of male espoused by the feminized Thaumaste (see Per-
costume in Rabelais, referred to in all four au- sels, 1997).
thenticated books and representing aspects of In the Third Book (3BK 7), Panurge’s quan-
masculinity such as sexual and military virility. dary as to whether he should marry is symbolized
Implying the noble giant’s future virility, Gar- by what he does with his braguette. Having de-
gantua’s famous braguette is described in great cided to give up a life of war, he disguises him-
comic detail (G 8) not only as enormous, made self, removing his “fine and magnificent bra-
up of 24 1⁄4 yards of material, but also as mag- guette on which [he] had once relied, as on a
nificently decorated. The narrator states that holy anchor.” The following chapter (3BK 8) de-
it could be compared “to one of those grand tails how the braguette is “the principal piece in
Horns of Plenty” because of its fertility and full- a warrior’s armour,” suggesting that Panurge is
ness (see Cornucopia). Inside is a male member contemplating giving up a life of arms in favor
that matches the size of the braguette, “having of a more sedate lifestyle based around the fam-
no resemblance to the fraudulent braguettes of ily (see Russell, 1977). He also describes remov-
so many young gentlemen which contain nothing ing the braguette as a kind of religious vow
but wind.” Since Terence Cave’s influential in- (3BK 24), or a move toward the contemplative
terpretation, this abundant braguette is generally life in which he can make a well-thought-out de-
taken to represent a textual copia (or abundance), cision about whether to marry. In the Fourth
Book (5), Dindenault or Dingdong notices that
a rhetorical and humanist commonplace requir-
Panurge is without his braguette and mocks him
ing a brand of linguistic versatility and richness
as a cuckold, thereby linking being cheated on
discussed in Erasmus’s well-known De Copia
by one’s wife with demasculinization. The im-
(1512). In this case, male sexual potency repre-
portance accorded to Panurge’s missing bra-
sented by the braguette corresponds to textual
guette in the Third Book could also refer to an
copia, a link confirmed by the narrator’s refer-
emptiness of narrative copia in the absurd and
ence near the end of the passage to a book of his
highly repetitious book that leads to no definite
entitled On the Dignity of Braguettes. But even conclusions (see Cave, 1979). Without his tex-
as the braguette represents a fullness, it is unable tual/sexual “anchor,” Panurge is devoid of any
to maintain the quality and in the end is deflated. kind of textual fertility and of any stable, non-
The reference to the braguettes “which contain superficial meaning.
nothing but wind” implies a sexual as well as a Readings: Terence Cave, The Cornucopian Text:
textual emptiness, as rhetoric can turn out to be Problems of Writing in the French Renaissance (Ox-
devoid of meaning under its aesthetic exterior. ford: Clarendon Press, 1979); Jeffery C. Persels, “Bra-
Although not noble, Panurge is also closely gueta Humanı́stica, or Humanism’s Codpiece,” SCJ
associated with the braguette in Pantagruel and 28.1 (1997): 79–99; Daniel Russell, “Panurge and his
the Third Book. As Pantagruel has him dressed New Clothes,” ER 14 (1977): 89–104; James Sacré,
according to the fashion of the day (P 15), Pan- “Les métamorphoses d’une braguette,” Littérature 26
urge asserts what he sees as his masculinized in- (May 1977): 72–93.
dividuality by insisting on a braguette “cut three Todd Reeser
foot long and square, not round.” Later, as his
academic and rhetorical virility grows and as he COLONNA, FRANCESCO (1433–1527)
prepares to seduce the object of his affection, he Fifteenth-century Venetian friar whose allegori-
decorates his braguette “with embroidery in the cal dream vision Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
38 Colors

(Dream of Polyphilus) was published by Aldus scribes. Others suggest that Rabelais himself
Manutius in 1499. The first vernacular work ever initiated the alchemical reading of Colonna by
printed by Aldus, the Hypnerotomachia enjoyed importing esoteric motifs into forms previously
a great deal of celebrity during the Renaissance devoid of any such references (see Alchemy).
primarily because of its beautiful woodcut illus- One aspect of Rabelais’s reception of Colonna
trations. The work was translated into French in that deserves much more attention than it has re-
1546 by Jean Martin, under the title Discours du ceived so far is the impact of Colonna’s very
songe de Poliphile, with original engravings by distinctive and unusual diction on Rabelais’s ver-
Jean Goujon. Rabelais mentions the Hypneroto- bal creativity. Colonna inserts Latin words with
machia twice, both times in relation to hiero- Italian declensions into pompous periodic
glyphs, and it has been suggested, plausibly, that phrases so as to create an unnatural, hybrid style
he learned of Colonna’s work from Geoffroy of speech. On a much smaller scale, Rabelais ex-
Tory, whose Champfleury refers to “Polyphile” periments with this same procedure in the epi-
as a source of pseudohieroglyphs or imaginary sode of the Ecolier Limousin (P 6), who con-
letters in the manner of the Egyptians. It is cer- structs his phrases from Latin words with French
tain that Colonna, Tory, and Rabelais all share endings arranged in vernacular word order. Ra-
what might be called a typographic aesthetic or belais returns to this hybrid style in his portrayal
an appreciation of the graphic appeal of words of Queen Quintessence (5BK 18–24), whose es-
on the printed page. oteric diction and contorted syntax seem to point
Beginning with the eighteenth-century com- directly to Colonna. Therefore, among the vari-
mentator Leduchat, criticism has gradually ac- ous inspirations that Rabelais drew from Co-
knowledged Rabelais’s debt to Colonna. Those lonna’s work, we may include the stylistic ex-
who have studied the presence of Colonna in Ra- ercise of relatinizing the vernacular to the limit
belais usually focus on the episode of the Abbey of its capacity.
of Thélème in Gargantua, the Island of the Ma- Readings: Léon Dorez, “Des origines et de la dif-
creons in the Fourth Book, and two lengthy bor- fusion du Songe de Poliphile,” Revue des biblio-
rowings in the Fifth Book: the chess ballet at the thèques 6 (1896): 239–61; Gilles Polizzi, “Thélème ou
court of Queen Quintessence and the Temple of l’éloge du don: le texte Rabelaisien à la lumière de
Bacbuc, priestess of the Holy Bottle. The as- l’Hypernotomachia Poliphili,” RHR 25 (1988): 39–59;
sessment of Colonna’s importance for the Fifth Gilles Polizzi, “Le voyage vers l’oracle ou la dérive
Book has also been used to confirm or deny the des intertextes dans le Cinquième livre,” Le cin-
authenticity of the work as well as to distinguish quiesme livre. Actes du colloque international de
its various stages of composition. Rome (Geneva: Droz, 2001): 577–596; Louis Thuasne,
Most of these episodes exemplify the ekphras- Etudes sur Rabelais (Paris: Champion, 1969).
tic impulse that Rabelais shares with Colonna, Eric MacPhail
whose lengthy descriptions of art and architec-
ture, of mosaics, obelisks, fountains, and funeral COLORS Together with gestures, emblems,
monuments, occupy the bulk of what is largely hieroglyphs, devices, and precious stones, colors
a static, descriptive work. The same tendency are among the many “signs” endowed with sym-
manifests itself at times in Rabelais and begins bolic meaning that feature so prominently in Ra-
to predominate in the conclusion of the Fifth belais’s books. A subject that aroused much in-
Book, where the description of the temple of the terest and discussion during the Renaissance,
Holy Bottle imitates numerous details from Co- both in courtly and scholarly circles, colors and
lonna’s temple of Venus Physizoe in which Po- their symbolism are chiefly dealt with in a set of
lifilo and Polia are initiated into the mysteries of chapters in Gargantua (8–10). The choice of
love. The ekphrastic passages found in both au- white and blue for Gargantua’s livery occasions
thors may even possess some occult significance, a declamation on the true meaning of these col-
since critics or enthusiasts have discerned al- ors. Gargantua’s father’s equation of white with
chemical symbolism in the architecture and ac- joy and delight, and of blue with heavenly things,
cessories of the temple which each author de- runs counter to the common belief that white sig-
Community, Portrayal of 39

nifies faith and blue firmness. The narrator at- François Rigolot, “Cratylisme et Pantagruelisme: Ra-
tributes this view to the anonymous (as he has belais et le statut du signe,” ER 13 (1976): 115–32;
it) Blazon of Colors (Blason des couleurs). Be- Michael A. Screech, “Emblems and Colours. The Con-
hind this apparent target of Alcofrybas’s criti- troversy over Gargantua’s Colors and Devices,” Mé-
cism lie all similar treatises, guilty of arbitrarily langes d’histoire du XVIe siècle offerts à Henri Mey-
conferring meanings on colors and devices. Un- lan (Geneva: Droz, 1970).
like words (3BK 19), colors have natural rather Agnieszka Steczowicz
than imposed meanings. Alcofrybas promises to
devote a long treatise to colors and their real sig- COMMUNITY, PORTRAYAL OF A strong
nificance (G 8). He gives us a sample of it in the unifying theme embodied in the concept of Pan-
following chapter, an erudite exposition of the tagruelists, the motif of community is found
reasons white must be associated with joy and throughout Rabelais’s writings. Community, the
delight, whose legal, theological, and philosoph- sharing of common goals and values by a group,
ical overtones are discussed in a detailed study occurs in many forms in the text, reflecting the
by M. A. Screech. These chapters shed light on numerous communal examples in Rabelais’s own
color symbolism throughout Rabelais’s work. society from which he could draw inspiration.
Rabelais uses color sparely and with great ef- The monastery was likely an influential standard
fect, usually in descriptions of clothing, liveries, of community for Rabelais. As is seen in his four
architecture, food, and wonders. Clusters of color chronicles, Rabelais could be critical of monas-
appear in a relatively small number of episodes, teries, characterizing monks as timorous gluttons
and their presence is highly symbolic. Rabelais’s seeking refuge from worldly hazards and respon-
interest in heraldry manifests itself in his precise sibilities rather than isolation for devout prayer
descriptions of the colors of noblemen’s liveries and meditation. Like many humanists, Rabelais
in the Sciomachie (1549), and in the Frozen believed that the Apostles and other early Chris-
Words or parolles gelées episode of the Fourth tians constituted the ideal community, with the
monastical system having distanced itself over
Book, where the words take on the guise of he-
time from their model. It is apparent that Rabe-
raldic colors (4BK 56). Similarly, the brightly
lais was not entirely comfortable with his own
colored feathers of the birds inhabiting Ringing
role as a monk: first a Franciscan, then a Bene-
Island or L’Isle sonante (5BK 5) are emblematic
dictine, he and the other members of his Bene-
of different knightly orders. In the utopian Ab-
dictine abbey at Saint-Maur-les-Fossés eventu-
bey of Thélème, nuns and monks sport fashion-
ally became secularized. Rabelais’s utopian
able outfits in a wealth of colors (G 56), in strik-
Abbey of Thélème, described at the end of Gar-
ing contrast to their real-life counterparts clad in gantua, offers, perhaps, a counterpoint to the tra-
grey, dark and dull tones, the colors which stand ditional monastery. Founded by Gargantua and
for the mendicant friars in the account of the poet led by the vigorous Frère Jean, it is a commu-
Raminagrobis (3BK 21). Religious symbolism nity restricted to the young, beautiful, and noble.
also dictates the grey and cold colors of King Another highly organized community of which
Lent or Quaresmeprenant’s clothing (4BK 29). Rabelais was critical was the Sorbonne. As an
While color is rare in Pantagruel, its use in- adjunct of the Church, the institution of theolo-
creases markedly in the final books which, as gians invoked its royally sanctioned powers to
travel narratives, contain lavish descriptions of censor humanist books and to exile their authors.
places, curiosities and wonders such as the color- Rabelais saw his own works criticized and cen-
changing chameleon (4BK 2). The quest for the sored as well as those of Francis I’s sister, Mar-
Divine Bottle or Dive Bouteille is itself placed guerite de Navarre (see Censors and Censor-
under the auspicious ensigns of white and red ship). Even more damaging was the Sorbonne’s
(4BK 1). Color is also present in set expressions, influence in spearheading campaigns of perse-
puns, and curses. cution and oppression, often leading to the autos-
Readings: Gérard Defaux, “Rabelais et son masque da-fés of prominent scholars. Humanists such as
comique: Sophista loquitur,” ER 11 (1974): 113–127; Rabelais not only found the Sorbonne’s actions
40 Coq-à-l’âne

reprehensible but deemed its very practice of prenant (Lentkeeper) (29), the Andouilles (Chit-
learning and language to be retrograde and per- terlings) (35), the Papefigues (45), and the Pap-
nicious. In Gargantua, Rabelais ridicules at imanes (48) episodes.
length the pompous manner and corrupt Latin of Rabelais’s reading and his knowledge of di-
the ubiquitous Sorbonnicoles with his presenta- verse literary communities would have further
tion of Gargantua’s bumbling and ineffective tu- helped him in imagining the insular communities
tor, Thubal Holoferne. eventually depicted in the Fourth Book. Well
Humanists in general offered Rabelais a rich versed in classical literature, Rabelais would
and positive communal example. The noun hu- have been familiar with utopian communities
manista itself, used in late fifteenth-century Italy such as Atlantis in Plato’s Timaeus. Lucian’s
to designate members of a professional group of tongue-in-cheek presentation of fantastic imagi-
teachers, is based on the notion of a community nary communities in his True History, along with
of scholars. The humanist attitude deemed learn- Plutarch’s tales in The Moralia, inspired Rabe-
ing and the practice of virtue as distinctive to lais’s own chronicles. The myth of Paradise or
man. The late fifteenth- and early sixteenth- the Golden Age permeate Rabelais’s readings. It
century humanists Desiderius Erasmus, Tho- appears in classical works such as Hesiod’s
mas More, Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples, and Works and Days with its most familiar version,
Guillaume Budé concentrated their intellectual the Garden of Eden, introduced in the biblical
efforts on the study of classical works which em- book of Genesis. Closer to Rabelais’s own time,
phasized the dignity of man. Not only did these Thomas More’s Utopia and Sebastian Brant’s
scholars’ writings exert a great influence on Ra- Ship of Fools’ depictions of imaginary commu-
belais’s intellectual development, but their close nities were known to Rabelais. With this variety
friendships and regular correspondence gave of sources in mind, Rabelais in his Fourth Book
Rabelais a standard for communal excellence. established Pantagruel’s ship as a paradigmatic
Small but influential groups in Rabelais’s so- community to which all others may be compared,
ciety are represented throughout the Third Book as it accommodates both wisdom and nonsense.
as Panurge visits those whom he believes can The resultant comparisons sometimes become sa-
best predict whether he should marry. Rabelais tirical and even caricatural, a trait shared by all
satirizes communities of lawyers, judges, doc- of Rabelais’s works.
tors, charlatans, and seers as their representatives Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, Enter Rabelais,
such as Raminagrobis, Bridoye, Triboullet, Laughing (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press,
and Rondibilis offer their opinions to Panurge. 1998): 68–101; Margaret Harp, The Portrayal of Com-
The portrayal of community is most promi- munity in Rabelais’s Quart Livre (New York: Peter
nently demonstrated in the Fourth Book. The Lang, 1997).
text’s narrative consists of successive encounters Margaret Harp
of various communal island groups by Panta-
gruel’s own community on his ship, the Thala- COQ-À-L’ÂNE Originally a form of poetry
mège. The chronicle provides the modern reader that commented critically on current events be-
with a view of the microcosm of cultural issues hind the protective veil of an allusive style that
and conflicts predominant in mid-sixteenth- jumped from topic to topic without any apparent
century France. For instance, the widespread de- coherence—hence the alternative designation of
velopment and increasing importance of inter- non sequitur. Thomas Sebillet defines the coq-à-
national commerce is emphasized on the trade l’âne as a truly French form of the satire, in-
island of Medamothi (4BK 2), as well as on vented by Clément Marot, in his Art poëtique
Dindenault’s merchant ship (6). The period’s françoys (1548), an assessment that Joachim du
rapid technical advances are reflected in Gaster’s Bellay confirms in his Deffense et Illustration de
litany of inventions (57). Not least, the religious la langue françoyse (1549). Marot’s first Epı̂tre
strife between Protestant groups and Catholics du coq à l’âne dates from 1530, shortly before
occurring at the time of the book’s composition the publication of Pantagruel. We find similar
is highlighted with the inclusion of Quaresme- incoherent structures in medieval farce and
Correspondence 41

sottie-plays as well as in the lesser known genres ages of unattainability and lack. The motif of
of the fatras and the fatrasie, the fatrasie provid- empty proliferation plays out on a structural level
ing a prose model for the non sequitur. Techni- as well. The repetitiveness of Panurge’s consul-
cally, the coq-à-l’âne therefore falls in the cate- tations makes the Third Book appear as a dram-
gory that Nothrop Frye calls “low-norm satire” atization of the impossibility of moving beyond
(Anatomy of Criticism). In Rabelais the form is ambiguous signs to interpretive certitude, and the
particularly prominent in the first two books, the quest theme of the Fourth Book can be read as
process of Baisecul and Humevesne (P 10–13) a spatial enactment of the search for a locus of
or the “Fanfreluches antidotées” (G 2) consti- abundance.
tuting its most obvious examples. It virtually Terence Cave’s The Cornucopian Text exam-
vanishes in the later books, being replaced by ines the notion of copia as a rhetorical ideal
more erudite and classical forms of satire. This whereby northern Renaissance writers sought to
change could serve as an indicator of Rabelais’s imitate the stylistic plenitude and inexhaustible
development as a writer, who, in his early phase, meanings of the great pagan texts and Scripture.
was feeding off of medieval literary traditions, A prominent theme in the works of Erasmus,
while at the same time attempting, through satire, especially De duplici copia verborum ac rerum
to move beyond them. (1512), copia also figures in Rabelais, Ronsard,
Readings: Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Montaigne, and other canonical Renaissance
Four Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, writers. Cave highlights the tension between the
1957); Claude-Albert Mayer, “Coq-à-l’âne: Défini- humanist preference for protean texts (which
tion—Invention—Attribution,” FS 16 (1962): 1–13; yield potentially limitless interpretations rather
Bernd Renner, “Du coq-à-l’âne à la ménippéenne: la than being reducible to a single stable reading)
satire comme forme d’expression littéraire chez Ra- and the persistent fear that displays of rhetorical
belais” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 2000); Fran- virtuosity might mask the absence of an altior
çois Rigolot, “Dichotomie linguistique. Le mot et la sensus or higher meaning.
syntaxe,” Les langages de Rabelais, ER 10 (Geneva: Reading: Terence Cave, The Cornucopian Text
Droz, 1972): 41–48; Thomas Sebillet, Art poetique (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979).
françois, ed. Felix Gaffe and Francis Goyet, Societé Jennifer Monahan
des textes francais modernes 6 (Paris: Nizet, 1988).
Bernd Renner CORRESPONDENCE Very little of Rabe-
lais’s correspondence survives, and such as does
CORNUCOPIA Cornucopian imagery in Ra- exist is rather due to the distinction of the re-
belais frequently functions as a vehicle for self- ceiver than to that of the sender. The young
conscious reflection on the workings of language monk at Fontenay-le-Comte sought to make con-
and the potential disjunction between rhetorical tact with major humanist scholars, as witness his
surface and the thing represented. This theme is earliest surviving letter of March 4, 1521 (BnF,
particularly prominent in Gargantua 8, the de- ms. Rothschild, arm. 1510), the surviving frag-
scription of the child Gargantua’s codpiece, ment of his correspondence with Guillaume
where Alcofrybas uses the simile of a horn of Budé, which earned him two replies from Budé,
plenty in asserting that the bejeweled exterior ac- of which one was in Greek. Rabelais tries to im-
curately represents the value of the contents. The press by imitating Budé’s style and ideas, in-
passage ends with a negative counterexample of cluding the mixture of Greek and Latin, images
codpieces “full only of wind,” however, and par- of darkness and madness, and elaborate legal
allel passages in Pantagruel (8) and the Third jokes. Another surviving autograph humanist let-
Book (7) likewise evoke the threat of mere rep- ter was sent ten years later to Erasmus on No-
etition or emptiness in what initially appears to vember 30, 1532 (formerly in Leipzig, ms.
be potency. A similar anxiety is visible in the 0331m, now lost). The humanist script is similar,
prologue to the Third Book, where references to as is the profession of devotion, but the style is
the book as “an inexhaustible barrel . . . a real now more elegant and less showy. Fragments of
Cornucopia” are systematically undercut by im- poems suggest he was also in correspondence
42 Correspondence

with Tiraqueau and others, but the next firm ev- also exchanged letters with the ambassador in
idence of his public humanist letters consists in Venice, Guillaume Pellicier, of which three re-
the dedicatory epistles which he included in plies survive: apart from snippets of news, the
1532–34 with his first scholarly publications in topics were law, medicine and the copying of
Lyon: to André Tiraqueau (June 3, 1532); to ancient manuscripts. During one vacation from
Geoffroy d’Estissac (July 15, 1532); to Amaury Turin Rabelais wrote to a friend in Orléans, An-
Bouchard (September 4, 1532) and to Jean du toine Hullot (March 1, [1542]), which survives
Bellay (August 31, 1534). In these letters he con- only in copies: Rabelais’s letter inviting his
tinues the art of panegyric and remains faithful friend to a Lenten banquet, at which lists of wine
to the hellenizing Latin of Budé, full of unusual and fish would be served, is reminiscent of his
vocabulary, of numerous quotations from or al- comic writing, with its dense, allusive burlesque
lusions to classical texts, and of striking images. patter. No greater contrast could be imagined
The letter to Tiraqueau is a good example of his than with Rabelais’s only other surviving auto-
kaleidoscopic use of metaphors; the opening of graph letter, sent from Metz on February 6,
the letter to du Bellay exemplifies Rabelais’s [1547?] to Jean du Bellay (formerly in the Barrett
Latin rhetoric, with carefully constructed trico- collection in Chicago): reduced to exile, indi-
lon, parallelism, wordplay, and climax. Gone is gence, and despair, he pleads with his wealthy
the humility of the letters to Budé and Erasmus, patron for support, apparently with success, since
replaced by the confident advocacy by a pub- within a few months he was with the cardinal in
lished author of the new humanist philology and Rome.
fierce denunciation of its opponents. Rabelais’s books contain models of epistolary
A verse epistle to Jean Bouchet dated Septem- writing that reveal the author’s interest in rhet-
ber 6, [1527?], and its reply, suggest that Rabe- oric (P 8; G 29; 4BK 3–4), as well as an admi-
lais participated in the exchange of letters in rable example of Rabelais’s own formal letter-
verse common under Francis I. Rabelais’s sur- writing in the epı̂tre to Odet de Chastillon
viving neo-Latin poetry suggests that he partook (January 28, 1552), thanking him for his support
in similar, often joking, exchanges in Latin with and stoutly defending himself, presented in a
poets like Etienne Dolet, Salmon Macrin, and long image of the doctor, against his calumni-
Jean de Boyssonné. A few fragments exist of his ateurs or detractors. As was common with con-
personal correspondence in French with friends temporary newsletters, Rabelais’s occasional
and protectors. The three letters sent from Rome piece, La Sciomachie of 1549, is presented as
to d’Estissac in 1535–36 are part of a larger lost “excerpted from a copy of the letters” (“extraict
correspondence with his spiritual superior (at d’une copie des lettres”) sent from Rome to the
least ten lost letters). One of them (January 28, cardinal de Guise, and contains a number of epis-
1536, BnF, ms. Rothschild A.xvi.162) is auto- tolary devices. The style chosen exemplifies the
graph and shows Rabelais writing in a French elegant vernacular that Rabelais was pioneering,
bastard hand, except for foreign quotations which but without the comic elements and the overlay
are in italic. These letters send political news of erudition present in his five books.
from Rome and the Mediterranean, drawn in part Readings: Jacques Boulenger, “Etude critique sur
from printed newsletters, which do not show him les lettres écrites d’Italie par François Rabelais,” RER
to be particularly well informed. He reveals his 1 (1903): 97–121; Victor-Louis Bourrilly, ed., Rabe-
patriotism in the judgments he offers on the lais, lettres écrites d’Italie, (Paris: Champion, 1910);
news, and his style at times reflects that of his Henri Clouzot, “Les amitiés de Rabelais en orléanais
comic works, with lists, Italianate vocabulary, et la lettre au bailli du bailli des baillis,” RER 3 (1905):
and picturesque images. Other indiscreet letters 156–75; Richard A. Cooper, “Rabelais’ neo-Latin
he wrote were intercepted and provoked the fa- writings,” Neo-Latin and the Vernacular in Renais-
mous quart d’heure de Rabelais, or short brush sance France, ed. Grahame Castor and Terence Cave
with the law, during which he was reportedly ar- (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984); R. A. Coo-
rested and interrogated by Cardinal François de per, Rabelais et l’Italie (Geneva: Droz, 1991); R. A.
Tournon. During his stay in Turin (1540–42) he Cooper, “Rabelais ‘architriclin dudict Pantagruel,’ ”
Critical Theory 43

Rabelais-Dionysos: Vin, carnaval, ivresse, ed. Michel but for Doctor Rabelais the main ingredient of
Bideaux (Montpellier: J. Laffitte, 1997); Arthur Heul- deadly charlatan treatments for syphilis, is sent
hard, Rabelais, ses voyages en Italie, son exil à Metz to offer a choice of three axe blades: Couillatris’s
(Paris: 1891); Librairie de l’art, Fritz Neubert, “Fran- blade along with one of gold and another of sil-
çois Rabelais’ Briefe,” Zeitschrift für französische ver. Should the woodsman choose a blade other
Sprache und Literatur 71 (1961): 154–85. than his, he is to be executed with his own axe.
Richard Cooper However, if he chooses his own in an act of wise
moderation and honesty, he is to be rewarded
COUILLATRIS (4BK prol.) Poor woodcutter with the two others. Fortunately, the simple
from the village of Gravot (Bourgueil) whose Couillatris opts for his own blade.
name literally translates as the “ballsy guy,” Reveling in his newfound fortune, the wood-
Couillatris appears in the prologue to the Fourth cutter goes on to acquire land and animals in
Book as the central character and model of mod- such quantity that he is soon the wealthiest man
eration and sexual temperance in Rabelais’s fan- around. When others learn of the manner in
tastic version of an Old Testament miracle story which he obtained his fortune, they attempt to
(2 Kings 6.1–7). Though the biblical story in- repeat the scene. Not having learned, however,
volves divine intervention in the retrieval of a that the key to riches is moderation (i.e., refusal
lost axe blade, Rabelais centers his interpretation of the gold and silver axe heads), the eager
of its significance around a claim that the biblical fortune-seekers try to claim the precious blades
miracle took place only because the prayer re- and are instantly executed by terrible Mercury
quest for restoring the axe blade; that is, the with their own blades. The Couillatris “parable”
woodcutter’s source of livelihood, was reasona- succeeds in showing the potentially deadly re-
ble and moderate. From this claim Rabelais de- sults of excess desire and immoderate behavior,
velops a parable whose message is expanded to while praising themes dear to Doctor Rabelais:
encourage moderation and temperance specifi- moderation, abstinence, and valuing one’s health
cally with regard to sexual conduct, insofar as above all else, even at the expense of sexual
such moderation would permit maintenance of pleasure.
man’s prize possession: good health. Reading: Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (London:
Replete with sexual metaphors beyond his Duckworth, 1979).
name, the Couillatris story relates that after los- Lesa Randall
ing his axe blade the woodsman is soon visited
by Death, upon which he vigorously summons CRITICAL THEORY Although the most
Jupiter to intervene and either return or replace dramatic impact of critical theory on Rabelais
his only source of livelihood. The axe blade here studies coincides with the appearance of struc-
becomes a metaphor for health, following the pri- turalism and poststructuralism on the intellectual
mary theme of the prologue. As Jupiter considers scene in the 1960s and beyond, in a sense the
the request, enters Priapus, a god of fertility and critical attitude of professional readers of Rabe-
viticulture typically represented with a large vir- lais has always been grounded in the literary the-
ile member, to link the condition of prolonged ories of the day. The hostility manifested toward
and painful erections to the increasingly explicit Rabelais’s work in the seventeenth and eight-
theme of (im)moderation in sexual activity. The eenth centuries has sometimes been explained in
lustful god reports on various definitions of the political terms, as an effect of the progressive
term used here to designate an axe blade (coig- embourgeoisement of French society. But it can
née), citing popular poetry and song to authen- also be ascribed, with at least equal justification,
ticate the word’s multiple sexual connotations. to the dominance of classical norms at the time
Rabelais pushes his health metaphor further by of Boileau and La Bruyère, and to their persist-
clarifying that the loss of Couillatris’s “blade” is ence in neoclassical guise in the age of Voltaire.
akin to the loss of sexual health, most likely due Conversely, the enthusiasm of the Romantic gen-
to syphilis, and thus related to diminishing health eration had obviously much to do with their con-
in general. Mercury, here messenger for the gods, viction that a hallmark of great literary works
44 Critical Theory

was their ability to present a complete picture of instinct rather than science and knowledge. This
reality, encompassing in a bold juxtaposition— time it is humanism itself, however defined,
as Rabelais’s book so strikingly did—both the which finds itself rejected as the dominant ide-
sublime and the grotesque elements of human ex- ology underlying Rabelais’s fictional text. Mini-
perience. The correlation between critical ap- mizing in the extreme the role of official high
proach and dominant theory is even clearer at the culture as its source of inspiration, the Marxist
turn of the century, when the prevailing positiv- readings present Rabelais’s work as reflecting ei-
istic mentality and more specifically the deter- ther the totality of human experience at a partic-
ministic literary theories of Hippolyte Taine, ular moment in the inexorable progress of history
with their stress on social milieu and historic mo- toward a better world, or, in the case of Bakhtin,
ment, led Abel Lefranc and his academic follow- its popular origins and the carnivalesque spirit
ers to appreciate Rabelais’s fiction above all for of subversion allegedly permeating every aspect
its alleged realism and its documentary value. of the Gargantua-Pantagruel. Bakhtin’s dog-
Modern critical theories begin to affect the matic contention that Rabelais can only be un-
course of Rabelais criticism some sixty years derstood in the context of popular culture and
later, with Leo Spitzer’s ahistorical approach to folk humor, his emphasis on Rabelais’s use of
textual analysis. When the German philologist, the language of the marketplace, and his valori-
in a memorably scathing article entitled “Rabe- zation of the lower body (at the expense of the
lais et les ‘rabelaisants’ ” (1960), seeks to impose mind) as the productive center of transformation
his conception of Rabelais’s work as an original and renewal, have been seen by some as political
verbal creation rather than a mere recreation of propaganda masquerading as scholarship. Others
preexisting metalinguistic reality, he does so in have viewed it as a welcome antidote to the hith-
the name of a theory which, in its insistence on erto excessive stress on the intellectual content
aesthetic appreciation of form and structure in- of Rabelais’s fiction. But all would no doubt ac-
dependent of any contextual considerations, sit- knowledge that in its new semiotic orientation,
uates itself at the crossroads of Russian Formal- and in its emphasis on the text as a polyphony
ism, New Criticism, and the peculiarly French of alternative voices free from any authorial in-
tradition of the explication de texte. terference, Rabelais and His World played a de-
To the extent that Spitzer’s attack was aimed termining role in ushering in the momentous
specifically at the kind of interpretative studies changes that were to characterize the structuralist
that persisted in the wake of Abel Lefranc into and poststructuralist phase of Rabelais criticism
the 1950s, it also represented one of the first at- in the next decades of its evolution.
tempts to challenge the traditional interpretation Rabelais’s awareness of the problems inherent
of Rabelais’s fictional work as a document pro- in the use of language, and the often ambiguous,
moting the religious and cultural values of Ren- paradoxical, and sometimes ambivalent nature of
aissance humanism. Another more specifically his text had been noted by traditional scholars
ideological challenge to traditional humanistic and critics well before the advent of linguistic
interpretations came at more or less the same structuralism. Recently, critics of poststructural
time from the Marxist wing of Rabelais critics, persuasion such as Jean Paris and, more recently
first in 1955 with a study by Henri Lefebvre, still, Michel Jeanneret, have sought to draw from
then, some thirteen years later, with Mikhail these early insights their fullest consequences.
Bakhtin’s monumental Rabelais and His World. They have also sought to prove, through a new
Le problème de l’incoyance au XVIe siècle, Lu- reading of such texts as the prologue to Gargan-
cien Febvre’s historical, psychological, and so- tua and the episode of the Frozen Words in
ciological study of what Lucien Goldmann was Book 4, that Rabelais had anticipated the theories
to call the “mental structures” at the time of Ra- of structural linguistics about the essential am-
belais, had previously sought to replace the con- biguity and polyvalence of all verbal statements;
cept of rationalistic humanism, which Rabelais’s that his ambiguous, paradoxical, discontinuous
work was alleged to embody, by a new concept text was a direct result of his discovery of the
of the Renaissance as an age of sensibility and contingency of language; and that the prologue,
Critical Theory 45

far from sanctioning the search for a specific most heated controversies in the turbulent history
meaning embedded in the fictional fabric of the of Rabelais criticism. Viewing poststructuralist
book, proposes a new conception of the act of criticism of Rabelais as fundamentally wrong-
reading, in which the reader is responsible for headed in its adoption of an antihumanistic ap-
the interpretation he chooses to impose upon a proach to an essentially humanistic work, rela-
text whose intended meaning will never be tively traditionalist scholars like Gérard Defaux,
known. François Rigolot, and Edwin Duval saw the mod-
Behind such pronouncements, it is not difficult ern critics’ insistence upon the polyvalence of
to detect some of the main tenets of structuralist Rabelais’s text as stemming from their adherence
and poststructuralist theories as they relate to lit- to the fashionable tenets of poststructuralist the-
erary texts: Ferdinand de Saussure’s notion of the ory rather than from a careful reading of Rabe-
arbitrariness of verbal signs and their frequent lais’s text. The modern critics’ equally spirited
inability to signify; Roland Barthes’s proclama- defense of their position can be followed in the
tion of the Death of the Author, and his conten- scholarly publications of the time. Only recently
tion that a text is not to be read as the expression has the polemic lost some of its vehemence, as
of a writer’s thought but as a rearrangement of poststructuralism itself casts an increasingly
what had already been written into a new config- amused and skeptical glance at its earlier preten-
uration offered for the pleasure of the reader; sions.
Michel Foucault’s reflection on the relationship Whatever controversy still surrounds Rabelais
between words and things; Lacan’s rejection of studies can be found above all in the application
the idea that a text can reveal the author’s in- of feminist theories to Rabelais criticism. On the
tended meaning, in view of the role of the un- question of Rabelais’s attitude toward women,
conscious in literary expression; and Derrida’s traditional criticism has been particularly inde-
similar contention, grounded in his deconstruc- cisive. For those who believe that Rabelais did
tionism, that authors always say something dif- not mean to withdraw from the debate but chose
ferent from what they mean to say, because the to express himself through his fictional charac-
unfolding of their text owes more to the laws of ters, it has been relatively easy to point to any
textuality than to authorial intention. number of episodes and statements in which
In an early structuralist “Note sur Rabelais et women are treated either contemptuously or with
le langage” published in Tel Quel in 1963, Jean respect, and to conclude accordingly, with un-
Starobinski pointed out how often an absurd ep- warranted assurance, that Rabelais was either a
isode in Rabelais’s novels is “rectified” in the misogynist, a feminist, neither, or both. The most
one that follows, and saw in this alternation the recent attempt to find a way out of the resulting
main principle of their secret structure. Noting impasse has been to reconsider the problem in
the same alternation between opposing view- the light of modern feminism. Although fifteen
points within any given episode, but rejecting the years have passed since Wayne Booth hailed its
notion of “rectification” as implying an unwar- emergence as the most transformative develop-
ranted belief in authorial intervention, later Rab- ment in Rabelais studies, feminist criticism does
elaisian structuralists postulated such binary op- not seem to have left entirely behind its initial
positions as forming the very essence of polemical phase, and periodically threatens to
Rabelais’s dialectical text. They then endowed it lose sight of Rabelais—in favor of itself—as its
with a plurality of alternative meanings whose legitimate object. Nonetheless, it has already pro-
function was to enrich its thematic complexity posed some intriguingly new interpretations,
while invalidating by their coexistence any at- such as Elizabeth Chesney Zegura’s attempt to
tempt at coherent interpretation. The extremism reconcile Rabelais’s frequently unflattering por-
of this position, and the contention that it was trayal of women with their egalitarian treatment
authorized by Rabelais’s own reflection on lan- at the Abbey of Thélème. She proposes an an-
guage and interpretation, were bound to engen- aphrastic reading of the seemingly misogynous
der, as indeed they did in the 1980s, one of the texts and suggests that they may have been in-
46 Cuckoldry, Fear of

tended as an indirect, inverted satire of men’s Zegura, “Toward a Feminist Reading of Rabelais,”
phallocentric antifeminism (and more generally JMRS 15.1 (1985): 125–34.
of our intolerance of the Other) rather than the Bruno Braunrot
merciless indictment of women they are com-
monly taken to be. Other scholars have enlarged CUCKOLDRY, FEAR OF Along with the
the scope of the investigation by subjecting to question of marriage, fear of cuckoldry forms
a feminist reading a number of aspects not pri- the main framework of the Third Book, as Pan-
marily related to women. (Françoise Charpen- urge is unable to decide whether or not he should
tier’s psychoanalytic approach in her study of marry, and if he does, whether he will be cuck-
the near-exclusion of women from the anthro- olded, beaten, and robbed by his wife. His fear,
pological structure of the giants’ kingdoms, and combined with his acute narcissism, keeps him
Carla Freccero’s similarly oriented study of the in a perpetual state of indecision, and after a long
theme of paternity in her Father Figures: Ge- series of consultations with soothsayers, a nec-
nealogy and Narrative Structure [1991] come romancer, a poet, a philosopher, a doctor, a the-
to mind.) Now that the controversies surrounding ologian, and a couple of fools, Panurge remains
in the same state in which he began. Fear of
poststructural approaches have somewhat died
cuckoldry is a familiar theme in misogynistic lit-
down, it is this feminist criticism, with its inher-
erature, from the Romance of the Rose (Roman
ently interdisciplinary bent, that promises to
de la rose [1225–78]) to The Fifteen Joys of
provide the most innovative perspective on the
Marriage (Les XV joies de marriage [early fif-
complexities of Rabelais’s text in the years to
teenth century]), from fabliaux to farce, where
antifeminist sentiment is brought to the fore
Readings: Richard Berrong, “Finding Antifeminism
through traditional sexist beliefs that in marriage,
in Rabelais; or, A Response to Wayne Booth’s Call
a man ran a threefold risk: the likelihood of cuck-
for an Ethical Criticism,” CI 11.4 (1985): 687–96; Ter-
oldry, the dangers of being browbeaten, and the
ence Cave, Michel Jeanneret, and François Rigolot, impossibility of satisfying the insatiable lust of
“Sur la prétendue transparence de Rabelais,” RHLF his wife. Such sentiments contributed to what be-
(July–August 1986): 709–16; Gérard Defaux, “D’un came known as La querelle des femmes, and it
problème l’autre:Herméneutique de l’ ‘altior sensus’ has been suggested that Panurge’s concerns in
et ‘captatio lectoris’ dans le prologue de Gargantua,” the Third Book represent Rabelais’s contribution
RHLF (March–April 1985): 195–216; Edwin M. Du- to this ongoing debate on the nature of women.
val, “Interpretation and the ‘Doctrine Absconce’ of Readings: Catharine Randall, “Le cocuage hypoth-
Rabelais’s Prologue to Gargantua,” ER 18 (1985): 1– étique de Panurge: Le monde à l’envers dans Le tiers
17; Michel Jeanneret, “Signs Gone Wild: The Dis- livre,” Constructions (1986): 77–86; M. A. Screech,
mantling of Allegory,” François Rabelais: Critical As- The Rabelaisian Marriage (London: Edward Arnold,
sessments, ed. Jean-Claude Carron (Baltimore: Johns 1958).
Hopkins University Press, 1995); Elizabeth Chesney E. Bruce Hayes
DEATH, TREATMENT OF Rabelais’s treat- corruptions that will end only with the Last
ment of death unites a range of influences both Judgment.
classical and contemporary, scientific and artistic. The physical aspects of death are explored in
Also informing his approach is the traditional Rabelais’s scenes of battle, and we can consider
Christian association of death with sin and folly. Gymnaste’s combat against Tripet (G 35) as an
Although it is not possible to present an exhaus- example. Doctor Rabelais describes the mutilated
tive list of allusions to death in these chronicles, human body using vocabulary that evokes a phy-
we can easily isolate four episodes to illustrate sician at an autopsy. These graphic descriptions
the major points of Rabelais’s treatment of this echo the artwork of the period, especially por-
subject. trayals of the danse macabre, the “triumph of
The death of Badebec at the birth of Panta- death,” and Last Judgment illustrations of the
gruel (P 2–3) immediately presents the reader punishment of the damned. Rabelais seems to
with many of the themes to be associated with share this fascination with morbid imagery while
death throughout the mock epic. On a very literal simultaneously revealing a scientific interest in
level, we see the medical reality of the hazards death and dying. With precise description of
of childbirth in sixteenth-century France. The di- limbs severed and organs destroyed by the pass-
lemma faced by Gargantua, torn between joy at ing weapon, the text attempts to pinpoint the
the birth of his son and grief at the loss of his physical location of death, the precise moment
wife, highlights two others. The debate the newly when the mortal body can no longer serve as a
widowed father holds with himself echoes other viable host for the immortal soul.
Renaissance works (Marguerite de Navarre’s The influence of classical thought on death is
“Dialogue in the Form of a Nocturnal Vision” best seen in the death of Raminagrobis (3BK
[“Dialogue en forme de vision nocturne,” c. 21–23) and on the Island of the Macreons. The
1520]) for example) that present the Christian dying poet shows the detachment from this world
survivor wrestling with the desire to grieve at the of those clearly aware they are about to leave it
loss of a loved one and the recognition that the and presents the art of dying well. The conflict
dead in Paradise are better off than they were on between humanists and the proponents of tradi-
earth. This view of death is parodied by Panurge tional piety is highlighted by Raminagrobis’s
in his sermon to the drowning shepherds in the characterization of the clergy as vultures swarm-
Dindenault episode of the Fourth Book (4BK ing around the dying and Panurge’s shocked re-
8). Pantagruel’s birth at the cost of his mother’s action to this characterization. The Island of the
death also introduces the view of the life cycle Macreons (4BK 25–28), populated by elderly hu-
as an economy: life in exchange for death in mans and dying heroes and demons with ruined
exchange for life. This view of death is strongly monuments filling its center, illustrates the mor-
influenced by the Christian message of salvation tality of all created things. In a carefully crafted
that the death of Christ bought eternal life for conversation between Pantagruel and the Ma-
humankind. The economic exchange of life for crobe, Rabelais’s treatment of death and dying
death is also reflected in the letter from Gargan- unifies classical thought and Christian orthodoxy.
tua (P 8), where the ability to produce children Ancient beliefs regarding natural phenomena sig-
is presented as part of a cycle of générations et naling the departure of great souls is supported
48 Debts or Debtors, Praise of

by the testimony of those who witnessed the enues from the property for the next three years.
death of Guillaume du Bellay in 1543. The sug- Rather than spending funds on the erection of
gestion that some souls come to a finite end, a buildings, Panurge had wasted his resources on
view posited by Plutarch’s De defectu oraculo- feasts for his good companions and performed
rum, is corrected by Pantagruel’s assertion of proverbially condemned financial practices such
Christian teaching regarding the soul’s immor- as buying dear, selling cheap, and eating his
tality. His reinterpretation of the tale of the death wheat in the blade (3BK 2). Using Marx’s terms,
of Pan as a revelation of the death of Christ Paris explains that Panurge considers his assets
crowns this Christianization of classical thought for their use value and intends to consume them,
and inquiry. The episode on the island of the Ma- while Pantagruel’s more bourgeois advice is to
creons is the most direct treatment of the subject conserve the resources and property in order to
of death in the four books. Because of its central retain their future exchange value and accumu-
placement within the Fourth Book some critics late worth (183–84).
interpret the entire book as a voyage in the realm As is typical of a mock encomium, Panurge
of the dead. uses and misuses arguments from various sources
Readings: Claude Blum, La représentation de la in his defense, acting in a way that is contradic-
mort dans la littérature française de la Renaissance, tory to the maxims of the oracle of Delphi and
2 vols. (Paris: Champion, 1989); Douglas L. yet claiming he is following the four cardinal vir-
Boudreau-Tiegezh, “Death in the Quart Livre,” RN tues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temper-
37.2 (Winter 1997): 183–91. ance and the three theological virtues of faith,
Douglas L. Boudreau hope, and charity (Screech 1979: 226–28). Still,
Pantagruel condemns Panurge for not following
DEBTS OR DEBTORS, PRAISE OF (3BK 2– Roman sumptuary laws, which forbade the
5) Panurge’s Praise of Debts is the focus of spending of more than one’s annual income in
chapters 2–5 of Rabelais’s Third Book. Rabelais one year and accuses him of having sacrificed all
takes Erasmus for a source in his Praise of of his goods as in a Roman feast (3BK 2). In
Debts, which like the Praise of Folly is mock response, Panurge heretically presents himself as
serious. M. A. Screech sees the passage as Pan- a Creator and praises himself for his creation of
urge’s misapplication of Ficino’s Commentary debts out of nothing, which is metaphysically im-
on Plato’s Symposium in which love is said to possible according to philosophers (3BK 3). Sig-
hold the world together (Screech 1970: 225–26). nificantly, in this regard, Rabelais and Panurge
In his self-justification, Panurge appears as a are similar, with each effecting a creation ex nih-
comic rhetorician presenting debt as the moving ilo.
force of the universe. By declaring those who By definition, Panurge’s spending beyond his
disagree with him to be heretics, Panurge’s spe- means implies the possibility of credit. This pro-
cious arguments in favor of outlandish spending ductive use of signs had been condemned in the
pointedly recall the rhetoric of the priests of the previous (medieval) era. Scholastic economists,
Sorbonne and appear to convey Rabelais’s crit- following Aristotle, had believed that the gen-
icism of Church practices (Screech 227). eration of interest through credit (the fruition of
In chapter 2 of the Third Book, Pantagruel money) was immoral or unnatural since money
gives the wardenship of Salmagundia or Sal- was thought to be fungible or sterile (Lavatori
migondin to Panurge after the war with the Dip- 1996: 66). Nevertheless, letters of credit were a
sodians. Jean Paris (1970) surmises that, since reality in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries for
Pantagruel had earlier given the manor to Alco- funding merchant voyages and the French mon-
frybas Nasier, anagram for François Rabelais, in archy used ultimately worthless banknotes to fi-
chapter 32 of Pantagruel, Rabelais seems to be nance wars. This borrowing, combined with the
indicating to the reader that in some ways Pan- influx of precious metals from the Americas, pro-
urge is to be his mouthpiece in this section (177– duced an inflationary economy that wreaked
78). Paradoxically, we learn that Panurge had havoc on the finances of ordinary citizens. In
mismanaged the property and exhausted the rev- placing the praise of debt in the mouth of the
Decretals 49

apparent fool, Panurge, Rabelais appears to be French monarchy’s obliging and yoking of the
obliquely critiquing royal and Church policies country’s middle class in order to control the
and at least bringing some humor to a phenom- country and its productivity. According to De-
enon that most likely troubled his readers (Ze- berre’s logic, in order to deserve his gift and re-
gura and Tetel 1993: 94–95). However, follow- pay his debt to the monarch, Panurge must marry
ing Aristotle’s comparison of the composition of and produce descendants, which is confirmed by
the state with the parts of the human body in the discussion of Panurge’s potential marriage,
Politics V, Panurge naturalizes debt and com- which follows the praise of debt (19–20).
pares the exchange of money within the state Although Panurge is in effect persuaded to
with the circulation of blood within the body. give up debt, pledging to become the perfect
In his vision of a world without debts, Panurge householder and sporting the spectacles of the
uses the concept of the macrocosm and micro- archetypal Jan Bourgeoys in chapter 7, his de-
cosm which was so important to the Renaissance fense of debts is a depiction of the new oppor-
mind, affirming that without debts the cosmos tunities offered by the creative economic practice
would devolve into chaos and the organs of the of credit, just as the book itself is a representation
human body would refuse to interact because of the productivity of verbal signs from its iden-
nothing would be owed between them (3BK 3). tification with Diogenes rolling his tub in the
In contrast, Panurge invokes Ficinian Platonism prologue. In Panurge’s tirade, the borrowing and
in his vision of a world of debtors and borrowers lending of the parts of the body result in its per-
exchanging in perfect harmony (3BK 4). In point petuation through the eventual creation of off-
of fact, the circulation of blood among the organs spring. Similarly, Zegura (1993) indicates that
of the body is not an accurate representation of debt itself can be seen as a metaphor for the lit-
credit, which implies an abstraction of the proc- erary borrowing characteristic of the Renais-
ess of exchange and includes the concept of risk. sance, which allowed sixteenth-century writers to
However, Marx has indicated that the primitive interact profitably with ancient texts in the re-
basis of credit is a delay of the process of buying newal of antiquity and the generation of new
and selling because when the process of buying meanings (95–96).
is separated in time from the process of selling, Readings: Jean-Christophe Deberre, “La généalogie
relations of debtor and creditor are created, his- du pouvoir dans les trois premiers livres de Rabelais,”
torically before the credit system is established Littérature 50 (May 1983): 15–35; Gerard Lavatori,
(qtd. in Lavatori 1996: 73). Thus, through Pan- Language and Money in Rabelais (New York: Peter
urge, Rabelais can present credit as a naturally Lang, 1996); Michael Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca, NY:
occurring phenomenon. Cornell University Press, 1979); Jean Paris, Rabelais
Nevertheless, identifying debts with lies, Pan- au futur (Paris: Seuil, 1970); Elizabeth Chesney Ze-
tagruel condemns Panurge as a sophist who is gura and Marcel Tetel, Rabelais Revisited (New York:
defending an immoral cause and literally making Twayne, 1993).
money out of his abuse of sophisticated rhetoric Gerard Lavatori
(3BK 5). Pantagruel sees borrowing as a last re-
sort for desperate situations and not as a means DECRETALS (LES DÉCRÉTALES) (4BK 48–
of increasing spending opportunities without 54) The power of canon law and its application
working for them and producing true wealth as to the practice of everyday life in France pro-
a byproduct (3BK 5). Siding with Plato in his vides the material for Rabelais’s satire of the
Laws and the conservative bourgeoisie in its supporters of the Church who put Rome above
practices, Pantagruel condemns loans that are not both Christian charity and the smooth running
productive and only permit consuming beyond of public order in France. In the twelfth century,
resources (Paris 1970: 180). Pantagruel ulti- Gratian sought to organize canon law into the
mately pays Panurge’s debts and authoritatively document that became known as the Decretum,
ends the debate, simply telling Panurge to drop which Pope Gregory IV later organized into
the issue (3BK 5). Jean-Christophe Deberre five books. Subsequent books were added: Liber
(1983) shows that this generosity reflects the Sixtus, by Boniface VIII, Clementinae, under
50 Decretals

Clement V, and finally Extravagantes by John contact. For each misapplication of the “holy”
XXII. book and subsequent bungled task, Homenaz
Arriving at the Island of the Papimaniacs cries “Miracle! Miracle!”
(L’Isle des Papimanes), Pantagruel and his With a final flourish, Homenaz recommends a
band discover that the same Decretals have be- Decretalist for all positions of responsibility: em-
come the object of adoration, along with the peror, captain, general, governor, crusader, and
Pope himself, by the Papimaniacs and their so on. Without the Decretals, all the universities
bishop, Homenaz. Through his satire, Rabelais of the world would perish. Worn out by the
attacks the power of the Decretals to protect the sound of his own rhetoric, Homenaz dissolves
clergy against civil and royal authority in France. into tears, beats his chest, and piously and pre-
As Pantagruel touches the gold volume covered tentiously kisses his thumbs, arranged in the form
with “fine and precious stones” that holds the text of a cross.
of the Decretals, he confesses to having an urge The substantive authority in the Papimanie ep-
to hit the local civil officers, as long as they are isode lies not with the empty rhetoric of its
not clerics (“provided that they are not tonsured” bishop, but with Pantagruel and his friends.
[4BK 49]). French humanists resented both the Homenaz’s inflated prose bursts and deflates
revenues flooding toward Rome and the ability when attacked by the vivid language evoking the
of the Church to exempt its clergy from civil law. lower stratum used by Pantagruel and his band.
The chapters devoted to the Papimaniacs de- Repulsed by Homenaz’s reverence for the inap-
velop an elaborate satirical eulogy of the Decre- propriate substitute (the Decretals) for the true
tals, using the same rhetorical devices that we word of God as reflected in the Holy Scriptures,
find in the Praise of Debtors (3BK 3–4) and in Epistémon runs straight to the toilet (“selle per-
the Praise of the Pantagruelion (3BK 49–52): sée”), complaining that the “farce has loosened
enumeration, interrogation, exclamation. Hom- [his] bowels” (“ceste farce me a desbondé le
enaz posits a world held in harmony by the De- boyau cullier” [4BK 51]). Contemplation of the
cretals. However, it is not the vision of Christian Decretals has the opposite effect on Panurge:
harmony set forth by Erasmus and the evangel- “Upon reading [them] I was so constipated that
ists who would reform the Church from within, for more than four or five days I shat only a tiny
but, as Edwin Duval has shown, an anticaritas, ball of dung” (“à la lecture d’icelluy je ne feuz
based on the witch hunt against heresy. Hyper- tant constipé du ventre que par plus de quatre,
bolic rhetoric (“O seraphique Sixiesme,” “O voyre cinq jours je ne fiantay qu’une petite
cherubicques Clementines” “O Extravaguantes crotte” [52]). In order to vilify an official object
angelicques”) combining the names of the later that has profited the Church at the expense of the
books of the Decretals with the bands of angels faithful, Rabelais contrasts the empty praise of
used as descriptors underscores the author’s pa- the unworthy, yet official object with the tough
rodic intention (Duval 1998: 74). The vision and practical language of the “place publique”
seems to illustrate the image of Christian char- (Bakhtin 1970: 167). True evangelism seeks not
ity, except that heretics will be excluded. Indeed, to idolize or worship commentary and texts de-
Homenaz predicts that those who read the texts veloped by the popes, whom the Papimaniacs
will be inflamed “with charity toward [their] falsely adore as “this good God on earth” (“ce
neighbor, as long as he is not a heretic” (4BK bon Dieu en terre”), but to understand the word
51). of God, as transmitted in the Bible, and to prac-
Unconvinced by the inflated rhetoric of the tice true caritas, to be accorded even to sinners
bishop of Papimanie, Pantagruel and his friends and heretics.
engage in debasing the sacred object, the Decre- Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, L’oeuvre de François
tals, by putting them to unseemly use: toilet pa- Rabelais et la culture populaire au moyen âge et sous
per, wrapping for medicine, patterns for dress- la renaissance, trans. Andrée Robel (Paris: Gallimard,
making, and face masks. But the Decretals end 1970); Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s Quart
up spoiling everything with which they come in Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1998); Deborah
Devils and Demonology 51

Losse, Rhetoric at Play, Rabelais and Satirical Eulogy to veil his meaning in order to avoid horrible
(Bern: Peter Lang, 1980). punishment, it is truly a unique masterpiece.
Deborah Nichols Losse Readings: Le Cymbalum Mundi, ed. Franco Gia-
cone (Geneva: Droz, 2003); Max Gauna, “Pour une
nouvelle interpretation du Cymbalum Mundi,” Lettre
DES PÉRIERS, BONAVENTURE (c. 1510–c. Clandestine 6 (1997): 157–72; Max Gauna, Upwell-
1544) Bonaventure would be known only as a ings: First Expressions of Unbelief in the Printed Lit-
talented but minor poet and as the equally tal- erature of the French Renaissance (Rutherford, NJ:
ented writer of amusing short stories were it not Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1992).
for the affair of the Cymbalum Mundi, a little Max Gauna
book first published pseudonymously in 1537
and again less than a year later. It was quickly DEVILS AND DEMONOLOGY Rabelais’s
denounced to the religious authorities, judged to novels contain numerous references to devils and
be pernicious, and ruthlessly suppressed. Its first demonology, the medieval and early modern
publisher was imprisoned, and only one copy of “science” describing evil suprahuman beings.
the first edition and two of the second survive. Most of Rabelais’s references are facetious or
In 1538 André Zébédée, a Protestant cleric, de- comical; several are satirical. Traditionally, Ra-
nounced the Cymbalum as the work of an Epi- belais’s demonological references have been
curean who had been a collaborator on Pierre traced to medieval folklore and theater: Panta-
Olivétan’s Protestant translation of the Bible: gruel borrows his name from a diminutive the-
only Des Périers can possibly fit the bill. How- atrical demon who tormented drunkards by fill-
ever, this letter was only discovered in the twen- ing their throats with salt. Panurge claims
tieth century. In 1543 Guillaume Postel dis- familiarity with devils, and the language of Ra-
missed the Cymbalum as the subversive work of belais’s characters, particularly Panurge and
a former Protestant sympathizer, and in 1550 Frère Jean, is filled with references to devils. At
John Calvin excoriated it in his De Scandalis. the end of Pantagruel, the narrator promises to
Further denunciations of Des Périers followed recount in a later book how Pantagruel and his
thick and fast, but all of them were much later companions traveled to Hell, set fire to five of
than the date of Des Périers’s death: no conclu- its rooms, sacked another, threw Proserpina in
sions could therefore be drawn about the author- the fire, and maimed Lucifer by breaking four of
ship of the Cymbalum until the discovery of Zé- his teeth and a horn on his backside (P 34). Sim-
bédée’s letter. The book itself remained ilar exploits are in Teofilo Folengo’s Baldus
notorious, legendary even, until the surviving (which, however, leaves its heroes stranded in
editions were discovered and copies were clan- Hell). The Fourth Book narrates peasant en-
destinely circulated. An edition eventually fol- counters with devils (45–47) and ends when Pan-
lowed in 1711, quickly followed by three others. urge battles the cat Rodilardus, whom he mis-
There have been no fewer than three modern crit- takes for a devil (67).
ical editions, whose interpretations vary sharply. Like giants, demons were figures of grotesque
The critical debate still rages, and the question corporeality. Whereas giants were characterized
is, and always was, is the book a satire of Chris- by exaggerated stature, devils’ bodies were sys-
tianity? On balance, it is difficult to deny the ac- tematically incongruous. Art of circa 1460 to
cusation. The Cymbalum is a work of savage yet 1520 depicts the bodies of demons as riotously
delicate irony denouncing the cruelties and idi- hybrid: not only inappropriately placed horns,
ocies of society, for which religion appears but also faces on buttocks, knees, and bellies and
mainly responsible. Its dialogues wrap their mixed mammalian, insect, reptilian, and crusta-
sense in allusion and ambiguity, full of clues that cean forms. (Incongruity afflicted the other races
always leave an escape route for their author in that Rabelais says [P 1] originated at the same
that there is always another possible interpreta- time as giants, but these more clearly recall the
tion. Born of the absolute necessity for its author Plinian “monstrous” races, since their otherwise
52 Dindenault

normal physique exaggerated only one feature: Christians struggled through the Reformation
ears, noses, penises, etc.) and Counter-Reformation, but resumed fero-
“Scientific” demonology between about 1400 ciously from about 1580 to 1630, before gradu-
and 1700 increasingly emphasized the corpore- ally disappearing from scholarly attention.
ality of demons. Public officials actively inves- Rabelais’s early phrase “jusqu’au feu exclusive-
tigated demons as the instigators of “witchcraft,” ment” (only as far as the stake [P prol]) reflects
defined as the transfer of maleficent power from the reality of campaigns against all heresy, not
demons to witches through a pact or contractual just witchcraft.
relationship. Ecclesiastical and lay officials Readings: Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: The
sought evidence of this relationship even when Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford:
no maleficia (specific acts of harmful magic) Oxford University Press, 1997); Brian Levack, The
were alleged against defendants. The most spec- Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 2nd ed. (Lon-
tacular and fantastic features of witchcraft—fly- don: Longman, 1995); Walter Stephens, Demon Lov-
ing, sexual relations between women and de- ers: Witchcraft, Sex, and the Crisis of Belief (Chicago:
mons, and attendance at the sabbat (a transfer of University of Chicago Press, 2002).
Satan’s court from Hell to earth)—were ex- Walter Stephens
tracted from defendants as “confessions” and
prosecuted as evidence of verifiable, corporeal
contact between humans and demons. Treatises DINDENAULT (4BK 5–6) In the Fourth
on witchcraft, written by learned theologians and Book, a sheep merchant from Taillebourg in
magistrates, invoked this “evidence” to refute Saintonge whom Pantagruel and his companions
skepticism about the reality of angels and de- encountered while at sea. Dindenault calls Pan-
mons, which they feared was becoming wide- urge a cuckold, provoking a conflict that esca-
spread. When Pantagruel advises Panurge to con- lates until a peace is imposed between them. Pan-
sult the Sibyl of Panzoust, it cannot be accidental urge, true to form, neither forgives nor forgets
that Epistémon, the most learned of the giant’s and plots to undo the sheep merchant. He ne-
companions, cites classical precedents for fearing gotiates the purchase of a sheep from him, and
she is a witch (3BK 16). Panurge, reacting more Dindenault responds by outlandishly exaggerat-
viscerally, experiences the same fear when he ing the value of his animals. Panurge accepts the
sees her divinatory rituals (17). merchant’s price, selects the largest ram of the
Evidence of demonic corporeality was needed herd, and throws it overboard. The rest of the
to offset the theological definition of angels and sheep follow, with Dindenault and the other
devils as pure or incorporeal spirits. Paradoxi- shepherds jumping in after them in a desperate
cally, since demons had no bodies of their own, effort to prevent the loss of the flock. Panurge,
they could confect bodies, which, being artificial, using an oar, makes sure that none return on
were not constrained by the normal physiology board ship, preaching to them as they drown
of human and animal species. about the misery of this life and the pleasure of
Rabelais’s delight in describing demons im- the next.
plicates both his insight that exaggeration is fun- The Dindenault episode, whose theme was
damentally comic and his ambivalent delight in borrowed from the Maccheronee of Merlin Coc-
mocking superstition and religious intolerance. caie (pseudonym of Teofilo Folengo), is super-
Panurge’s cowardice and illogic animate his fear ficially similar to that of the Haughty Parisian
of devils, while the little demon of Book Four Lady: an offended Panurge exacts a dispropor-
informs a peasant that his land is forfeit to devils tionate revenge on an unwitting victim and con-
because the Pope has excommunicated the dis- siders the whole to be great sport. The episode
respectful “Popefigs.” Conversely, Rabelais’s rel- restores Panurge’s reputation as a trickster,
ative neglect of the theme of witchcraft may be which was clearly established in Pantagruel but
a historical accident: between the 1520s and the seemingly abandoned along with his codpiece in
1570s, witchcraft persecutions and the produc- the Third Book. Reading further into the episode,
tion of witchcraft treatises declined as Western it also serves as a stark reminder of the degree
Diogenes the Cynic 53

to which Panurge is truly a fallen creature, high- rank. But insofar as he had been notoriously
lighting his cowardice and vengeful nature. poor, this is a case of role reversal, akin to others
The incident is rich in meaning. The punish- that Epistémon witnesses.
ment the sheep merchant receives for his gro- Two references concern Diogenes’s pro-
tesque exaggerations reminds the reader of the nouncements on appetites. He is reported to have
lesson of moderation detailed in the tale of called lust “an occupation for people with noth-
Couillatris in the prologue to the Fourth Book. ing else to do” (3BK 31). And in a discussion
In addition, by calling Panurge a cuckold, Din- about the times of day when one should eat, Pan-
denault recalls the transformation Panurge un- tagruel quotes him as saying, “A rich man, when
derwent at the beginning of the Third Book and hungry; a poor man, when he has the means”
reminds us that the purpose of the voyage to con- (4BK 64); the first half of the maxim conveys
sult the Divine Bottle is to settle the question of scorn for social conventions, while the second
Panurge’s marriage. Of equal interest, by refer- adds harsh realism.
ring to Panurge as a “belle médaille de coqü,” Diogenes is also the hero of two anecdotes.
Dindenault allies himself with the Sibyl of Pan- One is told when Pantagruel visits Papimanie, a
zoust, Nazdecabre the mute, Triboullet the fool, land of fanatics who worship the Pope and ven-
and the other oracles of the Third Book who in- erate everything associated with him, including
dicated that after marriage Panurge would be the Decretals (published papal rulings on issues
cuckolded, beaten, and robbed. Panurge’s refusal of doctrine and canon law). Homenaz, bishop of
to accept this prediction is the reason Pantagruel Papimanie, extols at length the allegedly mirac-
and company undertake this voyage to consult ulous effects of these texts (4BK 51). Unimpres-
yet another oracle. His forced reinterpretation of sed by his list of fanciful miracles, Pantagruel
their common message illustrates the kind of de- and his companions mock it with a list of equally
liberate misreading of text that Rabelais feared fanciful mishaps, which they ascribe equally to
and denounced, notably in the Letter to Odet de the Decretals. When Gymnaste describes an
Chastillon and throughout the Fourth Book. archery contest in Guyenne which was vitiated
Other readings of this incident note that by de- because the arrows would not hit a target made
stroying sheep and shepherds, Panurge symboli- from an old volume of Decretals, the tale re-
cally commits violence against Christ and his fol- minds Pantagruel of Diogenes: having watched a
lowers. Defying the biblical injunction against bad archer shoot so wide of the mark that the
revenge (“Vengeance is mine. It’s in the prayer spectators retreated in fear, he stood next to the
book,” as Frère Jan says in the last line of chap- target, asserting that it was the only safe place
ter 8), Panurge brings upon himself and his fel- (52). The story shows Diogenes’s independence
low travelers the trials that will follow. of mind and his aptitude for the telling gesture
Readings: Alice Fiola Berry, The Charm of Catas- which, here, highlights both the archer’s inepti-
trophe (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina tude and the crowd’s timidity and illogicality.
Press, 2000); Elizabeth Zegura and Marcel Tetel, Ra- But why does Diogenes feature here? The point
belais Revisited (New York: Twayne, 1993). of his presence may lie, partly at least, in the
Douglas L. Boudreau nature of the Papimanes, who are a servile mob.
On hearing that Pantagruel and company have
DIOGENES THE CYNIC (413 B.C.–327 B.C.) seen the Pope, they kneel and spend the next
A moral philosopher who advocated a life led quarter of an hour exclaiming, “Oh blessed ones”
according to nature and despised social conven- (49). But their servility is not merely comical,
tions. As a character in Rabelais, Diogenes since it can be used for sinister purposes. Thus,
makes five more or less satirical appearances. On they are led to butcher and humiliate their neigh-
visiting the underworld (P 30), Epistémon finds bors the Papefigues for one insulting gesture. In
Diogenes living in luxury and thrashing Alex- such a context, the reader can easily see the value
ander the Great, who has become a cobbler. His of independence from the crowd, as exemplified
imaginary treatment of Alexander reflects the by Diogenes.
historical Diogenes’s contempt for wealth and The other story concerns Diogenes in Corinth,
54 Dipsodes

when Philip of Macedonia threatened to attack the beginning of the Third Book (2). In spite of
the city (3BK prol.). The Corinthians made fran- several references to Utopia in Pantagruel, Tho-
tic warlike preparations. After watching for some mas More’s ideas (in particular his scorn for the
days, Diogenes took the tub in which he lived, body [Utopia 2.176.10–11]) had little influence
knocked it about, pushed it up a hill, let it roll on those of Rabelais. The encomium of skill over
down, pushed it back up, and so on. The nar- force in Pantagruel’s heroic verses (TLF 17; P
rator underlines the inherent futility of this ac- 27) was paralleled by More (2.202), but it was a
tivity, likening it to Sisyphus with his rock. commonplace of humanist writing on warfare.
When asked, Diogenes explained that he was try- Although the Abbey of Thélème was the most
ing “not to appear the only idle person amid all utopian passage in Rabelais’s novels, there were
this busy population.” The explanation clearly no explicit evocations of More in Gargantua.
focuses on appearances. It may imply that the Utopia did reappear in the first chapter of the
Corinthians were too stupid to distinguish be- Third Book, only immediately to disappear again,
tween substantial military preparations, such as this time for good. Rabelais disagreed explicitly
building defensive works, and Diogenes’s with More: Pantagruel colonized Dipsodia not
equally energetic but wholly futile tub-rolling. In because of the excess population in his own lands
addition, the answer may be taken to mean that (TLF 10–22; P 20–32; cf. Utopia 2.136.4–21),
defense-building and tub-rolling really are equiv- but rather in order to persuade his new subjects
alent—both are equally pointless. Whichever to revere him as did those he transported there.
one’s interpretation, Diogenes’s activity and his Guillaume du Bellay adopted a similar tactic
ostensible explanation of it imply a scathing crit- when he was appointed royal governor in Turin;
icism of the Corinthians. Highlighted in the pro- Guillaume and his brother Jean, the bishop of
logue, this episode foreshadows a theme of fu- Paris, were Rabelais’s mentors and patrons, and
tility which runs through much of the Third they advocated a political course opposed to
Book. The book is largely devoted to Panurge More’s. They pursued greater independence for
and his inchoate wish to marry. Because he is European monarchs like their king, Francis I—
growing old and fears that his still hypothetical or his, Henry VIII—and were suspicious of any
wife will cuckold him, Panurge repeatedly seeks such pan-European authority as the Holy Roman
advice and, above all, reassurance. But Panta- emperor, or the Pope.
gruel advises him (10) that he must simply make Readings: Edward Benson, “ ‘Jamais votre femme
up his own mind and, thereafter, accept his lot. ne sera ribaulde, si la prenez issue de gens de bien’:
This implies, obviously, that pursuing advice is Love and War in the Tiers livre,” ER 15 (1980): 55–
futile and that Panurge’s many consultations are 64; Thomas More, Utopia, ed. Edward Surtz and J. H.
no more useful than Diogenes’s tub-rolling or the Hexter, bk. 2 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
Corinthians’ military preparations. 1965); V.-L. Saulnier, ed., Pantagruel, Textes litter-
Readings: Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabe- aires français (Geneva: Droz, 1965).
lais’s Tiers Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Edward Benson
Jerome Schwartz, Irony and Ideology in Rabelais
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). DISCIPLE OF PANTAGRUEL (LE DISCI-
Ian R. Morrison PLE DE PANTAGRUEL) An anonymous
work of comic geography which recounts the
DIPSODES Dipsodes, or the thirsty, were the voyage of Panurge and his companions around
subjects of Anarche (without authority), the king a series of marvelous islands. The work uses ma-
who invaded Utopia in Pantagruel. V.-L. Saul- terial and characters from Pantagruel and was,
nier identified them in his TLF edition as inhab- in turn, used by Rabelais in the composition of
itants of Pantagruel’s domain, but the confusion the Fourth Book, and by the author(s) or com-
is understandable, since Rabelais confused his piler(s) of the Fifth Book. The first dated edition
fictional domains as well: Pantagruel awarded of the Disciple was produced at Lyon in 1538,
Salmagundi to the author himself at the end of though an undated version exists which may
Pantagruel (TLF 22; P 32)—then to Panurge at have been printed as early as 1533. It enjoyed a
Dogs 55

vogue as a separate text until 1547, when it liographique (Paris, 1927 rpt. New York: B. Franklin,
ceased to be published on its own and was 1968); Le Disciple de Pantagruel, ed. Guy Demerson
thereafter included in various editions of Rabe- and Christiane Lauvergnat-Gagnière (Paris: Nizet,
lais’s collected Oeuvres, thereby blurring the dis- 1982); Abel Lefranc, Les Navigations de Pantagruel
tinctions between authentic and para-Rabelaisian (Paris, 1905; Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1967); John
works, particularly for readers in the latter half Lewis, “Rabelais and the Disciple de Pantagruel,” ER
of the century who may have been unfamiliar 22 (1989): 101–22; J. Schober, Rabelais’ Verhältnis
with the earlier publishing history. Twenty-two zum Disciple de Pantagruel (Munich: Buchdruckerai
editions in all of the Disciple de Pantagruel are von F. Stein, 1904).
known to have been printed under various titles: John Lewis
Panurge is the hero of the first five editions, but
from 1544 onward the eponymous hero becomes DIVINATION See Prophecy and Divination
“Bringuenarilles, cousin germain de Fesse-
pinte.” In the first five editions, Bringuenarilles DOGS Rabelais seems to have had an interest
was an evil giant encountered by Panurge and in dogs. They appear here and there in the first
companions. The initial use of a Rabelaisian three books and seem to be symbolic or emblem-
character as hero of a comic work testifies to the atic of points he is trying to make in the texts
early success of Rabelais’s own creation, a suc- themselves.
cess upon which the author(s) or compiler(s) of The first anecdote involving dogs is, of course,
the Disciple attempted to capitalize, or at least to the famous episode of the Haughty Parisian
keep interest in this character alive. Editions pro- Lady (P 22). As revenge for his rejection by this
duced after 1545 include two chapters lifted ver- lady, Panurge cuts up the sexual organs of a
batim from the 1542 edition of Pantagruel and bitch in heat and sprinkles them over the lady,
material from Les croniques admirables (a late who is then pursued and urinated on by more
non-Rabelaisian Chronique gargantuine), with- than 600,000 dogs (as Panurge had himself been
out regard for textual cohesion. Taking advan- pursued by dogs in chapter 14). Intepretations of
tage of the evident popularity of the Disciple de this episode range from Rabelais’s turning the
Pantagruel, Rabelais himself used elements of lady herself into a bitch in heat (Freccero 61); to
the episodes of the Disciple in the composition an exercise in rhetoric (Bowen 110); to an evan-
of both versions of the Fourth Book: for exam- gelical parallel with the humiliation of Christ by
ple, the general structure of a voyage to various Roman soldiers, in the Book of Matthew (Rigo-
marvelous islands, the description of the “pays lot 1994: 230). Most seem to agree, however,
des Lanternes,” the account of the windmill- that Rabelais is reminding the haughty dame that
swallowing giant Bringuenarilles, the description humans have a physical side, which links them
of the “Isle Farouche” and the “Isle des An- with animals.
douilles” (which Rabelais runs together and can The second well-known reference to a dog is
be seen to have been taken from the 1547 edition in the “Prologe” to Gargantua, where the reader
of La navigation du compaignon à la Bouteille). is invited to imitate the “philosophical dog” from
Similar use is made by the author(s) or com- Plato’s Republic (2.71–173). He should break
piler(s) of the Fifth Book (for example, the de- open the bone and suck out the marrow inside.
scription of the “Isle des Ferrements” [Toolmak- Most readers have assumed that this analogy sug-
ing Island]), and in particular the list of “basses gests that the book contains more meaning on the
dances” which, from its orthography and dispo- inside than appears on the outside—it is one of
sition on the page, can be seen to have been the more “reader-centered” discussions of inter-
taken from Etienne Dolet’s 1542 edition of the pretation in the book. The dog provides a pow-
Merveilleuses navigations du disciple de Panta- erful visual image that shows humans and ani-
gruel, dict Panurge, bound with his important mals to be alike, even when performing the
pirated editions of Pantagruel and Gargantua. cerebral activity of reading.
Readings: Geoffrey Atkinson, La littérature géo- A third reference to a dog is found in the
graphique française de la Renaissance: répertoire bib- Third Book (35). There, Pantagruel sees Gar-
56 Dolet, Etienne

gantua’s dog, Kyne, entering the room and de- prisoned and expelled from the city in 1534, af-
duces that his master is not far away. Here schol- terward moving to Lyon, working as proofreader
ars have seen a reference to the biblical Book of for Sebastian Gryphius and Claude Nourry.
Tobit and an endorsement of the conception of He counted Guillaume and Maurice Scève and
marriage contained there (Céard 332; Screech François Rabelais among his friends. Dolet pub-
243). The dog also provides an interesting link lished his Orations in 1534, dialogues against
to Marguerite de Navarre, who makes a similar Erasmus in 1535, and volume 1 of his monu-
reference in the Suyte des Margverites of 1547, mental Commentaries on the Latin Language in
thus leading some to believe that Marguerite her- 1536 (volume 2 in 1538). The Commentaries at-
self had read the Third Book and that she was tacked both the Gallican Church and the Calvin-
commenting obliquely on it, as well as on the ists, earning Dolet the hatred of both extremes.
Book of Tobit (Bauschatz 396; Frank 248). The In 1536 Dolet was attacked in a street in Lyon,
dog appears as a symbol of fidelity in marriage killing his adversary in self-defense. He traveled
and as an emblem of the need to combine the on foot to Paris and received pardon from King
spiritual and the physical within that relationship. Francis I. Among the guests at the celebratory
Whether or not Rabelais was a dog lover, the banquet were Guillaume Budé, Salmon Macrin,
dog becomes an important symbol in his work. Nicolas Bourbon, Clement Marot, and François
This symbol is sometimes used to deflate human Rabelais. Dolet married in 1538; his son Claude
presumption and at other times to suggest posi- was born a year later. Now an independent
tive values such as tenacity and fidelity, which printer, Dolet published the Genethliacum, ad-
humans share with animals. vice to his son. He earned the enmity of many
Readings: Cathleen M. Bauschatz, “Rabelais and Lyonnese printers as their rival and as an advo-
Marguerite de Navarre on Sixteenth-Century Views of cate of workers’ rights. Perhaps at their instiga-
Clandestine Marriage,” SCJ 34.2 (2003): 395–408; tion, he was imprisoned in 1542 for printing “he-
Barbara C. Bowen, Enter Rabelais, Laughing (Nash- retical” books. He was tried in Lyon, transferred
ville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1998); Jean to Paris, and received another royal pardon in
Céard, La nature et les prodiges. L’insolite au XVII 1543, thanks to the intercession of Pierre Duchâ-
siècle en France (Geneva: Droz, 1977); Carla Frec- tel, bishop of Tulle. Rearrested in 1544 on a
cero, “Damning Haughty Dames: Panurge and the trumped-up charge, he escaped briefly to Pied-
Haulte Dame de Paris (Pantagruel, 14),” JMRS 15 mont, but was caught and condemned to the
(1985): 57–67; Marguerite de Navarre, Les Margue- stake. He was executed on his birthday, August
rites de la Marguerite des Princesses, ed. Felix Frank 3, 1546, at the Place Maubert.
(Paris: Librairie des Bibliophiles, 1873); Plato, “The Readings: Jacques Alary, L’imprimerie au XVIe siè-
Republic,” Great Dialogues of Plato, trans. W.H.D. cle: Estienne Dolet et ses luttes avec la Sorbonne (Ge-
Rouse (New York: Penguin Books, 1984); François neva: Slatkine, 1970); Richard C. Christie, Etienne
Rigolot, “Rabelais, Misogyny, and Christian Charity: Dolet: The Martyr of the Renaissance (London:
Biblical Intertextuality and the Renaissance Crisis of Macmillan, 1880); Etudes sur Etienne Dolet; le Théâ-
Exemplarity,” PMLA 109.2 (1994): 225–37. tre au XVIe siècle, publiées à la mémoire de Claude
Cathleen M. Bauschatz Longeon (Geneva: Droz, 1993).
Florence M. Weinberg
DOLET, ETIENNE (1509–46) Dolet was
born in Orléans, educated there until age twelve, DORIBUS (D’ORIBUS, DORISIUS) The
studied in Paris with Nicholas Bérauld until 1542 Pantagruel (22) appended a passage about
1526, and from 1526 to 1529 in Padua with “nostre maistre d’Oribus” who preached that the
Simon Villanovanus. Briefly secretary to the Bièvre River flowing through the Parisian suburb
bishop of Limoges, he studied law at Toulouse of Saint-Victor had as its source the urine of
until 1534. During two fiery orations, Dolet al- Paris street dogs. Since the title “nostre maistre”
ienated members of Parlement and conservative was reserved exclusively for Parisian doctors of
religious factions by attacking Toulouse for its theology, the preacher lampooned here has been
attitude toward his fraternity. He was briefly im- thought to be either Matthieu Ory or Pierre Doré.
Dream of Pantagruel 57

Matthieu Ory, a Dominican friar born in about Adam Saulnier at Paris in 1542. No other edi-
1492 near Saint-Malo (Brittany), took the doc- tions are known. Up until that date Habert was
torate in theology in 1528. In 1536 King Francis known as a competent poet of allegorical verse,
I named him as an inquisitor and, in 1539, as but the Songe stands out from his other works in
inquisitor general in France. Ory actively sup- both its didactic intent and in its use of Rabelai-
ported censorship of heretical books, helped to sian characters to promote views that are never
convict and execute Etienne Dolet for heresy, explicitly expressed in authentic Rabelaisian
and has been seen as one of the instigators of the chronicles. In the Songe, published during Ra-
Parlement of Paris’s “Chambre ardente” in the belais’s absence in Italy, Habert appears to sup-
early 1550s. In 1554, at the request of Duke Er- port the facultative marriage of the clergy. The
cole II d’Este of Ferrara, King Henry II sent Ory issue was an important one to all major figures
to Italy to convert the duke’s wife Renée de of the Reformation; many were married men
France away from the Reformation. John Cal- themselves who could find no scriptural evidence
vin wrote a tract against Ory’s defense of images that prohibited such marriage. Even Erasmus ad-
in religion; but Calvin and Ory collaborated in mits in some early letters that he can find no such
the arrest of the anti-Trinitarian heretic Michael evidence, though he prefers priests and ministers
Servetus. Ory died in 1557. to be free from the cares of marriage and able to
Pierre Doré, also a Dominican friar and Pari- devote themselves to the love and service of
sian doctor of theology (1532), was born in Or- God. Rabelais himself never discusses the issue;
léans circa 1497. He was a popular preacher in the closest he comes to it in his fiction is to de-
Paris during the 1530s and 1540s, and authored scribe marriage as an honorable institution. In his
thirty-five books, most of them collections of his “contr’abbaye,” the Thelemites are not obliged to
sermons printed in French and many of them re- marry, but if they choose to do so, then they must
printed several times. His sermons drew heavily leave the Abbey (G 50).
on Sacred Scripture, and he became a principal Habert constructs his text around three
voice of Catholic orthodoxy for the people of dreams; in the first (ll. 18–472) the dead Gar-
Paris. In 1554 he became chaplain and spiritual gantua appears to his son to advise him that the
director to Claude de Guise, duke of Lorraine, way to wisdom lies in following the Gospels. Pan
and to several other prominent persons in the the Great Shepherd left a book that tells Man
court of the Guise. He died in 1569. how to find true happiness by becoming a shep-
Readings: James K. Farge, “Doré, Pierre,” Bio- herd after the manner of Tityre (Saint Peter) and
graphical Register of Paris Doctors of Theology, by shunning the contemporary abusive practices
1500–1536 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval of high ecclesiastics. In the second, more light-
Studies, 1980), no. 151: 137–42; James K. Farge, “Ory hearted, dream (ll. 477–590), Panurge describes
Matthieu,” Biographical Register, no. 372: 353–56; his imprisonment at the hands of the Turks and
Francis Higman, “Premières réponses catholiques aux his escape with the help of Melusine, daughter
écrits de la Réforme en France, 1525–c. 1540,” Le of the Sultan; his adventures are loosely based
livre dans l’Europe de la Renaissance (N.p.: Promo- on those described in Pantagruel 10. In the third
dis, 1988); John A. Langlois, A Catholic Response in dream (ll. 595–676), Gargantua reappears to his
Sixteenth-Century France to Reformation Theology: son to reinforce his advice that the son should
The Works of Pierre Doré (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mel- become a berger or shepherd after the manner of
len Press, 2003); Nathanaël Weiss, La chambre ar- those priests of the Primitive Church; just as
dente: étude sur la liberté de conscience en France those priests were allowed to marry if they chose
sous François Ier et Henri II, 1540–1550 (Paris: to do so, so contemporary priests should have the
Fischbacher, 1889). same option, choosing a virtuous and pious
James K. Farge woman as companion. The Songe has also been
interpreted as having suggested to Rabelais some
DREAM OF PANTAGRUEL (LE SONGE DE of the episodes familiar from his later chroni-
PANTAGRUEL) A para-Rabelaisian work cles—for example, the whole debate about the
composed by François Habert and printed by advantages and disadvantages of marriage and
58 Dreams

the qualities to be sought in a good wife, Pan- scholarship on dreams, especially the writing of
urge’s discussion of debts and debtors (Songe, Albumazar.
ll. 556–586), even the equation of the Shepherd Divination by dreams is one of the dozen or
God Pan with Christ familiar from the moving more methods Panurge used to ascertain the fu-
syncretism of the finished Fourth Book. ture of his marriage (3BK 13–14). Some critics
Readings: Alice Hulubei, L’Eglogue en France au have thought that Rabelais was mocking the in-
XVIe siècle (1515–1589) (Paris: Droz 1938); Henry terpretation of dreams in these chapters and that
Lea, A History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian he was broadly skeptical of divination. Both
Church, 2 vols. (London: Watts & Co. 1907); John views have little foundation. Pantagruel specifi-
Lewis, “François Habert, Le Songe de Pantagruel,” cally commends this method, and he cites all the
ER 18 (1985):103–62. above classical authorities, and several others, in
John Lewis order to prove that this form of divination is
“good, ancient, and authentic” (“bonne . . . , an-
tique, et authenticque” [OC 388]). Biblical prec-
DREAMS Rabelais’s writing shows little in- edents added further prestige to this method, no-
terest in dreams before 1546. He sometimes uses tably the examples of Daniel, who had
the words resveur (dreamer) or songe-creux as interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan-
terms of abuse; and in an Epistre to Jean Bouchet iel 2, 4), and of Joseph, who had explained those
of c. 1527 he explores the hallucinations brought of Pharoah (Genesis 40–41). Thus Pantagruel
on by melancholy (OC 1022–1023); but he does concludes: “Sacred texts bear witness [to the
not involve dreams in the fabric of his fiction power of dreams], profane histories confirm it”
until chapters 13–14 of the Third Book. Besides (“Les sacres letres le tesmoignent, les histoires
the professional interest in dreams shown by any prophanes l’asceurent” [OC 389]). This method
Renaissance doctor, Rabelais’s particular fic- gives an answer to Panurge consistent with the
tional use of this theme owes something to one other methods he attempts.
of his own imitators, François Habert, who in The name of Daniel in particular was associ-
1542 had published his Songe de Pantagruel, a ated with a medieval dreambook, which circu-
verse continuation of Rabelais’s earlier book. lated in manuscript throughout Europe, and of
Habert imagines Pantagruel dreaming of future which French editions exist: The Dreams of Dan-
adventures concerning his own forthcoming iel the Prophet, translated from Latin into
marriage, including a dream of a banquet in French (Les Songes Daniel prophete, translatez
which sages offer him advice, a dream of Pan- de latin en Françoys [c. 1510]). Although this
urge returning from Babylon, and a dream of his manual provided interpretations for a popular
father Gargantua coming back from the dead. readership, its material was reworked by contem-
This “songe tresprospere” (“very favorable porary physicians, who were commonly involved
dream”) clearly helped to shape the future Third in oniromancy. One of these, a physician to
Book. Although poets had long made use of the Francis I, was Jean Thibault, who in the 1530s
device of the dreamlike vision of divine, pro- published a work on dreams, The Physiognomy
phetic inspiration, this has no role in Rabelais’s of Dreams and Fantastic Visions (La Phision-
fiction. omie des songes et visions fantastiques des per-
In the Renaissance the most widely practiced sonnes), based on the Daniel dreambook. In this
and most widely accepted form of natural magic work he makes a specific link between dreams
was oniromancy, the interpretation of dreams. and astrology, giving guidance on dreams that
Humanists were familiar with the classical trea- might occur on each day of the lunar month and
tises on the subject by Hippocrates, Aristotle, their medical significance. He also supplies an
Artemidorus, the Neoplatonic work by Synesius, alphabetical list of 277 objects that might appear
and especially the famous commentary of Ma- in dreams, giving their significance. Some prefig-
crobius on the Dream of Scipio, which was a ure Panurge’s concerns about marriage: thus
best-seller in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. “Marrying a woman means trouble” (“Espouser
They might also have some knowledge of Arabic une femme signifie dommage”); “Engag-
Du Bellay, Guillaume 59

ing in conjugal acts with one’s wife spells dan- increasingly bizarre, nightmarish nature of epi-
ger” (“Faire l’œuvre de mariage avec sa femme sodes in the Fourth Book and Fifth Book, gave
signifie peril et danger de sa personne”); advice yet another imitator the idea for a posthumous
is also given on the unfavorable significance of pseudo-rabelaisian work, the Songes drolatiques
dreaming about horns or birds or musical instru- de Pantagruel (1565). This collection of wood-
ments. cuts derived from Bosch and Breughel illustrat-
Treatises and manuals on dreams appeared ing monstrous figures has become associated
throughout the sixteenth century, and Rabelais with Rabelais in many subsequent editions.
had read studies by Ficino, Vivès, Agrippa and Readings: Roland Antonioli, “Rabelais et les son-
Scaliger, who provide him with some of the er- ges,” Cahiers de l’Association internationale des étu-
udition of these chapters. His ideas are close to des françaises 30 (1978): 7–21; François Berriot, ed.,
those of another medical contemporary and royal Exposicions et significacions des songes (Geneva:
doctor, Auger Ferrier, whose treatise appeared in Droz, 1989); F. Berriot, ed., “A propos des chapitres
1549. The underlying principle is drawn from XIII et XIV du Tiers Livre,” RHR 23 (1986): 5–14;
Neoplatonic sources, namely, that during sleep Jean Céard, La nature et les prodiges (Geneva: Droz,
the soul or spirits of the body, no longer required 1977); Richard A. Cooper, “Deux médecins royaux
to sustain bodily functions, were free to leave onirocrites: Jean Thibault et Auger Ferrier,” Le Songe
and to rejoin the spirit world: “Nostre ame . . . à la Renaissance, ed. Françoise Charpentier (St.
s’esbat et reveoit sa patrie, qui est le ciel” (3BK Etienne, 1990); Richard A. Cooper, “Bibliographie
13). Dreams were revered because they were sommaire d’ouvrages sur le Songe publiés en France
thought to contain vague, half-remembered im- et en Italie jusqu’en 1600,” Le Songe: 255–71; Norma
pressions from this night journey of the soul, in- L. Goodrich, “The Dream of Panurge,” ER (Geneva:
cluding material about the future. Droz, 1967): 94–103.
Some of the debate in these chapters turns on Richard Cooper
commonplace medical advice on how to prevent
the body, through disturbances like indigestion, DU BELLAY, GUILLAUME (1491–1543) A
from interfering with the free movement of the French diplomat and long-standing patron,
spirits. Pantagruel makes appropriate recommen- friend, and protector of Rabelais. The first offi-
dations about Panurge’s diet before sleeping. cial record of a meeting between the two men
Other topics include rejection of magical rituals dates from 1534, the year in which Rabelais ac-
associated in antiquity with oniromancy, such as companied Guillaume’s brother Jean to Italy.
that of placing under the pillow certain leaves or Even before that, however, the future physician
precious stones, or even “the left shoulder of the and author may well have met and formed a
crocodile and chameleon” (“l’espaule guausche friendship with the wealthy and well-educated du
du crocodile et du chameleon”). The major Bellay brothers, who according to tradition were
theme, however, is the uncertainty of dreams, as educated at the monastery of La Baumette—the
expressed in the image found in Homer and Vir- same cloister where Rabelais himself is reputed
gil of the two gates of ivory and horn. The Rab- to have taken his priestly vows sometime after
elaisian episode seeks to distinguish between nat- 1510. Although du Bellay, unlike Rabelais, did
ural dreams, which inform the doctor about his not become a monk or enter the priesthood, he
patient’s health, dreams of divine inspiration, by himself was a minor writer, a humanist, a staunch
which God sends us warning, and finally dreams supporter of the French king, and a voice of com-
of diabolical origin, by which Satan cunningly promise and moderation in debates between Re-
seeks to deceive us. Despite this uncertainty, formist and Catholic factions during the 1520s
which Panurge seeks to exploit ingeniously in his and 1530s. During his illustrious career Guil-
own favorable interpretation, Pantagruel is given laume du Bellay, Sieur de Langey, was repeat-
the last word with his confident and amply illus- edly involved in negotiations between Francis I
trated reading of the dream as inauspicious and and Charles V, facilitated the divorce of Henry
as prophesying cuckoldry. VIII by enlisting the support of France, and
The title of Habert’s poem, and no doubt the served as governor of Turin (1537–39) and Pied-
60 Du Bellay, Jean

mont (1539–42). During Langey’s term of office ing the death of Francis I and the accession of
in Piedmont, Rabelais accompanied his patron Henry II. Some scholars even suggest that Ra-
and served him in the capacity of secretary and belais’s stay in Metz during 1546–47, long
naturalist, returning with him to France late in viewed as a period of exile following the publi-
1542. Du Bellay’s death in early 1543 had a so- cation of his controversial Third Book, was in
bering effect on the Gallic physician, who incor- reality a mission for the cardinal, while others
porates the event into his meditation on the hypothesize that the du Bellay family, which had
Death of Heroes (4BK 26–27) in the Fourth connections in Metz, arranged the visit to protect
Book. Rabelais from his detractors. What is certain is
Readings: V.-L. Bourrilly, Guillaume du Bellay, that du Bellay was one of the more colorful and
seigneur de Langey, 1491–1593 (Paris: Société nou- powerful figures of the French Renaissance. De-
velle de librairie et d’édition, 1905); Michael A. spite his powerful position within the Church,
Screech, Rabelais (London: Duckworth, 1979). which garnered him several votes for the papacy
Elizabeth Chesney Zegura upon the death of Paul III, the prelate was known
as a Reform sympathizer and assisted his brother
DU BELLAY, JEAN (1493–1560) French hu- Guillaume in negotiations with the German Prot-
manist, diplomat, and powerful prelate who, like estants during the 1530s. In addition to being a
his brother Guillaume, was a friend and patron diplomat and prelate, Jean du Bellay like many
other humanists was a writer as well, whose lit-
of Rabelais. The earliest documented interaction
erary output includes Latin verse, printed with
between the author and Jean du Bellay dates
Salmon Macrin’s Odes in 1546, and a collection
from 1534, when the physician accompanied his
of lively (but mostly unpublished) correspon-
fellow clergyman, then bishop of Paris and suf-
fering from sciatica, to Rome. Upon his return to
Readings: Richard Cooper, “Les poésies de jeu-
France later the same year, Rabelais dedicated nesse de Jean du Bellay,” Mélanges offerts à Guy De-
his edition of Marliani’s Topography of Ancient merson, ed. Jacques-Philippe Saint-Gérand (Paris:
Rome to Jean du Bellay, whose patronage both Champion, 1993) 97–111; Donald Frame, Rabelais
helped shield the writer against attacks from the (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977); “Jean
Sorbonne and likely enhanced his ability to win du Bellay,” The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia, http://
the ear of powerful and aristocratic audiences. In / D / DU / DU_BELLAY_
1535 Rabelais again accompanied Jean du Bellay JEAN.htm; Remy Scheurer, Correspondance du car-
to Rome, this time for the bishop’s investiture as dinal Jean du Bellay. Tome II: 1535–1536 (Paris:
cardinal; and the author joined the cleric there Klincksieck, 1973); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais
again in 1547, when du Bellay was dispatched to (London: Duckworth, 1979).
supervise the French cardinals in Rome follow- Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
ECOLIER LIMOUSIN (LIMOUSIN skinner of Latin in middle French literature, sug-
SCHOOLBOY) (P 6) A university student gesting that Rabelais’s episode participates in a
traveling from Paris to Limoges whom Panta- widespread genre of linguistic satire.
gruel encounters outside the gates of Orléans. The episode, like others from Pantagruel, also
The Limousin student speaks what the chapter participates in a debate on natural language.
heading identifies as counterfeit French by in- When the Ecolier reverts from his hybrid uni-
serting Latin words with French endings into ver- versity jargon to his native dialect, Pantagruel,
nacular syntax in order, as he claims, to enrich whose violence has induced this change, con-
the French language, or “le locupleter de la re- gratulates him for speaking naturally, though his
dundance latinicome.” In fact, posterity has in speech is equally strange in both instances. By
part vindicated his efforts since many of his un- juxtaposing a regional dialect with a national lan-
usual words have since entered standard French guage and a professional jargon, this chapter
usage, rendering his speech less strange than it seems to relativize the notion of natural language
would have been to Rabelais’s first readers. In and to substitute for it an ideal of national usage,
the story, Pantagruel punishes the Ecolier for his somewhat like chapter 9 where Panurge speaks
pretentious speech, causing him to revert to his in various languages before making himself un-
native Limousin dialect. The episode ends with derstood in French.
a resounding victory for common usage rein- One way to deepen our understanding of the
forced by an appeal to Julius Caesar’s condem- Ecolier Limousin is to examine his strange Lat-
nation of archaic diction recorded in Aulus Gel- inate diction more closely and to attempt to iden-
lius’s Noctes Atticae. tify its literary antecedents. The Ecolier employs
The encounter between Pantagruel and the a variety of Latinate forms, including the prefixes
Limousin scholar has provoked a great deal of sub, omni, and super, the suffixes bond, come,
commentary, some of it indignant and some in- ose, and ique, and superlatives in issime. How-
terpretive. The first critic to respond to the epi- ever, by far the most distinctive lexical feature
sode was Etienne Pasquier in a letter addressed of the Ecolier’s speech is his insistent use of the
to Claude de Kerquefinen dated circa 1560, Latin diminutive endings ulus or culus. He uses
where Pasquier identifies the Ecolier as a parody no fewer than thirteen of these diminutives in the
of Hélisenne de Crenne, author of the novel Les course of the chapter, including eleven nouns and
angoysses douloureuses d’amour. Pasquier initi- two adjectives. The same diminutive form recurs
ated a common theme of Rabelais criticism when constantly in the hybrid prose of Francesco Co-
he labeled the Ecolier’s language “un langage lonna, arranged in the most impossible combi-
escorche-latin,” or skinned Latin. Subsequent nations with other ostentatious Latinisms. Thus,
critics have pointed out that one of the first when the Ecolier admires “ces meritricules ami-
phrases pronounced by the Limousin replicates a cabilissimes,” we can detect an unmistakable
phrase from the preface to Geoffroy Tory’s echo of the Hypnerotomachia. At the same time,
Champ fleury where the author deplores certain according to Jacques Chomarat and others, the
linguistic abuses, including those perpetrated by diminutive form ulus is one of the most distinc-
the “Escumeurs de Latin.” Criticism has identi- tive features of Erasmus’s prose style, deriving
fied numerous other references to the skimmer or most likely from the influence of Lorenzo Valla’s
62 Economy, in Renaissance France

Elegantiae. In this way, when he imagines the itself was often understood in terms of one’s re-
extravagant speech of his Limousin scholar, Ra- lationship to the prevailing mode of production.
belais offers us not so much a moral satire as a Hence, the Renaissance defined society (at least
verbal experiment, what Raymond Queneau its productive part) in three distinct categories,
called an exercise of style, following in the tra- each related to its respective economic function:
dition of some of the most original prose writers laborers, craftsmen, and merchants. The negative
of the European Renaissance. image of merchants during the Middle Ages was
Readings: Jacques Chomarat, Grammaire et rhéto- rapidly changing. The secular became irremedi-
rique chez Erasme (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1980); ably separated from the sacred, and work increas-
Gérard Defaux, Pantagruel et les sophistes (The ingly preoccupied the centralized state. Images
Hague: Nijhoff, 1973); Georges Gougenheim, “La re- and metaphors based on production, exchange,
latinisation du vocabulaire français,” Annales de and accumulation abound during the Renais-
l’Université de Paris 29 (1959): 5–18; Etienne Pas- sance. Economic terms found their way into the
quier, Choix de lettres sur la littérature, la langue et literary works of the time, especially Rabelais.
la traduction (Geneva: Droz, 1956). The novelty is that this lexicon defined social
Eric MacPhail relations as well. Once freed from religious con-
siderations, economic discourse shaped and re-
ECONOMY, IN RENAISSANCE FRANCE defined the linguistic practices of everyday life.
The Renaissance enjoyed a period of economic The historian Fernand Braudel defined the
growth without precedent in history. It was the Renaissance as a time of economic exchange, but
age of the Fugger and the Medici, two families it was also a time of monetary change. The di-
who grew rich through commerce and controlled versity of currencies (coins) that circulated
the banking system in important marketplaces throughout Europe required a stable system of
such as Lyon and Antwerp. During the sixteenth exchange to facilitate commerce. In his Treatise
century, the internationalization of capital was of Merchandise and the Perfect Merchant, Be-
not only a European phenomenon but also a nedetto Cotrugli spoke of currency exchange as
world reality. The “discovery” of the New World the essential seasoning for all sorts of commerce.
and the creation of trading posts in the Orient New practices started to appear on markets (dry
enabled commercial capital to acquire a global change, manual change, letters of exchange,
dimension. The circulation of goods intensified etc.), and the Italian merchant-bankers intro-
within a continually expanding market that duced new accounting techniques in France. The
crossed political and cultural boundaries. The iconography of the Renaissance provides numer-
new breed of merchant travelers, like Dinden- ous images of merchants and bankers involved
ault, adapted to cultural differences with relative in changing or weighing golden and silver coins.
ease. Business was in general free of prejudices, Once again, literature offers us a good under-
and the bourgeoisie accepted diverse mores and standing of the importance of changing money
customs as long as they did not interfere with its in the Renaissance. Panurge, for example, was
primary economic activity. A product of this new an expert in the art of changing coins for profit.
cultural logic was a utilitarian vision of the world Money rapidly became the social sign par excel-
that promoted the free circulation of individuals lence, providing the measure of success or failure
throughout the world. In many respects, it resem- in any number of human endeavors.
bled what we would in modern terms call “free If one cannot, per se, speak of political econ-
trade.” omy during the Renaissance (Montchrestien will
The very notion of work was also redefined in coin the term in the early seventeenth century),
the Renaissance. Indeed, the social and eco- we can nonetheless assert that economic consid-
nomic reality of the time placed labor and pro- erations increasingly occupied a central place in
duction at the heart of all human activities. Work moral, social, and even religious matters during
became so prevalent in defining the individual the Renaissance. Inflation, lending, debts, usury,
that it invaded all spheres of human endeavors, hoarding and the building up of capital, market
including literary and artistic production. Society protections, and the like, generated numerous
Education 63

discussions which transcended their immediate wide-ranging curriculum based mainly on texts
economic reality. Once more, Rabelais offers his from antiquity, Rabelais’s treatment of education
own comic reflection on these problems (see, for is also informed by the birth/education/prowess
example, the famous Praise of Debts, or the ep- format of fifteenth-century chivalric tales, by the
isode of the Chats-fourréz in the Fifth Book). educational thrust of the epic and of initiatory
Despite the rapid expansion of markets, one myths in general, and by the heated confrontation
must also recognize that, for most sixteenth- in early sixteenth-century France between the
century people, the region remained the imme- New Learning and the scholastic canon.
diate environment for daily life and work. For While the theme of education subtends all five
the vast majority of the population, the provincial Books of Pantagruel, it is in the letter on learning
and local markets represented the world. Unlike from Gargantua to Pantagruel (P 8) and in the
merchants, laborers and craftsmen depended on six chapters chronicling Gargantua’s own edu-
local markets for their economic well-being. At cation (G 14–15, 21–24) that Rabelais confronts
this level, innovations multiplied as local travel pedagogical issues most directly. In the famous
became easier. The improvement of roads and letter, which like Alberti’s Book of the Family
rivers facilitated the distribution of goods and ac- links the young gentleman’s learning to the glory
celerated the circulation of foodstuffs. The pe- of his family and the progress of humankind,
riod’s literature exploited images of local peas- Gargantua exhorts his son to become an “abyss
ants en route to market. The city was rapidly of knowledge,” a Gallic version of Italy’s Ren-
becoming the center of all economic activities. aissance Man or uomo universale. Borrowing
The episode of the fouaciers or bakers in Gar- language that dates back to Petrarch, the Uto-
gantua provides a glimpse of this new reality, pian king decries the “darkness” of medieval
where even war is sparked by a breakdown in pedagogy, which he mocks elsewhere for its rote
regional commerce. repetition and intellectual closure, and extols the
Readings: Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Cap- “light” of classically inspired studies. The am-
italism, 15th–18th century, 3 vols. (New York: Harper bitious course of studies Gargantua lays out for
& Row, 1982–84); Philippe Desan, L’imaginaire his son modifies and expands the medieval Triv-
économique de la Renaissance (Paris: Presses de ium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) to include the
l’Université de Paris IV—Sorbonne, 2002); Immanuel languages of humanistic scholarship (classical
Wallerstein, The Modern World-System: Capitalist Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldean),
Agriculture and the Origins of the European World- Greek and Roman rhetorical models (Plato and
Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Aca- Cicero), and history, a shibboleth of humanistic
demic Press, 1974). curricula. In addition to covering the Quadrivium
Philippe Desan (geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy),
which Pantagruel begins at the age of five or six,
EDUCATION A central theme of Rabelais’s Gargantua rounds out his humanistic curriculum
mock epic and of numerous other Renaissance with civil law (in opposition to the canon law
works. The intellectual ferment of the restitutio typically taught in French universities), the nat-
litterae, which took hold in Italy in the late four- ural sciences, and medicine; advocates the study
teenth century and swept northward during the of biblical texts in the original Greek and He-
next two hundred years, brought with it a reas- brew; and, in typical Renaissance fashion,
sessment of the medieval cursus studiorum and stresses the importance of both military training
an outpouring of alternative educational models, and morality. The letter’s apparent value as an
including The Education of the Gentleman (c. educational model is strengthened by the rollick-
1404) by Vergerius, The Education of a Chris- ing satire of the scholastic antimodel—its logic,
tian Prince (1516) by Erasmus, and On the rhetoric, institutions, and scholarly writings—in
Transmission of Knowledge (1531) by Juan Luis adjacent episodes and by the typically humanistic
Vives. Inspired in part by humanistic pedagogi- chronology and interpersonal dynamics of the
cal models of this type, which advocate time- curriculum that Gargantua outlines.
efficient, stimulating methods of teaching and a Although Pantagruel’s first teacher is his fa-
64 Emblems

ther, the archetype of authority and tradition, ing. Although not universally accepted, this cau-
Gargantua chooses to instill in his young son a tionary reading finds partial support in the more
“taste” for mathematics and music rather than overtly skeptical Third and Fourth Books, which
force-feeding him, thereby awakening in Panta- explore alternate sources of information (inter-
gruel an appetite for knowledge and preparing views with learned men, forays into the occult,
the prince to become an active agent in his own geographical exploration), the gap between learn-
education. To be sure, Gargantua advocates ex- ing and doing, the value of self-knowledge, and
tensive memorization, which might seem at first the problematic nature of truth in a pluralistic
to align the king with his own scholastic tutors world (see also Humanism; Scholasticism).
(G 14–15). If the humanists frequently scoff at Readings: Gerard J. Brault, “ ‘Ung abysme de sci-
the medieval penchant for “memorizing by rote,” ence’: On the Interpretation of Gargantua’s Letter to
however, proto-Renaissance theorists such as Pantagruel,” BHR 28 (1966): 615–32; Gérard Defaux,
Manetti (On the Dignity and Excellence of Man Pantagruel et les sophistes. Contribution à l’histoire
[De dignitate et excellentia hominis], 1396) de l’humanisme chrétien au XVIe siècle (The Hague:
nonetheless embrace memory itself as a sine qua Nijhoff, 1973); Edwin M. Duval, “The Medieval Cur-
non of man’s dignity and ability to progress. Far riculum, The Scholastic University, and Gargantua’s
from proposing a methodology based solely on Program of Studies (Pantagruel, 8),” Rabelais’s In-
memorization, moreover, the king engages a hu- comparable Book (Lexington, KY: French Forum,
manistic tutor (Epistémon) for his son to emu- 1986); Elizabeth Zegura and Marcel Tetel, Rabelais
late and converse with; emphasizes the impor- Revisited (New York: Macmillan, 1993).
tance of observation, discussion, and judgment; Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
and addresses the imperative for doing as well as
learning. EMBLEMS Pantagruel, published in 1531 or
In his Gargantua, written two years later, Ra- 1532, appeared at about the same time as the first
belais adds painting, sculpture, physical educa- book of emblems, the Emblematum libellus of
tion, and even the study of industry and tech- Andrea Alciato. This emblem book was pub-
nology to his giant’s curriculum, which is lished in Augsburg in 1531 and in Paris in 1534
remarkable for its innovative methods as well as by Chrétien Wechel, with each of the 113 Latin
its ambitious content. In contrast to the scholastic emblems accompanied by a complementary
system of Thubal Holoferne and Jobelin Bridé (G woodcut in Wechel’s edition. Several other Par-
14–15), which is so boring and repetitive that it isian editions quickly followed, including a
causes young Gargantua to regress, the time- French translation by Jean Lefevre. An emblem
efficient and interactive curriculum designed by book, properly speaking, should have a tripartite
Ponocrates, the humanistic tutor who replaces the structure like that of Alciato’s book, with each
theologians, actively seeks to engage the stu- entry consisting of a picture, motto, and short
dent’s interest and intellect. Lively discussions, text (either poetry or prose). The texts often re-
first-hand observations, and hands-on experience sembled those in books of proverbs. The picture
supplement traditional book learning, and instead is not exactly an illustration, and the motto is not
of being restricted to a stationary classroom or exactly a caption. In a true emblem book, the
chapel, young Gargantua is taught in different parts together express an abstract, moral, or spir-
rooms of the castle and makes field trips to a itual truth, and the reader must participate in de-
plethora of sites. ciphering the meaning suggested by each em-
Because Rabelais’s treatment of education is blem. There were also books of personal or
interwoven into a mock-epic framework, some heraldic devices (imprese in Italian) with mot-
scholars contend that his fictional curricula, and toes, often with symbolic content. Gargantua’s
particularly the letter on learning, function more hat medallion was such a device (G 8).
as satires of scholastic encyclopedism or as par- Between the first publication of Pantagruel
odies of humanistic hubris than as either serious and the publication of the expanded version of
pedagogical models or tributes to the New Learn- the Fourth Book in 1552, several emblem books
Emblems 65

appeared in France. The popularity of emblem trologers” (“Contre les astrologues”) with an as-
books may have contributed to the appeal of Ra- trologer pointing to the sun, moon, and stars,
belais’s works, and vice versa. Among contem- accompanied by a poetic text stating that it is not
porary emblematic publications were the Theatre for us to know the secrets of the heavens, but for
of Virtuous Devices (Theatre des bons engines) God (fK6v).
by Guillaume de La Perrière and the Hecatom- Renaissance readers approached various types
graphie of Gilles Corrozet, both published in of books with text and images, such as the Hi-
1540 in Paris by Denis Janot. This same pub- eroglyphics of Horapollo, with the idea of dis-
lisher had produced Les cronicques du roy Gar- covering arcane meanings and hidden symbol-
gantua et qui fut son pere et sa mere (c. 1532), ism. Moreover, Renaissance books without
as well as The Disciple of Pantagruel (Le disci- emblematic pictures sometimes contained em-
ple de Pantagruel [c. 1538?]), each with a full- blematic structure, featuring descriptive visual
page woodcut illustration on the title page. The imagery in juxtaposition with narrative or ex-
Cronicques featured David and Goliath with an planatory text. The combination of this imagery
army of soldiers with spears behind the two main and text functioned emblematically, so that read-
figures, and the second work (usually referred to ers could comprehend the hidden message by
as the Navigation) depicted a gigantic Pantagruel “reading between the lines.” Much of Rabelais’s
holding the Divine Bottle. Other books by Ra- writing functions in this manner, for example, his
belais were published in Lyon, a hotbed of Al- descriptions of the hideous Furry Cats (Chats-
ciato publishing by Bonhomme and Rouille be- fourrez) and of the glorious Androgyne. The Di-
tween 1548 and 1552. Sebastian Gryphius in vine Bottle was often illustrated in technopa-
Lyon issued several works edited by Rabelais, egnia (the words reflecting the shape of the
including texts relating to medicine in the early object), another emblematic approach to litera-
1540s. During this same period, Gryphius pub- ture. As we have come to realize, the hidden
lished a textual edition of Horapollo’s Hiero- meanings in Rabelais expressed his Evangelical
glyphics (Hieroglyphica), which was followed by sympathies and the tenets of Renaissance Neo-
illustrated editions in Paris. Renaissance scholars platonism. For Neoplatonism, the image was a
thought that Horapollo’s symbols contained an- vital link between external reality and the essence
cient, pristine wisdom; this “essence” of truth is of truth; what we now call “applied emblemat-
a recurring theme in Rabelais’s opus. ics” was one of Rabelais’s most fruitful literary
Although Gargantua includes satirical treat- tools.
ment of both heraldic devices and emblems, il- Readings: François Rigolot and Sandra Sider,
lustrated editions of this text present several pic- “Fonctions de l’écriture emblématique chez Rabelais,”
tures that should be read emblematically. An EC 28.2 (1988): 36–47; Daniel Russell, “A Note on
example is a woodcut in the Gargantua of 1547 Panurge’s ‘Pusse en l’aureille’,” ER 11 (1974): 82–87;
published in Valence, in which one man points Daniel Russell, “Panurge and His New Clothes,” ER
another toward the entrance to the Abbey of 14 (1977): 89–104; Martine Sauret, Gargantua et les
Thélème, with a poetic text below the woodcut délits du corps (New York: Peter Lang, 1997); Jerome
explaining precisely what types of people are not Schwartz, “Gargantua’s Device and the Abbey of Thé-
permitted to enter the abbey (226). Another ex- lème: A Study in Rabelais’ Iconography,” YFS 47
ample is a woodcut in the Gargantua published (1972): 232–242; Jerome Schwartz, “Scatology and
in Lyon in 1542, with two women and a man Eschatology in Gargantua’s Androgyne Device,” ER
seated at a table with various objects on it. This 14 (1978): 265–275; Michael Screech, “Emblems and
enigmatic picture opens the chapter of the enig- Colours: The Controversy over Gargantua’s Colours
matic prophecy (f. 151v). There are also many and Devices (Gargantua, 8, 9, 10),” Mélanges
thematic connections between Rabelais’s books d’histoire du XVIe siècle: Offerts à Henri Meylan (Ge-
and subjects treated in contemporary emblem neva: Droz, 1970) 65–80; Sandra Sider, “Emblematic
books. Corrozet’s Hecatomgraphie features sev- Imagery in Rabelais,” Diss. University of North Car-
eral such topics, such as an emblem “Against As- olina, 1977; Florence Weinberg, “Layers of Emblem-
66 Encyclopedism

atic Prose: Rabelais’ Andouilles,” SCJ 26.2 (1995): terpret Rabelais in this way, one has to argue that
367–377. Thaumaste’s reference to the “Encyclopedia” that
Sandra Sider Panurge has communicated to him also refers,
more implicitly, to the education received by
ENCYCLOPEDISM Rabelais refers twice to Pantagruel in earlier chapters. This reading is
the “encyclopedia,” by which he means the “cir- strengthened by the verbal echo between Thau-
cle of learning.” Thaumaste, the “great scholar” maste’s “abyss of the Encyclopedia” and the
from England, wishes to test Pantagruel’s learn- “abyss of knowledge” which Gargantua urged
ing but is treated instead to a disputation, in sign Pantagruel to acquire through his education (P
language, with Pantagruel’s “disciple” Panurge, 8). However, this high-minded reading needs to
whose obscene gestures Thaumaste interprets as be balanced against the fact that this alleged “En-
revealing the occultist knowledge transmitted by cyclopedia” is revealed to Thaumaste only by
Pantagruel: “He [Panurge] has uncovered for me Panurge’s obscene and scatological gestures.
the true well and abyss of the Encyclopedia” (P Rabelais represents the “Encyclopedia” as in-
18). This term would have struck many contem- volving occultist knowledge in particular. Thau-
porary readers as unfamiliar, as esoteric in itself. maste thinks he has been discussing with Pan-
It had only entered the French language some ten urge not only philosophy but also magic,
years earlier, in about 1522, in one of the various alchemy, the kabbala, geomancy, and astrol-
works in which Rabelais’s correspondent Guil- ogy. Indeed, the only other place where Rabelais
laume Budé, the great humanist, meditated on uses the term (in a deformed version) is on the
the “circle of learning” that had been called en- title page of the 1544 almanac that he probably
kyklios paideia by the ancient Greeks, orbis doc- composed, under the name of “Seraphino Cal-
trinae by the ancient Romans, and encyclopedia basy, doctor in the most noble discipline of as-
by Italian humanist grammarians such as Angelo trology and medicine of the entire Encyclope-
Poliziano. This “circle” meant different things at dia.”
different times. For the ancients, it was not in the Soon after Rabelais’s time, some book com-
least esoteric but instead largely denoted a cycle pilations of learning began to be called encyclo-
of preliminary, propaedeutic instruction given to pedias. Certain modern scholars, going beyond
boys in order to teach them philosophy (the actual occurrences of the term, have defined as
Greeks) or rhetoric (the Romans, who based this Renaissance encyclopedism any attempt to
cursus mainly on the liberal arts—see Quintil- shape knowledge—whether in a book or in the
ian, The Orator’s Education, 1.10.1). In the late learner’s mind—into an internally coherent circle
fifteenth century, for Poliziano and others, this of learning, set out in a metaphysically signifi-
“circle” was even more substantial: the encyclo- cant order. Renaissance encyclopedism, in its dif-
pedia now consisted in detailed knowledge of the ferent varieties, differed from its modern coun-
extant corpus of ancient texts; that knowledge terparts in that it did not claim exhaustiveness:
qualified a person to practice philology. Eras- only knowledge deemed necessary was included
mus put greater emphasis on study of the Bible in the circle of learning. It was not until the En-
as the most valuable outcome of this humanist lightenment Encyclopédie that the modern notion
“circle of learning.” Budé’s notion of the ency- of the encyclopedia as a comprehensive, alpha-
clopedia was influenced by both Erasmus and betically arranged reference work began to be-
Poliziano. These humanist notions of the “circle come dominant.
of learning” differed from ancient ones in that Readings: Guy Guedet, “Guillaume Budé, parrain
they emphasized extraordinary erudition rather d’‘encyclopédie’ ou le vrai texte de l’Institution du
than ordinary education. prince,” Le génie de la forme: Mélanges de langue et
It is possible that Rabelais is imagining, in the littérature offerts à Jean Mourot (Nancy: Presses
figure of Pantagruel, an amazing synthesis of Universitaires de Nancy, 1982); Neil Kenny, The Pal-
these twin ideals: the giant’s extraordinary eru- ace of Secrets: Béroalde de Verville and Renaissance
dition, that so impresses Thaumaste, is the out- Conceptions of Knowledge (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
come of his adolescent cursus of studies. To in- 1991); Franco Simone, “La notion d’encyclopédie:
England 67

élément caractéristique de la Renaissance française,” Burton; the satirist (and future bishop) John Hall;
French Renaissance Studies, 1540–70: Humanism and and King James I. Many relished and sometimes
the Encyclopedia (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University imitated his verbal inventiveness, others his fan-
Press, 1976). tasy, and yet others his scatology or similar ges-
Neil Kenny tures toward Carnival materialism—gestures
sometimes oversimplified or misread as the myth
ENGLAND Estimating Rabelais’s reception in of Rabelais the dirty-mouthed celebrator of drink
early modern England and Scotland is compli- and sex took hold. With some exceptions, most
cated by the presence of a now lost chapbook, of those who left evidence of having read or
probably called The History of Gargantua, trans- heard of Rabelais were from a set of overlapping
lated from the Croniques admirables sometime social and intellectual circles: the court, the the-
around 1567, and by the Songes drolatiques Pan- ater, and the legal world of London’s Inns of
tagruel (1565), ascribed to Rabelais on its title Court. To quote or name him was, in these cir-
page and used by Inigo Jones to help costume at cles, to signal an urban(e) wit, good education,
least one court antimasque. Many allusions to and, sometimes, a touch of what would in France
Gargantua in the period must mean the chap- come to be called a “libertin” attitude: skeptical,
book giant, even if as Rabelais became better amused, worldly.
known some must have equated them. Other That very tone led others, especially those of
pseudorabelaisian works had minimal impact, al- a “Puritan” persuasion, when writing polemics or
though in 1628 the satirist and explorer Robert moral treatises to cite Rabelais with dislike or
Hayman translated two poems by François Ha- contempt and to besmirch opponents by associ-
bert which he thought were by Rabelais because ating them with his supposed drunkenness, athe-
they were published in some editions of Rabe- ism, and ridiculous fictions. Sometimes the vil-
lais’s Oeuvres. lain is Gargantua, who may or may not be the
The role of Rabelais’s own works in the Eng- Rabelaisian giant, but often he is Rabelais him-
lish or Scottish imagination can be traced self, the writer’s Bacchic imagery and exhorta-
through borrowings (most extensively in John tions read literally as personal alcoholism and his
Eliot’s Ortho-epia Gallica, 1593) and the admir- Franciscan (or Humanist) anticlerical humor read
ing or dismayed allusions that began slowly in as cynical irreligion. It is this other reputation,
the later sixteenth century and increased rapidly one that would prosper in later centuries but with
thereafter. Those wishing to read Rabelais would a more positive spin, that explains the occasional
have welcomed Randle Cotgrave’s 1611 French- ambivalence in individual English reactions to
English dictionary, which cites him frequently Rabelais. Edmund Spenser’s friend Gabriel Har-
and at times imitates his style. In 1653 Thomas vey, to cite the clearest example, praises Rabelais
Urquhart published a translation of the first two in the manuscript marginalia he scribbled in var-
books with a verve and imagination that have ious books but denigrates him in printed attacks
never been surpassed. He also did a partial trans- on his enemy Thomas Nashe.
lation of the Third Book, and this, together with Did Rabelais have much influence in the Brit-
a more subdued English version of the remaining ish Isles? One can find traces of him in the writ-
two books was published by the Huguenot émi- ings of Philip Sidney, Ben Jonson, and Francis
gré Peter Motteux in 1693–94. Bacon. Others, most notably Harington and the
The list of those who quoted or alluded to Ra- irrepressible Thomas Nashe, may have learned
belais before he was translated is impressive. It something about verbal tumble from him, about
includes John Donne; the great antiquary John lists or other methods of verbal proliferation,
Selden; Ben Jonson (who owned a copy of his teasing postponements, and self-reflexive narra-
Oeuvres); the fiction-writer and satirist Thomas tive intrusions by the author. Donne, and perhaps
Lodge; the court poet and dramatist James others, imitated his fantasy library (P 7) or Ep-
Shirley; John Webster; Francis Bacon; the witty istémon’s vision of Carnival reversal in Hades
translator of Ariosto, Sir John Harington; the (P 30), although it can be difficult to distinguish
poet Michael Drayton; Thomas Browne; Robert his influence from that of Lucian. Largely miss-
68 Enigmatic Prophecy

ing from British understanding of Rabelais is his additional twelve verses not found in the Saint-
evangelical seriousness on the one hand and his Gelais version of the poem, Pantagruel’s inter-
more disturbing comic ironies on the other. An pretation of the enigma, as an allegory of the
exception may be Shakespeare, and there may suffering of evangelical Christians in France, is
have been many others who did not record their also viable. Read in an evangelical context, the
views or readily submit to “influence.” In any double interpretation can be seen as a device to
case, Rabelais’s ambiguous image was now set, thwart those who might attack the author’s re-
and his fame and influence after Urquhart’s formist text by offering the anodyne interpreta-
translation only increased. In later centuries he tion of Frère Jean. However, neither interpreta-
would find perceptive imitators in Laurence tion is exclusive, and both offer only a partial
Sterne (Tristram Shandy), Jonathan Swift (Gul- understanding of the text. Although both inter-
liver’s Travels), and, less expectedly, the Victo- pretations are correct, both are incomplete.
rian cleric Charles Kingsley (Waterbabies). Nor Meaning is reached only through a combination
is his influence over, as witness J. K. Toole’s of these opposing views. Along with the Fran-
Menippean Confederacy of Dunces. The word freluches antidotées chapter (G 2), this poem
“Rabelaisian” still modifies one sort of humor, helps to frame the larger work and illustrates the
and a recent Japanese monster film, War of the complicated hermeneutics put forward in the pro-
Gargantuas, demonstrates the globalization of logue. This underscores the polysemic nature of
Rabelais’s most famous giant, if not of his own Rabelais’s work, in which various meanings
Pantagruelism. compete and contradict one another, leaving the
Readings: Huntington Brown, Rabelais in English reader unable to reach a complete understanding
Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, through traditional modes of hermeneutics.
1933); Huntington Brown, ed., The Tale of Gargantua Readings: Jerome Schwartz, Irony and Ideology in
and King Arthur by François Girault c. 1534 (Cam- Rabelais: Structures of Subversion (Cambridge, MA:
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932); Marcel Cambridge University Press, 1990); M. A. Screech,
de Grève, “La legende de Gargantua en Angleterre au Rabelais (London: Gerald Duckworth & Co., 1979);
XVIe siècle,” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire André Tournon, En sens agile: Les acrobaties de
38 (1960): 765–94; Anne Lake Prescott, Imagining l’esprit selon Rabelais (Paris: Champion, 1995).
Rabelais in Renaissance England (New Haven, CT: E. Bruce Hayes
Yale University Press, 1998).
ANCES (4BK 9) An exotic escale, or port of
ENIGMATIC PROPHECY (ÉNIGME EN call, visited by Pantagruel and his company in
PROPHÉTIE) (G 58) Abruptly situated at the the Fourth Book. In the symbolic system of the
end of Gargantua (58), this poem is immediately Chronicles, each of these visits holds up to scru-
followed by contradictory interpretations offered tiny the institutions and attitudes of sixteenth-
by Gargantua and Frère Jean. With the excep- century France. On Ennasin, or the Island of Al-
tion of the first two and last ten verses, the poem liances, the people have noses like the ace of
was formerly attributed to Mellin de Saint- clubs; Ennasin means noseless. Their unions are
Gelais, although this conjecture has been largely no more than wordplay. To find what this island
discredited. It is more likely the poem attributed signifies in the economy of the voyage, three
to Saint-Gelais in a 1574 edition of his works components are necessary: the symbolism of
was taken from Rabelais’s poem. The enigma noses, the marriage symbol, and the context in
was a popular genre that consisted in elaborate which the episode is to be considered.
and obscure descriptions of common or obscene The island is triangular. Whatever symbolic
things. Once the key to the enigma was discov- significances the triangle may have, Rabelais
ered, little critical interest remained. Frère Jean uses it here as a marker to bring into association
follows this practice by explaining that this four episodes that on the surface are not con-
apocalyptic-sounding poem refers to a game of nected, inviting the reader to find what they have
jeu de paume (see Games). However, with the in common. The topic common to all is lan-
Epistémon 69

guage. The Frozen Words adventure (4BK 55– ognize the specific languages that Panurge is
56) deals with the relationship between words speaking, but when Panurge speaks Hebrew, Ep-
and ideas and features an equilateral triangle that istémon understands and even compliments Pan-
contains “the Manor of Truth where Words, urge on his correct Hebrew pronunciation. In
Ideas, Examples, and portraits of all things past chapter 24, Epistémon once again demonstrates
and future reside.” The three other triangular fig- his command of Hebrew by translating the He-
ures deal with aberrations of the relationship be- brew words “Lamah hazabthani,” which Christ
tween words and truth. In the second prologue to says to his Father on the cross, as “Why have
the Fourth Book, Rabelais roundly condemns the you abandoned me?” This is, of course, a quo-
factional disputes of idle scholars. With Priapus tation from the Gospel according to Saint Mat-
as his mouthpiece, Rabelais proposes that such thew 27.46. Epistémon’s knowledge of Hebrew
disputes be extinguished on the noses of a tri- enables him to read the Old Testament in the
angle of petrified quarrelling scholars. In the original version, and for this reason his under-
Physetere episode (see Papimanes and Pap- standing of the Old Testament has not been dis-
efigues), the monster is silenced by three jave- torted by inaccurate translations. Gargantua had,
lins through mouth and tongue, forming a trian- in fact, developed a very similar argument in P
gle and shutting off the flow of foul water— 8 when he told his son that the two most impor-
sectarian disputes—from it. tant languages for a learned Christian were He-
If these two episodes deal with the distortion brew and Greek because the Old Testament was
of truth created by factionalism, the Ennasin mar- written in Hebrew and the New Testament in
riage marks a rupture between idea and word. Greek.
Marriage in the Rabelaisian allegory is the con- Epistémon is not just a biblical scholar. He
secrated union of Mind and Idea (see Symbolic combines very nicely an active life with his
System). The marriages of the Island of Ennasin scholarly pursuits. During the storm sequence in
are couples of words only, without significance, the Fourth Book (18–22), he joins all his com-
engaging neither the mind nor ideas. ENNAS is panions, with the noticeable exception of the
a condensed anagram of sans sens, meaning hypocrite Panurge, in working very hard to save
“senseless.” the lives of all the crew and passengers. In Pan-
The nose is a symbol of wisdom, of native wit; tagruel, he also participates in the war against
the Allianciers have no noses, no wit. How many the Dipsodes and he even loses his head in battle,
empty words are being bandied about in mid- but Panurge very kindly sews his head back on.
sixteenth-century France by people with no real Once he begins breathing again, Epistémon tells
understanding of the issues? Rabelais dismisses his friends what he saw in the other life. All is
those who speak thus as “mal plaisans” (4BK reversed there. Those who were virtuous but
10), or “objectionable.” poor in this life now can eat as much as they
Readings: Fred W. Marshall, “Papimania, the want, but those who abused their power on earth
Blessed Isle: Rabelais’ Attitude to the Roman must now pay for their sins. Epistémon indicates
Church,” AJFS 31.3 (1994): 245–58; Verdun-L. Saul- that those who sold indulgences suffer for eter-
nier, Rabelais II: Rabelais dans son enquête: Etude nity in Hell because they had shown contempt
sur le “Quart” et le “Cinquième” livre (Paris: for Christianity by claiming that people could
SEDES, 1982); Emile V. Telle, “L’ile des Alliances buy their way out of Purgatory. Protestant re-
ou l’Anti-Thélème,” BHR 14 (1952): 159–75; Marcel formers such as Martin Luther had condemned
Tetel, “Thème et structure du Quart livre,” BAARD 2 the sale of indulgences as an abomination. Those
(1968): 217–19. who sell indulgences grant to themselves a power
Fred W. Marshall that belongs to God alone. Many contemporary
Catholic thinkers including Erasmus, whom Ra-
EPISTÉMON When Pantagruel first meets belais greatly admired, agreed with Luther that
Panurge in the ninth chapter of Pantagruel, selling indulgences was incompatible with Chris-
Panurge speaks several real and imaginary lan- tianity.
guages. At first, Epistémon does not even rec- It should be noted that Rabelais places in Hell
70 Erasmus, Desiderius

those who sell indulgences, and this is the same for Janotus de Bragmardo (G 17–20). The con-
mortal sin committed by Panurge. Through his tempt for monasticism embodied in Frère Jean
fictional character Epistémon, Rabelais illustrates and voiced by Gargantua (G 40) similarly ech-
how a learned and sincere Christian can reconcile oes Erasmus’s excoriation of empty vows and
his intellectual commitment to Christianity with ostentatious formalism. Both writers had taken
the practice of his faith. Rabelais contrasts the the difficult path of escape from the cloister and
morally admirable Epistémon with the amoral reentry to the secular world. The practical piety
Panurge, and this serves to discredit Panurge in of Erasmus’s philosophia Christi, embodied in
the minds of Rabelais’s readers. his Enchiridion (1503), finds its place in the ed-
Readings: Donald M. Frame, François Rabelais: A ucational programs of Rabelais’s first two books,
Study (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1977); while Erasmus’s innovative pedagogical meth-
Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca, NY: Cornell ods, based on freedom and pleasure in learning,
University Press, 1979). are more distantly echoed in Ponocrates’s pro-
Edmund J. Campion gram for Gargantua (G 23).
Rabelais’s Christianity, with its rejection of
ERASMUS, DESIDERIUS (1469–1536) Ra- scholastic formalism and its recourse to the re-
belais, like many contemporary writers, profited vealed word of God in the scriptures, also reflects
from the classical scholarship, reforming theol- the evangelism formulated in France, following
ogy, and satirical wit of the preeminent humanist Erasmus’s lead, by Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. In the only (possibly the inspiration for Hippothadée in
known letter between them, Rabelais evokes 3BK 30) and Guillaume Briçonnet. Erasmus’s
their “old friendship,” though he also describes ethical humanism, expounded in the Education
Erasmus, fulsomely, as his “father and mother” of a Christian Prince (1516), influences Rabe-
in scholarship, and seeks to impress the great lais’s prescriptions for monarchy in Gargantua,
man with some shameless name-dropping. Eras- where he quotes almost verbatim Erasmus’s con-
mus’s reply (if any) has not survived, but the demnation of war, “which must never be under-
influence of his writings on Rabelais is obvious. taken until everything else has been tried” (cf. G
His great compilation of ancient wisdom, the Ad- 28), and shares his distaste for crusading (see G
agia, regularly augmented after its first appear- 33 and also P 29).
ance in 1500, provided an immense repertoire of Erasmus’s most famous work, The Praise of
proverbs and related commentary. Folly (1511), revived the techniques of Lucianic
Most significant is Rabelais’s adaptation, in satire, including that of the self-conscious nar-
the prologue to Gargantua, of the adage Sileni rator embodied in Rabelais’s alter ego Alcofry-
Alcibiadis (3.3.1), which demonstrates how, like bas Nasier, and highlighted the playful ambi-
an image of the god Silenus, Socrates’s foolish guity of the fool. At the end of the Third Book
appearance concealed his divine wisdom. Al- Rabelais portrays two inspired fools, Bridoye
though Rabelais here strips the adage of Eras- and Triboullet, whose actions and utterances
mus’s syncretic reading (Christ is another Sile- echo the spiritual prestige associated with Eras-
nus) and applies it instead to the problem of mus’s Folly at the end of her speech, where the
literary exegesis, its exploration of appearance allusions, especially to Saint Paul’s own ecstasy,
and reality informs much of Rabelais’s theology invite the reader to contemplate the supreme
and satire. Another of its characteristic figures, folly of Christ crucified. Similarly, Pantagruel’s
Diogenes the Cynic, similarly dominates the identification of Panurge’s malady as philautia
prologue to the Third Book. (self-love; 3BK 29) echoes important moral con-
Rabelais’s exposure, in both Pantagruel and clusions in the Praise of Folly, while the latter’s
Gargantua, of the hypocrisy and linguistic ob- genre, mock-panegyric, is reproduced in Pan-
fuscation practiced by the Sorbonne theologians urge’s Praise of Debts (3BK 3–4) and in the
echoes Erasmus’s own acrimonious disputes with eulogy of the Pantagruelion (3BK 49–52).
the University of Paris, not least with Noël Béda, Again, Rabelais’s dialogue often reproduces
syndic of the Sorbonne and perhaps the model the racy satirical style of Erasmus’s Colloquies
Eulogy, Satirical 71

which began life, like the Adages, as a schoolboy part of the oratorical contest between him and
manual but developed into a portrait of the vices Gargantua and ends up proving the vast superi-
(and occasionally the virtues) of sixteenth- ority of the modern method. Gargantua’s infan-
century society. The pilgrims in Gargantua (38) tile response to his twelve-year-old opponent un-
and the storm episode in the Fourth Book (24) derlines the giant’s embarrassing defeat: he cries,
owe much to, respectively, the colloquies Pere- hides his face, and will not utter a word.
grinatio (Pilgrimage) and Naufragium (Ship- Even though Eudémon’s praise is artificial and
wreck). Rabelais’s debt to Erasmus is thus exaggerated, it is not primarily meant to flatter a
immense, but in one passage he appears, unex- powerful prince. Rather, it is a practical appli-
pectedly, to mock his mentor, describing the et- cation of the educational method promoted in
ymologist of bellum (presumably a reference to Gargantua’s letter to Pantagruel (P 8), in which
Erasmus’s adage Dulce bellum inexpertis [4.1.1]) Gargantua praises the superiority of modern cur-
as “a patcher-up of old rusty Latin” (3BK prol.). ricula and pedagogy. Moreover, the speech ac-
A rare moment of ingratitude! curately assesses Gargantua’s potential, which,
Readings: Edmund J. Campion, Montaigne, Rabe- thanks to his defeat, will now be developed under
lais, and Marot as Readers of Erasmus (New York: the tutelage of his new preceptor, Ponocrates.
Edwin Mellen Press, 1995); Erasmus, The Collected Not merely a “defense and illustration” of mod-
Works of Erasmus, vol. 27 (Praise of Folly, Education ern education, Eudémon’s praise thus acts almost
of a Christian Prince), 31–36 (Adages), 39–40 like a self-fulfilling prophecy, creating a situation
(Colloquies) (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, that will lead to its ultimate truthfulness.
1976–); Walter Kaiser, Praisers of Folly: Erasmus, Readings: Gerard J. Brault, “The Significance of
Rabelais, Shakespeare (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni- Eudémon’s Praise of Gargantua (Rabelais, I, 15),”
versity Press, 1963); Jean-Claude Margolin, “Rire KRQ 18 (1971): 307–17; Olivier Millet, Calvin et la
avec Erasme, à l’ombre de Rabelais,” ER 33 (1998): dynamique de la parole (Paris: Champion, 1992).
9–29; Michael A. Screech, Ecstasy and the Praise of Bernd Renner
Folly (London: Duckworth, 1980).
DOXAL) Defined as the defense of “an unex-
EUDÉMON From the Greek endaiÓmvnÓ pected, unworthy, or indefensible object,” satiri-
(“happy, prosperous, blissful”), Eudémon first cal eulogy or, as it is sometimes called, rhetorical
appears in Gargantua 15, after which he is only paradox, suited the early modern desire to use
mentioned sporadically. In reaction to Grandg- rhetorical skills to provide an open, unfettered,
ousier’s dismay at his son’s educational regress, and, at times, self-critical vision of the world
Philippe des Marays volunteers to demonstrate (Colie 1966: 3). There were notable examples in
the difference between the outdated knowledge Synesius’s praise of baldness, Lucian’s praise of
and teaching methods of medieval scholasticism, the fly, and Ovid’s praise of the nut. In his En-
dispensed by Gargantua’s past and current pre- comium moriae, Erasmus used folly to explore
ceptors, Thubal Holoferne and Jobelin Bridé, and the concept of docta ignorantia (learned igno-
modern pedagogy and learning, incarnated by his rance), a major theme of the Reform theologians
page Eudémon and his preceptor Ponocrates. It as they reflected upon the teachings of Saint
has been widely acknowledged that the page Paul and the perils of prying into areas beyond
closely follows the model of the Aphthonian human control.
speech of praise, a rhetorical exercise favored by Fond of forms that were both liberating and
Erasmus, whose name is a near-perfect anagram self-critical, Rabelais set his considerable rhetor-
of Eudémon’s master’s, Des Marays. The influ- ical and linguistic skills to work to create a series
ence of Melanchthon’s treatises on rhetoric and of satirical eulogies. V.-L. Saulnier has described
dialectic on this new model, bent on reviving the three types of satirical eulogies: vérité originale
ancient ideal, should not be neglected, however. or contre vérité, curiosité remarquable, and vér-
The German humanist was held in high esteem ité contre-apparence (Saulnier 1950: 91). Rabe-
by the du Bellay family. Eudémon’s speech is lais has examples of both the first and second
72 Eulogy, Satirical

types in his work. The vérité originale or contre with the quality of the heel bone, compared to
vérité is founded upon the premise that the public the bones used by the Emperor Augustus for
holds a belief and that the rhetorical paradox playing the game of tales (here a word play on
aims at persuading the public to take a different talon and tales). Ambiguity about the comic in-
view or to call into question the accepted view. tent is removed by the ludic juxtaposition of sca-
Rabelais’s Praise of Debtors (3BK 3–4) and the tology and epic comparison. However, the flow
Praise of the Codpiece (3BK 8 [“How the cod- of his praise is interrupted by the baser vocabu-
piece is the premier piece of equipment among lary used by Panurge and his companions. The
people at war”]) are two examples of this type praise ends with Panurge throwing one of the
of praise in Rabelais’s work. prized sheep into the sea and the consequent
The Third Book also includes an example of drowning of the other sheep, as they follow the
the curiosité remarquable, a form that departs first overboard. In a vain effort to stop the mass
from the traditional goal of paradox, persuasion, drowning of sheep, Dindenault takes hold of one
to develop an elaborate vision of an expected cu- and is carried overboard by the powerful sheep.
riosity (Losse 1980: 68). This is the case for the It seems a fitting end to the boastful rhetoric of
Praise of the Pantagruelion (3BK 49–53). The the merchant.
narrator posits a world held together by the In Homenaz’s praise of the Decretals (4BK
qualities and uses of the plant, Pantagruelion, 51–53), Rabelais intensifies his satire by paro-
which bears a healthy resemblance to the dying the elevated, inflated style of the Church
strengths and virtues of its creator and inventor, and using the tools of epideictic rhetoric: enu-
Pantagruel, but also to hemp—a necessary ma- meration, gradation, and alliteration. As in the
terial for the expansion of world commerce and earlier lyrical Praise of Debts or of the Panta-
exploration through the many uses of rope both gruelion, Homenaz posits the benefits to world
on land and at sea. order brought by “ces sacrosainctes Decretales.”
All three of the above satirical eulogies fall However, the virtues are not based on universal
into the category of lyrical paradoxes as defined charity and love, for those who are judged
by Marcel Tetel, in which the end is lyricism and heretics will not receive their beneficial effects:
verbal effusion to show off the poetic gift of the “You feel the blazing fire of divine love in your
writer rather than the attack of a social institution heart aflame with charity toward your neighbor,
or social abuse (Tetel 1964: 30). Lyrical para- as long as he is not a heretic” (“Vous sentez en
doxes are free-standing and reflect a pause in the vos coeurs enflammée la fournaise d’amour di-
narration, where the reader is invited to marvel vin, de charité envers vostre prochain, pourveu
at the eloquence of the eulogist (Tetel 71). The qu’il ne soit Hereticque” [4BK 51]). Explicit
detachment permits a fuller exploration of the ar- within the satirical eulogy itself is the contradic-
gument, through the classical components of the tion of Catholic orthodoxy—the violence await-
eulogy: narration, confirmation, and conclusion, ing those who arouse papal ire. Caritas is not
necessary in the case of contre-vérités since the based on unconditional love but on the strict ob-
argument runs counter to accepted opinion. The servance of church law as interpreted by those
open form unattached to narrative plot allows the who are supposed to be the guardians of the
eulogist to amplify through such rhetorical de- faithful (Losse 85). The second part of Hom-
vices as enumeration and gradation. enaz’s praise is appropriated by Panurge and his
Quite distinct from lyrical paradox is bur- friends, who recount the horrors of those who put
lesque paradox, where the goal is to ridicule and the sacred Decretals to more practical use: toilet
where the paradox is linked to the narrative de- paper, sewing patterns, target practice. As in the
velopment and comic interaction (Losse 66; Tetel praise of Dindenault’s sheep, the comic juxta-
30). Burlesque paradox has many of the elements position of inflated rhetorical style and everyday,
of farce. In Rabelais’s Fourth Book, two bur- often scatalogical language, serves to highlight
lesque praises come to mind. First, Dindenault’s the unequivocal satirical intent of the text.
praise of his sheep (4BK 7) extols both the prac- Readings: Rosalie L. Colie, Paradoxia Epidemica.
tical and mythical virtues of the sheep: the fertile The Renaissance Tradition of Paradox (Princeton, NJ:
powers of the sheep’s urine and excrement along Princeton University Press, 1966); Deborah N. Losse,
Evangelism 73

Rhetoric at Play. Rabelais and Satirical Eulogy humans by describing them clearly in the Gos-
(Berne, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 1980); Verdun-L. pels (3BK 30).
Saulnier, “Proverbe et paradoxe du XVe au XVIe As a satirist, Rabelais comically targeted what
siècle,” Pensée humaniste et tradition chrétienne aux he perceived as inauthentic Christian positions by
XVe et XVIe siècles (Paris: Centre National de la Re- Catholics and Protestants alike. Consequently,
cherche Scientifique, 1950); Marcel Tetel, Étude sur commentators on both sides castigated him
le comique de Rabelais (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, equally. At the request of Catholic theologians, all
1964). four Pantagrueline chronicles were censured by
Deborah Nichols Losse either the Sorbonne, Parlement, or both. By
1549, Rabelais himself was commonly seen as a
threat to faith in general. In that year, the Catholic
EVANGELISM An early sixteenth-century, Gabriel du Puy Herbault claimed that Rabelais
principally French, movement among scholars, vomited a poison that infected everywhere bit by
humanists, theologians, and the laity to reform bit, while six years later John Calvin compared
Church practices by emphasizing the study and him to an enraged dog spewing its filth counter to
the practice of the Evangile, or Gospel books of God’s majesty. Charges of atheism were common
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Initially indis- but are easily belied by the strong declarations of
tinguishable from the Protestant Reformation, God’s power throughout his works.
the evangelical movement distinguished itself by With the 1552 publication of his final work,
its confidence in human nature when inspired by the Fourth Book, for which he had received a
faith and charity. Evangelical doctrine is most protective Privilège du Roy, Rabelais expanded
closely linked with the teachings of Saint Paul.
his caricatures of religious leaders of all stripes.
The writings of Rabelais, Erasmus, Thomas
Quaresmeprenant and the Andouilles are mon-
More, Lefèvre d’Etaples, Marguerite de Na-
strous representations of adherents to Protestant-
varre, and Clément Marot reveal an evangelical
ism, while the Papefigues and Papimanes, in-
habitants of two warring islands, symbolize
Imbued with references to Holy Scripture as
Reformers and apologists of the Pope (4BK 45–
well as Greco-Latin erudition, Rabelais’s literary
54). Interestingly, Pantagruel donates generously
works frequently allude to religious issues of the
to this latter pair of islanders, treating both
day. Rabelais’s giant protagonists, Gargantua
groups evenhandedly and with muted criticism.
and Pantagruel, incarnate his own brand of
evangelism. Gargantua’s eloquent letter of advice Throughout his books Rabelais targets the in-
and encouragement to his adolescent son Panta- terpreters of Christian doctrine rather than the
gruel, with its emphasis on the perfectibility of doctrines themselves. For instance, his works
man’s intellect, is a prescripton for evangelical rarely allude either to the sacraments of the
humanism. He urges him to become an “abyss Church or to the Virgin Mary. However, Rabe-
of knowledge” in science, classical languages, lais does consistently ridicule rote devotional
and all the arts but concludes that “knowledge practices and misplaced mechanical prayer to the
without conscience is but the ruin of the soul and saints. Pilgrims are targeted in Gargantua when
thus you must serve, love and fear God . . . this they so timorously refuse to acknowledge them-
life is transitory but the Word of the Lord en- selves that Gargantua plucks them with his let-
dures forever” (P 8). Gargantua’s own initial tu- tuce and starts to chew them up with his salad
tor, Thubal Holoferne, evokes laughter as well as (G 38). His father Grandgousier later admon-
disgust with his mania for the mindless recitation ishes pilgrims hoping to avoid the plague by
of secondary devotional texts backwards and for- making an offering to Saint Sebastian. His judg-
wards. He represents the meaningless religious ment is harsh, claiming that Church leaders who
education that Rabelais abhorred. Knowledge of advocate pilgrimage as a means of forestalling
God is not only possible but the only noble aim calamity blaspheme the just and saintly by re-
for all people. This point is underscored in the ducing them to mere devils who only make trou-
Third Book (1546) by one of Rabelais’s few ble for humans. He advises the pilgrims not to
wise theologians, Hippothadée, who insists that undertake useless trips and, rather, to stay home,
God has made Himself and His desires known to work, and take care of their families and to live
74 Evangelism

as “the good apostle Saint Paul taught you,” an and evangelicals is epitomized by the mutual an-
allusion to Ephesians 4–5 (G 45). tipathy between Rabelais and Calvin. Probable
Rabelais plumbs medieval anticlerical satire, onetime acquaintances, Calvin accused Rabelais
such as seen in Dante, for further sources of hu- of “diabolical effrontery” in his Treatise on
mor. Gargantua explains that monks are the out- Scandals (Traité des scandales). Rabelais pro-
casts of the world because of their inaction: vided a scathing riposte in the Fourth Book, with
“They do not work as do the peasants, do not the generally understated Pantagruel describing
defend the country as do soldiers, do not heal the “les Calvins démoniaques” as deformed mon-
sick as do doctors, not preach or teach as do sters in direct opposition with nature (32).
Evangelical doctors, do not import goods as do The theme of the inherent goodness of nature
merchants . . . therefore they are . . . hated and distinguishes Rabelais’s religious thought. Ra-
abhorred.” Worse, their prayers are useless as belais’s works champion the notion that igno-
they “say many paternosters, interlarded with rance of nature, be it that of the human body or
‘Hail Mary,’ without reflecting on or understand- any of God’s creations, is ignorance of God. It
ing the meaning of what they say, which truly I is difficult to discern a coherent religious doc-
call mocking of God” (G 40). His good friend trine from a comic work. As Rabelais never
Frère Jean is the exception for he is “neither chose to expound on his doctrinal preferences for
bigot nor hypocrite” and is constantly active, Reform in religious treatises or other more
helping others. The monk’s Abbey of Thélème, straightforward writings, it can be assumed that
best known for its motto “Do as you will,” is he preferred expressing his evidently strongly
often cited as Rabelais’s take on the highly con- held beliefs in a fictional narrative that could best
tentious issue of free will in his day (see Grace represent the humor and paradoxes of the human
and Free Will). This free will is at the root of condition.
Thélème’s success, but it is a free will that must While taking issue with aspects of the eccle-
be well disciplined and educated. Only then will siastical state, it is notable that Rabelais never
“people have an instinct, a compass called honor broke from the Roman Church. Indeed, he re-
which prods them to act virtuously and which mained a priest all of his life, first Franciscan,
distances them from vice” (G 57). This optimistic then Benedictine, and finally secularized. In 1540
view of human nature, one saved by grace where he succeeded in having his two living children
reason is formed by knowledge, is fundamental legitimized by the Pope. At his death, he received
to Rabelais’s evangelism and at the same time a Catholic burial.
runs counter to the Protestant view that humans Published evangelical writings tended to di-
are fundamentally corrupt and fallen. minish as religious disputes between the state,
Frère Jean becomes one of Rabelais’s most Protestants, and Catholics hardened and became
memorable characters and serves as a counter- militant. Thirteen years passed between the pub-
point to another friend, the self-centered and spir- lication of Rabelais’s Gargantua and his Third
itually weak Panurge. During the storm scene Book. After the official advent of the Religious
in the Fourth Book Panurge, petrified with fear, Wars in 1559, evangelical traces in literary writ-
prays to various saints that he, with no reference ings are couched in stark Protestant or Catholic
to his fellow crew members, will be saved and terms. In Montaigne’s Essays (1590–98), evan-
in return he vows that he will build chapels in gelical themes disappear as he prefers to consider
their honor. In contrast, Pantagruel makes a fer- humans in and of themselves rather than as
vent plea directly to God that they all be saved God’s creations (see Religion).
but that ultimately His will be done (4BK 19, Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, Enter Rabelais,
21). While depending on God alone, Pantagruel Laughing (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press,
works feverishly to save his ship, hence by his 1998); Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s Pan-
actions rejecting the Lutheran notion of the fu- tagruel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
tility of human conduct. 1991).
The eventual bitter rift between Protestants Margaret Harp
zling chapter is found in Gargantua 2 and is a and early sixteenth centuries were a watershed
purported translation by the narrator of a treatise era for farce in France. From this period, nearly
found at the end of a genealogy of Gargantua. two hundred farces survive, the most popular be-
The narrator explains that the document was ing the Farce de Maistre Pathelin. The influence
found inside a large bronze tomb uncovered in of this genre on Rabelais’s work is pronounced
the Chinon region. The treatise was partially de- and takes on two principal forms: explicit refer-
stroyed by rats and is thus incomplete. The word ences to contemporary farces, which arguably
fanfreluches is derived from fanfeluce, meaning number in the hundreds (with nearly two dozen
“trifle,” and vulgar Latin fanfaluca, meaning “air references to Pathelin alone), and structural,
bubble.” Cotgrave’s Dictionary of the French where certain episodes within Rabelais’s work
and English Tongues defines it as “vanities, fop- contain many of the mechanisms of farce. One
peries, fooleries, fond tricks.” As for “antido- of the few self-references Rabelais makes in his
tées,” meaning “provided with an antidote,” this work refers to a farce in which he performed
term first appears in French in Pantagruel 33. while a medical student in Montpellier, the Farce
The meaning of this poem resists interpretation, de la femme mute (3BK 34). Structurally, many
although references to the Pope and Charles V episodes within Rabelais’s work resemble farces.
are evident. Within the larger context of Gar- More obvious examples are the public debate be-
gantua, this chapter parallels the Enigmatic tween Panurge and Thaumaste (P 19–20), Pan-
Prophecy at the end of the book, and both poems urge’s attempted seduction and humiliation of the
appear in a later collection of Mellin de Saint- Haughty Parisian Lady (P 21–22), his encoun-
Gelais’s poetry (1574). The Fanfreluches anti- ter with the sheep merchant Dindenault (4BK 6–
dotées and the Enigmatic Prophecy frame Gar- 8), and the Lord Basché episode (4BK12–15).
gantua and recall the prologue where the reader These episodes include theatrical indicators such
is advised both to discover the “sustantificque as stage directions, an audience, and an emphasis
mouelle” or marrow of this seemingly popular on physical gestures, and, in the case of the Pan-
book and to avoid overly eager allegorical inter- urge and Dindenault episode, the prose narrative
pretations à la frère Lubin. While traditional her- is momentarily interrupted with a theatrical dia-
meneutics are called into question in this chapter, logue, a phenomenon found elsewhere in Rabe-
it has also been suggested that this enigma is an lais’s work (e.g., Panurge’s conversation with
attempt to illustrate the graphic nature of lan- Trouillogan [3BK 36] and Panurge and Panta-
guage, building on Geoffroy Tory’s linguistic gruel’s discussion of Triboullet [3BK 38]).
theories in Champ fleury. Some of the episodes containing farcical ele-
Readings: Jean Plattard, “Rabelais et Mellin de ments are Pantagruel’s encounter with the Eco-
Saint-Gelais,” RER 9 (1911): 90–108; Jacques Pons, lier Limousin or student from Limoges (P 6) and
“Recherches sur les ‘Fanfreluches antidotées,’ ” his meeting with Panurge (P 9). Each of the
BAARD 8 (1999): 471–84 and 9 (2000) 569–88; Eva books presents farcical episodes, such as Janotus
Tsuquiashi-Paddesio, “Le bruissement silencieux de la de Bragmardo’s harangue in Gargantua (19)
graphie dans ‘Les fanfreluches antidotées,’ ” EC 28 and Judge Bridoye in the Third Book (39–42).
(1988): 48–57. While the subject matter of the farces of this pe-
E. Bruce Hayes riod focused on marital jealousies and petty con-
76 Fezandat, Michel

niving, Rabelais’s farcical episodes center on hu- chic furor, allegory, hidden meanings, and even
manistic debates of the time. Instead of the the “Ideas of Plato”—abound in the Pantagrue-
anonymous characters found in traditional farce, line tales, but often the treatment of these Pla-
the participants in Rabelais’s work represent op- tonic topoi or commonplaces is mock serious;
posing systems of thought. Rabelais’s inventive subverted by scatology, humor, and empirical
and innovative use of farce produces a new kind considerations; or counterbalanced by alternative
of farce, more radical and critical than its popular philosophies. As a result, some scholars contend
counterpart, as well as a new hybrid form of hu- that Rabelais is actually parodying Ficino’s the-
manist satire. ories in such examples of satirical eulogy as the
Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, Enter Rabelais, Praise of Debts and the Messer Gaster epi-
Laughing (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, sodes. Whether one accepts or rejects this inter-
1998); Carol Clark, The Vulgar Rabelais (Glasgow: pretation, many experts agree that Plato’s influ-
University of Glasgow, 1983); Gustave Cohen, “Ra- ence on Rabelais is far greater, and much more
belais et le théâtre,” RER 9 (1911): 1–72; Emmanuel positive, than any specific echoes of Ficino that
Philopot, “Notes sur quelques farces de la Renais- inform the Pantagrueline tales.
sance,” RER 9 (1911): 365–422. Readings: G. Mallary Masters, Rabelaisian Dialec-
E. Bruce Hayes tic and the Platonic-Hermetic Tradition (Albany, NY:
State University of New York, 1969); Christine Raf-
FEZANDAT, MICHEL (ff. 1538–77) Pari- fini, Marsilio Ficino, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Cas-
sian bookseller who published the “definitive” tiglione: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Political Ap-
edition of the Third Book and the first edition of proaches in Renaissance Platonism (New York: Peter
the complete Fourth Book, both in 1552. The Lang, 1998); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (London:
Fourth Book was quickly reprinted, also for him, Duckworth, 1979).
before several pirated editions appeared illegally Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
(see also Printing).
Readings: Stephen Rawles and Michael A. Screech, FIFTH BOOK (CINQUIESME LIVRE) The
A New Rabelais Bibliography: Editions of Rabelais posthumous Fifth Book has long fueled the in-
Before 1626, ER 20 (Geneva: Droz, 1987). terest of Rabelais critics. As early as 1549, we
Stephen Rawles find a Fifth Book of the Feats and Sayings of
Noble Pantagruel (Cinquiesme. Livre des faictz
FICINO, MARSILIO (1433–99) Florentine et dictz du noble Pantagruel. Auquelz sont com-
humanist, philosopher, and philologist who was prins, les grans Abus, et d’esordonne vie de, Plu-
largely responsible for disseminating Neopla- sieurs Estatz, de ce monde. Composez par M.
tonic theories throughout Europe during the Ren- Francoys Rabelays D’octeur en Medecine et
aissance. Chosen by Cosimo de’ Medici to trans- Abstracteur de quinte Essence), which was in
late the works of Plato and to head the Platonic fact a compilation of two other works: first, the
Academy in Florence, Ficino was also trained as Regnars traversant by Jean Bouchet, Rabelais’s
a physician and ordained as a priest in 1477. In friend from Poitou, which featured a virulent
general his writings effect a reconciliation of Pla- condemnation of the nobility, the Church, justice,
tonic and Christian love; and although he at- courtesans, hypocrites, and monks; and second,
tacked astrology in a 1477 treatise entitled Dis- an adaptatation of Sebastian Brant’s Ship of
putation against the Judgment of Astrologers Fools (Grand Nef des fols), published by Fran-
(Disputatio contra iudicium astrologorum), other çois Juste in 1530, which may be realistically
writings of his, such as the Book of Life, bespeak attributed to Bouchet, perhaps in collaboration
a fascination with magic, astrology, and mysti- with Rabelais. This compilation of older texts is
cism. Whether Rabelais, who shared many of a violent satire of the justice system and of
these interests, actually borrowed directly from monks, and it is difficult to know whether the
Ficino is uncertain. Clearly, echoes of Platonism two friends backed the updating of this attack on
and Neoplatonism—including references to di- the “folles fiances du monde.”
vine love, the quest for a transcendent Ideal, Bac- In 1564 the Fifth Book of Heroic Feats and
Fifth Book 77

Sayings of the Good Pantagruel appeared with have made selections and reclassified certain
no indication as to the place of publication or sketches. In the manuscript we find Rabelais’s
editor. However, a final quatrain was signed “Na- memories of his youth in Poitou, along with a
ture quite,” an anagram used by the doctor Jean mention of the lantern of Pierre Lamy.
de Mayerne, known as Turquet. In comparison The first series of documents, present in all
to Ringing Island published two years earlier, three forms of the text, corresponds to the first
the work reprises all of the preceding volume fifteen chapters of Ringing Island, which con-
with the exception of the chapter on the Apedef- tains an apocryphal sixteenth chapter on the Ape-
tes or “ignorant ones,” adding a prologue and deftes (“the ignorant”) with its satire of the Court
thirty-two additional chapters. This long version of Auditors (“Cour des Comptes”) and the finan-
is found in an unsigned manuscript of the six- cial world that is far removed from Rabelais’s
teenth century containing the fragment of a pro- usual linguistic habits. The two other forms of
logue, but without the two chapters devoted the text introduce in its place a segment entitled
to the ball in the kingdom of Quinte-Essence “Outre,” an incomplete chapter that is incompat-
(a game of chess transposed from Francesco ible with the episode of the Apedeftes, but which,
Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili). In the beginning in 1567, editors nonetheless include in
chapter on the Lantern supper, the manuscript the Fifth Book as chapter 7.
also includes a list of dances inspired by the Dis- The second series of sketches is composed of
ciple de Pantagruel (accompanied by a note from a prologue, which is in fact a draft of the Third
the copyist indicating that “the following is what Book prologue, and a narration detailing the end
was marginal or not understood in the present of the navigation with the episodes of Quinte-
book: Servato in 4. lib. Panorgium ad nuptias” Essence, the Isle of Odes, the Frères Fredons, the
[“Having watched over Panurge in four books Pays de Satin, the Pays des lanternes, and the
up to his marriage”]). Oracle of the Bottle. Certain critics see in this
Since the seventeenth century, critics have book the completion of the Fourth Book voyage.
been divided on the authenticity of this work: is
It could also be the journey initially envisioned
it the creation of forgers, or is it completely or
at the end of the Third Book, a voyage with sym-
partially authentic, a Rabelaisian text revised by
bolic steps which was scheduled to take the he-
an interpolator or editors? If Rabelais is the au-
roes from Saint-Malo, along the French coast
thor, moreover, does the volume figure as the
(the kingdom of Quinte, Brest; the Isle of the
conclusion of the Fourth Book voyage? Or is it
Fredons, Oléron, with a stop at La Rochelle, and
instead an assemblage of disparate fragments? In
probably a river navigation, suggested by the Isle
debates on these issues, analyses of content (fo-
cusing on the author’s familiarity with Touraine, of Odes), through Poitou, the country of Lan-
his erudition, the intertexts that are utilized) and terns, and all the way to the Dive Boutille in
style lead to contradictory conclusions: some Chinon—the first town in the world: this French
point to plagiarism, while others construct hy- itinerary is underlined in the text itself by geo-
potheses assessing the degree to which the frag- graphical indications.
ments are complete and their date of composi- Whereas the first series of sketches contains
tion. virulent religious and judicial satire, punctuated
An examination of the three known forms of with monsters and echoes of contemporary voy-
the text yields three parallel readings of two ages that recall the Fourth Book, the second se-
groups of manuscripts, which are difficult to de- ries, despite its Frères Fredons and critique of
cipher. (This explains the multiple variants in the monastic orders, Lent, and confession, is distin-
transcriptions of proper names, the erasures, and guished primarily by its hermeticism. Panurge
the blanks in the manuscript.) The modifications experiences a true ritual initiation, presided over
affecting the beginnings of chapters seem to re- by Quinte, the Lantern queen, and the priestess
flect poorly classified papers and a desire to Bacbuc, replete with ancient and mysterious
avoid disparities in the succession of chapters. symbolism: the descent by tetradic degrees fol-
For the end of the text, the copyist and editor lows the psychogony of Plato’s Timaeus. How-
78 Folengo, Teofilo

ever, it is impossible to determine the narrator’s Folly). They forged the chimera of a Fifth Book,
attitude toward these traditional symbols. which is of inestimable worth in gauging the
Is the Artistotelian character Entelechy the measure of Rabelais’s creation; but it is not the
mistress of world harmony, the embodiment of Quint livre that Rabelais would have given us.
essence in its most perfect and consummate Readings: Claude Gaignebet, A plus hault sens
form? Yet her officers, alchemists claiming to ex- (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1986); Alfred Glauser,
tract essence from matter, are prone to activities Le faux Rabelais ou de l’inauthenticité du Cinquiesme
labeled inanis opera or “foolish works” by Eras- livre (Paris: Nizet, 1975); Mireille Huchon, Rabelais
mus in his Adages, and the port of Quinte es- grammairien—De l’histoire du texte aux problèmes
sence is called Mateotechnie or “vain science.” d’authenticité (Geneva: Droz, 1981); M. Huchon, Le
In fact, Panurge’s poetic furor seems to be a fu- cinquiesme livre—Actes du colloque international de
sion of Platonism and hermeticism, unless it is Rome (16–19 octobre 1998), ER 40 (Geneva: Droz,
parodic. An alchemical interpretation of the 2001); Mireille Huchon, “Sur la nef des fols du monde
book, with its introduction of different steps in avec le prétendu Ve livre apocryphe de Rabelais de
the production of the philosopher’s stone (subli- 1549,” Marginalité et littérature (Nice: ILF-CNS,
mation in the episode of Quinte, rubification in 2000); Verdun L. Saulnier, Rabelais dans son enquête
the narration of Bacchus’s conquest of India), is II. Etude sur le Quart et le Cinquiesme livre (Paris:
clearly suggested. This version of the Fifth Book, Nizet, 1975).
perhaps intended at its inception for a small num- Mireille Huchon
ber of initiates, is inscribed in the alchemical
book’s rise to fashion during the 1560s, when FOLENGO, TEOFILO (1491–1544) Bene-
editors or printers published multiple works of dictine monk and well-known macaronic poet,
alchemical poetry, alchemical narrative, reflec- mentioned three times by Rabelais: in the giant
tions on the antiquity of alchemy, alchemical genealogy of P 1, à propos of his creation Fra-
readings of Francesco Colonna, and writings by cassus; at the end of the list of books in the Li-
Paracelsus. It is possible that this Paracelsian brary of Saint-Victor (P 7), as author of a pa-
context prompted Doctor Jean Turquet de May- tria diabolorum; and in the Third Book, chapter
erne to publish a narrative featuring Quinte- 11, during a discussion about dice (OC 1268 n.
Essence. While the episode may not be Paracel- 9).
sian by design (although one wonders if Of Folengo’s works in macaronic, that is, syn-
Paracelsus was known earlier in France, through tactically and metrically correct Latin verse in-
the intermediary of German humanists connected terspersed with regional and dialect “Italian,” his
to the du Bellay circle), it became so by virtue mock epic Baldus had an enormous influence on
of its reception. Rabelais’s “chronicles.” Unfortunately, too many
In this work, we also find all the characteristics critics are unaware that there are four very dif-
of the the crypted and steganographic text typical ferent versions of the Baldus, known respectively
of Rabelais, who uses polysemic names (quinte, as the Paganini (1517), Toscolana (1521), Cipa-
“quinte essence,” a musical term and “caprice;” dense (early 1530s), and Vigaso Cocaio (1552).
esclots, “clogs” and “slaves”) and a surfeit of al- The French “translation,” or rather adaptation, of
lusions in the style of Lucian, who continues to 1606, the Histoire Maccaronique de Merlin Coc-
inform the Rabelaisian text. Indeed, the country caie prototype de Rabelais . . . is based on the
of lanterns already appears in True History. Vigaso Cocaio version, which Rabelais could not
This editorial hoax involved passing off read- have known, and is also much influenced by Ra-
ing notes and texts from different drafts, in var- belais himself. It should not therefore be quoted
ious stages of completion, as the Fifth Book, at- as a source.
tempting to persuade us that Rabelais penned a The Baldus, in the Toscolana version that is
sequel to the Fourth Book voyage which he con- probably Rabelais’s inspiration, is an enormous
cluded with the words “Sela. Beuvons” (sela, the mock epic in twenty-five cantos. After a comic
last word of psalms; beuvons, or “let us drink,” invocation to the Macaronic Muses, who live on
corresponding to the end of Erasmus’s Praise of a lake of milk with shores of butter on which
Food 79

cauldrons perpetually cook pasta, the first canto Atti del convegno tenuto a Mantova il 15–17 ottobre
recounts the love of Baldus’s parents in the con- 1977, ed. Ettore Bonora and Mario Chiesa (Milan: Fel-
text of a courtly tournament. Cantos 2–10 are set trinelli, 1979); Teofilo Folengo, Baldus, ed. Emilio
in Cipada, where Baldus grows up ignorant of Faccioli (Turin: Einaudi, 1989; text of Vigaso Cocaio
his origins as a youthful hooligan, with his ed., with Italian translation); Opus Merlini Cocaii, ed.
friends the rogue Cingar, the giant Fracassus, and Angelo Nuovo et al. (Mantua: Associazione Amici
the dog-man Falchettus. The following cantos Merlini Cocai, 1994; facsimile reprint of Toscolana
trace Baldus’s gradual transformation into an edition in black-letter); Anthony Presti Russell, “Epic
epic hero, via fantastic adventures including a agon and the Strategy of Reform in Folengo and Ra-
storm at sea, a battle with pirates, stones of in- belais,” CLS 34 (1997): 119–48.
visibility, and a dragon who turns into a beautiful Barbara C. Bowen
woman, and encounters with—among many oth-
ers—a sorceress, a centaur, assorted devils and FOOD Probably no work of fiction is more
mythological beings, a personified Manto (foun- thoroughly stuffed with references to food than
der of Mantua), and the helpful magician Mer- Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel. Rabelais
linus Coccaius (Folengo’s pseudonym). The ad- uses food and eating habits to delineate character
ventures have no conclusion, but simply end, in and to illustrate his humanistic polemic toward
a pumpkin where feigning poets have to have a every imaginable topic, and from the marrow-
tooth extracted for every lie they tell. bone to the Holy Bottle, food and drink are em-
This surrealist spoof of Virgil contains more ployed with comic effect to subvert the normal
violence than Rabelais’s “chronicles,” more sca- order of the universe. Throughout the text, de-
tology, and more raucous laughter, but Rabelais portment at mealtime is also used as an index of
found in it, besides the storm and sheep- refinement and civility as his characters learn to
drowning episodes, a number of congenial ele- curb their base and unfettered instincts.
ments: the trickster Cingar (Panurge), the The prologue to Gargantua offers clues to the
fleet-of-foot Falchettus (Carpalim), the boy-hero- reader on how his book should be ingested. Al-
turned-Christian-prince, the frequent change of though the text may be coarse and unpromising
tone and style (chivalric to earthy to erudite to at first sight, like a marrowbone, with gnawing,
fantastic), the pointed satire of monks, and the doglike persistence the reader will finally reach
corruption of the Catholic Church. Folengo, un- the nourishing interior and be able to lick out the
like Rabelais, was probably a Lutheran sympa- savory substance. Which is to say that despite the
thizer, but they agreed on many doctrinal mat- ribaldry, Rabelais had a serious message to im-
ters. part, and by drawing his unwitting audience in
The language barrier is regrettable, because with crude and often grotesque depictions of in-
stylistic similarities abound. Rabelais uses a gestion and bodily expulsion, he teaches them a
number of Folengo’s metaphors and colorful lesson.
curses, and they shared a linguistic gusto which The mock-heroic account of Gargantua’s
loves playing with quotations (Omnia vincit birth is a case in point. We are introduced to a
amor, tamen ipsa [hunger] superchiat amorem) carnivalesque feast in which Gargamelle, his
and inventing new language: the cry of an en- mother, succumbs to the overwhelming prenatal
raged Charon as he bears down on the heroes is craving to gorge on tripe drawn from 367,014 fat
“Cra cra: tif trafnot: sgneflet: canatauta: riogna.” oxen. This induces labor, and the first words of
Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, “Rabelais and Fol- the infant giant are Da mihi potum—“Give me
engo Once Again,” Rabelais in Context: Proceedings drink.” These characters are driven by pure un-
of the 1991 Vanderbilt Conference, ed. Barbara C. controlled and insatiable appetite, as befits their
Bowen (Birmingham, AL: Summa Publications, names, which all refer to the capacity of their
1993); Carlo Cordié, “Sulla fortuna di Teofilo Folengo enormous gullets. Although one can only expect
in Francia e in particolare sull’ Histoire maccaronique an infant’s behavior to be totally unrestrained,
de Merlin Coccaie, prototype de Rabelais,” Cultura Rabelais is reminding his readers that uncouth
letteraria e tradizione popolare in Teofilo Folengo: peasants are equally uncivilized. The fare would
80 Food

have been immediately recognizable to a a clear-cut criticism of noble eating habits nor a
sixteenth-century audience as the food of peas- simple gastronomic tour of sixteenth-century
ants: tripe, sausages, smoked tongues, and organ France. Rabelais’s food imagery cannot be writ-
meats all washed down with copious drafts of ten off as a simple exhortation advocating mod-
cheap plonk. But more specifically these were eration.
festival foods, to be consumed during Carnival At the very end of Book 5, Pantagruel and
before the Lenten food restrictions imposed by his companions reach the Temple of the Holy
the Catholic Church went into effect and when Bottle, wherein the oracle dispenses truth. Its mi-
all meat had to be consumed in one wild, orgi- raculous draughts savor of whatever the drinker
astic, gluttonous debauch. imagines, a different variety for each palate. In
But Gargantua does eventually learn to curb the presence of the high priestess Bacbuc, the
his urges. After a failed education at the hands supplicant Panurge is delivered unto the Holy
of scholastics who give him bacon and goat stew Bottle; and it is hardly surprising that when Pan-
and teach him to drink early in the morning, he urge consults this bottle about whether or not he
is eventually placed under the tutelage of the hu- should marry, the sage advice issued forth is:
manist Ponocrates. Only then does he learn to eat “Trinch” (“Drink”). Eating the text of his fate,
sober and frugal meals according to the recom- he is transported to an ecstatic union with the
mendations of Galenic medicine, with which Ra- divine and succumbs to poetic frenzy. Intoxica-
belais the physician would have been thoroughly tion literally reunites the group with their primal
conversant. This didactic episode, as with many creative energy, and as the inscriptions proclaim,
others, traces the development of self-control in “In wine there is truth” (5BK 45). What the
precisely the ways that humanists such as Eras- group actually recites, however, is more bawdy
mus were prescribing for the upbringing of boys. verse, perhaps reminding the reader that there is
It also serves to remind readers that it is only no mystery beyond the satisfying of the most
base peasants who comport themselves without fundamental urges: eating, drinking, and sex. Al-
manners, eat without rule, and give vent to their though the authorship of this last book has been
bodily functions in public. disputed, this final idea is unmistakably Rabelai-
Rabelais is not always so unequivocal about sian. Laughter may be man’s proper lot, but to
his attitude toward food, and most passages leave get there one must drink deeply, whether by way
considerable ambiguity. For instance, in 4BK 59, of taking in the pleasures of the body or the joys
where Pantagruel visits the land of the Gastro- of learning—and ideally, both.
latres, or worshippers of the belly, it is not en- Readings: Michel Jeanneret, “Et tout pour la tripe!”
tirely clear whether he means this as a simple Littéraire 319 (1994): 36–39; Michel Jeanneret, A
parody of his own religion in its most grotesque Feast of Words: Banquets and Table Talk in the Ren-
form, or simply a rhapsodic paean to the pleas- aissance, trans. Jeremy Whiteley and Emma Hughes
ures of the palate. For several pages he cata- (Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 1991); Michel Jean-
logues a voluminous menu of foods that includes neret, “ ‘Ma patrie est une citrouille’: Thèmes alimen-
items that would not be out of place on the royal taires dans Rabelais et Folengo,” Littérature et gas-
banqueting table. Noticeable here are white tronomie: Papers on French Seventeenth Century
bread, salads, chilled wine, various elegant meat Literature, ed. Ronald W Tobin (Paris, 1985); Michel
pies, venison, dozens of wild fowl, rice and al- Jeanneret, “Quand la fable se met à table: Nourriture
mond paste, and even sturgeon and whales. The et structure narrative dans Le Quart livre,” Poetique:
items stand in dramatic contrast to the peasant Revue de theorie et d’analyse litteraires 13.54 (1983):
fare of other books, and the names of the dishes 163–80; Elise-Noël McMahon, “Gargantua, Panta-
are almost certainly taken from cookbooks of the gruel and Renaissance Cooking Tracts: Texts for Con-
era. Presumably his readers’ mouths would be sumption,” Neophilologus 76.2 (1992): 186–97;
watering at such succulent provender, until the Anthony Phelan, “Rabelais’s Sister: Food, Writing,
god Gaster presents them with a plate of his own and Power,” Günter Grass’s Der Butt: Sexual Politics
feces to examine. Rabelais’s own attitude to and the Male Myth of History, ed. Philip Brady, Tim-
these delicacies remains ambiguous. It is neither othy McFarland, and John J. White (Clarendon: Ox-
Forests 81

ford Publication, 1990); Daniel Soudan, “La Table de vacillates between wise and foolish folly. The
Rabelais,” BAARD 6.1 (2002): 39–40. morosophe is central to the debates that encom-
Kenneth Albala and Robin Imhof pass the Third Book and Panurge’s perplexity.
This multidimensionality of folly leads to ambi-
FOOLS AND FOLLY Fools of various stripes guity in Rabelais’s work, leaving to debate which
inhabit all of Rabelais’s works, but none more type of folly each character displays and whose
so than the Third Book. It is here that the reader pronouncements the reader can trust.
finds endless echoes of Erasmus’s Praise of Readings: Elizabeth Chesney, “The Theme of Folly
Folly (1509), from Panurge’s Praise of Debts in Rabelais and Ariosto,” JMRS 7 (1977): 67–93; Gér-
at the beginning of the work to the concluding ard Defaux, “Sagesse et folie d’Erasme à Molière,”
mock encomium of the Pantagruelion. Pan- MLN 91.4 (1976): 655–71; Edwin M. Duval, The De-
urge’s seemingly endless series of consultations sign of Rabelais’s Tiers livre de Pantagruel (Geneva:
is brought to a pseudoresolution with the “ad- Droz, 1997); Michel Foucault, Histoire de la folie à
vice” offered by the fool Triboullet (45) that l’âge classique (Paris: Gallimard, 1972); Walter Kai-
Panurge interprets as a call to go in search of the ser, Praisers of Folly: Erasmus, Rabelais, Shakespeare
Dive Bouteille or Holy Bottle. Seven chapters (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963).
earlier, Pantagruel and Panurge engage in an E. Bruce Hayes
exchange that can be characterized as a Rabelai-
sian Praise of Folly. In the intervening chapters, FORESTS Forests in sixteenth-century France
the reader discovers Judge Bridoye, a fool who were divided between the crown, the Church, no-
is perfectly rational about his irrational behavior. blemen, and the peasantry who had common-law
Panurge’s character is that of the farcical buffoon pasture and felling rights in certain areas. The
or badin, and the Third Book can be seen as a forest had long contributed significantly to local
confrontation between wise and foolish fools. economies, with different social groups making
Fools occupied an ambiguous position in both various and often competing demands on the re-
medieval and Renaissance society, both privi- sources: as pasture, heat source, raw materials,
leged and marginalized. Although fools were income for impoverished lords who sold their
sometimes seen as diabolic, they also spoke the wood, or hunting grounds. With the population
unspeakable, which provided them with a repu- increases in the eleventh and twelfth centuries
tation as seers. This ambiguity of meaning con- there had been significant deforestation, but in
cerning fools’ pronouncements is prominently on the Middle Ages the transformation of forests
display in the Third Book. into agricultural land was seen as a victory of
As Rabelais’s work makes clear, fools and the civilization and Christendom over wild and pa-
nature of folly were extremely popular topics gan spaces, and there was little sense of the forest
among Renaissance humanists. At the end of the as a finite resource. However, sixteenth-century
fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries, France, also subject to rapid population increase,
works such as Guyot Marchand’s Danse maca- witnessed a crisis of sorts in the management of
bre (1486) and Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools forest resources, and significant steps were taken
(1494) popularized the idea of a pervasive folly toward a centralized royal policy. Deforestation
that existed in all levels of society. In his mock was gradually seen less as a victory of civiliza-
encomium Praise of Folly, Erasmus posited a tion and more as an attack on precious national
double notion of folly, worldly and divine. Al- resources.
though the former category essentially repeated Several French forests are featured in Rabe-
the negative connotations of universal human lais’s first two books, and the forests of the last
folly put forward in many medieval texts, the lat- three books are almost all imaginary, although
ter built upon the Pauline notion of Christian fact and imagination are often blended. The most
folly and the idea that Christians are viewed as far-fetched forest is that on the Ile des Ferre-
fools by the wise of the world. Erasmus also ments, or Toolmaking Island, where the trees
drew upon the tradition of the morosophe, or grow weapons (5BK 9). Yet the episode gives
wise fool, while his narrator Stultitia constantly rise to a weighty scientific discourse on why trees
82 Fourth Book

are animate. Panurge’s fable of the fox and lion Larrère and Olivier Nougarède, Des hommes et des
(P 15) is set in the forest of Fontainebleau (called forêts (Paris: Gallimard, 1993); V. L. Saulnier, Rabe-
at that time Bière), transforming it into a myth- lais dans son enquête, vol. 2 (Paris: SEDES, 1982).
ical space in which animals talk. The Parisians Louisa Mackenzie
send Gargantua’s mare to live in this forest (G
21), although the narrator tells us he thinks she FOURTH BOOK (QUART LIVRE) The final
is no longer there. Fontainebleau had long been version of Rabelais’s last complete Pantagrueline
exploited for its sandstone, which had signifi- chronicle was published in 1552, a decade after
cantly damaged the foliage: it is perhaps for this the publication of the Third Book and one year
reason that it had a popular reputation as a grim before the humanist’s death. Replete with mock-
and sterile desert, which Rabelais refers to when heroic episodes, it recounts the voyage under-
describing the Ile de Cassade (5BK 10). The Bois taken by Pantagruel to assist his ne’er-do-well
de Vède, near Rabelais’s ancestral home, be- friend Panurge in seeking the advice of the Di-
comes strategic territory in the Picrocholine wars vine Bottle. The intent and destination of the trip
(G 34). Thélème, which is, we are told, near the are rarely mentioned and are ultimately unfulfil-
forest of Port-Huault on the Loire, also has its led. By establishing a sea voyage to unknown
own fictitious forest on the edges of which lodge lands as the narrative premise of the Fourth
the tailors and artisans that provide for the Thé- Book, Rabelais incorporated a topic that both ex-
lèmites (G 52, 56). The episode in the “forest of cited and challenged his contemporaries. The
Beauce” rewrites the environmental history of multiple transformations occurring in European
the region, which in reality had always been a society due to the Italian Wars, the nascent Re-
steppe, creating a legendary originary forest on form movement, and scientific advances were
French soil that had never really existed (G 16). forcing the established medieval community to
Some scenes indicate the importance of the change and, increasingly, to splinter and be at
forest to economic life in Rabelais’s time. The odds with itself. The Fourth Book functions as a
felling of trees is paired with economic consid- cautionary, albeit comic, tale. It provides both a
erations in the prologue to the Fourth Book caricature of the multiple, often divisive, groups
through the character of Couillatris, a woodcut- that were isolating themselves from each other in
ter. The forest on the Ile des Macreons (com- European society and a model of a diverse but
pared to the Ardennes) may be full of ancient coherent community that accommodates, and in-
monuments, but it also resembles a utopian syl- deed welcomes, change but remains faithful to
van economy (4BK 25): it is sparsely populated, traditional Christian doctrine. Pantagruel and his
all old-growth trees, and the islanders are car- fellow travelers on the ship the Thalamège rep-
penters. Panurge’s Praise of Debts includes a resent this latter group. From the outset of the
discourse on deforestation and economics (3BK Fourth Book, Rabelais takes great care to estab-
2). Panurge has felled the trees on his property lish the primacy of the Pantagruelian community.
and sold the ashes: selling old wood was com- Throughout his oeuvre, Rabelais makes liberal
mon among landowners, but Panurge, selling use of the term Pantagruelism, but it is only in
ashes, has ruined rather than helped his estate’s the definitive prologue of the Fourth Book that
finances. He prefers the symbolic profit of having he defines it: “a certain gaiety of spirit confected
proven his “strength,” boasting of having trans- in disdain for fortuitous things.” The narrative
formed the savage, dark forest into bright clear- proceeds to indicate that this gaiety is based on
ings. This is a very medieval view of clear cut- a resolute faith and generous regard toward oth-
ting, set against a more pragmatic and arguably ers.
more modern view of profit and resource man- The Fourth Book is unique among Rabelais’s
agement. As this discourse shows, forests in Ra- writings in that a prototype for it exists. This
belais serve as sites of contention between mul- work, containing only eleven chapters, was pub-
tiple discourses. lished by Rabelais’s Lyonnais editor, Pierre de
Readings: Michel Devèze, La vie de la forêt fran- Tours, in 1548, under the title Le Quart Livre de
çaise au 16e siècle (Paris: SEVPEN, 1961); Raphaël Pantagruel. It remains unclear whether Rabelais
Fourth Book 83

authorized the publication of the 1548 version. the 1564 publication is little more than an awk-
Abundant typographical variations and changes ward attempt to copy Rabelais’s style, they none-
exist between the two editions. Even where epi- theless consider its first sixteen chapters to have
sodes remain basically the same, myriad small been composed by Rabelais. Relating additional
differences appear. The most striking addition to encounters between newfound islands and the
the opening paragraph of the 1552 Fourth Book Thalamège, the chapters serve as an epilogue to
is the parenthetical reference to the early Chris- the Fourth Book. Hence, the Fourth Book is ex-
tians at prayer. For Rabelais, as for all evangel- tremely rich: not only does it have two versions,
ical humanists of his time, the first Christians each with its own prologue, but its definitive ver-
constituted the definitive ideal community. His sion’s introductory letter, glossary, and supple-
evocation of these people establishes an evan- ment render it encyclopedic.
gelical tone in the text and underscores the rap- The Fourth Book’s theme and complex but
port between these few faithful and the Panta- finely crafted narrative make it arguably Rabe-
gruelists. lais’s most intriguing work. While retaining his
In the narrative of the initial version, only five previous fictional characters, Rabelais tempers
of the islands also described in the 1552 edition his customary gaulois humor and satire with a
appear. They comprise the first section of the rich and sophisticated commentary on the limi-
later edition, and their stories are decidedly less tations and ambiguities of language, the anxiety
satirical than the episodes that follow. Many of and promise of characterizing contemporary so-
the islands that appear only in the 1552 Fourth ciety, and the import and controversial nature of
Book such as those of the Papimanes and the evangelical concerns. In contrast with the earlier
Papefigues reflect political events dating from books, the Fourth Book reveals a more thought-
1550 and 1551. Furthermore, the original 1548 ful and reflective author who nonetheless main-
episodes mentioned above reappear more fully tains his comic tone. Care is taken in revealing
developed and detailed in the definitive version. the complexity of relationships between Gargan-
The 1552 Fourth Book contains sixty-seven tua, Pantagruel, Frère Jean, Panurge, and Al-
chapters, resulting in a narrative over six times cofrybas.
as long as its prototype. Several auxiliary texts Some of Rabelais’s more memorable charac-
that accompany the 1552 Fourth Book also dis- ters as well as lyrical passages appear in the
tinguish it from Pantagruel, Gargantua, and the Fourth Book. There is Monsieur Gaster, “pre-
Third Book. Not only does it have the expected mier master of the arts of the world,” who is the
prologue, but it is introduced with a letter of ded- personification of hunger (4BK 57). His influ-
ication from Rabelais to his benefactor, the car- ence is pervasive and accounts for all of human-
dinal of Chastillon, Odet de Coligny. Following kind’s creations, both good and bad. Pantagruel
the 1552 text, there is a glossary entitled the Bri- witnesses and abhors the elaborate culinary of-
efve Déclaration, which elucidates terms and ferings of adoration made by Gaster’s subjects.
names used in the chronicle. Although it is The Gaster episode provides a strange mix of hu-
doubtful that Rabelais wrote the Déclaration, its mor and monstrosity, leaving unclear Rabelais’s
clarifications are of interest because for nonread- purpose in composing it. Like other episodes,
ers of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin it provides a Rabelais may well not have designed it for one
French translation of the names Rabelais often specific interpretation. When viewed as a parody
fabricated from combinations of terms from clas- of Marsilio Ficino’s portrayal of Love, the pas-
sical languages. The fact that Rabelais did not sage’s comic elements become more evident.
himself include such a glossary suggests his as- However, Pantagruel’s anger against the adora-
sumption that readers of the Fourth Book would tion of Gaster belies a purely farcical episode.
be learned scholars. The Thalamège’s encounter with the parolles
Finally, the initial chapters of the Fifth Book, gelées (Frozen Words) highlights Rabelais’s
the apocryphal work long considered Rabelais’s fascination with the nature and value of language
final text, may be considered an extension of the (55–56). Sailing in the open sea, the ship’s crew
Fourth Book. Scholars generally agree that while hears men’s voices but can see no one. The pilot
84 Francis I

explains that they are crossing the Glass Sea, such actions to be in the interests of France. His
near where a fierce battle took place a year be- endless campaigns all but exhausted the French
fore. The frigid winter air froze the sounds of treasury and forced him to suspend domestic cul-
combat, but in the temperate weather they melt tural programs from time to time. At home, he
and allow themselves to be heard. Pantagruel attempted to reform the country’s financial sys-
reaches up and grabs a handful of words, throw- tem and the Parlement and to tame the ever-
ing them on deck. The narrator Alcofrybas growing power of the Sorbonne.
wishes to conserve the frozen words in jars of Not only a soldier, Francis was deeply com-
oil, but Pantagruel refuses him, saying it is fool- mitted to making his reputation as a patron of
ish to save words; they come in abundance, par- learning and the arts. He appointed poets, pain-
ticularly for jovial Pantagruelists such as them- ters, and scholars as “gentlemen of the chamber,”
selves. This scene emphasizes Pantagruel’s role, his confidants and private staff. He brought Le-
like that of all humanists, as an explorer and onardo da Vinci to France in 1516, giving him a
seeker of the truth through the study of language pension and a house. Although Leonardo painted
and text. little in the three years before his death, he had
Rabelais’s last complete work is ultimately brought with him many of his masterpieces, in-
comic, and it carries a positive and at times joy- cluding the Mona Lisa, which remained in Fran-
ful message to its reader. It is noteworthy that cis’s possession. Eager to acquire other works of
the book concludes with Pantagruel’s hearty art, Francis sent buying agents to Italy. Whether
laugh (chapter 67). Often considered Rabelais’s inspired by a desire for land, gold, or knowledge,
most hermetic work, the Fourth Book defies strict Francis also sent explorers like Verrazano and
genre classification. Its communities are pre- Cartier to the New World. He developed an in-
sented as comical, grotesque, satirical, sad, chi- terest in architecture and built several chateaux,
meric, or wise. Rabelais’s final work is unique in most notably Chambord and Fontainebleau. At
that it demonstrates the optimistic and evangeli- Fontainebleau, he surrounded himself with paint-
cal traits of early French Renaissance writings, ings, tapestries, enamel works, classical and con-
while still revealing the concern and disillusion- temporary sculpture, and a library of over three
ment that led to the Religious Wars. thousand books and manuscripts. An ardent ad-
Readings: Elizabeth A. Chesney, The Countervoy- mirer of Petrarch and Erasmus, Francis en-
age of Rabelais and Ariosto: A Comparative Reading couraged French humanists, providing pensions
of Two Renaissance Mock Epics (Durham, NC: Duke and protection to writers like Clément Marot,
University Press, 1982); Edwin Duval, “La messe, la Saint-Gelais, and Rabelais and scholars such as
cène, et le voyage sans fin du Quart Livre,” ER 21 Lefèvre d’Etaples and Guillaume Budé. In
(1988): 131–41; Margaret Harp, The Portrayal of 1529, to promote classical studies, he established
Community in Rabelais’s Quart Livre (New York: Pe- the chairs of Greek, Hebrew, and mathematics,
ter Lang, 1997); Paul J. Smith, Voyage et Ecriture: forming the foundation of the Collège de France.
Etude sur le Quart Livre de Rabelais (Geneva: Droz, He patronized and protected printers, especially
1987). the scholar Robert Estienne, who published hu-
Margaret Harp manist texts and translations of the Bible.
The king’s position on the Reform often ap-
FRANCIS (FRANÇOIS) I (1494–1547) Son pears contradictory. A traditional Catholic, he de-
of Charles, comte d’Angoulême, and Louise de nounced Lutheranism but disagreed with the Sor-
Savoie, ruled France from 1515 to 1547. In 1514 bonne as to what constituted heresy. His
he married Claude de France, daughter of Louis personal attitude seems to have been one of sym-
XII, and became king when Louis died without pathy with the moderate reformers whom he pro-
sons. Most of Francis’s reign was spent at war tected while at home but who were at risk from
or in negotiations with the major powers of the the Sorbonne as soon as Francis left Paris. Al-
period: Henry VIII, Charles V, the Pope, and the though many cite the Affair of the Placards as
Sultan of Turkey. Francis did not hesitate to draw having turned the king against the evangelicals,
up treaties or switch alliances when he deemed his policy was mostly influenced by a desire to
Frère Jean 85

keep the peace at home and by political expedi- by Rabelais reveals how he will react to evil in
ence abroad, which required Protestant sympa- later episodes. As a sincere priest, he must serve
thies when negotiating with Henry VIII or the the social and spiritual needs of those whom he
German princes and a pro-Catholic stance when serves. He believes that religion should be a lib-
dealing with Charles V or the Pope. erating force that brings people joy. After his de-
Francis enjoyed the work of Rabelais and feat of Picrochole’s soldiers, Gargantua builds
granted the author a ten-year privilege on the Frère Jean a new type of monastery called Thé-
publication of the Third Book in 1546. Rabelais lème. This word means “will” in Greek, and Ra-
sprinkles his books with reminders of the king— belais shows us that in this monastery “free will”
playing on his favorite oath, “faith of a gentle- and not arbitrary rules govern the daily actions
man,” inserting his jester Triboullet as a char- of the male and female residents. Only well-
acter (P 30; 3BK 38–45), and alluding to the educated men and women may live there. Frère
beautiful paintings at Fontainebleau (4BK 2). In Jean believes that those who combine free will
Gargantua (34, 50), Rabelais refers directly to with respect for others will naturally accept the
historical events: “If I were king of France . . . I deep truths of Christianity. Religious faith for
would castrate all those who ran away from the him relies on the free discovery of moral values
field at Pavia leaving their dear prince stranded” by liberated men and women.
and “as a ransom we might have extorted As a priest who determines whether or not to
[money], holding his eldest sons as hostages.” At grant absolution to penitents who confess their
the same time, Rabelais does not hesitate to sat- sins to him, Frère Jean has become a good judge
irize war and the dying cult of chivalry (G 8), of human character. Like many other characters
both dear to Francis’s heart. in Rabelais’s four fully authenticated books,
Readings: Gilbert Gadoffre, La révolution cultu- Frère Jean sees through Panurge’s bad faith. He
relle dans la France des humanistes: Guillaume Budé knows that neither he nor any priest could per-
et François Ier (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Robert J. Knecht, suade Panurge to accept the simple truth that
Renaissance Warrior and Patron: The Reign of Fran- Christian marriage should be based on religious
cis I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); commitment and on mutual love and respect.
Desmond Seward, Prince of the Renaissance (New When Frère Jean realizes that Panurge is resort-
York: Macmillan, 1973). ing to black magic in order to determine whether
Megan Conway or not to marry, he decides to humiliate Panurge
in an effort to shock him into a religious con-
FRÈRE JEAN (FRÈRE JAN, FRIAR JOHN, version. In chapter 28 of the Third Book, Frère
BROTHER JOHN) Frère Jean is a monk who Jean correctly calls Panurge “a sinner” who may
recognizes the importance of connecting the re- well have been “predestined” to cuckoldry. He
ligious and social dimensions of life. When he reduces the serious theological discussion as to
first appears in the twenty-seventh chapter of whether people are saved by faith alone or by
Gargantua, he is living in a monastery in the faith plus good works to an absurd level. He tells
central French town of Seuilly. When the soldiers Panurge how he can be “saved.” According to
of Picrochole invade this monastery, the other Frère Jean’s tongue-in-cheek argument, Panurge
monks are so afraid that they do nothing, but will become a cuckold only if his wife is beau-
Frère Jean concludes that the prayer “Deliver us tiful. If his wife is beautiful, she will treat him
from our enemies” requires him to drive these well, he will have many friends, and therefore he
invaders from the monastery’s vineyard so that will be “saved.” Frère Jean understands that Pan-
wine can still be available both for the Eucharist urge will not respond positively to logical argu-
and for earthly enjoyment, and this is what he ments, and for that reason he tries to force him
does. Thus, he has preserved sacred space from into facing his own bad faith. Frère Jean has not
those who tried to destroy vines that are needed given up on Panurge, but Panurge has clearly
to produce wine for masses. Frère Jean will not given up on himself. He refuses to change, and
permit evil to triumph over good, and his first that is why he is not receptive to the basic relig-
appearance in the four books definitely written ious truths that Frère Jean tries to teach him.
86 Friendship

In the Fourth Book, Panurge once again pre- lationship in medieval epic than to earlier clas-
tends to seek religious help from Frère Jean, but sical prototypes such as Patroclus and Achilles,
this sincere priest is not fooled this time either. Diomede and Ulysses, and Achates and Aeneas.
Chapters 18 to 22 in the Fourth Book describe The medieval epic promoted the companion from
a storm at sea that is very reminiscent of the the classical role of loyal subordinate to that of
storm sequence described by Saint Paul in the a foil or double for the epic hero. Often consid-
twenty-seventh chapter of his Acts of the Apos- ered to outshine his friend and master, Panurge
tles. In chapter 19, Panurge pretends that he has fills this more capacious role with ease. He takes
just had a religious conversion. He wants Frère the place of Pantagruel in the compromising de-
Jean to stop helping the sailors and to hear his bate with Thaumaste and is never far from the
confession. Frère Jean realizes that God will for- center of the action (P 18–20).
give Panurge’s sins if Panurge’s repentance is The later books do not deny the famous chap-
sincere even without confession to a priest. At ter title—“How Pantagruel found Panurge,
that moment it is more important for Frère Jean whom he loved all his life” (P 9)—but the nature
to save lives. He certainly offers to hear Pan- of their friendship changes. The question of Pan-
urge’s confession after the storm, but, as he sus- urge’s marriage, which dominates the Third
pected, Panurge’s religious faith disappears as Book, threatens entirely to supplant the older
soon as the danger ends. claims of friendship. Panurge as prospective hus-
Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His band and future cuckold becomes a less redeem-
World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT able figure, and his relationship with Pantagruel
Press, 1968); Thomas M. Greene, Rabelais: A Study slips into an admonitory mode. Increasingly, the
in Comic Courage (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice- giant takes on a more paternal role, scolding and
Hall, 1970); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca, humoring Panurge by turns, so that the Cicer-
NY: Cornell University Press, 1979).
onian ideal of equitable friendship becomes com-
Edmund J. Campion
Although this possibility is never explicitly
FRIENDSHIP A central theme, perhaps even
stated, the voyage of the Fourth Book with its
an ethos, of the Rabelaisian text. The earliest
all-male crew may be understood as a reaffir-
known treatise on friendship is found in the Lysis
mation of masculine friendship. It takes place un-
of Plato. Other classical sources include the
eighth and ninth books of Aristotle’s Nicoma- der the shadow of Pantagruel’s promise to accept
chean Ethics and Cicero’s Laelius (De Amicitia). a wife of Gargantua’s choosing when he re-
These texts provided the starting point for Ren- turns: the quest defers the moment when love
aissance thinkers who wrote their own treatises, between men and women must supersede friend-
dialogues, and letters on the subject of friend- ship (3BK 48). Panurge and Pantagruel, accom-
ship. In particular, the dissemination of Cicero’s panied by Epistémon, Gymnaste, and Gargan-
De Amicitia cultivated an ideal of intimate affec- tua’s old friend Frère Jean, embark upon a
tion between men of equal standing which be- glorious, if troubled, bachelor party.
came instrumental to Renaissance theorizations The convivial relationship between narrator
of friendship. and reader in Rabelais’s sympotic prologues of-
The pairing of Panurge and Pantagruel fers a different model of friendship-at-first-sight
stands as one of the most famous of all Renais- to rival that of Panurge and Pantagruel. At once
sance friendships. Pantagruel conceives a spon- audience and drinking partner, the reader is
taneous liking for Panurge whom he casts in the coaxed, cajoled, and welcomed into a commu-
role of Achates to his Aeneas (P 9). This situates nity of friends the moment he opens the book.
Panurge within the classical tradition of the epic Readings: Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’
companion, or comes, who faithfully accompa- Pantagruel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
nies the hero on his adventures. But Panurge is 1991); Ullrich Langer, The Perfect Friendship (Ge-
no silent partner, and his stagy personality owes neva: Droz, 1994).
more to the later development of the comes re- Andrea Walkden
Frozen Words 87

FROZEN WORDS (PAROLES GELÉES) word of the Dive Bouteille among the frozen
(4BK 55–56) A curious event during the voy- words so that the long voyage would have ended
age of the Fourth Book that occurs between the there.
extensive episodes of the Decretals and Messere Given Rabelais’s preoccupation with words,
Gaster. After leaving the Island of Papimania, the incident merits close attention. Faced with
Pantagruel and his companions are enjoying trying to explain the unlikely situation, Panta-
themselves eating and talking when Pantagruel gruel searches for meaning in the classical world,
suddenly hears strange sounds. Soon, everyone and the four explanations he offers are cloaked
on board can hear the disembodied voices of in a delicate combination of humor and beauty.
men, women, and children, as well as the sounds For the space of a few paragraphs, the bawdy,
of horses and guns. Predictably, Panurge is ter- raucous boisterousness of the Utopians is sus-
rified, and Pantagruel seeks to reassure his friend pended in a poetic moment. Pantagruel’s expla-
by proposing four possible explanations for the nations underscore his philanthropic nature, for
noises. First, Pantagruel recalls a Pythagorean he is determined to interpret the Frozen Words
philosopher and mathematician named Petron in terms of essential philosophical truths, Pla-
who thought that there were one hundred and tonic ideas, or, at the very least, divine music.
eighty-three interrelated worlds equally dispersed Unfortunately, such things are not accessible to
on the sides and at the angles of an equilateral everyday mortals, and the words that promised
triangle at the center of which Truth resided. such perfection for a brief moment are revealed
Throughout the ages, words, ideas, models, and to be nothing more than the sounds of strife and
representations from this abode of Truth would incomprehensible babble. Rabelais melts his
occasionally drop on certain humans like “dew readers’ expectations along with the Frozen
on Gideon’s fleece.” Pantagruel then remembers Words with the reminder that words are espe-
that Aristotle referred to Homer’s words as “fly- cially the domain of lovers who lie and lawyers
ing.” His third explanation suggests that they are who sell them but that they are never in short
hearing some words of Plato that froze when supply.
spoken during the winter in some harsh country. Critical response to this episode has shifted rad-
The last hypothesis proposes that the words are ically over the past century since Arthur Tilley
the result of the wind blowing over the severed (1907) dismissed the whole scene in a single sen-
head and lyre of Orpheus. At this point, the pilot tence: “The account of the frozen words . . . is not
interrupts the giant’s conjecturing to say that a productive of much mirth, but it is interesting as
great and cruel war had been fought the preced- showing that the travelers had now reached the
ing winter at that very place—the edge of the confines of the Glacial Sea” (1967:237). Sixty
Frozen Sea. All the sounds of the battle had fro- years later, Marcel Tetel recognized the episode as
zen, but now that the weather was warming, the “a climax in [Rabelais’s] experiments with word
war cries of the men, the words of the women, play” (80), and Alfred Glauser perceived Rabe-
the whinnying of the horses, and the clash of lais’s whole oeuvre as composed of frozen words.
arms could all be heard as they melted. To amuse M. A. Screech sees the episode and the chapters
the company, Pantagruel catches several handfuls that follow it as Rabelais’s attempt to “confront
of still frozen words and tosses them on the deck ambitiously the problem of the possibility of hu-
where they shimmer in different colors. As the man knowledge within this transitory life.” More
companions warm the words in their hands, the specifically, Duval interprets the juxtaposition of
words melt and release their sounds. Unfortu- Pantagruel’s classical idealism and the brutal
nately, the sounds are incomprehensible and sounds of battle as a devastating satire of Plato’s
largely unpleasant. When the narrator wishes to theory of the Ideal and as an essential part of Ra-
save some of the red words, Pantagruel refuses, belais’s strategy to push the Utopians inexorably
saying it was foolish to “hoard a commodity we away from their idealistic certainty, at the begin-
were never short of.” The episode ends with Pan- ning of the voyage, that they will find the Truth at
urge wishing wistfully that he had found the the end of Panurge’s quest. Berry’s analysis inter-
88 Frozen Words

prets this episode as a key to our understanding of Design of Rabelais’s Quart livre de Pantagruel (Ge-
the Decretals and Gaster by defining two oppos- neva: Droz, 1997); Alfred Glauser, Rabelais créateur
ing views of language in the “frozen” versus (Paris: Nizet, 1964); M. A. Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca,
“thawed” words. NY: Cornell University Press, 1979); Marcel Tetel,
Readings: Alice Berry, The Charm of Catastrophe: Rabelais (New York: Twayne, 1967); Arthur Tilley,
A Study of Rabelais’s Quart Livre (Chapel Hill: Uni- François Rabelais (London: Kennikat, 1907).
versity of North Carolina, 2000); Edwin Duval, The Megan Conway
GALEN (A.D. 129–c. 199) Greek physician elaborate mention of games is found in the list
whose work, often stemming from and expand- of 217 games Gargantua plays (G 22). This en-
ing on Hippocratic texts, largely informed Ra- cyclopedic list includes card games, games of
belais’s writing and medical practice. Taking fur- chance, and sports. The list not only contains
ther the Hippocratic theory of humors, Galen games, but also terms used in games (e.g., “de-
developed a classification of temperaments Ra- fendo,” no. 187) or ways of playing a game
belais employed in the formation and transfor- (e.g., “coquinbert, qui gaigne perd,” no. 30).
mation of characters such as the anxious Pan- Also contained in the list are swear words asso-
urge and the bellicose Picrochole. Advice given ciated with gaming (e.g., “reniguebieu,” no. 52)
by Ponocrates to Gargantua and his Parisian as well as suggestive words with sexual conno-
friends to leave the city and go to the countryside tations (e.g., “vendre l’avoine,” no. 94, “ventre
one day each month for relaxation and diversion contre ventre,” no. 109, “semer l’avoyne,” no.
directly stems from Galen’s practical treatise on 184, etc.). Approximately the first third of the
health maintenance: De sanitate tuenda (Hy- list refers to card games, while the majority of
giene). Also originating from Galenic theory is terms refer to sports. In French society, begin-
the frequent Rabelaisian encouragement to read- ning in the late thirteenth century, the Church,
ers to find balance through simplicity and hu- municipal governments, and the crown issued
mility; avoiding extremes and correcting exces-
decrees banning certain types of games, espe-
ses are deemed essential to staying in good
cially card and dice games. Humanists such as
health—health being the most important pos-
Thomas More and Erasmus criticized games
session and indeed the primary source of happi-
of chance, while Rabelais’s view on this matter
ness, confidence, assurance, and ease. In practice,
is more ambiguous. Immediately following this
Galen’s promotion of hygiene and what we
exhaustive list of games in Gargantua 22 is a
would today call “physicians’ bedside manner”
much reduced and more refined list of games
so directly influenced Rabelais’s work as a doc-
tor that mortality rates dipped 2 to 3 percent dur- Gargantua plays on the advice of his humanist
ing his tenure at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in tutor Ponocrates. One of these is a game that
Lyon. Relating closely to patients, being a model stood apart in both society and Rabelais’s work—
of good health and compassion so as to inspire jeu de paume, the sport that evolved into
confidence and foster a collaborative spirit on the modern-day tennis. By decree in 1527, Francis
part of the sick—such were some of the most I established jeu de paume as an official sport
effective tools Galen made available to the Ren- whose professional players should be compen-
aissance doctor in his work and writing. sated. The end of Gargantua (58) contains an
Readings: Roland Antonioli, Rabelais et la méde- elaborate enigmatic poem that describes the jeu
cine, ER 12 (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1976); Gilles de paume in apocalyptic terms (see Enigmatic
Henry, Rabelais (Paris: Librairie Académique Perrin, Prophecy).
1988). Readings: Jean-Marie Mehl, Les jeux au royaume
Lesa Randall de France (Paris: Fayard, 1990); Michel Psichari, “Les
jeux de Gargantua,” RER 4 (1908): 1–37, 124–81,
GAMES Rabelais’s work contains hundreds of 317–61; 7 (1909): 48–67.
references to games, real and imagined. The most E. Bruce Hayes
90 Ganabin

GANABIN (4BK 66–67) The episode of Gan- Smith 1987). More recently, critics have looked
abin (which is Hebrew for “thieves” according for deeper significance in the final episode. For
to the Brief Declaration) is the last one of the Marcel Tetel, the Ganabin-episode is an allegory
Fourth Book and one of the most enigmatic. The of literary creation, imitation, and plagiarism; for
episode consists of two chapters, which in turn Verdun-L. Saulnier, Ganabin is the island of re-
can be subdivided into distinctive narrative parts. pression, the two-peaked Mount Antiparnassus
Chapter 66 begins with a description of the island symbolizing the Châtelet and the Conciergerie;
by Xenomanes, who informs his companions of for Gérard Defaux, it alludes to the two-peaked
the sinister nature of its habitants. Pantagruel mons Capitolinus, the Roman Capitol, which
gives a clue for the global interpretation of the stands for the Catholic Inquisition. Alice F. Berry
episode by comparing its two-peaked mountain and Paul J. Smith underscore the presence of the
to Mount Parnassus. In the following discussion, themes of baptismal initiation undergone by Pan-
Panurge and Frère Jean are as diametrically op- urge (descent into the dark underground, struggle
posed as they are in other episodes of the Fourth with the devil, rebirth symbolized by white cloth-
Book: Panurge wants to flee, while Frère Jean ing).
wishes to attack. Pantagruel decides to go ashore Recently, Edwin M. Duval has argued that
only to get fresh water from the island’s fountain Ganabin constitutes the final step of a series of
(“the most beautiful fountain of the world,” three islands “that contain increasingly sinister
which probably is an allusion to Hippocrenas, the forms of anticaritas”: “diabolical ingenuity (Gas-
mythological source of inspiration). At the insti- ter), sanctimonious hypocrisy (Chaneph), and
gation of Frère Jean, he decides to fire a salvo at predatory force against the defenseless (Gana-
the island, in order “to salute the Muses of this bin)”: “to find a more suitable telos than Ganabin
Mount Antiparnassus.” [the questing Pantagruelians] must not continue
Chapter 67 relates how Panurge, who has hid- beyond it but turn around and retrace their steps.”
den himself in the ship’s storeroom, comes up on The new study by Myriam Marrache-Gouraud,
deck, frightened by the cannonades. In his hand who identifies Panurge scratched by Rodilardus
he holds a cat, called Rodilardus, which, in the with the Mate, one of the trumps of the tarot,
dark of the ship’s hold, he had taken for a devil. proves that the final word on this crucial but en-
He is scratched and soiled with his own excre- igmatic episode has not yet been heard.
ment. The narrator explains that Panurge’s def- Readings: Alice Fiola Berry, Rabelais: Homo
ecation is a natural effect of fear and illustrates Logos (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina,
this with two lengthy exempla, one of which is 1979); Alice Fiola Berry, The Charm of Catastrophe.
the apocryphal ancedote of François Villon in A Study of Rabelais’s Quart Livre (Chapel Hill: Uni-
England. Pantagruel “[cannot] help laughing” versity of North Carolina, 2000); Gérard Defaux, Ra-
and summons Panurge to take a bath and to “put belais agonistes: du rieur au prophète (Geneva: Droz,
on a clean white shirt.” At this Panurge bursts 1997); Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s
out in a joyful litany of fifteen synonyms of the Quart Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1998); My-
word “shit,” finishing with the exclamation riam Marrache-Gouraud, ‘Hors toute intimidation’.
“Sela! Beuvons,” the intriguing, concluding Panurge ou la parole singulière (Geneva: Droz,
words of the Fourth Book. 2003); V.-L. Saulnier, Rabelais II. Rabelais dans son
This episode has given rise to very different enquête. Etude sur le Quart et le Cinquième Livre
appraisals and interpretations. Since Jean Fleury (Paris: SEDES, 1982); Paul J. Smith, Voyage et écri-
(1877), critics such as Manuel de Diéguez, Al- ture. Etude sur le Quart Livre de Rabelais (Geneva:
fred Glauser, Floyd Gray, and Jean Larmat have Droz, 1987); Marcel Tetel, “La fin du Quart Livre,”
considered this and the other final episodes of the Romanische Forschungen 83 (1971): 517–27.
Fourth Book to be a sign of the author’s fatigue Paul J. Smith
or lack of interest, judging the last scatologic
scene in particular to be “tasteless,” “easy GARGAMELLE Wife of Grandgousier,
comic,” and “without any conclusion, not even mother of Gargantua. Her name, derived from
provisional” (for a critical survey, see Paul J. the Provençal, means “throat.” Gargamelle fea-
Gargantua 91

tures briefly at two moments of Gargantua. Her Gargantua falls roughly into five parts: pre-
first and longest appearance is during the chap- liminaries (“Aux lecteurs,” prologue, chaps. 1–
ters (3–4, 6) detailing Gargantua’s conception 2); Gargantua’s birth and early childhood (3–
and birth, which develops Rabelais’s preoccu- 13); Gargantua’s education (14–24); war against
pation with the interiority and exteriority of bod- Picrochole (25–51); and Abbaye de Thélème
ies, but enables the author to speculate on the (52–58). There is no overall plot; rather, we have
particular nature of the female body. Garga- simply an episodic, chronological account of
melle’s pregnancy lasts eleven months, a sign Gargantua’s deeds. The interpretation of the
that her son is destined for great things. The birth book is disputed. Some maintain that it is essen-
is brought on by her excessive consumption of tially of aesthetic interest or primarily an inter-
tripe (animal intestines). As the tripe enters her pretational challenge. Others hold that it has a
body, space becomes so limited that Gargantua substantial message, but they often disagree
is forced into the world, but Gargamelle’s anus/ about what the message is. One can at least say
vagina is blocked. Gargantua travels through his that Gargantua raises topics such as education,
mother’s body and is eventually born through her religion, and war, while it also highlights the
left ear, revealing the female body to be a series reader’s role as interpreter (see Reading).
of previously unknown passageways, whose The preliminaries center on the “Prologe de
meaning and function are successfully deci- l’Auteur.” The title-page calls the author Alco-
phered by the male child. M. A. Screech inter- frybas Nasier, a pseudonym of François Rabe-
prets this unusual birth as a means of challenging lais. However, the author or (more accurately)
the reader’s belief in the Christian Nativity story. narrator in the prologue is so idiosyncratic that
Although greeted with laughter from Grandgou- he becomes a character in his own right, not
sier, Gargamelle’s remark that she regrets not merely a spokesman for Rabelais. He hails his
cutting off his penis to avoid the pain of child- readers as drunks and syphilitics. This greeting
birth demonstrates the perceived threat to mas- invites the reader to imagine himself in a kind of
culinity posed by the pregnant woman. In this drunken familiarity with Alcofrybas. Alcofrybas
light, Gargamelle’s marginalization from Gar- also contradicts himself: for example, he claims
gantua’s education can be read as a restoration first that his book contains “horrific mysteries,”
of patriarchy. When Gargamelle’s death is an- but later that it is just trifles. Clearly, the narrator
nounced to Grandgousier later in the work, he is unreliable, and the reader must think for him-
responds by expressing his lack of interest in her self.
and all other women. The first issue is precisely whether to take the
Readings: Françoise Charpentier, “Un royaume qui book seriously. Alcofrybas raises the question in-
perdure sans femmes,” Rabelais’s Incomparable sistently in the prologue. He concedes that the
Book: Essays on his Art, ed. Raymond La Charité title suggests a light work (like the Cronicques)
(Lexington, KY: French Forum, 1986); Jefferson but offers three analogies that imply seriousness:
Humphries, “The Rabelaisian Matrice,” RR 76.3 he compares Gargantua first to the philosopher
(1985): 251–70; Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (Lon- Socrates, whose wisdom contrasted with his
don: Duckworth, 1979). clownish exterior; then to a bone, from which the
Pollie Bromilow reader, like a dog, should extract marrow; and
finally to ancient literary works, which were pa-
GARGANTUA The story of the father of Pan- gan but in which devout sixteenth-century read-
tagruel, covering the earliest period in the fic- ers nonetheless saw allegories that foreshadowed
tional chronology of Rabelais’s giant princes. Christianity (see Allegory). The first analogy is
The publication date (1534–35) is unsure, but plausible: like Socrates, Alcofrybas acts the
Gargantua certainly appeared after Pantagruel clown, and like Socrates, he could have some-
(1532–33). Like Pantagruel, it exploits charac- thing profound to say. On the other hand, Alcof-
ters borrowed from the anonymous Grandes et rybas casts doubt on his own third analogy by
inestimables cronicques, rather undistinguished declaring that, though credulous readers may de-
comic tales about giants. tect hidden meanings in Gargantua, he did not
92 Gargantua

knowingly include any! Although scholars de- part of a satire on warmongers. This section in-
bate the precise implications of these analogies, cludes discussion of the value of peace (as sought
two points seem clear. First, in promising serious by Grandgousier), of just war and of the reasons
content, Alcofrybas indicates a reality: some why, in practice, unjustified wars occur. The text
chapters do treat serious matters straightfor- ascribes these last mainly to the moral failings of
wardly (e.g., justifications for war [1, 46]). Sec- rulers, while stressing that Christian princes’
ond, in suggesting that the book is a puzzle, he waging wars of conquest against each other is
indicates another reality: some chapters may or utterly scandalous. However, the text indicates
may not be about serious matters, but certainly that Picrochole himself has become mad and thus
set the reader a problem to solve (e.g., the mean- impervious to ordinary restraints. The possibility
ing of the enigma [58]). of such rogue princes implies that peace is a dif-
Gargantua is born during a feast, which con- ficult ideal to realize. Some scholars prefer a
tinues the merry tone of the prologue. More re- more specific interpretation, identifying Picro-
markably, his mother’s pregnancy lasts eleven chole as a caricature of the emperor Charles V,
months, and he is born through her ear. Alcof- the rival of France, and treating the Picrocholine
rybas maintains that long gestation befits a future war as propaganda. The war also introduces the
hero. The birth itself, he claims, is no odder than character Frère Jean, a monk and bloodthirsty
that of many others; and besides, if God so fighter. Although the massacres which he per-
willed, it would be so. Allusion to God’s power petrates are comic, it is paradoxical that the
could be part of a polemic against conservative peace-loving Grandgousier prizes his services.
theologians, outright blasphemy, or a harmless Perhaps the paradox simply reflects the reality of
joke. Whatever one’s view, clearly Alcofrybas a world where there are kings like Picrochole,
continues the tantalizing, challenging vein of the wars occur, and even peaceable rulers need pug-
prologue: having acknowledged that readers may nacious servants. Frère Jean is also a vehicle for
doubt the reality of this birth, he adds dismissi- religious satire, for he is presented as both a typ-
vely: “If you don’t believe it, I don’t care.” The ical and an atypical monk: typically, he is
account of Gargantua’s early childhood partly drunken, greedy, and lecherous; atypically, he is
stresses his alleged intelligence. Thus, experi- active and useful.
mentation shows him how pleasurable it is to After the war, Grandgousier rewards his fol-
wipe his behind with a gosling. This insight so lowers. The Abbey of Thélème is founded osten-
impresses Grandgousier that he decides to have sibly for Frère Jean, but Gargantua plans this in-
Gargantua educated. stitution. Only nominally an abbey, it is a utopia
Grandgousier entrusts Gargantua first to theo- where rich, cultivated men and women live in
logians who, in fifty years, make Gargantua ut- harmony. The harmony comes not from rules im-
terly stupid and idle. Grandgousier then places posed on the inmates, as in a monastic house, but
him with humanist teachers, under whose guid- from the Thélémites’ internal sense of “hon-
ance he swiftly masters classical literature, mod- neur,” which is partly innate, partly due to edu-
ern Latin writing, botany (or pharmacy), and cation and social influence. “Honneur” is also
other subjects. He also acquires physical strength sustained by Christianity, for the inhabitants have
and dexterity, particularly in martial exercises. individual chapels, and preachers are welcome in
This transmutation of the character comes not Thélème. Harmony is not, however, the last
only from intensive teaching, but also from Gar- word. Under the abbey is discovered an obscure
gantua’s own motivation: he is introduced to poem, whose meaning Frère Jean and Gargantua
learned people, wishes to hold his own, and so debate (58) (see Enigmatic Prophecy). The
acquires the urge to study. The extreme contrasts monk thinks it a comically mysterious descrip-
between clerical and humanist education make tion of tennis. For Gargantua, it evokes the per-
this a conspicuously satirical part of the work. secutions that Christians must endure on earth.
Gargantua’s studies are interrupted when King His interpretation recalls that Thélème is an ideal
Picrochole invades Grandgousier’s kingdom. The and that reality can be brutally different. Frère
immediate cause of war, a brawl about cakes, is Jean’s reading, however, recalls the Alcofrybas
Gargantua 93

of the prologue: as he dismissed the Christian- ever, the Utopian patriarch who once strapped
izing of ancient texts, so too the monk dismisses Pantagruel to his cradle seems less bent on fos-
the possibility of “grave allegories” in the poem. tering independence in his child than on ensuring
The work ends, as it began, by inviting the reader the continuation of his own values. Despite Gar-
to make up his own mind—but, this time about gantua’s forward-looking assertion that even
a text which, in the religious intolerance of the “brigands” and “henchmen” know more than the
1530s, may relate to matters of life and death. “doctors” and “preachers” of his own era, he
Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, L’œuvre de François characterizes his son not in terms of progress or
Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen Age et sous newness but rather as his “own visible image in
la Renaissance, trans. André Robel (Paris: Gallimard, the world,” “a mirror” perpetuating the sameness
1970); Guy Demerson, “Rabelais et la violence,” Eu- of the father. Although Gargantua authorizes
rope 757 (1992): 67–79; Jerome Schwartz, Irony and Pantagruel to embark on humanistic studies and
Ideology in Rabelais (Cambridge: Cambridge Univer- become an “abyss of knowledge,” a trail that he
sity Press, 1990); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (Lon- himself has already blazed, he forbids the pursuit
don: Duckworth, 1979); Olivier Zegna-Rata, of knowledge through illegitimate means such as
“L’acheminement vers la parole, ou l’éducation de astrology, urges his son to eschew unsavory
Gargantua,” ER 30 (1995): 7–29. companions who might lead him astray, and in-
Ian R. Morrison structs him to return home and defend the pat-
rimony whenever it is threatened.
GARGANTUA Giant featured in the Gargan- True, Gargantua as a youth was scatologically
tuan Chronicles, and believed by many to have inclined and played his own share of pranks, in-
folkloric origins, who appears as the title char- cluding stealing the bells of Notre Dame and uri-
acter’s father and the voice of patriarchy in Ra- nating on the people of Paris, both of which
belais’s Pantagruel (1532) and as the youthful might suggest a kinship with Panurge and an ef-
protagonist, son of Grandgousier, in its prequel fort on Rabelais’s part to enliven his occasionally
Gargantua (1534). Gargantua frequently is stodgy patriarch. Born through the ear of his
viewed as a progressive figure, because he laughs gluttonous mother, however, Gargantua—whose
and embraces the future rather than mourning his name, we are told, means “what a big throat you
wife’s death in Pantagruel 3, and as a model have”—develops through trial and error into a
and champion of the new learning, by reason of wise and temperate youth governed primarily,
his own humanistic education and the ambitious like Minerva, by the upper bodily strata. In keep-
curriculum he sets forth for his son (P 8). He ing with the advice he gives his son in Panta-
nonetheless exhibits retrogressive tendencies that gruel 8, young Gargantua returns home after
have elicited a good deal of critical attention in sowing his wild oats, defends the patrimony, and
recent years. Mentioned first in Pantagruel’s ge- emulates Grandgousier’s temperate style of gov-
nealogy (P 1) with the likes of Grandgousier, ernance (“unwilling . . . to degenerate from the
Atlas, Polyphemus, and Fierabras, the king of hereditary mildness and clemency of my parents”
Utopia figures in the Pantagruel and Third Book [G 50]) in his speech to the vanquished, effec-
as the conservative antipode of his son’s upstart tively mirroring the words and will of his wise
companion, Panurge, thereby generating a ten- and generous father. Indeed, one might even ar-
sion between old and new, legitimacy and ille- gue that the Abbey of Thélème, Gargantua’s gift
gitimacy, imitation and invention. to Frère Jean, replicates Utopia in its institu-
Ancient, larger than life, pedigreed, lawful, tionalization of fair play, in the respect for others
and godly, in contrast to the thirty-five-year-old evident in all facets of the cloister’s organization
Panurge’s dubious origins, medium stature, un- and operation, and in the likemindedness of the
abashed lechery, and thieving ways, Gargantua abbey’s virtuous and educated residents.
appears at first to embrace progress in his famous In contrast, Panurge whets Pantagruel’s fasci-
letter on learning (P 8), which Rabelais inserts nation with alterity or otherness, thrives on con-
strategically just prior to the introduction of Pan- flict rather than consensus, and—in his role as a
urge in chapter 9. Upon closer inspection, how- surrogate fils révolté or rebellious son—is re-
94 Gargantuan Chronicles

sponsible for distancing the Utopian prince from and Inestimable Chronicles of the Enormous Gi-
his father by embroiling the young giant in his ant Gargantua (Grandes et inestimables Chron-
own adventures. Following the introduction of icques de l’enorme geant Gargantua), boasting
Panurge, Gargantua virtually disappears from the that “more copies have been sold by printers in
narrative. In Pantagruel 17 he is translated into two months than Bibles are bought in nine years”
the land of Morgan the Fairy, only to be resur- (P prol.). This anonymous work which appeared
rected in the Third Book as an authority figure to in Lyon in 1532, shortly before Pantagruel, may
whom the companions bow (35) and as a cau- have been written by Rabelais. But if he is not
tionary voice warning against unorthodox prac- its author, he surely helped in the publication of
tices. For example, he abjures the use of dice for this work, if only by writing the table of contents,
fortune telling (3BK 11); credence in the visions as Mireille Huchon maintains. Several commen-
of hermits (3BK 13), of which Gargantua is tators suggest that it was the great publishing
leery; and unsanctioned, clandestine marriages success of the story of the giant Gargantua that
(3BK 36, 43, 48), used to circumvent patriarchal persuaded Rabelais to continue it with stories
control of marital alliances in the sixteenth cen- about his son Pantagruel.
tury. Five main textual groups can be distinguished
True, the exchange of letters and gifts between among the Chroniques gargantuines: (1) the
Gargantua and Pantagruel in the Fourth Book Grandes et inestimables Cronicques du grant et
(3–4) emphasizes the bond of affection, shared enorme geant Gargantua [ . . . ], to which the
interests and memories, mutual respect and trust, narrator refers at the start of his book; (2) the
and intellectual curiosity linking father and son Vroy Gargantua [ . . . ] or Real Gargantua,
despite their differences. The Utopian king even which probably appeared in 1533 and has char-
expresses friendship for Panurge in his missive, acteristics that make it very similar to Rabelai-
which is delivered by messenger pigeon. Rabe- sian tales. (3) Quite different in tone is the Great
lais still draws a subtle distinction between father and Marvelous Life of the Most Powerful and
and son, however, in the choice of gifts he at- Fearsome King Gargantua (Grande et merveil-
tributes to each character. Although Gargantua leuse vie du trespuissant et redoubte Roy de Gar-
selects books, associated with learned culture and gantua [ . . . ]) signed by the acrostic “Francois
patriarchal authority, as presents for his son, Pan- Girault” and published around 1530–35. Last are
tagruel opts to send alternative texts to his father: two compilations: (4) the Cronicques du Roy
both a tapestry that shows rather than tells the Gargantua [ . . . ], which merges the Grandes et
story of Achilles, and a group of exotic animals inestimables Cronicques and the Grande et mer-
representing nature rather than culture that differ veilleuse vie, and (5) the Admirable Chronicles
markedly from what “ancient writers made them of the Powerful King Gargantua (Croniques ad-
out to be” (4BK 3). mirables du puissant Roy Gargantua [ . . . ]),
Readings: Carla Freccero, Father Figures, Gene- very close to the Vroy Gargantua, which it re-
alogy and Narrative Structure in Rabelais (Ithaca, peats in addition to including whole chapters of
NY: Cornell University Press, 1991); Walter Stephens, Pantagruel. The Disciple de Pantagruel, pub-
Giants in Those Days (Lincoln: University of Ne- lished in 1538 or slightly later, is the terminus a
braska Press, 1989). quo of this series.
Elizabeth Chesney Zegura In their borrowings, compilations, and succes-
sive rewritings of episodes, these counterfeit ver-
GARGANTUAN CHRONICLES (CHRO- sions of chivalrous material are parodies of the
NIQUES GARGANTUINES) The term Chro- unrhymed knightly romances that had returned to
niques gargantuines designates a series of pop- public favor in the second half of the sixteenth
ular tales published around 1530–40 featuring century and become veritable bestsellers during
the character Gargantua. In the prologue to the reign of Francis I. They include characters
Pantagruel, narrator Alcofrybas Nasier men- from the Arthurian tradition, such as Merlin the
tions the first of these texts. In fact, in praising wizard, Queen Guinevere, and Lancelot. How-
his book’s merits, he compares it to the Great ever, with the title “chronicles,” these popular
Gaster, Messere 95

books also evoke the tradition of the great annals Belly as the ruler of virtue and the arts introduces
and their histories. In the comic mode, they trace a troubling irony into the episode. In addition to
the genealogy of the hero, his marvelous birth, deflating the concept of human virtue and indus-
his childhood, and finally his great feats of arms try, Rabelais appears to be writing a satire of
and contain numerous burlesque and scatological Ficinian Platonism. In his Commentary on
elements (see Scatology). The very character of Plato’s Symposium, Ficino identifies Love as the
the giant Gargantua and several passages of the governor and ruler of the arts, while Rabelais
Rabelaisian epics reveal themselves in fact to be suggests there is no greater inspiration than the
rewritings of episodes from the Chroniques gar- implacable gut (Marichal 1956: 190–92).
gantuines. For example, the description of the Through Gaster, Rabelais develops a discus-
giant’s clothing, Gargantua’s trip to Paris as well sion of the value of linguistic signs and contrasts
as his theft of the bells of Notre-Dame, which he artificial language with brute reality. Following
attaches to the neck of his mare, are all borrowed Erasmus, Rabelais informs us that Gaster, the
from the Grandes et inestimables Cronicques du hungry stomach, was created with no ears (Ad-
grant et enorme geant Gargantua [ . . . ]. The ages, II, 8, 84). Gaster cannot be deceived since
reference to the hollow tooth also suggests a pas- he does not hear the arguments of others. Yet he
sage in the Vroy Gargantua [ . . . ]. Moreover, in is an imperious ruler whose own commands must
the sixteenth century, the tales of Rabelais were be obeyed upon penalty of death. Gaster and his
often printed together with the Chroniques gar- regent Penury are driving forces in nature and
gantuines, reflecting printing and composition society, causing birds to sing and humankind to
processes and an understanding of authorship initiate all arts as well as the voyages of immi-
that are quite different from our modern practices gration and discovery and many of the techno-
and concepts. logical advances of the day.
Readings: Les chroniques gargantuines, ed. Chris- Despite his many accomplishments, Gaster is
tiane Lauvergnat-Gagnière and Guy Demerson (Paris: unworthy of undue glorification and himself ad-
Nizet, 1988); François Cornilliat, “L’Autre géant: Les mits to being not a god but a vile creature, send-
chroniques gargantuines et leur intertexte,” Littérature ing his worshipers to his chamber pot to see the
55 (1984): 85–97; Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, “Les chro- evidence of his base humanity.
niques gargantuines et la parodie du chevaleresque,” At his court, Gaster is served by two cate-
ER 32.1 (1996): 85–95; John Lewis, “Towards a Chro- gories of followers: the Engastrimythes, or
nology of the Chroniques gargantuines,” ER 18 ventriloquists, and the Gastrolatres, or Belly-
(1985): 83–101; François Rabelais Œuvres complètes, worshipers. The Gastrolatres are bands of lazy
ed. Mireille Huchon, coll. “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade” sectarians who never work, fearing to “offend”
(Paris: Gallimard, 1994). the stomach and shrink it. Rabelais identifies
Diane Desrosiers-Bonin them with those whom Saint Paul in his Epistle
to the Philippians deems enemies of the cross,
GASTER, MESSERE (4BK 57–62) The Gas- explaining that the god they worship is their own
ter episode occupies chapters 57–62 of the belly and that their paradise is of this world.
Fourth Book. Pantagruel and the crew of the Reminiscent of members of religious orders, the
Thalamège descend upon an island whose sum- Gastrolatres respond to the call of a bell and ar-
mit is at the end of a steep and rocky climb. At range themselves in order of rank and seniority
the peak is an earthly paradise reminiscent of the for a procession behind the Carnival figure of
Garden of Eden. Pantagruel identifies the place the voracious Manduce. Servants offer up “dry
as the Manor of Arete recalling Hesiod’s descrip- toasts” and copious amounts of food and drink
tion in Works and Days of the plateau of virtue to their god in a satirical representation of the
accessible only through great struggle. Catholic mass, which Rabelais presents as for-
However, the allegory is complicated by the malistic routine and a transformation of the Eu-
appearance of “Messere Gaster” (“Signor charist into an idolatrous feast (Duval, 1988:
Belly”), the “governor” of the island and first 132–34).
“master of arts” in the world. The allusion to the The vituperation of Gaster and his followers
96 Gastrolatres

continues as the stomach is presented as the cieties, the Gastrolatres have been interpreted as
cause of the recent diabolical creation of gun- a parody of monks. Finally, this same idleness,
powder. Since the seeming Manor of Virtue or combined with their association with poverty,
Garden of Eden proves to be a false paradise ac- uselessness, and the cockleshell motif (used by
cessible only through the sweat of the brow and pilgrims as well as by itinerant paupers), suggests
devastated by the presence of warfare, Duval that the Gastrolatres are also informed by social
sees the chapters as a retelling of the Fall and a discourse on pauperism. Indeed, the Lyon of Ra-
renunciation of the search to find any ready-made belais’s time was the site of one of the Renais-
utopia or truth, the announced goal of the voy- sance’s public works projects with accompany-
ages in the Third and Fourth Books themselves ing rhetoric condemning “idle” paupers.
(Design 42–8). Other critics, such as Michel Beyond this satire, critics have identified a re-
Jeanneret, see Rabelais’s Gaster as an essentially ligious subtext to the Gastrolatres episode. Most
polymorphous force, brutal and devouring, yet of Rabelais’s attention is indeed accorded to their
capable of inspiring virtuosity in humanity (22– most obvious trait, their extravagant idolatry:
5). The assigning of any single or stable meaning they considered Gaster to be a great God, wor-
to these chapters is undermined by the contra- shiping him as God, sacrificing to him as their
dictions within the text itself, which is essentially omnipotent God, and recognizing no other God
the development of a stomach-god character (4BK 58) while engaging in elaborate rituals to
based on a very literal reading of a biblical in- worship him (4BK 59–60). This association of
junction against literal interpretation and fetish- idolatry with an extreme glorification of materi-
ism. ality has Pauline resonances: it recalls the con-
Readings: Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabe- demnation of idolatry as one of the “works of the
lais’s Quart Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1998); flesh” (Gal 5.19–21) just as chapter 58 concludes
Edwin M. Duval, “La messe, la cène et le voyage sans with a quotation assimilating Belly worshipers to
fin du Quart Livre,” ER 21 (1988): 131–41; Michel the enemies of the cross (Phil. 3.18–19). For
Jeanneret, “Les Paroles dégelées (Rabelais, Quart Li- some critics, the Pauline intertext has the func-
vre, 48–65), Littérature 17 (1965): 14–30; Robert tion of a kind of master-source for an evangelical
Marichal, “Quart livre: commentaires,” ER 1 (1956): humanist like Rabelais. The episode also reso-
151–202; Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca, NY: nates with themes sounded by Reformers who,
Cornell University Press, 1979). like Paul, assimilated idolatry to the glorification
Gerard Lavatori (deification) of materiality. Charging the Church
with “idolatry” was a common accusation made
GASTROLATRES This episode consists of by John Calvin and others.
four distinct parts: a detailed presentation of the Not only are the Gastrolatres themselves an
island’s topography (4BK 57); a description of allegorical representation (of the belly and its
its inhabitants, the Gastrolatres and Engastrimy- drives? of monks? of paupers? of idolaters?), but
thes (4BK 58); a summary of their religious rit- the episode is saturated with allegory from the
uals (4BK 59–60); and finally an account of Gas- initial reference to the Rock of Virtue—a con-
ter’s many “inventions” (4BK 61–62). Because secrated topos from Hesiod found in contempo-
of the central role played by allegory, the Gas- rary texts such as Jean Lemaire de Belges’s Con-
trolatres episode has served as a centerpiece in corde des deux langages (1511) and François
scholarly debate on interpretation itself hinging Habert’s Temple de Vertu (1542). The beginning
on questions of allegory, ambivalence, and insta- and end of the episode (4BK 57; 61–62) invite
bility. readers to interpret Gaster and his island allegor-
As “Belly-worshipers,” (Briefve Déclaration) ically in light of (1) the Neoplatonic conception
the Gastrolatres cultivate an elaborate gastron- of love or (2) the human (postlapsarian) condi-
omy described in detail (4BK 59–60) that takes tion. Gaster’s epithet as “the first Master of Arts
the episode well beyond a simple condemnation in the world” (“Premier Maistre es Ars de ce
of gluttony. Because they are also described as Monde” [4BK 67]) recalls Marsilio Ficino’s
being idle and living together in close-knit so- commentary on Plato’s Symposium where love is
Geography 97

said to be the master of the arts. Scholars have fictional names. However, the specific nature of
also seen in Gaster and his island an allegory of the inventions represented, ranging from new
humanity’s fallen state of work and violence. methods of smoking beef tongue to wine flasks
Thus, Gaster’s imperial decree that all his sub- and bespectacled dice games, suggests that the
jects work (4BK 57) echoes the Old Testament encomium is partly paradoxical or even a parody
injunction “in the sweat of your face you will eat of Renaissance panegyrical genres. Moreover, as
your bread.” This episode combines the Old Tes- a celebration of patriarchy, the genealogy is gen-
tament account of the Fall (Gen 3.17–19) with tly undermined by the narrator’s own sugges-
classical imagery of the Iron Age from Hesiod tion that he believes nothing of what he has tran-
(Works and Days), Virgil (Georgics 1.129–33; scribed (“si ne le croiez, non foys-je, fist-elle” P
145–46), and Ovid (Metamorphosis 1.123–44). 1). Rabelais takes up the topic of ancestry again
Seen in this light, his epithet “Premier Maistre es in Gargantua, where he reveals that Gargantua’s
Ars de ce Monde” refers not only to the Neopla- genealogy—presumably the one transcribed in
tonic conception of love, but also to the “arts and Pantagruel—was discovered underground in an
trades” that characterize humanity’s postlapsar- urn, half-eaten by rodents and inscribed with in-
ian state of work and war (4BK 61–62). visible letters that have been deciphered by a
Whether they allegorize Neoplatonic love or drunken scribe named Alcofrybas (G 9). Finally,
the human condition, the chapters devoted to the entire patriarchal lineage is arguably cast in
Gaster and his inventions (4BK 61–62) are an doubt by the narrator’s discussion of eleven-
example of ironic encomium (satirical eulogy) month pregnancies (G 3), technically legitimate
akin to Panurge’s famous Praise of Debtors but biologically problematic.
(3BK 3–4). Readings: Edwin Duval, “Pantagruel’s Genealogy
Readings: Terence Cave, “Reading Rabelais: Vari- and the Redemptive Design of Rabelais’ Pantagruel,
ations on the Rock of Virtue,” Literary Theory/Ren- PMLA 99.2 (1984): 162–78; Carla Freccero, Father
aissance Texts, ed. Patricia Parker and David Quint Figures: Genealogy and Narrative Structure in Ra-
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986); belais (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991);
Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s Quart Livre Walter Stephens, Giants in Those Days (Lincoln, NE:
de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1998); Michel Jeanneret, University of Nebraska Press, 1989).
“Les paroles dégelées,” Littérature 27 (1975): 163–80; Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
Virginia Krause, “Idle Works in Rabelais’ Quart Li-
vre: The Case of the Gastrolatres,” SCJ 30.1 (1999): GEOGRAPHY An important element, to dif-
47–60; Robert Marichal, “Commentaires du Quart fering degrees, in Rabelais’s five books. Rabe-
Livre,” ER 1 (1956): 183–202; François Rigolot, Les laisian geography reflects the multitude of ways
langages de Rabelais (Geneva: Droz, 1996 [1972]), in which sixteenth-century writers thought about
152–60. their world, a world whose limits were expanding
Virginia Krause beyond anything imagined by classical or medi-
eval cartographers. But it is more than “reflec-
GENEALOGIES Evoking both biblical line- tion”: Rabelais exploits the many narrative pos-
ages (Gen. 10–11, 35–36; Matt. 1.1–17) and the sibilities of this diversity, navigating the reader
vogue for encomiastic and embellished family through landscapes that invite interpretation,
trees among Renaissance dignitaries, who often even while refusing to yield a fixed meaning.
claim heroes from antiquity among their ances- Sixteenth-century geography was largely de-
tors, Rabelais’s own genealogy of the Utopian termined by classical and medieval texts. From
princely family (P 1) lends itself to multiple in- the Middle Ages, the sixteenth century inherited
terpretations. Given the plethora of inventors vast compendia such as Vincent de Beauvais’s
who figure in the giants’ lineage, the family tree Speculum (thirteenth century, printed in Stras-
represents at one level a tribute to humanistic in- bourg in 1476). The known world was described
genuity, enriched by a syncretic but improbable in mappaemundi, diagrammatic world maps
mixture of biblical (Jewish), classical (Roman blending religion, myth, and travelers’ accounts
and Greek), medieval Christian, and completely and dotted with illustrations of fabulous people
98 Geography

and beasts (rather like Rabelais’s text), or T.O. the World (1570), considered the first modern at-
maps, so called because the three known conti- las.
nents formed a T within the circle of God’s cre- Travel accounts also proliferate at this time.
ation. The myth of the terrestrial paradise contin- Jacques Cartier’s accounts of his first two voy-
ued during the sixteenth century and is one of ages to Canada (1534, 1535-36), published in
the comparisons evoked by Rabelais for the is- 1545, were certainly known by Rabelais. The
land of Gaster (4BK 57). itinerary of the travelers in the Fourth Book re-
The most influential cartographer, however, calls Cartier’s first voyage and the search for the
was Ptolemy (second century a.d.), whose Ge- fabled northwest passage (4BK 1), as do various
ography was widely translated and printed in Eu- other details, for example, the gift of the knife to
rope after the first edition in 1475. Like many queen Niphleseth (4BK 42) and the cannon fire
Renaissance cosmographers, Petrus Apianus in that frightens Panurge (4BK 66). However, re-
his Cosmography (1544) reproduced many of cent criticism has challenged too direct a calqu-
Ptolemy’s notions, such as his three projections, ing of the voyages of the Fourth Book onto Car-
his location within a geometric coordinate sys- tier’s Brief Account. Although Cartier’s text is
tem, and his canonical distinction between local rather sober in its descriptions, other travel ac-
cartography (chorography) and national or inter- counts revel in the “marvelous diversity” of the
national (geography). Ptolemy’s influence was world: for example, Simon Grynaeus’s New
added to medieval influences, rather than replac- Globe (1532, French translation the same year)
ing them immediately, and the Geography’s lim- and Joannes Boemus, The Customs, Laws and
its were also being shown by explorers in the Rites of All Peoples (1536, French translation
Americas: Da Gama, Vespucci, Columbus, 1549), both collections of travel narratives, some
Verrazano, Cartier, or Cortés. The “original” imaginary. However, travelers often included
maps accompanying Ptolemy’s text (which may hearsay in their accounts, blending direct obser-
have been added up to the thirteenth century) vation with old legends: Rabelais comments on
were increasingly replaced by modern maps. this with his personage Ouy-Dire (5BK 30), who
As well as enabling numerous editions of old gives lectures to cosmographers, explorers, and
maps and cartographic texts, the printing press natural historians.
also produced an explosion in the production of Accounts of entirely fictitious and fantastic
atlases, cosmographies, geographies, and travel flora and fauna also enjoyed credibility, confirm-
accounts by contemporary writers. On receipt of ing the old notion that the far corners of the
travel accounts from Amerigo Vespucci, the world were inhabited by monsters: André
duke of Lorraine suspended a new edition of Thevet, Singularities of Antarctic France (1557).
Ptolemy in favor of a world map that would in- Rabelais’s fourth and fifth books are imprinted
clude contemporary discoveries. The result was with these narratives of singularities. Recent crit-
Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map, the icism has also shown the importance of the “in-
first to show the Americas separated from Asia. sular,” or atlas of islands, to Rabelais’s narrative
Olaus Magnus’s remarkable navigator’s map of structure in these books, arguing that the episodic
the northeast Atlantic (1539), deliberately in- structure of travel from island to island gives rise
tended to improve upon Ptolemy, was widely to an almost limitless narrative and thematic di-
used by cartographers all over Europe and was versity.
known by Rabelais, who uses Olaus as the in- Nor was there any lack of maps or accounts
spiration for his mention of Lapland (3BK 51) of travel within Europe or France. Sebastien
and perhaps for the incident of the physetere Münster’s new maps for his edition of Ptolemy
(4BK 33). Ptolemy’s authority started to decline (1540) marked a revolution in the mapping of
toward the end of the sixteenth century, with the Europe. In France, the Church often took the in-
influence of Sebastien Münster’s epoque-making itiative in local mapping or chorography, while
Cosmography (1544), Mercator’s world map the first large-scale map of France was contained
(1554), and the publication of new and more up- in Orance Fine’s New Description of the Whole
to-date atlases, in particular Ortelius’s Theater of of France (1525). The mapping of the nation
Geography 99

contributed to France’s sense of itself as a terri- Gaster (4BK 57) evokes the traditions of the
tory distinct from others and to increased mobil- Rock of Virtue and the earthly paradise, but is
ity within the country. In Rabelais, the image of also compared to Mount Aiguille in Vercors,
France is that of a nation both expanding out- south of Grenoble. The suspension of landscape
ward and opening up within. Recent criticism has between realism and imagination is expressed by
shown the importance of non-French “others” in Panurge in a small incident on the Ile Bossard in
Rabelais’s exploration of the psychic and geo- the Fifth Book (5BK 4). Having heard the name
graphical limits of French identity. And changes of the island, Panurge thinks that his interlocutor
within France, the formation of new communi- Editue meant to say “the Ile Bouchard,” the name
cation networks often prompted by increased of a village near Chinon. Editue corrects him,
trade, are suggested by the episode on the Ile insisting that the name of the place is indeed Ile
d’Odes in the Fifth Book (5BK 25) where the Bossard.
roads “go” places; that is, they literally move Sometimes, landscapes or landmarks are con-
from one place to another, like rivers. structed out of linguistic puzzles, games, and de-
Another descriptive tradition still very much bates. The environmental history of the Beauce
alive was that of the Guides for pilgrims and region, dry and unable to sustain a forest since
other travelers. These early travel guides started antiquity, is rewritten by Rabelais (G 16) and
mainly as information on the distances between named with a pun (“beau ce”). The travelers of
stages on a particular route and were gradually the Fifth Book are taken to task on their pronun-
embellished with local history, anecdotes, and ciation of “Entéléchie,” the name of the kingdom
the like. Many were concerned with nomencla- in which they have arrived (OC 5BK 18; GP
ture and stories of how a particular place got its 5BK 19). They pass the test, since they do not
name. This etymological interest is marked in say “Endéléchie,” as other uneducated travelers
Claude Champier and Gilles Corrozet’s 1537 have done. This refers to a contemporary hu-
Catalogue of French towns and landmarks, and manist debate about the difference between the
particularly in Charles Estienne’s famous guide two words in Greek, a debate that had nothing
to sixteenth-century France, Guide to the Roads to do with place names. The relationship between
of France (1552). Rabelais’s French geography the human and the nonhuman world, or between
in the first two books explores the narrative pos- microcosm and macrocosm, subtends many of
sibilities of such relationships between name, Rabelais’s landscapes: the mappemonde that
place, and history, for example, the naming of Frère Jean sees in Panurge’s beard (3BK 28)
the forest of Beauce (G 16); and Pantagruel in literally embodies the known world (without the
the Fourth Book expounds on the occult causal Americas, apparently).
relationships between places and their names Many Rabelaisian landscapes ultimately affirm
(4BK 37). Pantagruel’s tour of French universi- the creative power of the author over his narra-
ties blends local history, actuality, nomenclature, tive space. Nowhere is this more evident than in
geography, and imagination. The dolmen near the world within Pantagruel’s mouth (P 32),
Poitiers, the “raised stone” (P 5), was and still is which the narrator explores as a New World and
an actual landmark, which Rabelais repositions where the body of the author’s creation, Panta-
within his own particular geography and history. gruel, coterminous with the “body” of his text,
The France that emerges from the giant’s tour is literally becomes its own world. Rabelais often
thus a liminal space between reality and fantasy, brings the narrative and the reader back to his
or one subject to many discursive determinants, native Touraine, providing very specific refer-
that is still in the process of being defined. ences to small villages, woods, territories, fords,
In all of Rabelais’s books landscapes are al- and so on, near his family’s land at La Devinière
ternately recognizable and strange. The voyage near Chinon. In fact, La Devinière seems to be
to Utopia in Pantagruel (P 24) starts on an itin- the general quarters of the Picrocholine War.
erary that exactly matches that taken by the Por- This war, based on a historical local quarrel be-
tuguese toward the Indies, but then progresses to tween the seigneur of Lerné and the users of the
places such as Mèden (“Nothing”). The Island of Loire River, a dispute in which Rabelais’s own
100 Giants

father was involved, reads like a chorography of aggeration and the gigantic pervade Rabelais’s
the Touraine: the local landscape is ravaged by early fiction and saturate his language even after
the enemy troops, the castle of La Roche Cler- Pantagruel, Gargantua, and Grandgousier
maud is taken, the Abbey of Seuilly is attacked, cease to be consistently portrayed as giants. Be-
and the Gué de Vède becomes pivotal strategic fore Rabelais, both serious and facetious culture
territory (G 26–28, 34). Thélème is built on the discussed giants. Gargantua was the name of a
Loire River (G 52); one critic has located it quite gigantic hero in cheaply printed tall tales peddled
precisely between the Loire and Indre. at fairs, known collectively to modern scholars
Toward the end of the Fifth Book, arriving at as the Chroniques gargantuines, or Gargantuan
the oracle after peregrinations through strange Chronicles. Rabelais’s narratorial alter ego, Al-
and marvelous lands, the narrator brings the cofrybas Nasier, praises one such book in the
reader back to the author’s territory, comparing prologue to Pantagruel, and alludes to it several
the paintings to those in a cellar in Chinon (OC times in Gargantua as well. Nineteenth- and
5BK 34; GP 5BK 35). Chinon is described as the early twentieth-century scholars documented ref-
“first city in the world”: through a false etymol- erences to Gargantua in the oral culture of French
ogy (Caynon) linking the name with Cain’s ori- peasants and speculated that the giant had origi-
ginary murder, the narrator inscribes the town nated in prehistoric Celtic mythology, perhaps as
into the beginnings of biblical history and also a god. Anthropologists investigated “town gi-
sends us back to the beginning of Pantagruel (P ants,” large effigies of founders and other cultural
1), where Abel’s blood enriches the soil and pro- heroes paraded in French civic pageants from the
duces the nèfles or medlars, at the origin of Ra- late Middle Ages into modern times. The Russian
belais’s gigantic mythology. The entire narrative, critic Mikhail Bakhtin interpreted this entire
then, is framed by Chinon, the text mapping out body of speculation as evidence of a durable
a landscape that refers back to the place of origin “carnivalesque” popular culture, which ex-
of the author himself—an author who makes sure ploited scatology and sexuality to degrade and
that we never quite know where we are.
“uncrown” the repressive “official” culture of the
Readings: Numa Broc, La géographie à la Renais-
medieval Church and affirm the people’s fearless
sance (1420–1620) (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale,
outlook through laughter.
1980); François de Dainville, La géographie des
Medieval Scandinavian folklore, which Rabe-
humanistes (Paris: Beauchesne, 1940); Timothy
lais would not have known, told of giants. In
Hampton, Literature and Nation in the Sixteenth Cen-
Rabelais’s time, comparable evidence of truly
tury: Inventing Renaissance France (Ithaca, NY: Cor-
oral French folklore about giants was not re-
nell University Press, 2001); Abel Lefranc, Les navi-
gations de Pantagruel, étude sur la géographie
corded; only the Chroniques gargantuines, sur-
rabelaisienne (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1967,
viving in few copies, are clearly datable to Ra-
1905); Frank Lestringant, “Eléments pour une lecture belais’s era, and, aside from their written format,
topographique du Cinquiesme Livre,” ER 40 (2001): they show literate influences (e.g., Arthurian ro-
81–102; Frank Lestringant, Le livre des ı̂les. Atlas et mances). Giants were massively present in offi-
récits insulaires de la Genèse à Jules Verne (Geneva: cial or scholarly culture of Rabelais’s time, how-
Droz, 2002); Frank Lestringant, Ecrire le monde à la ever. Described in the Hebrew Bible or “Old
Renaissance (Caen: Paradigme, 1993); Robert Mari- Testament,” they were a standard topic of ancient
chal, “Commentaires du Quart livre,” ER 1 (1956): and universal history. Christian preachers based
153–58, 181–88; V.-L. Saulnier, Rabelais: Rabelais sermons and parables for all audiences on erudite
dans son enquête, vol. 1 (Paris: SEDES, 1983); Ga- biblical commentaries; saints’ lives also told of
briel Spillebout, “Le réalisme chinonais,” ER 21 giants, particularly the legendary convert and
(1988): 69–75. martyr Saint Christopher. Greek and Latin my-
Louisa Mackenzie thology recounted how giants and titans had re-
belled against the gods of Olympus. Since an-
GIANTS “Giant,” “Rabelaisian,” and “Gar- tiquity, Jewish and Christian authors had
gantuan” are synonyms in several languages. Ex- defended the historical existence of Giants, iden-
Giants 101

tifying pagan myths about them as deformed ech- herited both spiritual and secular power over the
oes of biblical truth. entire world. Noah invented all civilization, from
The giants of scholarly culture differed radi- bread and wine (prefiguring the Eucharist) to
cally from those of Rabelais, from the hero of laws, letters, and culture.
the Chroniques gargantuines, and from the “pop- Annius’s forgeries had no success in Italy until
ular” giants of modern scholarly speculation. the Medici Grand Duchy. But by 1509, Jean Le-
Biblical and classical giants were evil, not good, maire de Belges was busily erasing Annius’s
ignorant and savage, not civilized or civilizable; Etruscans and supplanting them with the Gallic
and they were extinct, precisely because of their Celts. Lemaire skillfully reforged Annius in Les
evil nature. Until Saint Augustine (354–430), Illustrations de Gaule et singularités de Troie
many writers defined giants on the basis of Gen. (1511–13), founding a school of patriotic French
6:4, which declared that there had been “Giants pseudohistory that served monarchs from Louis
in the earth in those days,” before Noah’s Flood, XII to Louis XIII. Lemaire coordinated his Gallic
that their birth had been caused by miscegenation antiquities with earlier medieval myths that Tro-
or racial mixing between the “sons of God” and jan refugees founded France and other kingdoms.
the “daughters of men,” and that Noah’s Flood He depicted an eternal French hegemony, claim-
was sent partly to punish their atrocities. Some ing that Charlemagne, Louis XII, and all French
writers identified the “sons of God” as fallen an- monarchs inherited the cultural preeminence and
gels, giving Giants a semidemonic genealogy; universal empire of the good Giant, Noah.
several Christian writers disputed this idea, in- Rabelais’s giants burlesque all these bodies of
terpreting the “sons of God” as descendants of giant-lore. Like Louis XII and his successors,
Adam’s son Seth and the “daughters of men” as Pantagruel and Gargantua trace their genealogy
Cain’s posterity. After Augustine, the Sethian ex- “depuis l’Arche de Noé jusqu’ à cet âge” (from
planation prevailed, despite Augustine’s denial
Noah’s Ark down to our own times). They are
that giants were a discrete race. Augustine’s idea
anomalous giants, staggeringly good and pious,
that giants were simply deviations from the ge-
superhumanly erudite. Pantagruel’s herb Panta-
netic norm obviated the necessity of explaining
gruelion rivals Noah’s vine for beneficence.
how angels could have fallen a second time, long
Thus, when the prologue to Pantagruel praised
after the fall of man, and why, if God sent the
readers for accepting the egregious lies of the
Flood to destroy a race of giants, they had reap-
Chroniques gargantuines like “true believers,”
peared in the time of Moses and David.
Aside from a few giants who converted to many could recognize Lemaire’s and Annius’s
Christianity, like Saint Christopher and some gi- pretensions to “Gospel truth” historiography.
ants in medieval French and Renaissance Italian Rabelais’s other giants are the evil monsters of
heroic poems, there were no good giants in of- traditional folkloric and scholarly consensus.
ficial culture until 1498, when Annius of Viterbo Loup Garou and his hordes, even the comical
(Giovanni Nanni, 1432–1502) published a col- Bringuenarilles (4BK 17), are enemies of hu-
lection of forged chronicles attributed to ancient man life and civilization. By setting good and
Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Latin evil giants in conflict, Rabelais indulged his love
authors. Skillfully coordinating his bogus texts of exaggeration while mocking the sophistry of
and commentaries with histories written by au- pseudoscholarly nationalistic writers.
thoritative ancients like Flavius Josephus, Pliny Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His
the Elder, and Diodorus Siculus, as well as the World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT
Book of Genesis, Annius predisposed his readers Press, 1968); Abel Lefranc, Rabelais: Etudes sur Gar-
to conclude that Noah’s family had been anom- gantua, Pantagruel, Le Tiers livre, Introd. by Robert
alous good giants before the Flood and that Noah Marichal (Paris: Albin Michel, 1951); Walter Ste-
had founded an Etruscan empire in postdiluvian phens, Giants in Those Days: Folklore, Ancient His-
Italy, becoming the first pontifex maximus, pre- tory, and Nationalism (Lincoln: University of Ne-
figuring the Papacy, and establishing an admin- braska Press, 1989).
istrative center at Rome. Thus the Pope had in- Walter Stephens
102 Golden Age

GOLDEN AGE In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, message of the Gospel. Controversies opposing

the Golden Age, presided over by Saturn, was freedom of the will to doctrines such as the bond-
marked by abundance and the absence of both age of the will (servum arbitrium, serf arbitre),
private property and conflict among men. First the total depravity of human nature, salvation by
evoked in Pantagruel 31 in reference to the rees- grace alone, determinism, and predestination
tablishment of peace following Anarche’s de- have flared up at various times throughout his-
feat, the image is developed at greater length in tory and still continue to divide Protestant, Ro-
chapter 4 of the Third Book when a world char- man Catholic, and Orthodox Christians. At issue
acterized by mutual debt and the unfettered cir- is the extent to which human beings in their
culation of material goods is described as a fallen state can, in effect, “take the first step”
“Golden Age and reign of Saturn.” Taking into toward faith before receiving the gift of divine
account the irony in Panurge’s substitution of grace and then cooperate (synergos) with God in
material debt for caritas as the sine qua non of earning their own salvation.
an ordered society, both references support Du- The major scriptural source of the controversy
val’s reading of Rabelais’s works as manuals for is Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, which em-
good government by an enlightened Christian phasizes the impossibility of attaining salvation
monarch. through human effort: “The just shall live by
In chapter 8 of the Third Book, the Golden faith” (1.17), “A man is justified by faith without
Age is implicated in Rabelais’s conflation of sex- the deeds of the law” (3.28), and so on. The Epis-
uality and problems of interpretation. When tle of Saint James, however, seems to offer an-
Panurge asserts that Nature created man with un- other vision of salvation: “Even so faith, if it hath
protected genitalia as a mark of chosen status and not works, is dead, being alone” (2.17), or “Ye
that codpieces are a sign of the Age of Iron, his see then how that by works a man is justified,
image of husk and seed echoes traditional exe- and not by faith only” (2.24). It was Augustine
getical language. Although Rabelais’s most di- of Hippo’s emphasis on the corruption of human
rect source is Erasmus’s “Dulce bellum inex- nature which determined the position of Western
pertis” (Adagia 4.1.1), references to Erasmus or Christianity for over a millennium.
Ovid do not fully account for the passage’s Rabelais would have become familiar with
comic tone, its substitution of reproduction for these issues because Luther’s rereading of Paul
caritas as the highest goal of human existence, and Augustine launched the Protestant Refor-
or its reference to allegorical language. However, mation. In addition, Erasmus and Luther en-
Jean de Meun’s portion of the Roman de la Rose gaged in a bitter polemical exchange opposing
(c. 1280; printed through 1538) discusses the the freedom of the will to the bondage of the
Golden Age and its end in the specific context will. As usual, one should not expect from Ra-
of economics and marital jealousy (8317–9648, belais a coherent, systematic defense of one po-
13845–86) and uses the castration of Saturn as a sition or the other, given the extremely subtle
metaphor for the separation of sign and meaning theological concepts involved and the vernacular
(5505–11; 6898–7154). genre that he had chosen as the vehicle for ex-
Readings: Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s pressing himself. Indeed, his attitudes seem to
Tiers Livre de Pantagruel’(Geneva: Droz, 1997); Jen- oscillate between optimistic and pessimistic vi-
nifer Monahan, “Reading the Rose in the Early Ren- sions of human nature.
aissance,” (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Grandgousier, Gargantua, and Pantagruel
Berkeley, 2000). all express their confidence in the value of relig-
Jennifer Monahan ious and secular educational reform as a means
of restraining individual aggression and reform-
GRACE AND FREE WILL In a Christian ing European society. The way of life adopted
context, grace is defined as the divine gift of un- by the Thélémites (G 51–57) is generally cited
merited salvation, while free will (liberum arbi- as proof that Rabelais had taken the side of the
trium, libre arbitre) denotes an individual’s un- “optimistic” Erasmus against Luther, “the pessi-
constrained ability to accept or reject the saving mist”: “Their lives were not ordered and gov-
Gross Medlars 103

erned by laws and statutes and rules, but accord- Ernst Winter (New York: Continuum, 2002); Harry J.
ing to their own free will” (“Toute leur vie estoit McSorley, Luther: Right or Wrong? An Ecumenical
employée non par loix, statuz ou reigles, mais Theological Study of Luther’s Major Work, “The
selon leur vouloir et franc arbitre” [GP 124; G Bondage of the Will” (New York: Newman Press,
57]). The motto, “Do what you will” (“Fay ce 1969).
que vouldras”) seems to indicate a large measure William H. Huseman
of confidence in human potential for choosing
good over evil. Finally, the principles of Pan- GRANDGOUSIER Devoted husband to Gar-
tagruelisme (3BK 2) offer a means of intelli- gamelle and proud father of the great Gargan-
gently cultivating human happiness. tua, so named by Grandgousier himself when ut-
Rabelais often evokes the catastrophic poten- tering his first words to the newborn in
tial of humanity’s franc arbitre. When describing astonishment over the impressive size of his
Picrochole’s “oultraiges” and “cholere tyran- mouth and the volume of his voice when de-
nique,” Grandgousier laments that “our eternal manding a drink (G 7). A caring, affectionate
Lord has consigned Picrochole to the commands father, Grandgousier attempts to provide the best
of his own free will, his own sense of what is for his son in all areas, selecting with care the
right and just, and . . . he can only continue in his colors and quality of clothing, toys and tutors.
wicked ways because he is not continually Later, during the Picrocholine conflict, Grandg-
guided by God’s good grace” (G 29). Elsewhere, ousier stands out as a model of pacifism and di-
humanity is depicted as utterly worthless without plomacy. Before entering war, he attempts to
God’s active help: “Isn’t it simply a recognition soften Picrochole’s ire by sending an ambassa-
of our one and only source of everything worth dor and responding to accusations of theft by of-
having? Isn’t it simply to declare that we all of fering a shipment of bread (fouaces) as restitu-
us depend on His kindness, that without Him tion (G 31–32). When war can no longer be
there is nothing, nothing is worth anything, noth- avoided, Grandgousier reluctantly participates,
ing can happen, if His holy grace isn’t instilled treating prisoners such as Tocquedillon with jus-
in us?” (GP 322; 3BK 30). tice and kindness, going even so far as to give
The dark side of the human condition plays an Tocquedillon a beautiful sword upon his release
increasingly important role in Rabelais’s last two (G 46). Grandgousier’s philosophy and manner
books. In spite of his numerous gifts, Panurge of living in all things positively influence Gar-
has fallen totally under the power of “the evil gantua to become fair and kind in turn, and to
spirit” (l’esprit maling [3BK 7, 19]). And while pass on Grandgousier’s legacy of wise living to
the consultations with various “experts” are cer- his own son, Pantagruel.
tainly amusing, they also reveal the inability of Readings: Carla Freccero, Father Figures: Gene-
human beings to find any real certainty if left to alogy and Narrative Structure in Rabelais (Ithaca,
their own devices. Finally, the voyage through NY: Cornell University Press, 1991).
the archipelago of the Fourth Book reveals a Lesa Randall
succession of creatures intent upon inventing rea-
sons to hate and, ideally, destroy their neighbors, GROSS MEDLARS (P 1) Literally and figu-
thereby confirming for some readers the univer- ratively, this seemingly banal fruit represents the
sal depravity of human beings (and Andouilles). source and origin of the Chronicques pantagrué-
Readings: Roland H. Bainton, Erasmus of Chris- lines. The narrator tells us that the blood spilled
tendom (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1969); Edmund by Cain’s slaying of his brother Abel—the year
J. Campion, Montaigne, Rabelais, and Marot as Read- of which is determined by the Druid, that is, pa-
ers of Erasmus (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, gan, way of measuring time—had rendered the
1995); Erasmus, De libero arbitrio (1524) and Luther, soil so fertile as to create an abundance of fruit,
De servo arbitrio (1525), in Luther and Erasmus: Free particularly said medlars. That year was hence-
Will and Salvation, trans. E. Gordon Rupp and Philip forth known as the “year of the gross medlars.”
S. Watson (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1969) Anyone eating that invigorating fruit experienced
and Erasmus. Luther. Discourse on Free Will, ed. curious swelling of body parts, and some even
104 Grotesque Realism

turned into giants, which created the race from La Charité, “Closure and the Reign of the ‘grosses
which Gargantua and Pantagruel descended. mesles’ in Rabelais’s Pantagruel,” Parcours et ren-
The importance of the “mixture” seems even contres. Mélanges de langue, d’histoire et de littéra-
consciously inscribed in the choice of the French ture françaises offerts à Enea Balmas, vol. 1, ed. Pa-
term mesles (medlar) instead of the regular nèfle olo Carile et al. (Paris: Klincksieck, 1993); Marcel
as well as in the utter temporal and cosmological Tetel, “Genèse d’une œuvre: Le premier chapitre du
confusion that marks the “year of the gross med- Pantagruel,” Stanford French Review 3 (1979): 41–
lars,” culminating in the “week of the three 52.
Thursdays” in “October or September,” which Bernd Renner
sees the sun and the moon deviating from their
respective courses. Paradoxically enough, as is GROTESQUE REALISM In Mikhail Bakh-
often the case in Rabelais, such disturbing fac- tin the grotesque realism of medieval and Ren-
tors, incorporated into this burlesque rewriting of aissance popular culture is intimately linked to
the Fall, are nullified by the positive result: the the representation of the body. According to this
creation of the race of the giants. After all, they aesthetic, the body, through a topographical dis-
are responsible for saving Noah’s Ark, and now— placement from high to low in which the organs
in the Christlike figure of Pantagruel, as has been of reproduction and excretion take precedence
argued—they have returned to redeem human- over other anatomical parts such as the head, is
kind once again. In this context, we must not constantly represented in its materiality and its
forget that they are the product of the exact op- biological functions: birth, alimentation, diges-
posite of the barrenness that followed the biblical tion, defecation, micturition, childbirth, decom-
account of the fratricide; the ensuing upheaval position, and so on. This insistence on the lower
and confusion could thus be seen to represent a bodily strata tends to create a fragmented and
symbol of revolt against received truths with incomplete image of the body, highlighting the
Pantagruel as a cleansing force. This ingenious openings and protuberances that constitute en-
tries into and exits from this grotesque anatomi-
blending and rewriting of biblical (Genesis) and
cal form, which is undifferentiated rather than
pagan history, of realism and fantasy (Jean Le-
individualized. In this so-called collective body,
maire de Belges’s Illustrations de Gaule has
according to the popular cyclical scheme of time
been mentioned as a likely target) sets the tone
based on agriculture, putrefaction is synonymous
for the entire text.
with the new life to come, for matter is called
One should not forget the adjective “gross,”
upon to recycle itself indefinitely. According to
however, which does not merely indicate the ef-
Bakhtin, scatology and sauciness in Rabelais’s
fect of fertility but also seems to connote the type work are manifestations of grotesque realism re-
of raw, farcical mixture that this first chronicle flecting the author’s implicit support for a certain
will offer. The medlars therefore become the de- kind of materialism. Thus the emblem of the an-
fining element of the book’s narrative structure drogyne given to Gargantua at his birth (G 8)
as well and end up dominating a text that mixes, evokes bicorporality, since the two parts of the
often crudely, humanist learning with farce, often original being constitute a type of “beast with
of an utterly obscene and vulgar nature. In the two backs.” Further, Panurge’s Praise of Cod-
Third Book, as the giants’ physical qualities all pieces (3BK 8) is really a tribute to the material
but disappear, so do the farce and the “gross immortality of the grotesque body, the celebra-
mixture” of the preceding chronicles. Any ob- tion of the “vivid sensation each person has of
scenity or vulgarity will henceforth be expressed belonging to the immortal ‘people,’ creators of
in a more subtle fashion. The gross medlars have history.”
finally given way to a more refined concoction. Quite perceptively, Bakhtin emphasizes the
Readings: Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabe- term grotesque or crotesque, which appears to
lais’s Pantagruel (New Haven, CT: Yale University have been coined—but with a different mean-
Press, 1991); Peter Gilman and Abraham C. Keller, ing—in the Renaissance. The word even appears
“The ‘Grosses Mesles’,” ER 29 (1993); Raymond C. in Rabelais’s work (3BK 26 and 5BK 40). In
Grotesque Realism 105

fact, the adjective first appeared in Italian to des- dinate to the mind and soul. Furthermore, gro-
ignate the rich and fanciful wall decoration of the tesque elements in the Gallic physician’s text
Domus Aurea of Nero, rediscovered during the doubtless relate to the fact that Rabelais, accord-
archaeological excavations of the fifteenth cen- ing to the Fifth Book prologue, views himself as
tury. The term derives from the substantive a “riparographe,” that is to say, as a painter of
grotto, because the famous House of Gold, be- vile and earthy things. This aesthetic of the ri-
fore being completely unearthed, was first taken parographe approaches the negative theology of
for a kind of cave. According to the Tresor de Dionysius the Pseudo-Aeropagite, according to
la langue française, the first appearance of the which man, unable to know God, must settle for
term dates from 1532, which constitutes an ex- evoking what he is not. Given the reorientation
traordinary coincidence: for the first famous of the discourse from God toward man that is
work of Rabelais, the Pantagruel, dates from ex- effected by humanism, however, Rabelais’s aes-
actly the same year. thetic of riparography does not represent a neg-
Nonetheless, this grotesque realism rests upon ative theology, but rather a negative “homology”
a postulate that is at the base of Bakhtin’s inter- in the sense of a discourse on man. And because
pretation. According to Bakhtin, Rabelais is both man, as defined by Pico della Mirandola in his
an atheist and the partisan of a materialist con- Oration on the Dignity of Man (Oratio de hom-
ception of the world that is closely related to the inis dignitate), is pure potential, one cannot say
rationalism of Padua, a hypothesis that Lucien what he is, but only what he is not. Thus, even
Febvre’s work formally refuted. Moreover, it is if man is a material body who eats, digests, def-
impossible to disregard the platonic background ecates, and copulates, this is only a part of who
in the emblem of the androgyne, which evokes and what he is. His ontological truth is elsewhere
the union of the body and soul. Similarly, in the and elusive, but grotesque realism suggests it by
case of the Praise of Codpieces, it is difficult to default.
ignore the reaction of Pantagruel, who contends Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, L’œuvre de François
that the encomium sets forth a “very paradoxical Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen Âge et sous
doctrine” (“doctrine moult paradoxe”), as well as la Renaissance, trans. Andrée Robel (1970; Paris: Gal-
the fact that for the doctors of the era, including limard, coll. “Tel,” 1994); Jean Céard, “Le fantastique
Rabelais, spermatogenesis in the testicles was d’en deça,” Magazine littéraire 319 (1994): 49–51;
considered an error of Galen, because the sper- Claude La Charité, “Panurge est-il ‘thalamite’ ou thé-
matozoids were believed to be produced in the lémite? Le style de petit ‘riparographe’: l’apologue
heart and only stored in the scrotum. sans morale de l’âne et du roussin,” Actes du colloque
In reality, the representation of the grotesque international de Rome: Rabelais le Cinquiesme livre,
body in Rabelais may be explained by the reha- ed. Franco Giacone, ER 40 (Geneva: Droz, 2001):
bilitation of the body in the Renaissance, which, 455–66.
even as its dignity was restored, remains subor- Claude La Charité
HAUGHTY PARISIAN LADY (HAULTE tionally read as funny, a practical joke played on
DAME DE PARIS) (P 21–22) In an infamous a woman to humiliate her for her haughtiness in
chapter in the Pantagruel, Rabelais stages the spurning the lower-class suitor. However, with
humiliation of a Parisian noblewoman at the the advent of feminist literary criticism, Booth
hands of the hero Pantagruel’s newly acquired goes on to say, the episode gives us pause, for
best friend, Panurge (P 21–22, TLF 13–14). whereas a class analysis makes of this reversal
This episode has been the subject of much mod- of fortune an occasion for triumphant laughter,
ern debate over the question of Rabelais’s atti- an analysis that takes the gendered relation be-
tudes toward women: was the writer a misogy- tween the parties into account turns the event into
nist, or does this episode belong to the a kind of sexual assault by proxy. Indeed, the
Bakhtinian spirit of Carnival in the undoing of very beginning of the chapter, in conjunction
traditional medieval hierarchies of caste? Might with what the reader already knows about the
it instead be a reflection on the character of Pan- character of Panurge, suggests that it is the will
urge, the decidedly antiheroic alter ego of the to dominate, rather than to seduce, that is at issue
near perfect princely giant Pantagruel? As in all for Panurge. As in the encounter between the
of Rabelais’s work, the difficulty lies in part in Englishman Thaumaste and Panurge, this
a reader’s ability to situate the position of the exchange takes the form of a lively repartee—
author and determine the reliability of the nar- verbal rather than nonverbal—between the suitor
rator in this dialogic, polyvocal text. Panurge, a and the lady who is the object of his affections.
lover of practical jokes, finds himself locally fa- And the lady, remarkably, holds her own, al-
mous in Paris for having defeated an English- though the third-person narrator of the scene
man in a debate by signs (P 20). This success insinuates from time to time that her stated re-
goes to his head, and he endeavors to “venir au solve is not as firm as it may seem.
dessus” (to conquer, but literally to come on top Thus, in a combination parody of two genres,
of, or to top) a Parisian noblewoman. She spurns courtly love and the medieval pastourelle (a de-
him, whereupon he resorts to flattery, obscene bate cum sexual assault often taking place be-
wordplay, bribery, and force—all to no avail. tween a knight and a humble shepherdess), Ra-
That night, on the eve of a holy feast day when belais both critiques and restages the double bind
all the ladies dress splendidly for church, Pan- of early modern sexual politics. On the one hand,
urge finds a bitch in heat, kills her, takes an un- if the lady refuses—which she must also abso-
specified part of her, chops it up, and makes of lutely do—she is haughty and hypocritical; on
it a kind of drug, which he then finds occasion, the other, if the knight woos, he must absolutely
the next day, to sprinkle on the lady. This causes win, or risk the dignity of his position. That Pan-
all the dogs of Paris (the text specifies more than urge enacts his revenge on the lady through the
six hundred) to be drawn to her and to piss on agency of dogs—and commits the murder of a
her. Panurge invites Pantagruel to observe the bitch in heat to do so—demystifies the motives
spectacle, which he does with admiration and en- of seduction, revealing the barely concealed vi-
joyment. olence beneath the rhetoric of courtliness. The
As Wayne Booth famously observed (“Free- substitution of dogs for his person further sug-
dom of Interpretation”), this episode was tradi- gests a failure at the heart of Panurge’s mascu-
Hebrew Language and Culture, References to 107

linity, a failure that must, inevitably, result in vis- where Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, the three noble
iting humiliation on the object of failed conquest. languages, were taught.
Is the episode of the haughty lady of Paris Besides the fascination for the kabbala, there
funny? As is always the case, the answer is, it was great interest in the Hebrew language itself,
depends. As a parodic tour de force intellectually which was thought to be a purer, pre-babelian
unveiling the motives of courtly love, on the one language, more sacred and ancient than Greek
hand, and with equal verve, colloquially invok- and Latin. It was a language inspired by God.
ing the comparison between men and dogs on the Whoever knew Hebrew could understand the
other, yes, the episode is funny. As a familiar world and the correspondences that ruled crea-
portrait of sexual assault by proxy and the hom- tion.
osocial bonding produced at the expense of In this spirit, the letter written by Gargantua
women, no, it is not. But the marvel in this in- to Pantagruel (P 8) exhorts the young prince,
stance is that, between laughter and horror, the not once but three times, to study Hebrew and
episode’s complexity gives us pause, for we are Chaldean, and to read the Talmudist and kabbal-
able to read both messages—misogynist and ist texts. This eloquent admonishment is even-
feminist—in the intricacy of Rabelais’s text. tually concretized in the Hebraic Library of Thé-
Readings: Wayne Booth, “Freedom of Interpreta- lème.
tion: Bakhtin and the Challenge of Feminist Criti- Rabelais’s own lifelong interest in Hebrew is
cism,” Critical Inquiry 9 (1982): 45–76; Carla Frec- apparent in the borrowings from Hebrew to be
cero, “Damning Haughty Dames: Panurge and the found in each of his epic stories. The books are
‘Haulte dame de Paris’ (Pantagruel, 14),” JMRS 15 rich in Hebrew terms and in allusions to the Mas-
(1985): 57–67; Carla Freccero, “The ‘Instance’ of the soretic work, the lexicon and grammar side of
Letter: Woman in the Text of Rabelais,” Rabelais’s the Jewish sacred texts. True Hebrew words, of
Incomparable Book: Essays on His Art, ed. Raymond biblical origin, enrich the text. Such is the tirade
C. La Charité (Lexington, KY: French Forum, 1986). of Panurge begging for a loaf of bread: “Adoni
Carla Freccero scholom lecha: im ischar harob hal habdeca, be-
meherah thithen li kikar lehem, cham cathub:
laah al Adonai chonen ral” (P 9). This word-for-
HEBREW LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, word translation informs the reader of Rabelais’s
REFERENCES TO The many Hebrew and proficiency in Hebrew. Other examples of Ra-
Judaic elements to be found in Rabelais’s books belais’s playfulness with Hebrew are interspersed
reflect the recent linguistic and metaphysic inter- here and there. Among other things, eight islands
est for the study of Hebrew prevalent among hu- have a name that is either Hebrew or Hebraici-
manists in Europe in the sixteenth century. This zed: Ennasin, Cheli, Tohu, Bohu, Farouche,
novel infatuation with Hebrew is best understood Ruach, Chaneph, and Ganabin. The name of-
when the theological climate of the time is kept fers generally a linguistic picture of the island:
in mind. It was a time of spiritual and intellectual thus, Ruach, island of the wind, Ganabin, island
renewal. In this period of definition that was to of the thieves, and so on. A few, such as Cheli,
lead to the Reformation of the Catholic Church, Ruach, Tohu, Bohu, and Belima, are instances of
dogmas were reexamined, thanks to the labor of kabbalistic keys with double meaning. Ruach, for
printing and translating done by humanists such example, is both “wind” and “spirit,” and lends
as Erasmus or Lefèvre d’Etaples. Christian He- itself to esoteric interpretation. Testimony to its
braists translated and studied the texts of the author’s predilection for Hebraic sonority, the
kabbala, and by giving these mystical Jewish text also boasts creations that are only an echo
texts a Neoplatonic twist, found perspectives that of true Hebrew words and pure phonic formu-
corroborated some of the Christian dogmas. In lations: such are Chalbroth, Sarabroth, Fari-
that period of openness and optimism of the early broth, the litany of giants in Gargantua’s gene-
part of the sixteenth century, Francis I commis- alogy. This ending in-oth imitates the Hebrew
sioned Jean Thenaud’s Traité de Cabale and mark of feminine plural. On that pattern, Rabe-
established the Collège de Lecteurs Royaux, lais created many words that have a Hebraic fla-
108 Hell, Depiction of

vor: falbroth, enthoth, broth, dechoth, endoth, points out, the inhabitants of Rabelais’s under-
moth, voldemoth, diavoloth, doth. Yet others world vary considerably in different editions of
have a masculine resonance: barildim, elmim, en- Pantagruel. Although most of these modifica-
souim, alkatim, nim, mnarbothim. A form like tions involve additions of figures from Greco-
Ennasin, coined on the pattern of the island of Roman antiquity, by 1534, “Rabelais suppressed
Ganabin, is actually a hybrid form of the French everything that might directly touch the French
(en)naz, grafted on an Hebraic suffix. The form Crown” by removing Charlemagne, Pharamond,
P.N.T.G.R.L. is a counterfeit of Hebraic writing Pepin, and the twelve peers of France from the
in its consonantal form; that is, it is not vocalized scene (OC 1328). Medieval chivalric heroes with
by the Massoretic system. Finally, let’s note that a less sacred place in French mythology remain,
Hebrew is a good cover for a few malicious ob- however, such as “Ogier le Dannoys,” “Jan de
scenities: Thacor are hemorrhoids; Farouche, a Paris,” and “les quatre filz Aymon” (324).
corruption of Pheresh, is the island of excrement. Epistémon’s descent is not represented as part
The eighty some words that are, or sound as of some larger epic design, as are Odysseus’s and
if they are, Hebrew, convince the reader of the Aeneas’s trips to the underworld. Epistémon is
author’s affinity for the mother tongue. Many of not the hero of Pantagruel, and his experience
the words point to the character of Moses, who here does nothing to move the main narrative
is in turn in Rabelais’s fiction a solemn and toward its climax in Pantagruel’s final victory
proud figure, a valiant captain (4BK ded.), an over Loup Garou’s forces. Moreover, unlike
inspiring political leader (4BK 37), a mystical Odysseus or Aeneas, Epistémon’s passage into
master (4BK 56), a philosopher and writer (3BK the underworld leaves his body behind. Episté-
8; 4BK 33), or a rigorous legislator (3BK 7, 16; mon himself summarizes the conditions in the
4BK 49). world below in terms that evoke the Christian
Readings: Katia Campbell, “Notes sur l’hébreu de afterlife: the last (here, the philosophers) are
Rabelais: La rencontre avec Panurge (Pantagruel, made first, and the mighty are made meek.
chap. 9),” ER 25 (1991): 95–105; Marie Holban, “Au- This postmortem reversal of earthly fortunes
tour de Jean Thenaud et de Frère Jean des Enton- has a well-known classical precedent in Lucian’s
neurs,” ER 9 (1971): 49–65; David Morris, “The Place Menippus, and Epistémon’s vision ultimately
of Jewish Law and Tradition in the Work of François bears little resemblance to medieval Christian de-
Rabelais,” ER 15 (1963); François Secret, Les Kab- pictions of Hell. However undesirable it may
balistes chrétiens à la Renaissance (Paris: Dunod, seem to spend one’s afterlife as, say, a ratcatcher,
1964). as Pope Alexander VI is consigned to do here,
Katia Campbell nobody suffers the harrowing torments of
Dante’s Inferno in Rabelais’s underworld. Nor,
HELL, DEPICTION OF In chapter 30 of moreover, is there any sense that the labors of
Pantagruel, in the course of a battle between those obliged to do menial tasks in the afterlife
Pantagruel’s army and the forces of the evil purge or purify the soul. Rather, the upside-down
Loup Garou, Pantagruel’s companion Episté- world that Epistémon encounters appears to be
mon dies after having his throat cut. Panurge per- remarkable primarily for its entertainment value:
forms alchemy-cum-surgery after finding Epis- Epistémon says he is a bit sorry that Panurge
témon lying with his bloody head in his arms. brought him back from among the damned so
Thus resurrected, Epistémon describes his stay quickly, “for it was singularly entertaining to see
“en enfer” and in the “Champs Elisées” (OC 322). them” (“car je prenois (dist il) un singulier pas-
Below the ground, Epistémon encounters a setemps à les veoir” [322]).
mix of historical and legendary figures from clas- In his groundbreaking work on religious belief
sical, Christian, and specifically French cultures, in sixteenth-century France, Lucien Febvre in-
including Alexander the Great, Themistocles, sisted that Rabelais’s novel should not be taken
Aeneas, Odysseus, Octavian, Huon de Bordeaux, as blasphemous and that this episode in particular
Lancelot du Lac, Pierre Pathelin, and several should rather be read as a parody of popular texts
mostly Renaissance popes. As Mireille Huchon like the Quatre fils Aymon and the Calendrier des
Henry II 109

bergers. More recently, Edwin Duval has devel- chronicles is uncertain. Clearly, however, Rabe-
oped a sustained, systematic analysis of Rabe- lais was fortunate to have well-connected friends
lais’s work that attributes a thoroughly Christian willing to petition the monarch on his behalf, for
framework to the Pantagruel series. Thus, Epis- the king was by no means a partisan of intellec-
témon’s focus on the sheer pleasure to be had tual freedom, at least in his own country. Build-
from observing specific figures from history and ing upon his father’s growing opposition to the
mythology in ridiculous situations exists along- Reform following the Affair of the Placards,
side Pantagruel’s concern with the more abstract Henry launched his own crackdown on heretics
question of the wages of mortal sin. “Keep these in 1547 by instituting the Chambre Ardente
fine stories for another time,” Pantagruel inter- (“Burning Chamber”) as a separate chamber of
rupts his companion’s report; “Just tell us how Parlement. True, the French king both supported
the usurers are treated” (326). It would, of and enlisted the aid of infidels and heretics
course, be a mistake to separate completely Ep- abroad, forming alliances with Germany’s Lu-
istémon’s and Pantagruel’s respective approaches theran princes, English Protestants, and Turks in
to a hermeneutics of Hell; chez Rabelais, moral opposition to fellow Catholics such as Charles
reflection and good storytelling are inextricably V. Apparently, Henry “had even given hope to
intertwined. the German Lutherans in 1546 that he would
Readings: Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s support the Reform” (Baumgartner 1988: 127);
Pantagruel (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, and by the same token, his defiance of the papacy
1991); Lucien Febvre, The Problem of Unbelief in the over control of the French Church is not without
Sixteenth Century. The Religion of Rabelais, trans. Be- parallels to the English Reformation.
atrice Gottlieb (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Henry’s willingness to join forces with non-
Press, 1982); Mireille Huchan, Oeuvres complètes Catholics abroad, while jockeying for power in
(Paris: Gallimard, 1994, Bibliotheque de la Pléiade se- Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries, no doubt
ries). results from a variety of factors, including his
Andrea Frisch particular hatred for Charles V, the old nemesis
of his father and a key player in Henry’s own
HENRY II (1519–59) The second son of four-year imprisonment in Spain as a child; and
Francis I and king of France from 1547 until his his opportunistic, secular approach to military
death from a jousting wound in 1559. Although strategy and state building reminiscent of Mach-
little is known with certainty about Rabelais’s iavelli’s prince. On the other hand, his excep-
dealings with the second Valois king, whose tionally hard-line attitude toward French Reform-
reign began during the Gallic physician’s exile ers, which seems to clash with his policies
in Metz and just prior to the publication of the abroad, may have stemmed in part from a sense
embattled 1548 edition of the Fourth Book, of guilt over his dealings with infidels and
there is no doubt that he actively sought the mon- heretics elsewhere, from the influence of conser-
arch’s favor to offset the Sorbonne’s efforts at vative Catholics in France including his mistress
censorship. In 1549, while in Italy under the Diane de Poitiers, his adviser Montmorency, and
protection of Jean du Bellay, Rabelais penned La the powerful Guises, or even from the formulaic
Sciomachie in honor of the birth of Henry’s promise to stamp out heresy that figured in his
short-lived son, Louis of Orléans; and in the ded- coronation oath. Most importantly, Henry viewed
ication to Odet de Coligny, cardinal of Châtillon, religious dissent in political terms, as a threat to
that begins the 1552 edition of the Fourth Book, the state, the crown, and his own role as head of
the author reminds readers that the king himself, the Gallican Church. Far from unifying France,
described as virtuous and “blessed by heaven,” strengthening the monarchy, or promoting do-
has approved his writings by granting the cardi- mestic tranquility in the long term, however, the
nal a ten-year royal privilege for their publica- policy of repression Henry bequeathed to his son
tion. Henry III and his wife Catherine de Medici, who
Whether Henry, better known for his athletic became regent upon the succession of Charles
prowess than his scholarly pursuits, had read the IX, set the stage for his country’s longest and
110 Her Trippa

bloodiest civil conflict—the Wars of Religion of the chapter and repeating, essentially, the ad-
that effectively put an end to the brilliant French vice that could be considered the leitmotif of all
Renaissance. fourteen consultations beginning with Panta-
Readings: Frederic J. Baumgartner, Henry II. King gruel’s “Ricochet song” (3BK 9). The trickster—
of France 1547–1559 (Durham, NC: Duke University combining biblical and classical sources (the par-
Press, 1988); Robert J. Knecht, French Renaissance able from the Sermon on the Mount, which is
Monarchy. Francis I and Henry II, 2nd ed. (London: part of the aforementioned sequence of Adagia
Longman, 1996); Ian D. McFarlane, ed., The Entry of as well as Plutarch’s polypragmon)—essentially
Henry II into Paris 16 June 1549 (Binghamton, NY: reproaches the occultist for his ability to see the
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1982). mote in others’ eyes but not the beam in his own.
Elizabeth Chesney Zegura Although Panurge seems correct in his quali-
fications of the prognosticator, who, blissfully ig-
HER TRIPPA An astrologer and occultist, norant of his own wife’s adulterous actions, is
one of the authorities that Panurge consults in nonetheless convinced to be able to predict an-
the Third Book (25), most often identified as a other man’s marital future, the irony consists in
combination of Trithemius (Steganographia) and the fact that the trickster implicitly unmasks him-
Cornelius Agrippa (De occulta philosophia and self in his ranting, as he and Her Trippa turn out
De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarium et ar- to be mirror images as models of philautia, un-
tium). It is Epistémon who suggests this consul- able to detect in themselves what they so easily
tation, which seems significant as Her Trippa’s recognize in others. Furthermore, both of them
questionable methods of divination are of the adhere to the illusion that univocal solutions can
type that Pantagruel, the usual instigator of the be provided to inherently ambivalent problems.
text’s consultations, would appear to condemn. In this way the trickster’s severe criticism of the
The astrologer presents in fact an encyclopedia occultist proves to be a dismantling of blind ad-
of magic erudition that completes and concludes herence to univocal models of thought expressed
the series of consultations relying on divination. through Panurge’s subtle unconscious self-
We are confronted with the type of elaborate satirization, a technique that illustrates the Third
intellectual farce that has come to represent the Book’s new brand of elaborate satire.
text’s ironic design while evacuating (or at least Readings: Jean Céard, La nature et les prodiges
discrediting) the physical farce of the first two (Geneva: Droz, 1977); Edwin M. Duval, The Design
books. Her Trippa is the only authority who has of Rabelais’s Tiers Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz,
already experienced what Panurge is so fright- 1997); Michael A. Screech, “Girolamo Cardano’s De
ened of, namely to be cuckolded, as we learn Sapientia and the Tiers Livre de Pantagruel,” BHR 25
from the trickster himself at the beginning of (1963): 97–110.
the chapter. The astrologer’s ignorance of this Bernd Renner
personal mishap casts an instant doubt on his
abilities as a soothsayer. His verdict, however, HERESY Rabelais could easily have been
corresponds to all the other verdicts, confirming burned at the stake for his writings. All four
that Panurge will indeed be cuckolded, beaten, books were considered heretical—that is, dam-
and robbed by his future wife. What is more, it aging to the central teachings of the Catholic
is the most unequivocal verdict, leaving Panurge Church—and condemned by the religious au-
without the option of reinterpreting it in his favor thorities in France immediately after they
as he is wont to do. In his rage the trickster un- appeared in print. The Pantagruel was reportedly
masks Her Trippa, first insulting him rather vi- censured or at least denounced, in 1533, less than
olently and then drawing on a number of prov- a year after its publication in Lyon; a re-edition
erbs from Erasmus’s Adages, reproaching him of Pantagruel and Gargantua, in 1543; the
for his lack of self-knowledge. The criticism cul- Third Book, in 1546; and the Fourth Book, in
minates in what Panurge calls the “first charac- 1552, this time by both religious and civil au-
teristic of philosophy,” the phrase “KNOW thorities—the Sorbonne and the Parlement. In
THYSELF,” forming, in capital letters, the center Catholic theology, no crime was more serious
Heresy 111

than heresy, deemed tantamount to murder but Church; heresy was the opposite of orthodoxy.
infinitely worse. A murderer ends a mortal life But what was orthodoxy, at a time when so much
before its time; a heretic, it was argued, snuffs had changed and the Church itself spoke of re-
out the immortal life of souls by depriving them form? In 1543 Francis I issued a royal ordinance
of salvation. Spreading errors of faith and false enjoining “inquisitors of the faith to pursue Lu-
beliefs, the heretic kills for all eternity. Heretics therans and heretics as seditious, disruptors of the
were burned at the stake not only to punish evil, public peace, and conspirators against the secu-
but also to purify and protect the community by rity of the State” (Isambert 818–21). But how
eliminating all traces of an infectious and deadly would an inquisitor know who was a “Lutheran,”
pollution. and what exactly was a “heretic”?
The modern reader of Rabelais is unlikely to The Sorbonne provided a precise response to
have such thoughts in mind. Rabelais, however, these questions, included with the Ordinance of
was keenly aware of what was at stake in attack- 1543. Registered in the Parlement on July 3 and
ing the Church. Not just a few but hundreds of published in the streets of Paris the following
reform-minded Catholics in France were burned day, it contains a list of twenty-five Articles of
at the stake between 1523 and 1560 (El Kenz faith set forth by the dean and doctors of theol-
1997). This practice is alluded to early in Pan- ogy of the University of Paris assembled at the
tagruel, implicitly in the famous “jusques au feu demand of the king, “in order briefly to set forth,
exclusive” in the prologue (“This I maintain fully in written form, what faithful preachers and doc-
and firmly to any point, short of the stake”), and tors of theology must preach and read, and what
explicitly in chapter 5 when Pantagruel on his other faithful Christians must believe with the
tour of French universities stopped at Toulouse Catholic church” (Isambert in Back 1986: 821).
“but did not stay there long when he saw that The list defines orthodoxy concisely (ce qui est
they had their professors burnt alive like red- à croire) as understood by the Sorbonne in 1543,
herrings, [and went away] saying ‘God forbid I and thus defines heresy as well, by contrast and
should die such a death.’ ” The professor in ques- implication in some cases, though in others,
tion, Jean de Cahors, had just been sentenced heretical doctrines are specified explicitly. Many
(January 1532) to death for having made of the articles are stated in the form of opposing
heretical statements at a dinner. He was burned imperatives (it is necessary to believe X and not
alive on the place Saint-Etienne in Toulouse in Y). The Ordinance of 1543 with its Sorbonne ad-
June, four months before Rabelais published dendum (“What is to be believed, and preached,
Pantagruel. From 1533 to his death in 1553, Ra- concerning the points which have lately fallen
belais, always on the lookout for safe havens and into controversy concerning our Holy Faith and
protective patrons, was constantly prepared to Religion” [52]) carries, as a royal decree, the
flee and did so (Poitou, Chambéry, Metz, Rome) highest judicial authority, and the pronounce-
each time one of his books was condemned. ments of the Sorbonne doctors carry the highest
When the Sorbonne condemned the Third Book doctrinal authority in France. All in all, it would
immediately after publication in 1546, he left be hard for the nonspecialist reader of Rabelais
France for the imperial city of Metz; in the same to find a better introduction (or the specialist a
year, his sometime colleague and editor in Lyon, better summary) regarding the question of “her-
Etienne Dolet, convicted of heresy for having esy in the time of Rabelais.”
published portions of the Bible in French, was
hanged and burned in Paris on the Place Maub- What is to be believed, and preached, concerning
ert. Over the next three years, from 1547 to 1550, the points which have lately fallen into controversy
the Paris Parlement issued more than five hun- concerning our Holy Faith and Religion (52).
dred convictions of heresy, sixty of which carried 1. It is necessary to believe, with certain and firm
the death penalty. Faith, that Baptism is necessary for everyone
In the sixteenth century, what exactly was for their Salvation, even for small children, and
meant by the term heresy? Everyone knew it that by Baptism is conferred the Grace of the
meant religious views not sanctioned by the Holy Spirit.
112 Heresy

2. By like constancy and firmness of Faith, it is much in this mortal life as those in Paradise,
to be believed that man has his unfettered and do miracles.
Free Will, by which he may do Good or Evil; 12. It is a holy thing and most pleasing to God, to
and by which, even if he be in Mortal Sin, he pray to the blessed mother of God the Virgin
may, with the help of God, be restored to Mary, and to the Saints in heaven, that they be
Grace. advocates and intercessors for us toward God.
3. And it is no less certain that to those who are 13. And for this reason we must not only imitate
of age and capable of Reason, after having and follow these Saints who reign with Jesus
committed Mortal Sin, Penitence is necessary, Christ, but honor and pray to them.
which consists in Contrition, Confession that
must be made as a Sacrament verbally to a 14. And for this reason, those who out of devotion
Priest, and in the same way Satisfaction. visit churches and other places dedicated to
these Saints, perform holy and religious ac-
4. Further, it is to be believed the sinner is in no tions.
way justified by Faith alone, but also by his
Good Works, which are of such necessity that 15. If perchance someone, inside or outside of
without them, a man who is capable of Reason Church, begins praying directly to the glorious
can not obtain Eternal Life. Virgin Mary, or to some Saint before praying
to God, this is in no way a sin.
5. Each and every Christian is required to believe
firmly that in the act of Consecration at the 16. Nor must there be any doubt that it is indeed
Altar, the bread and the wine are converted to a Good Work to kneel before an image, either
the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, and of the crucifix or the Virgin Mary or the other
that after the aforementioned Consecration Saints, to pray to our Lord Jesus Christ and to
there remains only the form of the said bread the Saints.
and wine under which is truly contained the 17. Further, it is necessary to believe firmly and in
real Body of Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin no way to doubt, that there is a Purgatory, in
Mary and who suffered on the rood of the which the souls there detained are aided by
Cross. prayers, fasting, alms, and other Good Works,
6. The Sacrifice of the Mass is of the institution so that they be the more speedily delivered
of Jesus Christ and is useful and profitable for from their pains.
the living and the dead. 18. Each and every Christian is required to believe
7. The Communion of the Eucharist under the firmly that there is on Earth one universal vis-
two signs of bread and wine is not necessary ible Church, which cannot err in matters of
for the Laity, whence properly and for certain Faith and Morals, and which all Christians
and just reasons it has long been ordained by must obey in matters of Faith and Morals.
the Church that the aforementioned Lay public 19. And that if anything in the Holy Scriptures
receive Communion only under the form of came into controversy or doubt, that it belongs
bread. to this Church to define and determine these
8. And further, the power to consecrate the true matters.
Body of Jesus Christ was given by Him only 20. It is equally certain that one must believe many
to Priests ordained and consecrated according things that are not expressly and specifically
to the custom and observance of the Church, contained in the Holy Scriptures, things which
and likewise the power to absolve sins in the must nonetheless be accepted by the tradition
sacrament of Penitence. of the Church.
9. And as well, these Priests truly do consecrate, 21. By the same certainty of Truth it is necessary
even bad Priests or Priests in mortal sin, the to believe that the power of Excommunication
true Body of Jesus Christ, provided it is their is by divine right granted without mediation by
intention to do so. Jesus Christ to the Church, and that for this
10. Confirmation and Extreme Unction are two reason ecclesiastic censures are greatly to be
Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ, by feared.
which is conferred the Grace of the Holy 22. It is equally certain that a General Council con-
Spirit. voked in due and legitimate fashion and rep-
11. And it must not be doubted that the Saints, as resenting the universal Church, cannot err in
Hero 113

determining matters pertaining to Faith and néral des anciennes lois françaises, vol. 12 (Paris:
Morals. Plon, 1822–33) in Jonathan Beck, Théâtre et propa-
23. And it is no less certain that by divine right gande aux débuts de la Réforme. Six pièces polé-
there is a Pope, who is chief Sovereign in the miques du recueil La Vallière (Paris/Geneva: Slatkine,
militant church of Jesus Christ, and that all 1986).
Christians must obey him, who has the power Jonathan Beck
as well to confer Indulgences.
24. The Constitutions of the Church, such as fast- HERO Rabelais’s first two books are clearly
ing, avoidance of meat, abstinence of the flesh, structured as parodies of the epic poems and leg-
among several other things, do truly oblige the ends of antiquity and of the medieval chansons
Conscience, in particular to eschew all scandal.
de geste and chivalric romances. Allusions to
25. Vows and especially monastic and religious legendary figures of the past appear throughout
ones, like perpetual abstinence, poverty, and the narrative, and nearly all pagan, biblical, and
obedience, are obligations of Conscience.
medieval heroes (and villains) are either lumped
together in an incongruous genealogy (P 1), con-
From two basic principles that were generally ac- demned to a degrading common fate aux Enfers
cepted, divine grace and salvation, flowed a se- (P 30), or relegated to the Island of the Ma-
ries of bitterly contested issues: free will and pre- craeons (4BK 25–28). Very few contemporary
destination, justification (by faith alone or by readers would question the use of the term mock-
faith and good works), the sacraments (their role, heroic epic as an accurate description of Panta-
how they were to be observed, but first of all gruel and Gargantua, since nearly all of the ma-
their number and definition—one of the thorniest jor characteristics of the original models are
questions being that of the real presence of the present: the hero inherits a prestigious genealogy;
body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist). These precocious displays of courage, strength, or
are followed at more remote levels of eschato- intelligence are observed during childhood; his
logical and ecclesiological controversy by “con- education or apprenticeship is exceptionally
stitutions,” observances, doctrines, and dogmas— rapid and foretells future greatness; faithful com-
the mass, Purgatory, cult of the Virgin and panions are attracted by his obvious valor and
Saints, status of images, fasting, religious orders, worth; various initiatory trials test his fitness for
ultimate and infallible authority of (and in) the the supreme challenges of warfare and single
Church, authority of the Pope vis-à-vis the coun- combat; and if he is victorious, legitimate polit-
cils (including the power of the Pope to dispense ical order is restored, or a new order is founded,
indulgences, added seemingly almost as an af- preparing the way for the future growth of a great
terthought in no. 23). All these issues were in- dynasty, city, or empire. Even death in battle
terrelated, complex, fiercely disputed, and in var- leads to apotheosis and legendary status.
ying degrees mocked or occasionally defended Although the last two books are not structured
by Rabelais. according to this model, they do contain epic-
The list covers most of the litigious points heroic elements. The first chapter of the Third
contested by Reformers of the various confes- Book describes how a truly heroic victor should
sional leanings hinted at behind the scenes of Ra- govern a newly conquered territory, while the
belais’s comedy and satire—évangélisme, Lu- next four chapters expose the demented reason-
theranism, Calvinism, and others—confronting ing of the increasingly tyrannical antihero, Pan-
the corrupt traditionalism and militant ignorance urge. Both the consultations of the Third Book
that dominated the Church and resisted all at- and the “odyssey” of the Fourth Book recall the
tempts at eliminating abuses. It was against the extraordinary voyages and encounters of classi-
Church that Rabelais directed his most powerful cal and medieval adventurers.
and riskiest attacks. Rabelais’s depiction of the hero, however, sys-
Readings: David El Kenz, Les buchers du roi. La tematically calls into question the definition and
culture protestante des martyrs 1523–1572 (Seyssel: value of the concept, as many references are ir-
Champ Vallon, 1997); François Isambert, Recueil gé- reverent and disrespectful. Panurge tells Panta-
114 Héroët, Antoine

gruel that he has “more force in [his] teeth and 1539, just after his appointment in 1538 to four
more brains in [his]ass than Hercules ever had in benefices. One of these was his nomination as
his whole body and soul” (P 29; GP 219); vir- abbot of Cercanceaux. Héroët seems to have
tually all classical and medieval heroes are hu- taken his ecclesiastical duties seriously and was
miliated in the underworld by “philosophers and named to three additional offices between 1544
those who had been indigent in this world” (P and 1552, including the bishopric of Digne. Such
30); kings are disparaged as “coquins” and signs of royal favor would imply an active life
“veaulx”; Gargantua’s ideal torche-cul or arse- at court, but no records indicate that Héroët took
wipe generates pleasure greater than “the bliss of any part in the religious or political questions of
all the heroes and demigods, out there on the the day.
Elysian Fields” (G 13). When Héroët started writing is uncertain. In
But many other examples paint a darker pic- 1531 he wrote an Epitaph for Louise de Savoy
ture. According to Pantagruel (3BK 1), those in which he expresses ideas about immortality
consecrated by history as “heroes” had all too that M. A. Screech believes are echoed by Ra-
often been insatiable “Demovores” (“devourers belais the next year in Gargantua’s letter to
of people”). Although Alexander and Hercules Pantagruel. Five years later, Héroët presented
are praised as examples of wisdom and restraint Francis with the Androgyne de Platon, a French
after their victories, they are also found in interpretation of Marsilis Ficino’s commentary
Grandgousier’s pantheon of antiquated models on Plato’s Symposium. Héroët is primarily re-
whose example Picrochole, Anarche, and many membered, however, for his immensely popular,
others have, unfortunately, chosen to follow: “To poetic exposition of the Platonic doctrine of love
imitate the ancients in that way—Hercules, Al- in La parfaicte amye published in 1542. Al-
exander, Hannibal, Scipio, and the Caesars and though Héroët’s renown as a poet is underscored
all the others—is directly contrary to what the by praise from Clément Marot, Gaucher de
Bible teaches us. We are each of us ordered to Sainte-Marthe, Thomas Sebillet, Pierre de Ron-
protect and save and rule and administer our sard, Joachim du Bellay, and Jacques Peletier du
lands, not angrily to invade the others” (G 46; Mans among others, he wrote nothing more after
GP 105). Fortunately, however, Gargantua and 1542.
Pantagruel incarnate a new type of hero, the uto- The great success of La parfaicte amye was
pian philosopher king guided by the principles of due in part to the role it played in the Querelle
Erasmian humanism. des Femmes as an answer to La Borderie’s mi-
Readings: Elizabeth Chesney, The Countervoyage sogynistic Amye de court which appeared earlier
of Rabelais and Ariosto: A Comparative Reading of the same year. Panurge’s marriage question in
Two Renaissance Mock Epics (Durham, NC: Duke the Third and Fourth Books seems, at least in
University Press, 1982); Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, Ra- part, to be Rabelais’s response to the debate.
belais et l’humanisme civil, ER 27 (Geneva: Droz, Rabelais lists Drouet (or Héroët) among the
1992); Walter Stephens, Giants in Those Days: Folk- model authors cited in the prologue to the Fifth
lore, Ancient History, and Nationalism (Lincoln: Book.
University of Nebraska Press, 1989); Marcel Tetel, Readings: Jules Arnoux, Un précurseur de Ron-
“Mock Epic in Rabelais,” Neophilologus, 59 (1975): sard: Antoine Héroët, néo-platonicien et poète (Digne:
157–64. Chaspoul, 1912); Antoine Héroët, La parfaicte amye,
William H. Huseman ed. crit. Christine Hill ( Exeter: University of Exeter,
1981); Michael A. Screech, The Rabelaisian Marriage
HÉROËT, ANTOINE (1492?–1568?) Poet (London: Arnold, 1958); Raphaël Valéry, “Qui était
and Neoplatonist, also known as La Maison Antoine Héroët?” Bulletin d’art et d’histoire de la val-
Neuve. Little is known of Héroët’s life before lée du Loing, 5 (2002): 147–58.
1524 when he became a pensioner of Margue- Megan Conway
rite de Navarre. The queen must have been
pleased with the young poet for he is enrolled as HIEROGLYPHS Shortly after Gargamelle
a “pensionnaire extraordinaire” from 1529 until gives birth to her son, Grandgousier, her portly
Hieroglyphs 115

husband, and the baby’s father, names the infant the nature of the world. It would be a writing
Gargantua. He then orders artisans to bejewel that signifies new forms as much as it transcribes
and dress the child sumptuously in blue and a meaning.
white, the colors of his own livery. In the ninth Yet in the paragraph above the rebus, what
chapter of Gargantua, the chronicler Alcofrybas Rabelais has just castigated cannot be detached
explains why blue and white were chosen. Thus entirely from the hieroglyph. The narrator takes
begins a complex reflection on the tension be- pleasure in enumerating the devices he loathes.
tween the “arbitrary” or “motivated” nature of “Homonyms” that cause images to speak silently
language that recalls Plato’s Cratylus and antic- or be an embodiment of their name are foolishly
ipates Ferdinand de Saussure’s pronouncements motivated signs. When a sphere (sphere) is an
on the “nature of the linguistic sign.” Why is it icon for hope (espoir); bird feathers (peines) sig-
that blue is “naturally” given to color celestial nify hardships (peines); a broken bench (un banc
things and white to signify “joy, pleasure, de- rompu) bankruptcy (banque roupte); “no” and an
lights, and rejoicing?” (G 9). Alcofrybas invokes iron corselet (a chain of mail) for non durhabit
a work titled the Blazon of Colors to venture an (“not a hard garment,” with the bonus of a Latin
answer, but wonders if he ought admire either its pun on “[he] does not have a hard member”); a
presumption or its stupidity: presumption, for de- bed without a baldachin (lit sans ciel) a licensed
siring to impose one meaning upon each and person (licencié), and so forth: Alcofrybas de-
every color, “a habit of tyrants, who prefer their lights in calling the devices “so inept, so taste-
will to take the place of reason, and not wise or less, so rustic and barbaric” that a “foxtail ought
learned people, who please their readers with to be tied to the collar and a mask of cow ma-
their reasons” (G 9); stupidity, for estimating that nure” molded to the faces of those “who
for want of valid arguments “the world would hereafter want to use them in France after the
regulate its devices” (G 9) (or mottoes) by im- restitution of good letters” (21). He proceeds to
posing silly allegations that turn them into re- list six racier samples.
buses. Where the hieroglyph is an arcane and sacred
Unlike the “vainglorious” blazoners of his writing signifying a higher meaning of abstrac-
own era, says Alcofrybas, the wise Egyptians of tion and reason, the rebus (or device) pulls lan-
Antiquity “wrote letters that they called hiero- guage earthward, into its own materiality and
glyphs.” Informed readers could discern “the vir- comic obscenity. In either case printed writing is
tue, property, and nature of the things that were shown to be not merely what transcribes speech.
figured by [the symbols]” (G 9). The Egyptian It is not, as Jacques Derrida would argue, prone
magus Horapollo (4th century a.d.), whose work to “logocentrism.” The shape and form of writing
was translated into Greek in 1505, wrote exten- require the reader to see and to decipher meaning
sively about the properties of hieroglyphs, the along two autonomous tracks: voice, on the one
narrator adds, as did “Poliphile, in his Dream of hand, that the signs approximate, and that cannot
Love” (Francesco Colonna’s Dream of Polyphi- avoid homonymy; visual figures, on the other,
lus). Recently published in Italy (1499) and cel- that may or may not be related to what is being
ebrated in France for reason of its exquisite indicated by the writing.
woodcuts in sumptuous typography, Colonna’s Whence the narrator’s critique of the Blason
work binds enigma, aura, and erotic delight in a des couleurs: it discourages creative work on the
spiritual journey of self-discovery. part of readers who can read in different ways
For Rabelais the hieroglyph would be an ide- and who can detect or even invent secrets in
ogram, a piece of writing understood through printed language through creative scrutiny. Such
both its referent (via the indexical function of is the reader of hieroglyphs, a reader who aspires
itself as sign) and its own form (via its own fig- to an art of language that is also the hieroglyph
ural design). It would aim at an abstraction, a of Gargantua. The chapter on colors and livery
reflection of higher essence than its own material becomes a dialogic poetics: its conflicted relation
substance. It would be of divine language be- with the device and hieroglyph shows how Ra-
cause it gives way to greater secrets concerning belais’s work can be treated in its multivalent and
116 Hippocrates

creative potential (or pot-en-ciel). The exposition Henry, Rabelais (Paris: Librairie Académique Perrin,
is a skeleton key to Rabelais’s writing. It shows, 1988).
too, that the restitution of the language of the Lesa Randall
gods is equivalent to procreation and generation
of new forms. HIPPOTHADÉE (3BK 30) A theologian con-
Readings: Jean Céard and Jean-Claude Margolin, sulted by Panurge in the Third Book. Panurge
Rebus de la Renaissance: Des images qui parlent, 2 wishes to marry, but because he is aging and has
vols. (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1984); François himself seduced many other men’s wives, he
Rigolot, “Cratylism and Pantagruelism,” Le texte de la fears cuckoldry in his turn. Alternately moved
Renaissance (Geneva: Droz, 1982). by wish and fear, he cannot decide for himself,
Tom Conley and much of the book concerns attempts to re-
solve his perplexity. After several failed attempts
to divine what Panurge’s matrimonial fate will in
HIPPOCRATES (c. 460–c. 377 B.C.) Widely fact be, Pantagruel arranges for him to take ad-
considered the father of medicine, Hippocrates vice from experts, the theologian Hippothadée, a
received training as a member of the guild known doctor, and a philosopher. Hippothadée’s dia-
as the Asclepiadae (fifth century b.c.) and wrote logue with Panurge is interesting partly for his
prolifically. Rabelais meditated on numerous views on marriage and partly for Panurge’s re-
Hippocratic texts in his own course of study and actions.
later published translated editions of three others: The Third Book is sometimes very hostile to
Les aphorismes, La nature de l’homme, and Le theologians. The prologue reviles them generally
régime des maladies aiguës. As a medical stu- as evil, hair-splitting pedants. However, Panta-
dent and subsequently a practicing doctor in gruel calls Hippothadée a good theologian, seek-
Lyon, Rabelais relied heavily on Hippocratic in- ing to uphold the true faith by his actions and
ventions, such as the theory of humors and the teachings (29), and thus accords considerable au-
thority to his advice. The outlook he reveals may
notion that maintenance of balance within the hu-
be called broadly “évangélique,” that is, it im-
man body was the best means of remaining in
plies a form of Christianity centered on the Bible
good health. As an author, our doctor pays direct
and the individual’s conscience. Although the
homage to Hippocrates in the form of twelve ci-
évangéliques or evangelicals tended therefore to
tations in the first four books, but the Greek doc-
attach reduced importance to the priesthood and
tor’s importance to Rabelaisian literary invention
the traditions of the Church, they remained Ro-
goes much deeper still. Hippocratic thought is at
man Catholics. Unlike the Protestants, they
the very root of the fantastic allegories. With the sought simply to reform the Church moderately
pen Rabelais pursues and enhances his medical from within. The personal portrait of Hippo-
practice according to a main Hippocratic tenet thadée is appealing. He speaks modestly, and
which posits that the effectiveness of a doctor when Panurge rejects his advice, he does not take
and his practice of medicine depends on the de- offense but instead explains his meaning at
gree to which he is able to relate to his patient, length and in conciliatory terms (30). Experts
to cajole, to reassure, and most importantly, to have identified him with various historical fig-
entertain him, thereby assuring the presence of a ures, most plausibly the liberal Lutheran, Philipp
positive state of mind—a prerequisite to any Melanchthon (Schwarzerd). If correct, this iden-
cure, if not a powerful cure itself. It is thus that tification suggests a considerable degree of per-
the véroléz et goutteux (syphilitics and gouty) to sonal respect for Melanchthon. (It appears that
whom Alcofrybas addresses his prologues are Melanchthon, though a follower of the schis-
promised improvement of their condition if they matic Martin Luther, was generally esteemed
partake of his texts—through the powerful pill by French évangéliques.)
of laughter. Panurge puts his doubts to Hippothadée in two
Readings: Roland Antonioli, Rabelais et la méde- stages (30). First he asks, “Should I marry?” In-
cine, ER 12 (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1976); Gilles itially, Hippothadée advises him to seek the an-
Homenaz 117

swer within himself, as it is a matter of self- is not, of course, very remarkable in that Panurge
knowledge; Panurge has received and discounted rejects almost all advice in the Third Book. More
such advice several times already. Hippothadée’s importantly, Hippothadée’s failure and his gra-
second answer is to advocate marriage in pref- cious acceptance of it may also be taken to reflect
erence to unmarried lust, “for it is far better to his own guiding principle, “God willing.”
marry than to burn in the fire of lust.” The ex- Readings: Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabe-
pression “far better” implies quite a positive view lais’s Tiers Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1997);
of marriage, compared with the grudging ap- Michael A. Screech, The Rabelaisian Marriage (Lon-
proval current among contemporary theologians, don: Arnold, 1958).
Protestant as well as Catholic. (Hippothadée Ian R. Morrison
does, however, warn against uxoriousness. He
cites approvingly the advice of Saint Paul: “Let HOMENAZ (4BK 49–54) When Pantagruel
those who are married be as though not mar- and his friends stop off at the Island of the Pap-
ried.”) imaniacs (L’Isle des Papimanes), they are met
Happy with the advice to marry, Panurge puts first by the Papimaniacs themselves, whose def-
his other question to the theologian: “Shall I be inition of the Pope, “He who is” (“Celluy qui
cuckolded?” Hippothadée replies that he will not, est”), parallels the traditional definition of God.
“God willing.” This latter clause is in fact central Homenaz, their bishop, encourages the idolatry
to his outlook. For him, the formula conveys that of the Pope, “God on Earth” (“Dieu en Terre”),
without God man has no being, worth, or power. whom Pantagruel asserts is not visible to human
And it expresses the point, directly relevant to beings: “We certainly never saw him, and he is
Panurge’s question, that the success of every hu- not visible to corporal eyes” (“Oncques, certes
man undertaking depends on God’s will: “All ne le veismes, et n’est visible à oilz corporelz”
that we propose [depends] on the dispositions of [4BK 49]). The bishop of Papimania represents
His holy will.” For Panurge, this response con- all that is criticized by the evangelical reform of
demns him anew to the uncertainty he has been the early sixteenth century. Astride his mule,
seeking to escape: he feels that only if he could decked out in green, Homenaz comes equipped
discover the “privy counsel of God,” that is, scru- with all the material trappings of the Church:
tinize the unfathomable secrets of Providence, “croix, banieres, confalons, baldachins, torches,
could he be reassured. But Hippothadée main- benoistiers” (49).
tains that God, through Scripture, does reveal his Rabelais satirizes the Church’s overemphasis
will in these matters, and proceeds to offer Pan- on objects of ritual through the debasement of
urge the benefit of biblical precept. His wife will ritual brought about by sexual or scatological
be virtuous if she is, among other things, a God- wordplay. In response to Homenaz’s suggestion
fearing woman who will not readily infringe that they confess and fast for three days before
God’s commandment against adultery. Similarly, contemplating the real, authentic copy of the De-
Hippothadée tells Panurge that he must encour- cretals, Panurge responds with an obscene pun:
age her by living as chastely himself as he ex- “De cons fesser, respondit Panurge, très bien,
pects her to do. These are obviously general pre- nous consentons” (“To cuntfess, replied Panurge,
cepts, and whether or not they work in the very well, we agree” [4BK 49]).
particular case of Panurge and his hypothetical Having attended mass, Homenaz unveils the
spouse remains subject to the proviso, “God will- portrait of the Pope and asks Pantagruel to iden-
ing.” Panurge rejects this advice, ostensibly on tify him. Pantagruel does so by calling attention
the grounds that female virtue, as envisaged by to the rich exterior symbols of the Pope, not to
Hippothadée, no longer exists. The reader may the serenity of his gaze and the humility of his
suspect also that Panurge is not attracted by the posture: “I recognize him by his tiara, his robe,
emphasis on his own responsibility to behave vir- the ratchet, and his slippers” (50). According to
tuously and set a good example. Christian evangelism as set forth by Erasmus,
Panurge’s rejection of his advice presumably Rome adorns its cardinals and pope at the ex-
counts as a failure for Hippothadée. The failure pense of the faithful flock. Homenaz and the Pap-
118 Homer

imaniacs await the Pope, as Christians await the dieval scholasticism and seek to promote the
second coming of Christ: “This is the image of new humanism, we are authorized to investigate
that God of goodness on earth, whose coming Rabelais’s debt, more specifically, to the Greco-
we devoutly await and whom we hope one day Roman epic: above all to Homer and Virgil. It
to see in this country” (50). Homenaz’s reverence should be stated at the outset that other classical
for even the painted image of the Pope, and his authors are more influential: Plato, Cicero, Plu-
marvel that members of Pantagruel’s group have tarch, Lucian, and Horace first and foremost
actually seen the Pope, lead to a discussion of come to mind. Rabelais knew these authors (or,
the Church’s bellicose actions against all who more precisely, knew what others knew about
rebel against the papal abuse of power, “against them) better than he knew Homer. What role,
them alone making cruel and treacherous war” then, do Homer and Homeric epic play in the
(“eulx seulz guerre faire felonne et tres cruelle”). Chroniques?
By his respect for the Pope’s abuse of power Consider, first, Gargantua’s oft-cited letter to
in fighting heretics, rebels, and Protestants, as Pantagruel (P 8), the topos par excellence of
well as princes who support them, Homenaz and Rabelais’s humanistic message. The first tenet of
the Church represent the spirit of anticaritas— this new studia humanitatis is the learning of
those forces that try to bend the spirit of Chris- Greek and Latin. The primacy of classical liter-
tians through fear and force, symbolized in the ature advocated in this letter represents, in itself,
articles of canon law detailed in the Decretals a significant departure, it has been pointed out,
rather than through acts of faith, hope, and char- from the medieval orbis doctrinarum that Rabe-
ity (Duval 73–74) (see Decretals; Eulogy, Sa- lais is contesting. But note that Homer himself is
tirical). nowhere explicitly referred to in this document.
Reading: Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s The omission is significant. There are countless
Quart Livre de Pantagruel, ER 36 (Geneva: Droz, references to Homer in the Chroniques, but these
1998). references may be as much signs of what Rabe-
Deborah Nichols Losse lais knows as what he does not know; indices of
cultural distance as of proximity. Are these ref-
HOMER Simply as a linguistic entity, the erences allusions, echoes, arguments? The ques-
Rabelaisian chronicles are, of course, epic, and tion is one that Rabelais himself anticipates, and
in more ways than one. They are epic in terms it goes to the very question of Rabelais’s seman-
of their sheer size, semantic richness, and nar- tic and semiotic instability—the difficulty read-
rative scope: Rabelais’s prolixity, the triumph, in ers have had, over the centuries, in pinning him
his work, rhetorically speaking, of amplificatio, down.
digressio, and copia, make him a truly epic au- Thus, the most significant reference to Homer
thor in the Homeric sense. The tendency toward in the Chroniques is precisely the one that ex-
verbal superabundance in the Chroniques, and plicitly alerts us to the dangers of ascribing to
the importance above all of the list (for example, that reference any particular significance. The
the catalog of Saint-Victor, the fatras des plai- Homeric allusion occurs in the preface to Gar-
doyers, or nonsensical arguments of Baisecul gantua, the “Prologe de l’Auteur,” where Rabe-
and Humevesne, the Iliadic catalogue of ships, lais promises his readers, in the narrative upon
etc.) as the distinctive feature of Rabelaisian which they are about to embark, a miraculous
prose, arguably make this work the most Ho- and therapeutic truth—a kind of truth precisely
meric of early modern artifacts in France—com- parallel to that offered by Homer in his epic
pared to, say, Pierre de Ronsard’s ill-conceived proemia, a truth in Homer guaranteed by the con-
and ill-fated Françiade. (The Bible, it goes nection between the poet and the Muse (and thus,
without saying, has a more immediate bearing on by extension, Zeus himself, author of all plots).
Rabelaisian style, but in this sense the Bible can But a moment later Rabelais warns us against
be considered an epic work.) squeezing too much message out of this text’s
To the extent that Rabelais’s Chroniques rep- “substantificque moelle” or marrow, comparing
resent an attack on the Faculty of Arts and me- us to Homer’s overzealous allegorizers, those
Homer 119

critics who read outlandish and extraneous mes- is as much his departure from Homeric motifs
sages in the work of the epic poet. In other and techniques as his adherence to them.
words, to read Rabelais as a Homericist has its Far too many Homeric commonplaces occur
dangers. There is no question that Rabelais com- for us to address them in even a cursory fashion.
pares himself to Homer here—but how seriously Let us skip over Rabelais’s manipulation of Il-
and how far should we take that comparison? iadic war scenes, Paris as Homeric polis, the fo-
Rabelais does not tell us. cus on the role of the journey as perhaps the most
What Rabelais does point to in this passage, significant Homeric topos in the Chroniques.
however, is his identity as a pasticheur. Static This is obvious in the last three of the Chro-
reverence (or reference) to any one particular au- niques, which constitute a maritime epic, like
thor is precisely the kind of scholastic learning Homer’s Odyssey. Elsewhere, of course, Rabe-
Rabelais is attempting to combat. Where, we lais’s narrative is everywhere crisscrossed by
might ask, is Rabelais getting his Homer from? journeys—such as the journey, in Pantagruel,
Mostly from second- and third-hand sources, into Pantagruel’s mouth. But it is just as obvious
such as Plutarch and Erasmus’s Adages. Anyone that these are also anti-Homeric journeys. Con-
insisting on the link between Homer and Rabe- sider the fact, for example, that the Third Book
lais must take into account cautionary passages ends—rather than begins—with Panurge’s mar-
such as the one found in chapter 24 of the Third itime quest: a most un-Homeric poetic structure.
Book. Epistémon has lost patience with Pan- Consider, too, that Panurge’s journey is
urge who, we know, has vowed not to marry prompted by a skeptical inquiry into the nature
until his doubts regarding fidelity are resolved. of marriage and the possibility of fidelity, while
Epistémon compares Panurge’s vow to one made Odysseus’s journey is, in simple terms, a journey
by a Spanish knight and recorded in a fifteenth- back to the arms of a faithful wife! The Third
century chronicle on the Hundred Years’ War by Book, along with the Fourth Book and the Fifth
one Enguerrard de Monstrelet. The reference al- Book, is therefore more precisely an anti-
Odyssey than an Odyssey.
lows Rabelais, in one of his typical digressions,
Panurge, it should be clear by now, is in many
to compare his work implicitly to Monstrelet’s,
ways the most Odyssean of Rabelaisian figures.
a work that thereby becomes a kind of image of
Panurge, like Odysseus, is a trickster and a trav-
the very work we are reading, the Third Book.
eler, a pragmatist and a polyglot. This is shown
Rabelais’s reading of Enguerrard (and by exten-
in our very first encounter with him in Panta-
sion Epistémon’s reading of Panurge’s vow) re-
gruel 9, where Panurge’s linguistic tour de force,
lies on a line from Horace, taken from Erasmus,
his request for food in several different lan-
parturiunt montes (“mountains giving birth” . . . guages, in fact defers the completion of that re-
ultimately to mere mice), on epic ambitions giv- quest. As this last scene suggests, Panurge, like
ing rise to less than epic results. The scene is Odysseus, is a very human proponent of the pri-
significant for our purposes here because the Ho- macy of hunger, of the appetitive force.
ratian passage to which Rabelais alludes here ex- Note that in chapter 13 of the Third Book, Pan-
plicitly refers to Homer as the ultimate epic urge’s dreams as a potential guide for his journey
model, in which ambition is matched by creation. are compared to Homer’s gates of ivory and horn
Two important and contradictory messages through which true and false dreams pass (Od-
seem to be delivered in this scene. First, Rabelais yssey 19.563; see also Aeneid 6.893, although
is once again comparing himself to Homer. But Rabelais’s reference, we are not surprised, is
it is just as clear that Rabelais, by way of Horace, taken from Macrobius). The passage, like its Ho-
Erasmus, and Enguerrard, is mocking that very meric and Virgilian precedents, is one that leaves
comparison. Rabelais appears to be announcing us—and Panurge—more, not less, uncertain
that he is writing precisely the kind of epic Hor- about how to go about seeking truth and how to
ace tells us not to write—and that he knows this. go about guaranteeing that truth. Panurge’s jour-
One must remember then that what might be im- ney, we know, is motivated by a desire to find
portant in a discussion of Rabelais as Homericist that truth, to arrive at a stable and fixed propo-
120 Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon

sition. But surely it is the ultimate aim of Ra- was reserved for those suffering from contagious
belais’s entire epic project to undermine the pos- diseases. For his extremely modest salary of 40
sibility of such a journey and such a destination. livres per year, Rabelais accepted heavy respon-
The Dive Bouteille, with which Panurge’s quest sibilities that carried serious risks to his own
ends in the Fifth Book, does not give us an an- health. Among his duties, the most rigorous in-
swer; rather, it tells us to keep searching for one cluded daily visits to each of the hospital’s 150
and to delight in that very process. And thus we to 220 patients, accompanied by a barber-
conclude with that most enigmatic and seductive surgeon to whom he prescribed procedures to be
of seascapes in the Rabelaisian odyssey, the ep- performed under his supervision. A meager sal-
isode of the Frozen Words in the Fourth Book ary combined with the serious limitations of the
55–56. The scene points simultaneously to the therapeutic and psychological resources available
possibility of language as something stable, to cure patients undoubtedly led Rabelais to seek
while reminding us that, ultimately the semiotic other means of income as well as other means of
world must remain, as fluid and as treacherous expressing his healing art. Both environment and
as the ocean. In the Fourth Book 55, Panurge patients at the Hôtel-Dieu provided ample fodder
remembers that Aristotle “claims that Homer’s for the development of the allegories, not to men-
words flutter and fly, alive and moving” (“main- tion an audience; here was the population of
tient les parolles de Homere estre voligeantes, gouty syphilitics the dear Alcofrybas wished to
volantes, moventes, et par consequent animées”). heal.
Perhaps that is precisely how we should regard Readings: Roland Antonioli, Rabelais et la méde-
Rabelais’s words. cine, ER 12 (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1976); Gilles
Readings: Terence Cave, “Panurge and Odysseus,” Henry, Rabelais (Paris: Librairie Academique Perrin,
Myth and Legend in French Literature, ed. Keith As- 1988).
pley, David Bellos, Peter Sharratt (London: Modern Lesa Randall
Humanities Research Association, 1982) 47–50; Gér-
ard Defaux, “Le curieux, le glorieux et la sagesse du HUMANISM The new learning that began to
monde dans la première moitié du XVIe siècle,” emerge in Italy in the mid-fourteenth century
French Forum Monographs 34 (Lexington, KY: and grew to shape the culture of the Renaissance
French Forum, 1982); Gérard Defaux, “Une recontre for the next 250 years. It was called humanism
homérique: Panurge noble, pérégrin et curieux,” FF because it was based on the studia humanitatis,
6.2 (1981): 109–122. or “humanities”—classical languages, rhetoric,
Matthew Gumpert literature, and history, as opposed to the medie-
val disciplines of logic and theology. Whereas
HÔTEL-DIEU DE LYON Public hospital medieval learning tended to focus on abstract and
known formally as the “grand hostel Dieu de No- atemporal truths in a divinely ordered world, hu-
tre Dame de Pitié du Pont-du-Rhône” where Ra- manism was more concerned with the cultural
belais served as main physician from 1532 to context, literary form, and historical meaning of
1534. Evolving from its status as a hospice individual texts and works.
whose primary function was to provide suste- The most characteristic aspect of humanism
nance and lodging for the sick and destitute, the was its deep-rooted conviction that classical an-
Hôtel-Dieu had in years prior to Rabelais’s arri- tiquity marked the high point of Western civili-
val obtained municipal funds, thus expanding its zation, that this golden age of arts and letters
services to include medical treatment, pharma- came to a tragic end with the barbaric invasions
ceutical services, and resources for cases of fam- and the fall of Rome, and that the centuries fol-
ine. The main hospital operated under conditions lowing this calamity were no more than a long
hardly imaginable today: one vast room was di- night of barbarism and ignorance—or at best a
vided in two parts by pillars and contained six continuous process of degeneration during which
rows of beds, each bed providing space for two the splendors of Greece and Rome were gradu-
to three patients at a time. A maternity ward was ally corrupted beyond recognition. The “gothic”
located in another building, and one other room culture of the “Middle Ages” was thus to be re-
Humanism 121

jected, to make way for a new golden age of arts view of the Middle Ages as a thousand-year pe-
and letters modeled on antiquity. The impulse to riod of gothic darkness and the Renaissance as a
return to the pure sources of Western culture (ad luminous moment in which ancient disciplines,
fontes) gave rise to many new disciplines (pale- languages, and texts have been restored, and the
ography, textual criticism, archaeology, numis- traditional professional disciplines (law, medi-
matics, historical linguistics), to the rediscovery cine, and theology) completely reformed. More
of many lost authors and works (e.g., Lucretius revealing is the fact that the humanist education
and Cicero’s familiar letters), to the recovery of spelled out in this letter allows Pantagruel to per-
the Greek language and the entire extant corpus form miracles of justice, to restore the Church to
of Greek literature which had been utterly lost to its original evangelical purity, and to establish a
the West since the time of Constantine, and ul- new Golden Age of peace and harmony in Uto-
timately to a new intellectual, artistic, and civic pia.
culture in Europe. The sequels to Pantagruel are increasingly hu-
As humanism moved northward, its methods manistic in their allusions to history, literature,
came to be applied to Judeo-Christian as well as and legal, medical, and biblical scholarship, but
Greco-Roman antiquity. Christian humanists like at the same time they express a growing skepti-
Erasmus turned their attention to the original cism about the regenerative value of pure learn-
Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible, as well as ing. In Gargantua, the hero’s education is essen-
to the Christian religion as it was originally prac- tially irrelevant to his later exploits and plays no
ticed by the first Christians of the “Primitive role in the defeat of Picrochole or in the aboli-
Church.” This literary, historicizing approach to tion of monasticism in the utopian Abbey of
Christianity led to the view that the Bible is the Thélème. Moreover, the comical narrator of
only legitimate authority in matters of religion Gargantua frequently appears to be a learned
and that the “Middle Ages” had brought about fool, as when he argues for the legitimacy of
the same corruption in theology and ecclesiology children of doubtful paternity on the basis of os-
that it had in arts and letters—views that in turn tentatious humanistic medical and legal learning.
gave rise to the Protestant Reformation. The Third Book, by far the most densely erudite
Both forms of humanism found fertile ground of all Rabelais’s books, goes even further to sug-
in sixteenth-century France, despite strenuous gest that no necessary connection exists between
opposition from the University of Paris and its learning and understanding, between knowledge
reactionary Faculty of Theology. King Francis I and wisdom. The examples of Panurge, Epis-
encouraged the spread of humanism in France by témon, and Bridoye would in fact suggest that
naming “lecteurs du Roi” to teach the new dis- knowledge and wisdom are mutually exclusive,
ciplines—most notably the “three languages”: if the counterexample of Pantagruel did not show
classical Latin, Greek, and Hebrew—without in- that true wisdom can result only when learning
terference from a hostile Sorbonne. Rabelais in is tempered by skepticism, irony, and love. This
particular was profoundly influenced by this new idea, already expressed in a well-known phrase
learning and was a respectable humanist in his in Gargantua’s letter to Pantagruel (“knowledge
own right, as is evident from his letters written without conscience is ruinous to the soul” [“sci-
in elegant Latin and Greek to figures like Eras- ence sans conscience n’est que ruine de l’ame”]
mus and the great French Hellenist and legal P 8), leads ultimately to the conclusion that Ra-
scholar Guillaume Budé, and from his earliest belais, like so many of his contemporaries, came
publications: editions of Hippocrates and Galen, to view humanism as an effective arm against
of Marliani’s topography of ancient Rome, of a ignorance but powerless to cure stupidity or vice.
legal document that Rabelais took to be an an- Readings: Richard Cooper, Rabelais et l’Italie, ER
cient Roman will. Rabelais’s fictional works in 24, THR, 245 (Geneva: Droz, 1991); Gilbert Gadoffre,
the vernacular are no less informed by the ide- La révolution culturelle dans la France des human-
ology of humanism, despite their obvious popu- istes: Guillaume Budé et François Ier, Titre courant 8
lar aspects. Gargantua’s famous letter to Pan- (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Margaret Mann Phillips, Eras-
tagruel (P 8) expresses the typical humanist mus and the Northern Renaissance, rev. ed. (Wood-
122 Humor

bridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, and Totowa, NJ: Catholicism, and its converse, dogmatic Protes-
Rowman and Littlefield, 1981); Roberto Weiss, The tantism. He lampoons the emperor Charles V,
Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity, 2nd ed. implying that his policies are tyrannical, and si-
(Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 1988). multaneously he warns his own monarchs against
Edwin M. Duval the crimes that often accompany territorial ex-
HUMOR Rabelais has frequently been named These satires depend on a set of value systems
as the world’s greatest comic genius. At the very that the reader must appreciate and the narratee
least he provides abundant fieldwork for the anal- must share. For example, unless one knows the
ysis of humor. His erudite satire, often prose- rudiments of the Tridentine controversy, then
cuted under Erasmus’s aegis, promotes the ad- many passages of the Fourth Book will be im-
vancement of humanist learning, the evangelical penetrable and their humor dormant. The incon-
reform of the Church, the need for humanity and gruity fundamental to this value-based satire in-
brotherhood in politics, and so on, and appeals volves a failure on the part of the target figure,
most to those privileging the modern and critical always to some degree a fool, to satisfy a norm
ideas we are encouraged to appreciate, ahead of inherent in the particular system: Homenaz is a
the grotesque and vulgar comic sequences we are case in point. Such norms might be constructive
invited to enjoy. Those, like Mikhail Bakhtin, learning, responsible government, or the lessons
who respond more to the comic episodes, require of the Sermon on the Mount. The effect of the
a different apparatus. Accordingly, they stress humor is either to reinforce the value system
Rabelais’s identification with the people in terms within those already accepting it (much of Rab-
of folk rituals whereby the giant-heroes embody elaisian satire is too radical to be seriously in-
solar or chthonian qualities rather than Christian tended to convert opponents), or to stress its im-
ones, connecting less with spiritual and intellec- portance to those initially indifferent to his
tual improvement than with the turning of the campaigns but attracted by the comical way in
seasons, the defeat of oldtime, and the enjoyment which they are prosecuted.
of material abundance. Both strategies are pos- Were Rabelaisian humor reducible to this sin-
sible, nor are they mutually opposed, and behind gle mechanism, then it would be very staid and
the one narratee who delights in the learned fes- predictable, certainly an unfair criticism even of
tivitas and the other responding to the bawdy his satire. That value-based satire is in fact dou-
jokes, there stands a reader who discerns how, bled by a second, equally aggressive pattern, but
why, and in what measure Rabelais produces his it depends on shared loyalties rather than on
different comic stimuli. For even the world’s shared standards. This mode may be termed clan-
greatest comic genius can do no more than this. based satire, and it operates first in simple op-
Humor is not humor until it has generated a re- positions like the rivalry between villagers (as at
sponse, and given the central importance Rabe- the start of the Picrocholine War), Rabelais’s nar-
lais accords to freedom, he less than most will ratorial hostility to the Parisians (as they are
demand to be read in one way only and enjoyed scorned on the arrival of both giants at the city),
on but one specific agenda. or the very battle of the sexes where the same
The humorous agendas are basically four, narrator is unrestrainedly, even depressingly,
which again may simplify the subject, although prejudiced. Witness the death of Gargamelle to
hopefully without coercing a response. The first which he expresses total indifference. Second, it
agenda concerns the said campaigns in which can ape value-based satire in using for stimulus
Rabelais engaged, using laughter to enhance his the same basic incongruities (for instance, the
principles in the spirit of Guillaume Budé and stupidity of Thubal Holoferne and Jobelin Bridé),
other Renaissance mentors. He derides medieval but the emotional charge securing its response is
scholarship both in its methods and its represen- different. The clan-based satirist is not essentially
tatives, the Sorbonne, for instance. He mocks a campaigner; hence Rabelais can get away with
ritual prayer, the traffic in indulgences, monas- attacking those scholastics for a program that
ticism, pilgrimage, Roman rather than universal was in fact no longer in use by his time of writ-
Humor 123

ing. Instead he seeks to reinforce a clan-identity, honor, respectability, and so on, the naı̈ve figure
however trivially determined. Many comic is simply unaware of them, as Gargantua in his
means can be exercised in this regard, ranging infancy ignores grown-up propriety in eating
from such blatant yah-booing as the Parisians’ from the same bowl as his dogs, and investigat-
insulting of Gargantua after Notre Dame to the ing, with puerile ingenuity, the ideal arse-wipe.
fertile and perplexing exchanges at that scholarly The humor thus created is like that attendant on
symposium focal within the Third Book. a child’s stumbling over a chair or indeed over
To counter this approach, as some have, by a sentence, its appeal being based not on effront-
saying that Rabelais’s clans are determined by ery but on simplicity. Our response, say, to
values is to beg the question of Panurge, a per- scenes of peasants’ festivals (e.g., G 5) or of chil-
manent clan member of the Pantagruelistes but dren’s playtime (e.g., G 11) combines nostalgia
one far from embodying their ethics. Moreover, for our own lost innocence with wistfulness at
those who read Rabelais’s latter books as a the inevitable loss of theirs. However, in fiction,
chronicle of Panurge’s degeneration are missing especially Rabelais’s, inevitability is not so de-
a great opportunity—namely, his lionization as termined—hence the success of a simple peasant
comic hero, notable in the sheep-trader sequence against the devil, the incongruous charm of the
of the Fourth Book (see Dindenault). Were it not ugly Ennasins or the bumbling Andouilles, and
possible to convert Panurge into a triumphant the triumph of the youthful Frère Jean which
clown, then again Rabelais would be at best a eclipses his lack of scholarship or vocational
first-rate moralist but not a comic genius. Of awareness.
course, one may target Panurge for his abysmal Intellectual approaches can again do little to
failures and join in the self-congratulating com- vindicate these figures. The reaction they generate
pany that scapegoats him, say, at the closing of against civilized standards is primarily emotional,
the Fourth Book with its practical joke of the being totemized in the wild man or the noble sav-
cannonade plus unfortunate aftermath. Con- age, and perceptible in the clown, the drunk, the
versely, one may admire him for deliberately idiot, or the ingénu. In terms of this mode, the
flouting the values of normal living, be it in his narrator himself may be seen as harmlessly and
criminality (robbing the Church), his sexuality endearingly delighted with the preposterous word
(deflowering the Parisian maidens), his self- lists and other lexical nonsense his author has so
obsession (worrying endlessly over a marriage carefully assembled for him.
surely destined for catastrophe were it ever to In Rabelais as in all sophisticated humorists,
happen), nay his very self-respect (rolling in his these comic modes, along with others detectable
own filth during the storm but never ashamed within other approaches (for instance, the mad-
for having done so). man’s pathological laughter or the ecstatic’s rap-
Comic antiheroes of this type, Reynard to name turous joy), combine and interpenetrate to a de-
but one, have a deep, even cultic significance that gree of complexity, defying reliable predictions
survives in the court jesters of the Renaissance but and conclusions. Not to mention their later ad-
is more striking in the trickster gods of antiquity ventures, who can insist on the precise modal
and folklore. For want of a better term we may balance operating in the very first meeting of
call their mode knavish parody, and its appeal is Pantagruel with Panurge? Thus far, the giant
based on the release which their humor grants himself has embodied more than one humorous
from the demands of propriety and responsible style: he is still not fully initiated into adult living
living. We exploit them in a vicarious rebellion (naı̈ve parody once more), yet he is well capable
against codes to which we consciously adhere; of enforcing a value-based satire such as that vis-
meanwhile what takes place in our subconscious ited on the Ecolier Limousin. Meanwhile, Pan-
is another matter. Set against them, moreover, is a urge combines the comic allure of the naı̈ve out-
second type of parodic figure, also apparent in Ra- sider with the deliberate craziness of the knave
belais, nay even Panurge as his most significant and is arguably scapegoated by the clan he is on
character, and that is the naı̈f. the very point of joining. Surely it is more than
Rather than defying the value systems of obvious what his needs are, yet they refuse (in
124 Humor

sly mockery of his appearance and manner?) to Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, Enter Rabelais
look beyond his weird and eccentric words. Laughing (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press,
Here, as ever in the best comic scenes and sce- 1998); Floyd Gray, Rabelais et le comique du discon-
narios, considerable initiative is handed over to tinu (Paris: Champion, 1994); Daniel Ménager, La
the reader, who will choose which pattern to em- Renaissance et le rire (Paris: Presses Universitaires de
phasize at a particular juncture and how to en- France, 1995); Colette Quesnel, Mourir de rire
hance it: “le rire est le propre de l’homme” in d’après et avec Rabelais (Paris: Vrin, 1991); Michael
this sense also. The huge disagreements that Ra- A. Screech, Laughter at the Foot of the Cross (Lon-
belais scholarship has endured merely bear tes- don: Allen Lane, 1997); Marcel Tetel, Etude sur le
tament to the comic resourcefulness he enjoyed. comique de Rabelais (Florence: Olschki, 1964); Flor-
Meanwhile, the reader’s joy in exploiting those ence M. Weinberg, Rabelais et les leçons du rire (Or-
resources springs from the execution of a prerog- léans: Paradigme, 2000).
ative the author respects in full degree. John Parkin
IDLENESS Rabelais’s works encompass with lesque alternative to the cloistered contemplative.
an almost encyclopedic breadth the diverse forms “I am never idle” (G 38) serves as the motto of
of idleness ranging from contemplation to tennis. this proudly anticontemplative monk. Finally,
It first emerges in the form of recreation in the leisured aristocrats replace cloistered monks as
prologue to Pantagruel where Alcofrybas prom- the privileged inhabitants of the utopian Abbey
ises to increase the reader’s “pastimes” by pro- of Thélème with which Gargantua concludes.
viding a delightfully entertaining and very useful Rabelais has provided for every aristocratic pas-
sequel to the popular Gargantuan Chronicles (P time imaginable from the jardin de plaisance and
prol.). Reading is figured here as a “hobby”—a tennis courts to three-level baths. Most of all,
conception quickly gaining ground during the however, the Thélèmites appear to be devoted to
Renaissance, even though the word “loisirs” the hunt, long the quintessential aristocratic pas-
would not assume the precise meaning of time (G 53).
“hobby” until the eighteenth century. At the heart of the prologue to the Third Book
When idleness resurfaces in Gargantua, it is is the age-old debate pitting the vita activa
with a clearly humanist meaning. The prologue against the vita contemplativa. Rabelais bor-
recalls Plato’s Symposium while establishing a rowed the Diogenes anecdote from Guillaume
context of feasting and conversation that consti- Budé and Lucian, but the problem is indeed a
tute a common backdrop in Gargantua. The pro- familiar one commonly included in Renaissance
logue and other scenes of conversation around a books of sententiae, which consisted of maxims,
table with friends (G 4, 37–39) represent scenes aphorisms, and commentaries on life and daily
of leisure in the tradition of sermo convivialis. living. As his compatriots engage in fervent prep-
At the same time, Rabelaisian banquets often arations for an impending attack, Diogenes—a
correspond to religious holidays such as Mardi figure for the author but also for the intellectual
Gras (G 4) or may recall the Eucharistic sacrifice in general—first contemplates their actions and
(4BK 1). These scenes point to the close prox- then decides to take part. For he did not wish to
imity of leisure to the sacred insofar as the Sab- be the only one to appear idle: “pour . . . n’estre
bath, feasts, and holidays all offer a means for veu seul cessateur et ocieux” (3BK pro.). Some
humanity to participate in the sacred through lei- scholars see in this anecdote a defense of the in-
sure. tellectual’s commitment to the res publica in
In contrast, if Frère Jean’s contempt for otia keeping with Rabelaisian praise of active virtue.
monastica (otia-idleness) is any indication, Ra- Other critics instead emphasize a latent irony: the
belais seems to put little stock in monastic con- cynic’s overstated willingness to participate is
templation—the highest order of leisure through- belied by the actual merit of his contribution
out the Middle Ages but in clear decline during (his famous tub-rolling does not advance the
the Renaissance. Idle monks (“ces ocieux moy- Corinthians’ cause in any manifest way), just as
nes”) suffer in comparison to hard-working peas- his compatriots’ actions possess an element of
ants, warriors, evangelical preachers, doctors, absurdity. (The war they are preparing for is de-
and even merchants (G 38). A perpetually busy, scribed as “ceste insigne fable et tragicque co-
hard-working Benedictine who is also a “bon medie.”) In either case, the choice between the
compagnon,” Frère Jean is presented as a bur- active life and the speculative life is recast as
126 Illustrations

the choice between being an actor in a tragic illustration. Curiously, this inconsistency reflects
farce rather than a spectator—a properly Di- Rabelais’s own narrative discrepancies. At times
ogenic decentering of a familiar debate in keep- his episodes emphasize the gigantic, and at others
ing with the ethos of the Greek cynic. they downplay it.
Readings: Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, Rabelais et The nineteenth century not only repopularized
l’humanisme civil (Geneva: Droz, 1992); Marc Fu- Rabelais’s work in general but also took interest
maroli, “Otium, convivium, sermo: La Conversation in depictions of the giants, their cohorts, and their
comme ‘lieu commun’ des lettrés,” Le loisir lettré à environs. Widespread attention among readers
l’âge classique, ed. Marc Fumaroli, Philippe-Joseph began with the 1854 Bry edition of Rabelais’s
Salazar, and Emmanuel Bury (Geneva: Droz, 1996); complete works. An edition of fairly low qual-
Virginia Krause, Idle Pursuits: Literature and ‘Oisiv- ity—cheap paper and small type—it was none-
eté’ in the French Renaissance (Newark: Delaware theless very popular due to its illustrations by
University Press, 2003); Les loisirs et l’héritage de la Gustave Doré. Doré went on to illustrate the
culture classique, ed. J.-M. André, J. Dangel, and P. 1873 Garnier edition of Rabelais, expanding the
Demont (Brussels: Latomus, 1996). number of illustrations and, most significantly,
Virginia Krause providing a more detailed and reflective style that
both ennobled the giants and made memorable
ILLUSTRATIONS Rabelais’s Pantagrueline key episodes. The Doré illustrations now typify
oeuvre has been associated with illustrations Rabelais’s characters, and it is these which are
since its initial sixteenth-century publication. Ge- most often found in modern-day editions.
neric as well as custom woodcuts appear in the Early twentieth-century illustrations vary
frontispieces of original editions of Rabelais’s greatly. The pen and ink drawings of the 1922
four narratives. It is widely believed that the Clouzot edition are in some ways the most ef-
famed French Renaissance architect of châteaux, fective in presenting the giants’ presence: by
Philibert de Lorme, sketched the famous Abbey showing only parts of the giant, the viewer is left
of Thélème described by Rabelais at the end of to develop the scale. Hueuenin’s 1937 edition of
Gargantua. The 1565 Songes drolatiques de Gargantua offers bold expressionist lithographs
Pantagruel, a collection of 120 engravings de- of episodes previously neglected by illustrators.
picting monstrous, yet whimsical, figures, is at- Rabelais’s oeuvre has been a popular choice for
tributed to Rabelais himself. Although Rabelais livres-d’artiste editions. Artists such as Clavé
almost certainly knew nothing of this work pub- and Dérain have produced lithographs and wood
lished thirteen years after his death, its appear- engravings for limited editions of Pantagruel
ance reveals his readers’ interest and indeed and Gargantua.
yearning to see depictions of his fanciful stories. Readings: Gustave Doré, illus., Les oeuvres de
All of Rabelais’s mock epics offer convoluted François Rabelais (Paris: J. Bry aı̂né, 1854); Gustave
narratives, improbable characters, and colorful Doré, illus., Les oeuvres de François Rabelais, 2 vols.
vocabulary. As such, they lend themselves to il- (Paris: Frères Garnier, 1873); W. J. Strachan, The Art-
lustration. Illustrators of Rabelais have by and ist and the Book in France: The 20th Century Livre
large relied on the same episodes for their illus- d’artiste (New York: George Wittenborn, 1969).
trations, even though their interpretations may Margaret Harp
vary markedly. The eighteenth and early
nineteenth-century illustrators appear to have IMITATION AND PARODY The deliberate
been less concerned, or perhaps simply less recollection of features from ancient or contem-
taken, with the massive stature of the giants porary textual models. When attempted for
Gargantua and Pantagruel than they were with comic purposes, the imitation is known as “par-
attempting to represent their actions. In a 1741 ody.” Imitation was an essential process in all
edition illustrated by Picart, Pantagruel appears writings of the Renaissance, itself an imitative
oversized rather than gigantic. Picart is seem- phenomenon as it attempted to reproduce the aes-
ingly inconsistent: in the same edition he has cre- thetic and ethical values of antiquity. It was
ated a Gargantua twice as tall as in a previous thought to be the chief means through which as-
Interpretations 127

piring writers could achieve the greatness at- “nativity” of Pantagruel), P 30 (on the “resur-
tained by the classics, such as the epics of Virgil rection” of Epistémon), and P 21–24 (which
or Homer, the letters of Cicero, or even more may include several parodic references to
modern works such as the lyric poetry of Pe- Christ’s passion). Finally, even contemporary art
trarch. Several Renaissance scholars (including may have provided Rabelais with fodder for im-
Erasmus, Bembo, and Joachim du Bellay) de- itation and parody, as the “torchecul” or arsewipe
bated the preferred methods of imitation, and in episode (G 12) has been seen as a parody of Mi-
so doing they imitated classical theorists such as chelangelo’s Leda and the Swan.
Cicero and Quintilian. Whereas some Renais- Readings: Terence Cave, The Cornucopian Text:
sance scholars focused on the imitation of partic- Problems of Writing in the French Renaissance (Ox-
ular stylistic features, others urged the cultivation ford: Clarendon Press, 1979); Raymond Lebègue, “Ra-
of classical genres as a whole. The most perva- belais et la parodie,” BHR 14 (1952): 193–204; Fran-
sive debate on imitation in the Renaissance was çois Rigolot, “Leda and the Swan: Rabelais’s Parody
the “Ciceronian quarrel,” which questioned of Michelangelo,” RQ 38 (1985): 688–700; François
whether new writers should base their style only Rigolot, “Rabelais, Misogyny, and Christian Charity:
on the single perfect model of Cicero or on a Biblical Intertextuality and the Renaissance Crisis of
wider variety of good models. While imitators Exemplarity,” PMLA 109 (1994): 225–37; Marcel Te-
hoped to gain glory by echoing the manner of tel, Etude sur le comique de Rabelais (Florence: Ol-
great writers, those who engaged in parody often schki, 1964).
exaggerated the style or otherwise caricatured JoAnn DellaNeva
their sources in the hopes of generating laughter
among readers who recognized the disparity be- INTERPRETATIONS The problematics of
tween the sublimity of the model and the base- interpretation lie at the very heart of Rabelais’s
ness of the imitation. Imitation abounds in the narrative fiction. From the outset, the reader is
works of Rabelais. Indeed, Rabelais presents his struck by the number of episodes devoted to an
first book, Pantagruel, as an explicit imitation or assortment of enigmatic signs leading to spirited
continuation of a popular contemporary text, the discussions of their possible meanings. The
Grandes Chroniques de Gargantua. Rabelais’s whole of Book 3 can be viewed as a set of var-
imitations most often take the form of parodies. iations on this same thematic pattern. But it is of
The Pantagruel, Gargantua, and Fourth Book course the celebrated prologue to Gargantua that
have been seen as mock epics because their raises the issue of interpretation as it applies spe-
structure, characters, and events recall the works cifically to the ensuing narrative, and by exten-
of Homer and Virgil. sion to the entire series of Rabelais’s novels. The
Other models for Rabelais include medieval fictional narrator of the preceding Pantagruel
chivalric romances and their Renaissance Italian had introduced his story as nothing more than an
continuations. Imitation and parody, particularly escapist entertainment whose sole objective was
of a stylistic nature, also figure into several in- to provoke laughter. Gargantua, on the other
dividual episodes. These include P 7 (where the hand, lays claim (though not without ambiguity)
titles of books found in the Library of Saint- to an altogether higher purpose. Through a series
Victor lampoon those of genuine scholarship on of analogies culminating with the memorably ir-
law, medicine, and religion); P 10–13, P 18, and reverent assimilation of the reader with a dog
G 19 (where the language of scholastic disputa- gnawing on a bone in frenzied search of its sus-
tion is spoofed); P 3 (which caricatures the genre tantificque mouelle or marrow, we are invited to
of the déploration funèbre); P 8, G 29 and 31, seek, beyond the work’s frivolous exterior, a
3BK 48, and 4BK 4 (which mimic the lofty style higher, hidden meaning that only a symbolic
of Cicero); P 21–22 (which mock the language reading can hope to uncover. The invitation to
of courtly love and Petrarchism); and 3BK 3–4, interpret the book à plus hault sens is withdrawn
which parody the classical encomium by praising almost as soon as it is offered, and the prefatory
debt). In addition, several incidents appear to pages of Gargantua turn out to be as mystifying
constitute biblical parodies, including P 2 (on the as the ensuing pages they are meant to explain.
128 Interpretations

But the seed has been planted, and for the next ilarly negative attitude bears witness to the per-
four and a half centuries the course of Rabelais sistence of an essentially aesthetic reaction to Ra-
criticism will be marked, to a large extent, by the belais even in the Age of Enlightenment. Only
attempts of successive generations of readers to in the last years of the century will his work be
come to terms, in the light of whatever ideology admired at last for the audacity of its religious
prevailed at the time, with the political, religious, and political undertones by the French revolu-
and moral truths allegedly embedded in Rabe- tionaries who recognize in Rabelais an illustrious
lais’s fictional text. predecessor in their own struggle for freedom,
Not all of Rabelais’s contemporaries were equality, and justice.
equally quick to rise to the challenge of the read- The critical tide begins to turn. Yet not until
ing strategy outlined in the prologue. The success the following generation will Rabelais reach the
of Rabelais’s books upon their publication sug- full stature of a writer of genius, emerging in the
gests that the general public was content to take Romantic imagination—alongside Dante and
them at face value and enjoy them first and fore- Shakespeare—as one of the prophetic figures
most for their verbal exuberance and their comic guiding humanity at the dawn of the modern era.
invention. Even Montaigne, so perspicacious a Chateaubriand considers him the true founder of
reader on other occasions, ignores in Rabelais the French literature. Michelet finds in his work scin-
thinker in favor of the comic writer when he lists tillating glimmers of ultimate truth. Victor Hugo
him, somewhat dismissively, among those au- is awed by the mysterious profundity of his
thors whom he finds to be merely entertaining laughter and the epic grandeur of his vision.
(“simplement plaisants”). Only the participants in Flaubert rereads him more often than any other
the religious struggles ensuing from the spread writer. Endowing him with a measure of their
of evangelism and the hardening of their respec- own sensibility, Romantic readers are struck
tive positions in the aftermath of the notorious above all, beyond the laughter and the echoes of
Affaire des Placards turn their attention to what humanistic ideology, by the mythic dimension
they believe to be Rabelais’s religious message. and cosmic resonance of his fictional world.
Reducing the latter to the satire of religious au- Characteristically intuitive rather than analyti-
thority and the parody of biblical texts admittedly cal, the Romantic reaction to Rabelais was fol-
pervading the novels, both the upholders of or- lowed, at the turn of the twentieth century, by
thodoxy and those who call for reforms unex- the first scholarly investigation of his work at the
pectedly join forces in their vehement denunci- hands of Abel Lefranc. In an early study, Lefranc
ation of Rabelais’s religious leanings as had noted that the various stages of the Picro-
dangerously heretical or downright atheistic. choline War at the heart of Gargantua could be
In the seventeenth century, the religious de- followed, their mock-heroic treatment notwith-
bates subside in favor of a more literary ap- standing, on any sixteenth-century map of the re-
proach. When La Bruyère declares much of Ra- gion surrounding Chinon. Similarly, he believed
belais’s humor as fit only for the amusement of he had traced the genesis of the entire episode to
the rabble (“la canaille”), he clearly has in mind nothing more momentous than a simple quarrel
the recently defined norms of acceptable behav- between Rabelais’s father and one of his father’s
ior and good taste known to his contemporaries neighbors. Such discoveries reinforced Lefranc’s
as les bienséances. Above all, when he deplores conviction that Gargantua–Pantagruel belonged
the “monstrous assemblage (“monstrueux assem- essentially, despite its stylistic distortions, to the
blage”) of high seriousness and vulgarity within tradition of realist fiction, as a document rooted
the confines of one and the same work and de- in the social and intellectual life of Rabelais’s
nounces such a juxtaposition of opposites as un- time and providing, in such allegedly serious and
acceptable to reason, he obviously does so in the humanistically inspired episodes as those de-
name of the Cartesian rationalism and classical voted to education or to life at Thélème, direct
aesthetics that define the literary sensibility of his access to the author’s thought.
generation. “Extravagant and unintelligible” Throughout the first half of the century, Ra-
(“Extravagant et inintelligible”): Voltaire’s sim- belais’s work continued to be studied from this
Interpretations 129

double perspective of historicity and realism. From the same historicist perspective, other
This was the case even for Marxist critics for scholars evaluate Rabelais’s debt to Plato and the
whom Rabelais’s message was of course populist Platonic-Hermetic tradition. Still others, outside
rather than humanistic, but whose belief in his- the mainstream of academic criticism, investigate
torical determinism encouraged a similar empha- connections between what they take to be Ra-
sis on meaning rather than form. When textual belais’s secret thought and various forms of es-
analysis at long last found its place in Rabelais oteric initiation.
criticism in the early 1960s, the change was The publication in 1968 of Mikhail Bakhtin’s
largely due to the influence of the German phi- Rabelais and His World in English translation
lologist Leo Spitzer, who in a virulent article on marks another significant turning point in Rabe-
“Rabelais et les ‘rabelaisants’ ” had denounced lais criticism and sets it on a new course in two
the Rabelaisants for endlessly dwelling on the somewhat incompatible directions. By insisting
documentary significance of Rabelais’s work at on what Rabelais’s fiction owes to popular cul-
the expense of its artistic value and stifling the ture and folkloric tradition and by underscoring
text under the weight of misplaced erudition. the subversive nature of the carnivalesque spirit
The immediate effect of Spitzer’s article was permeating the text, Bakhtin’s book encouraged
to shift the focus of Rabelais criticism from in- a second wave of Marxist interpretations in terms
terpretation to formal analysis. Thus, some of the of class struggle and Rabelais’s alleged opposi-
most representative studies published in the tion to the rise of capitalistic individualism. On
1960s, in England and the United States if not the other hand, Bakhtin’s effort to minimize the
yet in France, deal with such formal aspects as importance of Rabelais’s humanistic message, to-
narrative technique, comic devices, creative gether with his view of Rabelais’s novel as a pol-
imagination, the particular characteristics of Ra- yphonic text resonating with a concert of voices
belais’s écriture, and the possibility of detecting from which the author’s own voice was conspic-
elements of structural unity in what looks at first uously absent, led such disciples as Michel Beau-
glance like a fragmented, unstructured series of jour to bring out in Le jeu de Rabelais the con-
loosely connected episodes. The emphasis on sequences of Bakhtin’s approach and to question
rhetoric and style in turn leads critics to question the legitimacy of seeing in Rabelais’s references
the objectivity of the hitherto accepted distinction to the political, religious, and other cultural con-
between what is serious in Rabelais’s books and cerns the expression of the author’s ideological
what is merely playful. Even such pages as Gar- intentions of any kind whatever, rather than
gantua’s letter to Pantagruel celebrating the viewing them as elements of a rhetorical game
dawn of a new spirit of inquiry after centuries of in the framework of a text whose very essence
intellectual stagnation are shown to bear the lies in its playfulness and its refusal to signify.
stamp of Rabelais’s fantasy and comic exagger- This conception of Rabelais’s fiction as a
ation. purely ludic enterprise, however strongly rein-
This new awareness of the essential ambiguity forced by poststructuralist notions of textuality
of Rabelais’s text did not prevent more tradi- and of the self-referential nature of literature, did
tional scholars from pursuing their quest of what not prevent such staunch traditionalists as Mi-
V.-L. Saulnier was to call “the design of Rabe- chael Screech and his followers from persisting
lais” (“le dessein de Rabelais”). Saulnier himself in their conviction that a historical and scholarly
did much to impose the symbolic interpretation approach was the one and only path to valid in-
of Rabelais’s first two books as a fictional rep- terpretation. More moderate scholars, such as
resentation of the humanist ideal, and of the Gérard Defaux, continued (and continue) to de-
Third and Fourth Books as an allegorical ac- fend the rights of historical criticism, were it only
count of the obstacles in the path of its realiza- as an indispensable precaution against anachro-
tion. In a series of studies remarkable for the nistic misreadings and adventurous claims. Com-
breadth of their erudition, Michael Screech sees bining thematic and stylistic concerns, language
Rabelais’s adherence to the evangelical move- took center stage in the two following decades,
ment as a key to various aspects of his thought. in the wake of François Rigolot’s seminal work,
130 Irony

Les langages de Rabelais. Studies of such as- though there is a growing suspicion, among
pects of the problématique du langage as the re- traditionalists and innovators alike, that it may
lationship between words and things, the relative not lie in the revelation of any momentous truths
status of linguistic signs in the act of communi- illuminating the mysteries of human existence,
cation, and their alleged inability to signify with- but rather in the Pantagruelistic spirit of toler-
out ambivalence and ambiguity have stressed Ra- ance, hope, and good-will with which Panurge
belais’s uncanny propensity to anticipate many and Pantagruel set out on their voyage to the
of the contemporary issues debated within the Oracle of the Divine Bottle, and the ideal reader
context of semiotics and linguistic structuralism. on his quest for the moral message of Rabelais’s
Articles on the recurring motif of thirst, on the book.
function of food, on the status of women, and Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His
on the origin of Rabelais’s giants have reexam- World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT
ined these traditional themes from new, often in- Press, 1968); Michel Beaujour, Le jeu de Rabelais:
terdisciplinary perspectives. A number of inter- Essai sur Rabelais (Paris: Editions de l’Herne, 1969);
textual readings have rethought the old questions François Rigolot, Les langages de Rabelais, ER 10
of source and influence with a greater awareness (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1972); Michael Andrew
of their subtle complexity. As for the notion of Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
meaning itself, it too has continued to serve as Press, 1979); Leo Spitzer, “Rabelais et les ‘rabelais-
an object of critical reflection, though no longer ants,’ ” SF 4.12 (September–December): 401–23.
as the expression of the author’s thought, but Bruno Braunrot
rather, in the light of structuralism and reception
theory, as a subjective and “plural” product of IRONY Mikhail Bakhtin’s study of the Rab-
the act of reading. elaisian carnivalesque, though limited by its
Differences in tone rather than substance char- Marxist perspective, offered a theoretical frame-
acterize Rabelais criticism in the most recent work for the study of ironic structures in Rabe-
phase of its evolution. The cast of players in the lais’s works that was not dependent on a reader’s
ongoing debate remains essentially the same, as subjective assessment of authorial intention.
does their basic critical stance. Rabelais contin- Rather, the text’s own interdiscursive structures
ues to be read in historical context by traditional of discourse and counterdiscourse constitute the
scholars, and from an increasingly interdiscipli- paradigm in play in his work of disjunction and
nary perspective by critics favoring a more mod- dissociation between elements that reciprocally
ern approach informed by new critical method- undermine or subvert one another. The study of
ologies. But the near-hostility that had marked ironic structures affords an important supplement
previous polemical confrontations between tra- to historical scholarship, which, though indispen-
ditionalists and innovators seems to have given sable, can err in the interpretative process when
way to a new spirit of synthesis and conciliation, it infers meaning from the mere spotting of a
a welcome willingness to moderate the reduc- source without reference to how it is functioning
tionist intransigence of their earlier positions and in the text.
to acknowledge the validity of contrasting points Let us look first at some examples of “ironic
of view. Critics of postmodernist persuasion now structures” and how they function to produce
seem more ready to admit that Rabelais’s text is meaning through the juxtaposition or interaction
not exclusively self-referential but that it is also, between an ideological discourse at the text’s
at least to some extent, a representation of the surface and a counterdiscourse that undercuts it.
author’s world. Distrust of authorial intention At times the reader hears multiple, sometimes
and the recent emphasis on ambiguity and poly- contradictory, voices speaking in Rabelais’s text.
valence of meaning are no longer seen as nec- The first and obvious example of an ironic struc-
essarily justifying the rejection of all attempts at ture is Rabelais’s use of a fictive narrating per-
interpretation. Even the possibility of a sustan- sona in the first three books—Alcofrybas Na-
tificque mouelle or marrow at the core of Rabe- sier—who declares the presence of a new kind
lais’s work is no longer rejected out of hand, al- of literary voice addressing a fictive reader. This
Irony 131

voice is dialogic and inaugurates a new role for Defaux, Rigolot) have attempted to read it iron-
the empirical reader of Rabelais’s books. Read- ically as a parody of humanist discourse. On the
ing Rabelais is henceforth a dialogic experience, other hand, the letter is not ironic because it is
giving rise to reading as an active and interactive not overtly marked as ironic discourse, nor does
process. Alcofrybas is an ambiguous persona it contain semiotic markers referring elsewhere
who is and is not Rabelais the author, part char- inside Rabelais’s text. What is ironic is that the
latan, part fairgrounds mountebank out to gull letter in its high seriousness is juxtaposed to its
the drunk and poxy fictive reader, from whom antithesis, the arrival of Panurge and his meeting
real readers dissociate themselves in the process with Pantagruel in chapter 9. This is indeed an
of teasing out the text’s meanings. Thus, in the ironic structure, built on oppositions that under-
prologue to Gargantua, Alcofrybas sets up am- cut one another. Although the letter inscribes ex-
bivalent relations between the text and its read- tratextual associations (e.g., humanist learning,
ers, subjecting them to ironic praise and blame Latinate diction) and ideological traces (hierar-
(“Beuveurs tres illustres, Verolez tres precieux— chy, legitimate marriage and paternity, estab-
Most noble boozers and you my very esteemed lished religious values, and the obedience of sons
and poxy friends”), proceeding to invite them to to fathers), the meeting with Panurge is a fic-
interpret his book in a higher sense, then putting tional challenge to the official ideology repre-
in question the venerable tradition of allegorical sented by the letter. Panurge’s essential role in
systems of reading and interpretation. Rabelais Pantagruel is to be the trickster, the carnival-
ironizes the tradition of allegorical interpretation, esque reverser of hierarchies, and, in sum, the
mocking it, problematizing it, and placing the instrument of Rabelais’s challenge to dominant
reader in the position of having to come to terms ideologies, established hierarchies and authori-
with a text that mocks the reader, mocks itself, ties, the subversive counterdiscourse of the lower
and yet manages to intrigue the reader to figure body that is a necessary component of Rabelais’s
out the seriousness that subsists in the shadows comic vision in Pantagruel.
behind the comedy. Indeed, that delicate balance This paradigm of subversion of ideological
between earnestness and jest is not the least in- discourse is present to a greater or lesser degree
appropriate definition of irony. in all four canonical books. In the Third Book,
Gargantua, chapter 8, contains a description the prologue, the Praise of Debts, the consulta-
of Gargantua’s device or impresa, which is a tions with the diviners, and the legal, medical,
perfect example of an ironic image hovering in- and religious authorities, are polyvalent texts sus-
definably between seriousness and jest. Rabelais ceptible of being plurally read. For example, the
describes the “Platonic” Androgyne but modifies Praise of Debts must be obliquely read as a sa-
it so that the heads are not Janus-faced but are tirical eulogy of a vice it only appears to praise.
turned toward one another—“the beast with two In this sense, to condemn Panurge for his vice is
backs”—and juxtaposes it to the Pauline text also to condemn contemporary monarchs and no-
“Charity Seeketh Not Its Own.” The possible in- blemen for their conspicuous consumption on
tertexts include not only Plato and Saint Paul credit. At the same time, Panurge’s flights of
but also Ficinian Neoplatonism. The figure and rhetoric propose a fantastic vision of universal
the Pauline sentence constitute a polysemous exchange and fecundity. The entire episode is
conjunction of incompatible elements, a figure of fundamentally ambiguous in that it holds several
Rabelaisian irony itself. Image and text recipro- contradictory discourses in balance. Pantagruel’s
cally subvert one another and rather than resolve condemnation of Panurge on the ethical level
into a univocal message, inscribe an ironic image does not at all detract from the validity of Pan-
en abyme of endless unanswered questions and urge’s vision of the cosmic harmony of a world
ambiguities. of borrowing and lending. This duplicitous text
Gargantua’s letter on education (P 8) has been contains what Bakhtin has termed “double-
a focus of critical argument with respect to irony. voiced discourse,” which serves the character
Long considered as Rabelais’s serious program who is speaking and the refracted intention of the
for humanistic study, some critics (e.g., Brault, author.
132 Italy

Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, L’oeuvre de François uring the topography of ancient Rome, on which
Rabelais et la culture populaire au moyen âge et sous he planned to write a book. On his return to
la Renaissance, trans. Andrée Robel (Paris: Gallimard, Lyon, passing through Florence, Rabelais aban-
1970); M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: doned his own project and instead published an
Four Essays, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Em- edition of Marliani’s new Topographia, with cor-
erson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of rections based on his own notes and with a na-
Texas Press, 1981); Samuel Kinser, Rabelais’s Car- tionalistic dedication to du Bellay, in which he
nival: Text, Context, Metatext (Berkeley: University of minimizes the novelty of what Italy has revealed
California Press, 1990); Jerome Schwartz, Irony and to him.
Ideology: Structures of Subversion in Rabelais (Cam- The elevation of du Bellay to the purple the
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). following year gave Rabelais the opportunity for
Jerome Schwartz another longer visit to Italy, from July 1535 until
Easter 1536, traveling outwards via Ferrara
ITALY Before his first visit in 1534, Rabelais (where he probably met Manardi and later Bra-
was well acquainted with Italy. By 1524 he had savola) and by sea to Pesaro. Rabelais and his
sent the Pope his first request for regularization patron renewed contact with academic circles in
of his monastic situation. Much of the legal and Rome, notably Paolo Giovio and a group of neo-
medical erudition he was acquiring was the work Latin poets. Rome proved an ideal observatory
of Italian humanists, disseminated by Italian of European politics for Rabelais, news of which
printers. Two of his earliest scholarly publi- he sent in many letters (of which three survive)
cations (1532), the editions of Manardi and Cus- to his religious superior, Geoffroy d’Estissac,
pidius, draw on this erudition: the Roman legal with details about the rivalries of Italian families,
texts reproduce earlier Italian editions; the med- preparations for the visit of Charles V, news
ical text reveals how much he revered the letters from England and even from the Near East. His
of this Ferrarese doctor; and later editions of his sources are published newsletters and no doubt
Hippocrates include material from Manardi’s the gossip of the embassy, but he does not pass
pupil Brasavola. Rabelais had also read widely on any privileged information, and some of his
in Italian vernacular literature, as shown in his facts are wrong. He makes much, however, of
first comic publication of 1532, which shows any reverses suffered by the imperial camp and
knowledge not only of Teofilo Folengo’s mac- reveals his patriotic leanings. One of his major
aronic epic but also of novellisti like Masuccio concerns is his request for papal absolution from
and probably Boccaccio. His language in Pan- the crime of apostasy, but he tells d’Estissac
tagruel already includes numerous Italianisms. nothing of his tactical errors in this undertaking,
The same book also reveals early evidence of nor of his moves to transfer his religious alle-
anti-italianism: he sides with the mos gallicus of giance to du Bellay. Although his patron left
Guillaume Budé and André Tiraqueau against Rome secretly in late February, Rabelais proba-
Italian legal commentators; he places several me- bly stayed on with the household until mid-April
dieval Italian popes in Hell; and the catalogue of and was witness to the emperor’s entry to the
Saint-Victor makes much mockery of Italy and city.
Rome, her poiltronismus (laziness), her fanfares, Rabelais made a brief visit to Italy in 1538
her petarrades (flatulence). when he attended the summit meeting in Nice
The first short visit of three months in early between the king, Pope, and emperor, before
1534 gave Rabelais the privileged opportunity to making a prolonged stay in Piedmont in 1540–
discover Italy in a diplomatic entourage. He wit- 42, in the household of the cardinal’s brother
nessed the unsuccessful attempts of his patron, Guillaume du Bellay, seigneur de Langey.
Jean du Bellay, to prevent the excommunication While it is not known that he had acted as doctor
of Henry VIII by the College of Cardinals, and to Jean in Rome, it is almost certain that he did
praised du Bellay’s eloquence in his preface to so for Guillaume and his wife in Turin. He was
Marliani. He participated with du Bellay in ex- there by the summer of 1540 and stayed until the
cavating and collecting antiquities, and in meas- winter of 1542, when he accompanied his seri-
Italy 133

ously ill patient to Lyon and witnessed his death French hostility to the Council of Trent. The
in January 1543, famously described in chapter Papimanie episode in the Fourth Book reflects
21 of the Third Book and chapter 27 of the the nationalist mood in France during this crisis,
Fourth Book. In Turin he had witnessed Lan- and the Ringing Island (Isle Sonante) episode
gey’s attempts to make the new province secure in the Fifth Book reveals a greater hostility to
and to relieve famine. This example probably in- the Roman Church than in his earlier writings:
fluenced the account of the fortification of Cor- some critics have interpreted each episode as ev-
inth and of the good government of Dipsodie in idence of Rabelais’s role as royal propagandist.
the prologue to the Third Book and chapter 1. Rabelais’s five books and minor works reveal
His account of Langey’s military achievements, the breadth of his reading of Italian fiction (es-
Les Stratagemes, was published in Lyon in Latin pecially Francesco Colonna, whom he translates
and French, although no copy has been traced. in the Fifth Book), short stories, mock epics and
In Turin, Rabelais was in contact with the French humanist polygraphs, and Platonists. The in-
ambassador in Venice, Guillaume Pellicier, with creasing number of Italianisms in his vocabulary
whom he had been to Rome, and who consulted also reflect his knowledge of the language, and,
him about rare plants and about a difficult legal, if the 1550 royal privilege for his works is to be
medical, and diplomatic question involving the believed, he had published in “Thuscan.” During
minimum duration of pregnancy. He was in con- his career, he had had to seek permission from
tact with the neo-Latin poet and magistrate in
Vatican tribunals to change religious order, to
Chambéry, Jean de Boyssonné, who wrote po-
study at university, to practice medicine, to ac-
ems on the early death of Rabelais’s natural in-
quire benefices, and to be absolved from apos-
fant son, Théodule, and on the death in Turin of
tasy, besides requests from his own natural chil-
Langey’s wife (and Rabelais’s patient) Anne de
dren for legitimization. Despite his occasional
Créqui. He also attended the degree ceremony in
mockery of Italy in his writing, he was greatly
medicine of his friend Guillaume Bigot at the
indebted to Italian scholarship and fascinated by
University of Turin reopened by Langey.
Rabelais made his final visit to Italy in 1547– Roman antiquities and festivals. However, there
49, once again in the company of Jean du Bellay is no evidence of an interest in Italian Renais-
and explicitly as his doctor. He participated in sance art (see the comic views of Bernard Lar-
the archeological activities of his patron and as- don in 4BK 11).
sisted him in preparing a festival to celebrate the Readings: Victor Louis Bourrilly, Guillaume Du
birth of Henry II’s second son, Louis, in March Bellay, Seigneur de Langey, 1491–1543 (Paris, 1905);
1549. His account of this festival, La Scioma- V.-L. Bourrilly ed., Rabelais, Lettres écrites d’Italie
chie, was published in Lyon, drawing on the re- (Paris, 1910); R. A. Cooper, Rabelais et l’Italie (Ge-
cent royal entry to Lyon and on a contemporary neva: Droz, 1991); R. A. Cooper, Litterœ in tempore
Florentine newsletter. This important piece of belli (Geneva: Droz, 1997); R. A. Cooper, “Rabelais,
writing highlights du Bellay’s successful pro- Jean Du Bellay, et la crise gallicane,” Rabelais pour
motion of the French cause in Rome, as well as le XXIe siècle, special number, ER 33 (1998): 299–
Rabelais’s interest in costume, military science, 325; R. A. Cooper, “Les lectures italiennes de Rabe-
and banquets. Rabelais returned to France with lais: une mise au point,” ER 37 (1999): 25–49; Robert
his ailing patient in September 1549 but probably Marichal, “Le dernier séjour de Rabelais à Rome,”
did not return to Rome with him in November Congrès de Tours et Poitiers de l’Association Guil-
for the conclave. He continued to follow Italian laume Budé (Paris, 1954); Arthur Heulhard, Rabelais,
politics, especially the Gallican crisis of 1551 ses voyages en Italie, son exil à Metz (Paris, 1891).
arising from the Parma wars, as well as growing Richard Cooper
JANOTUS DE BRAGMARDO Episodic quial (“Ha, ha, ha. C’est parlé cela”). Almost
character in Gargantua (17–19), whose plea for every sentence contains a pun, a literary refer-
the return of the bells of Notre Dame, which the ence, or an in-joke that would have been quite
giant has stolen to put on his mare’s neck, is one clear to Rabelais’s intended readers.
of Rabelais’s finest comic monologues. Later Gérard Defaux has tried to identify Janotus
editions censored Rabelais’s first version of this with the Sorbonne syndic Noël Béda, already
episode, in which Janotus is a Sorbonne theo- lampooned in P 7, but the more important em-
logian, replacing theologien by sophiste and thus phasis is on comedy. Janotus is not just despi-
losing the main polemical point. cable and inept—he is hilariously funny, and at
The stealing of the bells, an incident in the the beginning of chapter 20 the heartiest laughter
Grandes croniques (OC 161–62), is the pretext anywhere in Rabelais is the reaction of Ponocra-
for comprehensive and devastating satire, first of tes and Eudémon to his speech. Like many a
the people of Paris (“tant sot, tant badault, et tant Molière character, Janotus sometimes speaks the
inepte . . . ,” 17) and then of Sorbonne theologi- truth unknowingly (“Reason? . . . We don’t use
ans in general. Rabelais ensures that Janotus’s that around here” [GP 48]) and is so blissfully
speech in chapter 19 will be pointless by having self-satisfied that we are compelled to laugh with
Gargantua return the bells beforehand (18). Jan- him as well as at him. He is at the same time a
otus is lazy, interested only in his material com- lamentably incompetent orator and a consum-
forts, ignorant even of the Latin he uses every mate farce actor, as several reminiscences of
day, stupid, and a totally inept orator. His nine Maistre Pierre Pathelin in the episode remind us.
“arguments” for the return of the bells include: If we remember the rough punishment of the
we need the bells to preserve the vines from bad Ecolier Limousin in P 6, we may wonder at the
weather (an old superstition; i.e., wine is the generous recompensing of a potential burner of
most important thing in a theologian’s life); we heretics. Perhaps Rabelais still thought, in 1533–
can offer you pardons (indulgences) if you return 34, that laughter could be powerful enough to
the bells (i.e., pardons have more to do with counter the forces of repression threatening to
profit than with religion); our Faculté needs the destroy evangelical humanism?
bells just as much as your mare does (i.e., the- Readings: Barbara C. Bowen, “Janotus de Brag-
ologians are no smarter than Gargantua’s mare). mardo in the Limelight (Gargantua, ch. 19),” FR 72
Janotus’s speech violates every rule of Cicer- (1998): 229–37; Gérard Defaux, “Rabelais et les
onian rhetoric which every schoolboy knew by cloches de Notre-Dame,” ER 9 (1971): 1–28.
heart; it has neither invention (coherent subject Barbara C. Bowen
matter), disposition (arrangement), elocution
(style), memory (he seems quite proud of his JEWS Rabelais’s novels display definite fa-
poor memory), or delivery (he punctuates it with miliarity with the Jewish mores and culture of
coughing and spitting). His style, in both French his time. Besides numerous Hebrew puns and
and Latin, is a mishmash of correct (“Reddite allusions to the Bible and the Talmud, one finds
que sunt Cesaris Cesari”) and incorrect (“ego ha- more esoteric notions revealing a certain degree
bet bon uino”), lofty (“une ville sans cloches est of acquaintance with Jewish mysticism and even
comme un aveugle sans baston . . .”) and collo- hermetic texts such as the Zohar. Rabelaisian
Judiciary 135

characters often mention Jewish law and kabbal- calic punctuation which appeared only in written
ists, Massoretes, and Marranes. Gargantua’s hu- Hebrew around the seventh century, used all
manist program admonishes the study of He- imaginable measures to guarantee the exact
brew, also advising visits of Talmudists’ and transmission of the text, even at the cost of im-
kabbalists’ works (P 8). The allusions to the Jew- mense toil. Letters were counted, words were
ish canon are so numerous and precise that one counted, and all peculiarities were noted. The
can deduce Rabelais’s real involvement in the Massoretes are the Jewish commentators who
study of Hebrew and Jewish gnosis. Yet most of have an intimate knowledge of symbol in the He-
the time this knowledge is conveyed with irony. brew language. His allusions to Rabbi Kimhi de
He rewrites a jocular version of the origin of cir- Narbonne and Rabbi Ibn Ezra show that Rabelais
cumcision (3BK 18), jokes about the rules of ko- was familiar with the work, or role, of these er-
sher food (4BK 40), or about oaths more judaico udite commentators.
(3BK 19). Readings: Michel Bastiaensen, “L’hébreu chez Ra-
The text refers a few times to Marranes, or belais,” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire (1968);
converted Jews, a result of the sixteenth-century David Morris, “The Place of Jewish Law and Tradition
royal politic of expulsions. Indeed, Rabelais in the Work of François Rabelais,” ER 15 (1963); Ger-
mentions by name Antoine Saporta, a Marrane shom Scholem, Les grands courants de la mystique
friend from Montpellier (3BK 34). But the Jew- juive (Paris: Payot, 1983); Ilana Zinguer, ed., L’hébreu
ish groups named most often are the kabbalists au temps de la Renaissance (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992).
and the Massoretes. Katia Campbell
The kabbala, an ancient oral tradition claim-
ing lineage as far back as Abraham and Moses,
is elaborated as a philosophical and metaphysical JUDICIARY Rabelais launched a caustic cri-
system that bridges biblical and Neoplatonic tique of the judicial practices of his time. Since
thought. Although Jewish mysticism had trickled Rabelais’s public was largely composed of the
from Spain to the rest of Europe in the ninth and newly emerging bourgeois class whose members
twelfth centuries, there were few initiates. How- aspired to public office (especially in the judicial
ever, in the fourteenth century, the kabbala took sphere), it is not surprising that his novels re-
the Jewish communities by storm, and interest in peatedly refer to legal occupations such as
this new discipline spread throughout the Chris- judges, lawyers, or other judiciary occupations.
tian world in the sixteenth. When introducing From Judge Bridoye (3BK 39–43), who ren-
hermetic terms that belong to the speculative dered justice by rolling the dice to the Chicanous
kabbala, such as Belima, Ruach, and Cheli, Ra- bailiffs (4BK 12–16) in the land of Procuration,
belais’s text echoes the respect found for this all the legal episodes in Rabelais’s works tend to
mystical discipline in Reuchlin’s De arte Cabal- be critical. Often this critique of legal practices
istica, or Pico de la Mirandola’s Heptaplus. The is linked to monetary profit. The “Chats fourrez”
tone, however, is mocking for the practical kab- (5BK 11–15) incident alludes to the notorious
bala, which dallied in magic and astrology, and abuses of the period’s legal bureaucracy and the
took advantage of credulous people. This dy- pervasiveness of a system of bribery that sold
namic between fascination and cautiousness is justice to the highest bidder. Furthermore, eco-
consistent throughout the various books. nomic and judicial aspects often overlap owing
Similarly, respect tinged with amusement is to the new social reality that the sale of offices
the treatment bestowed upon the other group of respresented during the Renaissance. It was
Jewish “interpreters of the law,” the Massoretes. common practice for the king to sell judicial of-
The Massorah is an oral transmission of anything fices to the new “robin” class in order to replen-
that concerns the form of the words of the re- ish his coffers. For this reason, the judiciary bu-
vealed text, both the vocalic and consonantal reaucracy grew rapidly during the first half of the
structure (diacritic signs, divisions into sections, sixteenth century. For example, in 1546, a Ve-
etc.). The grammarians who took care of codi- netian ambassador in Paris wrote that “judicial
fying this structure, particularly infralinear vo- offices are unlimited and augment everyday: law-
136 Judiciary

yers of the court in even the smallest village, tax local and regional courts. However, the king’s
receivers, treasurers, counselors, presidents of decentralization of justice did just the opposite
courts of justice, ‘maı̂tres des requêtes’ . . . of and unwittingly encouraged corruption. The ex-
which half of them would suffice.” Corruption traordinary power given to the presidial judges—
among the diverse professions of justice became convicted individuals had no recourse for ap-
so prevalent in the sixteenth century that Rabe- peal—produced a new twist where “laws are like
lais found in them an easy target. a spider’s web”: “foolish flies and little butterflies
From the Pantagruel (1532) to the Fifth Book get caught in them, [but] big horseflies break
(1564), we see a progressive increase in the por- them . . . and go through” (5BK 12; GP 548).
trayal of the justice system and its administrators. The unchecked power given to these new
The best known example is undoubtedly the ep- judges finds a parallel in the episode where Frère
isode of Judge Bridoye. The judge finds himself Jean and Panurge find themselves in front of
on trial for rolling dice to reach his verdicts. In Grippe-Minaud. The absence of Pantagruel in
charge of his own defense, Bridoye invokes a this episode enables the presidial judge to con-
pure linguistic understanding and application of sider our two companions as vagabonds and
the legal texts. He plays on words and attempts therefore subject to common law. They are in-
to exonerate himself by demonstrating that he dicted on criminal charges, like the “brigands,”
simply applied the letter of the law as contained poor vagabonds, and other “pieds pouldreux”
in the Latin locution alea judiciorum (the chance (5BK 11) responsible for all manner of real or
of judgments), a popular legal metaphor. We imagined infractions that the presidial judges re-
know that the French translation of this Latin ex- served the right to prosecute. As Grippe-Minaud
pression (“the dice of judgments”) was a well- says: “We don’t go hunting big-time thieves and
known pun at the time Rabelais wrote his Third tyrants. . . . They’re too hard to digest . . . and
Book. As usual, Rabelais incorporates the soci- they make us sick . . . but you others, you nice
olinguistic practices of his time into his novel. little innocents . . . you’re perfectly harmless”
Yet there is more than a simple wordplay in this (5BK 12).
incident, for Rabelais extends his critique to at- Perhaps echoing the legal training of his
tack the foundation of the entire legal system in younger years, Rabelais drew many of his judi-
sixteenth-century France. Indeed, the very notion cial references directly from compilations of ju-
of bureaucratic and legal rationality bears the diciary loci communes, especially the Communes
brunt of his critiques in this episode where a juris sententiae by Bellonus, the Lexicon by Al-
judge successfully renders justice for decades bericus, the Speculum judiciale by Durand, and
armed with the most subjective tools that re- the De nobilitate by Tiraqueau. Judicial expres-
quired no skill or legal training. sions abound in the episode of Judge Bridoye,
In a similar vein, the key chapters about the but Rabelais invariably bends and twists them to
Chats fourrez in the Fifth Book expand upon produce a comic effect. He aims to demonstrate
many of the judicial issues already raised in the how easily subjective decisions can be dissimu-
Fourth Book. The “Grippeminaudière” justice lated behind adages, glosses, and other legal aph-
(5BK 11–13) offers a troubling resemblance to orisms. These linguistic deformations used by
the “Rodilardicque” justice of the Fourth Book. judges, like the Latin used to render justice to an
A look at the historical and social context of Ra- uncomprehending defendant, give an ironic and
belais’s mockery of the judicial system sheds comic aspect to most of the incidents involving
light on his observations. The venality of lawyers the courts in Rabelais’s novels. All these mock-
had reached new heights, and complaints of cor- ing references to the judicial process and the le-
ruption were louder than ever. To give an ex- gal profession constitute a strong satire of the
ample of such a contentious issue, the royal ad- entire legal system of the time.
ministration created a new judiciary profession Readings: J. Duncan Derrett, “Rabelais’ Legal
in order to expedite judgments of common law. Learning and the Trial of Bridoye,” BHR 25 (1963):
These presidial judges instated by Henry II rep- 111–71; Edwin Duval, “The Judge Bridoye, Panta-
resented an attempt to address ethical issues in gruelism, and the Unity of Rabelais’ Tiers Livre,” ER
Juste, François 137

17 (1983): 37–60; Michael A Screech, “The Legal Gargantua, 1535–42. Juste worked from 1543
Comedy of Rabelais in the Trial of Bridoye in the with his son-in-law Pierre de Tours, who also
Tiers Livre de Pantagruel,” ER 5 (1964): 175–95. printed Rabelais.
Philippe Desan Reading: Y. de la Perrière, Supplément provisoire
à la bibliographie lyonnaise du Président Baudrier,
JUSTE, FRANÇOIS (fl. 1524–47) Printer/ pt. 1, fols. 85–116 (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale,
bookseller in Lyon who appears to have been 1967).
Rabelais’s printer of choice for Pantagruel and Stephen Rawles
KABBALA (CABALA, QABBALAH) The la Dive Bacbuc (the Oracle of the Holy Bacbuc);
Hebrew word for Jewish mysticism; references baqbuq is Hebrew for bottle. But more impor-
to it appear in several of the books. It means tantly the celebration held before they set out in-
tradition because Jewish adherents believed it cludes the singing of Psalm 114, “When Israel
was handed down orally alongside the Torah went out of Egypt” (4BK 1). Kabbalists believed
from Mount Sinai. In fact, kabbala was highly that historical events were constantly repeated in
influenced by Neoplatonism, and the two main the human soul, and the exodus from Egypt, per-
books available in Rabelais’s time, Sefer Yetzirah ceived as the fundamental event of Jewish his-
(Book of Creation) and Zohar (Book of Splen- tory, was the ultimate symbol of their mystical
dor), are both medieval. Kabbala is also a highly experience of the divine. On the voyage Panta-
literary form of mysticism, focusing on letters gruel and Panurge stop at the Island of Ruach
and language. For example, the kabbalist prac- (4BK 43–44). The Hebrew word ruahfi means
tice of gematria consisted of adding the number both “spirit” and “wind.” Rabelais identified it
values of the letters of certain passages of the with vent. On the other hand, kabbalists main-
Torah to predict the future. Or letters of words tained that there were three levels of soul—ne-
could be rearranged to uncover some hidden fesh, the vital spirit in all humanity; ruahfi , the
meaning. This focus on the letters and language, spirit on a higher level; and neshamah, the pure
as well as the Neoplatonic underpinnings, made soul that is capable of union with the divine. As
kabbala particularly attractive to Renaissance the median level, the adherent had to pass
humanists. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola through ruahfi to make himself ready for the state
studied kabbala and considered it necessary to a of neshamah, just as Panurge had to pass through
humanist education; his development of a spe- the different (but concretized) disciplines of hu-
cifically Christian kabbala sparked an interest man and humanist knowledge to prepare himself
that became increasingly widespread among the for the oracle.
humanists. Readings: G. Mallary Masters, Rabelaisian Dialec-
Like other forms of mysticism, kabbala’s ul- tic and the Platonic-Hermetic Tradition (Albany: State
timate aim is union with the divine; this union is University of New York Press, 1969); Sheila J. Rabin,
often described in terms of sexual union or “The Qabbalistic Spirit in Gargantua and Panta-
drunkenness, two subjects explored throughout gruel,” Voices in Translation, ed. Deborah Sinnreich-
the five books. But Rabelais seems to have fol- Levi and Gale Sigal (New York: AMS Press, 1992).
lowed Pico’s lead in focusing on kabbala. He in- Sheila J. Rabin
cluded its study as a necessary part of the hu-
manist education in Gargantua’s letter to KISSARSE See Baisecul and Humevesne
Pantagruel (P 8). He also showed familiarity
with specific kabbalistic ideas. The mystical KNOWLEDGE Rabelais’s fictions explore in
quest is often compared to a voyage in search of an open-ended way various conceptions of
wisdom, and Panurge in the Fourth Book sets knowledge that were available at the time. Ra-
out on a voyage in search of wisdom. But Ra- belais has no single term for “knowledge.”
belais related Panurge’s voyage to kabbala in two Rather, he uses various terms that refer to dif-
ways. First, the voyagers are seeking l’Oracle de ferent dimensions of cognition. His most general
Knowledge 139

term for knowledge and learning is le savoir. By without conscience is but ruin to the soul” (P 8).
la science (Latin scientia) he and his contempo- In other words, it is dangerous to separate knowl-
raries usually mean knowledge of a theoretical, edge from ethics: this belief was even more
abstract kind, such as law or mathematics, as op- deeply held in Rabelais’s time than in our own.
posed to l’art (Latin ars), which is knowledge of Rabelais’s fictions also explore problems of
a more practical, applied kind, such as medicine, epistemology. How do we acquire knowledge?
military skills, agriculture, architecture, paint- And how reliable is it? Numerous means of ac-
ing, or divination. La philosophie tends to be an quiring knowledge are explored, in both comic
umbrella category for investigations of all human and serious registers, often in both simultane-
and natural phenomena, while la doctrine is usu- ously. The dominant means is through authority,
ally the teaching of a particular philosophical that is, through the authoritative texts of Greek
school or sect, especially an ancient one. and Roman antiquity. These are constantly cited
Certain junctures in Rabelais’s diegesis ad- for the knowledge or pseudoknowledge they con-
dress the question of knowledge with particular tain. Another way of acquiring knowledge is to
force: Gargantua’s letter urging his son Panta- get back in touch with a spiritual or metaphysical
gruel to obtain education (P 8); Pantagruel’s level of reality with which we tend to lose con-
comic demonstrations of learning and wisdom (P tact in our everyday lives. This Platonic and Neo-
10–12, 17–18); the two educations received by platonic route to knowledge is often described in
Gargantua (G 13–14, 20–22); Panurge’s re- a way that lends it prestige and credibility, es-
course to divination and other methods in order pecially in the Third Book (e.g., 13, 21, 37) and
to discover if he should marry (3BK); the en- the Fourth Book (26–28). On the other hand,
counters with unknown peoples on the voyage to
many other episodes are implicitly underpinned
the oracle of the Bottle Goddess (4BK). But even
by the more down-to-earth Aristotelian sense of
outside these episodes, the question of knowl-
epistemology that was common currency in Ra-
edge is constantly evoked. For example, what do
belais’s day: knowledge in the intellect arises
blue and white mean (G 9)? Can a pregnancy last
from experience, from data supplied by the
eleven months (G 3)? (Women generally figure
senses—how else can the infant Gargantua dis-
as objects of knowledge but not as knowing sub-
cover the best objects with which to wipe his
jects.) No single concept or theory of knowledge
emerges unchallenged, though some are repre- bottom (G 12)? Rather more unsettling is the un-
sented as particularly prestigious, such as the as- resolved skepticism, the doubt about the possi-
sumption that “science” leads to wisdom and bility of knowledge, that is later introduced
scientia to sapientia: both Pantagruel and Gar- through the Pyrrhonist philosopher Trouillogan
gantua are presented—with some equivocation, (3BK 35–36). Overall, the quest for knowledge
one might argue—as being made wise by the is represented as being fraught with trouble and
knowledge they acquire through education. This yet joyously irresistible: “What’s the harm in al-
assumption, shared by many humanists but in- ways knowing and always learning, whether
creasingly questioned later in the century by the from a clot or a pot?” (3BK 16).
likes of Michel de Montaigne and Pierre Char- Readings: Terence Cave, Pré-Histoires: Textes
ron, had been given its most celebrated formu- troublés au seuil de la modernité (Geneva: Droz,
lation by Cicero: “wisdom [sapientia] is . . . 1999); Alban J. Krailsheimer, Rabelais and the Fran-
knowledge [scientia] of divine and human things, ciscans (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963); Jean Plat-
and of the causes which control them” (On Duty, tard, L’oeuvre de Rabelais (sources, invention et
2.2.5). On the other hand, Rabelais’s chronicles composition) (Paris: Champion, 1910); Michael A.
are full of characters who are not made wise by Screech, Rabelais (London: Duckworth, 1979); André
knowledge. Contemporary anxiety about this is Tournon, ‘En sens agile’: Les acrobaties de l’esprit
summarized in the scholastic axiom that Gargan- selon Rabelais (Paris: Champion, 1995).
tua quotes to Pantagruel: “knowledge [science] Neil Kenny
LANGUAGE Rabelais’s linguistic range puz- censure antique) resulted in a number of ety-
zles and fascinates: it evokes “the sphinx or the mological emendations. For instance, by spelling
chimera, a monster with a hundred heads, a hun- “dipner” for “dinner” he meant to translate and
dred languages” (Michelet) as well as an “abyss reconnect with the Greek verb deipnein. From
of knowledge” (P 8). His cornucopian lexicon 1534 onward, he became increasingly systematic
(Cave 1979) encompasses a rich variety of in his grammar and regularized plurals and verb
sources from both high and low culture: daily forms (Huchon 1981). He fully participated in
practices, popular stories, proverbs and common the Renaissance search for meaning through the
sayings, sotties, farces (Pathelin), and mystery relentless examination of the origin of language.
plays; chivalric romances and other ancient and He was himself greatly stimulated by the redis-
modern literary works. Rabelais borrowed words covery of Plato’s Cratylus (4BK 37). This does
and phrases from numerous French authors, in- not mean that the Church Fathers’ exegetic tra-
cluding Jean de Meung, Jean Lemaire de Belges, dition was forgotten. As the Renaissance taste
François Villon, and Clément Marot. He was for linguistic ambiguity was rekindled by Plato’s
also greatly influenced by many classical authors dialogue, medieval etymologies remained alive,
(especially Lucian, Plutarch, and Pliny the El- through a series of syncretic practices. As a hu-
der) and contemporary humanists (including manist and a poet, Rabelais tackled some of the
Erasmus and Guillaume Budé). On the model issues that Isidore of Seville had discussed in his
of his own giants, Rabelais’s appetite for words Etymologies. He translated and parodied this et-
knows no limits. His vocabulary crosses all fields ymological obsession in his exuberant linguistic
of knowledge, including architecture, botany, creations. Some key passages of Rabelais’s po-
commerce and industry, history, medicine, mu- lyglotist farcical fiction help us understand how
sic, military science, navigation, and zoology, foreign tongues were conceptualized in his days.
and all kinds of cultural and social practices (Sai- French is given privileged status as a “natural
néan). His insatiable thirst for words has contrib- tongue,” replacing the lost language of origins.
uted to the romantic myth of the intoxicated gen- Yet Rabelais recognizes other vernaculars as
ius. Although the poet’s “debauchery” took place well, worships Latin, and writes against Cicer-
in his imagination, readers are still dazzled today onian propaganda. He gropes for a “cultural me-
by the power of a language that seizes and con- diation” between high and low cultures, and he
founds you, intoxicates and disgusts you (Sainte- exhibits a fascinating mixture of rival, poly-
Beuve 1876). phonic voices (Bakhtin 1968; Cave 2001).
As a writer, Rabelais paid a great deal of at- Rabelais’s stunning mastery of linguistic func-
tention to the formal aspects of his books. He tions is exemplified in the surrealistic episode of
corrected the text of the various editions pub- Baisecul and Humevesne, or Kissass and
lished during his lifetime with meticulous care. Sniffshit (P 10–13). As the litigants argue their
The deliberate changes he made in spelling and cases, the referential function loses its grip, but
grammar reflect his interest in phonology and his all the other functions remain operative: emotive
commitment to move French closer to what he (the litigants lose their tempers and shout insults
thought was the language of origins. His urge to at each other); conative (they never lose sight of
remain faithful to ancient usage (the so-called the judge’s motivations); phatic (they sustain the
Language 141

communication between themselves); metalin- (4BK 55–56), the voyagers reach the confines of
guistic (they point up the “logic” of their argu- the glacial sea and witness an uncanny spectacle:
ments). Above all, through all sorts of echoes of “Frozen Words” become suddenly visible and
rhythms and sounds, they demonstrate their abil- produce barbaric sounds upon thawing out. Many
ity to manipulate the message. As in many other interpretations have been given of this episode
passages, distortions of proverbs, spoonerisms, (Tornitore 1985), but it may also recapitulate Ra-
deliberate slips of tongue, and various plays on belais’s deep-seated interest in language theory
words contribute to the centrifugal effervescence throughout his four books. After staging a lin-
of language: a perfect illustration of Jakobson’s guistic comedy in praise of “natural language” (P
poetic function (Rigolot 2000). 6–13), critiquing unwarranted symbolic inter-
Rabelais uses a wealth of popular material for pretations (G 9–10), and exposing the arbitrar-
literary purposes in order to recapture the living iness of signs (3BK 19), Rabelais finally presents
forces connoted by the carnivalesque spirit and us with a disquisition on the mimetic power of
make them the paradoxical vehicle of a new so- words. This may be our poet’s most astonishing
cial order. The most antisocial, thoroughly tour de force, the verbal alchemist’s most com-
“other” pattern of life, based on death and deg- pelling transmutation. Alcofrybas, alias Rabelais,
radation, is prominently displayed in his work, leads us festively, through his cornucopian med-
often in an offensive way. But it is there as a itation on language, to the problematic Word of
powerful metaphor for social changes and for the the Divine Bottle (5BK).
questioning through laughter of the most threat- Readings: Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His
ening aspects of political and religious repres- World, trans. H. Iswolsky (Cambridge, MA: MIT
sion. Rabelais knew the virtue of what Latin rhet- Press, 1968); Terence Cave, The Cornucopian Text:
oricians called festivitas—a mirthful linguistic Problems of Writing in the French Renaissance (Ox-
humor that was powerfully used by Thomas ford: Clarendon Press, 1979); Terence Cave, Pré-
More and Erasmus, two humanists whom Ra- histoires II. Langues étrangères et troubles écono-
belais greatly admired. In a similar spirit, Rabe- miques au XVIe siècle (Geneva: Droz, 2001);
lais creates his narrative persona, Master Alco- Marie-Luce Demonet, Les voix du signe. Nature et or-
frybas, a comic mask that is meant to signify a igine du langage à la Renaissance (1480–1580) (Paris:
kind of philosophical intoxication. Champion, 1992); Marsilio Ficino, The Letters of
For Rabelais, as for Plato, dialogue is a key Marsilio Ficino, vol. 2 (London: Shepheard-Walwyn,
necessity (Zaercher 2000). None of his positive 1978); Floyd Gray, Rabelais et l’écriture (Paris: Nizet,
characters speaks alone. In the Renaissance hu- 1974); Mireille Huchon, Rabelais grammairien. De
manist culture, the paradigm of the banquet l’histoire du texte aux problèmes d’authenticité, ER 16
brings mental and physical pleasure together (Geneva: Droz, 1981); Roman Jakobson, “Linguistics
(Jeanneret 1991). The First Book begins with an and Poetics,” Selected Writings III: Poetry of Gram-
allusion to Plato’s Symposium, a “drinking- mar and Grammar of Poetry, ed. Stephen Rudy (The
together” in honor of Dionysus, the life-giving Hague: Mouton, 1981); Michel Jeanneret, A Feast of
god of nature whose worship centers around the Words. Banquets and Table Talk in the Renaissance
symbolic cycle of birth, death, and renewal (G (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991); Pierre
prol.). The reader is invited to partake in a com- Mari, “Une politique humaniste de la parole.
munion of minds engaged in linguistic convivi- L’interlocution rabelaisienne,” Etudes de lettres 2
ality. “The convivium alone rebuilds limbs, re- (April–June 1984): 63–72; François Moreau, Les im-
vives humors, restores spirit, delights senses, ages dans l’œuvre de Rabelais, 3 vols. (Paris: SEDES,
fosters and awakens reason. It is rest from labors, 1982); François Rigolot, Les langages de Rabelais
release from cares and nourishment of genius; it (Geneva: Droz, 1972, 1996); François Rigolot, “Cra-
is the demonstration of love and splendor, the tylisme et Pantagruelisme: Rabelais et le statut du
food of good will, the seasoning of friendship, signe,” ER 13 (1976): 115–32; François Rigolot, “Sé-
the leavening of grace and the solace of life” (Fi- miotique de la sentence et du proverbe,” ER 14 (1978):
cino 51). 277–86; “Enigme et prophétie: les langages de
In one of the last episodes of the Fourth Book l’hermétisme chez Rabelais,” Œuvres et critiques 11.1
142 Lanternois

(1986): 37–47; François Rigolot, “The Highs and Lows contemporary religious conflict is but one ex-
of Structuralist Readings: Rabelais, Pantagruel, chap- ample of Rabelais’s wordplay with the term. By
ters 10–13,” Distant Voices Still Heard. Contemporary not actually depicting Lanternland Rabelais high-
Readings of French Renaissance Literature, ed. John lights the etymological significance of the name.
O’Brien and Malcolm Quainton (Liverpool: Liverpool The word lanterne carried at least five different,
University Press, 2000); Lazare Sainéan, La langue de indeed opposing, connotations during the six-
Rabelais, 2 vols. (Paris, 1922–23; Geneva: Slatkine, teenth century. Lanterne might signify a type of
1976); Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, “Rabelais,” toy lantern that corresponds well to the Rabelai-
Causeries du lundi. Œuvres, éd. Maxime Leroy, vol. sian sense of play and distortion. A vain or un-
3 (Paris: Gallimard, 1956); Charles-Augustin Sainte- important matter also could be called a lanterne.
Beuve, Tableau historique et critique de la poésie Lanterne has a secretive connotation by referring
française et théâtre français au XVIe siècle, 2 vols. to a platform from where one can see and hear
(Paris: A. Lemerre, 1876); Paul J. Smith, Voyage et without being seen. There is, too, a slang con-
écriture: Etude sur le Quart livre de Rabelais, ER 19 notation, meaning “copulation.” Lastly, a type of
(Geneva: Droz, 1987); Leo Spitzer, “Le prétendu réal- fish with an iridescent head that purportedly
isme de Rabelais,” Modern Philology 37 (1940): 139– could guide sailors during storms at sea is called
50; Jean Starobinski, “Note sur Rabelais et le lan- une lanterne. The term appeared in several com-
gage,” Tel Quel 15 (1963): 79–81; Tonino Tornitore, mon expressions of the sixteenth century, includ-
Interpretazioni novecentesche dell’episodio delle par- ing radouber la lanterne, meaning to gossip. The
olles gelées,” ER 18 (1985): 170–204; Florence Wein- verb lanterner means to make foolish or silly re-
berg, The Wine and the Will (Detroit: Wayne State marks and, by extension, to waste one’s time or
University Press, 1975); Véronique Zaercher, Le dia- to delay fulfilling an obligation. Most important
logue rabelaisien. Le Tiers livre exemplaire, ER 38 is the word’s reference to a source of light or to
(Geneva: Droz, 2000). a lamp, and hence the allusion to enlightenment
François Rigolot and learning. Rabelais may have been acknowl-
edging Erasmus: the Adages discuss the expres-
LANTERNOIS Inhabitants of an island fre- sion “the Lamp of Aristophanes and Cleanthes”
quently referred to but ultimately not visited by which refers to these men’s renowned diligence
Pantagruel in the Fourth Book. The fictional in study and writing. The multiple connotations
Lanternland did not originate with Rabelais. In- that lanterne carries make the term an ideal ad-
spired by the aerial city of Lamptown in Lu- dition to the Rabelaisian vocabulary. Such a ref-
cian’s True History, Rabelais first alludes to this erence in the narrative to intriguing yet ulti-
mythic land in Pantagruel when we learn that mately unseen lands emphasizes the vast quantity
the polyglot Panurge is fluent in lanternois (P of unfamiliar areas and peoples awaiting discov-
9). The Lanternland theme was further developed ery. On the textual level, these allusions under-
in an anonymous pastiche of Rabelais’s work, Le score the Fourth Book’s open-endedness and lack
Disciple de Pantagruel ou la Navigation du of closure.
Compagnon . . . la bouteille of 1537. In chapters Readings: Mireille Huchon, “Archéologie du Vème
5–8 of the Fourth Book, the Thalamège encoun- Livre,” ER 21 (1988): 19–28; Georges Matoré, Le vo-
ters during its voyage a ship of fellow French- cabulaire et la société du XVIème siècle (Paris: Presses
men. They are returning to Saintonge from a gen- Universitaires de France, 1988).
eral meeting at Lanterne, an allusion to the 1546 Margaret Harp
session of the Council of Trent. Lanterne evokes
the Third Church Lateran Council of 1179 during LAW In the sixteenth century, legal learning
which Pope Innocent III, like his successor at the was an everyday part of the culture of educated
Council of Trent, was obliged to consider indi- Frenchmen: it was not the arcane and self-
viduals who were choosing to interpret the Bible enclosed body of knowledge open only to a pro-
for themselves without benefit of Church doc- fessional élite which it has since become. Rabe-
trine. lais would have been able to assume that his
Linking lanterne to Lateran and hence to a readership would understand and appreciate the
Law 143

legal learning (and the dependent comedy) de- the sterility of pro et contra debate seems to ex-
ployed in all his authentic Chronicles. Indeed, plore contemporary legal issues over the auton-
Guillaume Budé (the greatest contemporary omy of the university versus ecclesiastical au-
legist and author of the immensely influential thority. But above all the concern is with the
Annotations on the Pandects [Annotationes in ways in which God-given language is able to
aquattuor et viginti Pandectarum libros] of obfuscate as much as to communicate, to com-
1508) stressed that the mos Gallicus, the “French plicate a problem as much as to clarify it. Rhe-
way” of comprehending texts of Roman law, torical twisting of meaning (particularly by law-
needed sympathetic understanding of the philo- yers) will later be described in the Third Book
sophical, scientific, linguistic, and moral basis of (44) as one of the means by which the Devil
the law, as opposed to the mos Italicus, which works in this world. Rabelais shares the humanist
for him meant a much cruder literal interpretation conviction that law as a moral force should not
of text. This cultural dependence explains why be used for private advantage or to force unmer-
Gargantua in his letter to his son esteems a ited acquittals. Both Baisecul and Humevesne al-
rounded education essential for real understand- most say something sensible, and the giant com-
ing of the law (P 8). It is generally assumed that ically out-argues both. Three times logical
at some time between 1510 and 1520 Rabelais discourse is employed to say absolutely nothing,
studied law, probably at Angers but possibly at and the giant is credited with the wisdom of Sol-
Orléans (in P 5, the giant visits the legal faculties omon.
of several French universities, but it is from Or- In the Third Book, legal learning and legal
léans that he graduates with the title of Maı̂tre). comedy are placed on a much more profound
Even though he would be remembered above all level, centered upon Judge Bridoye, one of the
for his medical knowledge, it was the law that characters invited to the Platonic banquet to re-
appears to have marked his ways of thinking and solve Panurge’s marriage dilemma. Bridoye is
writing. Budé addressed him as juris studiosis- unable to come to the banquet; he has been sum-
simus; André Tiraqueau and Amaury Bou- moned to account for his judgment in a recent
chard, both great legal humanists to whom Ra- case. Given that Bridoye first appears immedi-
belais was to dedicate learned works, were part ately after the discussion of Pauline Folly, it
of his early intellectual circle in the Franciscan would be reasonable to expect a humble and
house of Puy-Saint-Martin at Fontenay-le- saintly man. What readers get is an apparently
Comte. senile judge who misuses even the Brocardia
Although the law was a formative influence on Juris (an out-of-date compilation of legal com-
all his Chronicles, it is in Pantagruel and the monplaces, whose comic and literal misapplica-
Third Book that legal learning and legal comedy tion would have been appreciated by most cul-
are woven most closely into the fabric of the text. tivated men of the time; Rabelais includes it in
By using an ornamental frame that had been ex- the Library of Saint-Victor as the Bragueta
plicitly used for Guillaume le Rouille’s On Jus- Juris). Bridoye’s use of dice to resolve casus
tice and Injustice (De Justicia et Injusticia perplexi (cases in which the facts were clear but
[1531]), Rabelais (through his printer Claude the application of the law ambiguous) was per-
Nourry) gives to Pantagruel the appearance of mitted in Roman law, but the judge has used dice
a Lyonnais legal book and emphasizes the legal to resolve all his cases over the past forty years.
character of its comedy. In a famously colorful He has failed to give an equitable judgment at
passage (P 5), Rabelais shows the humanist’s this point only because his old eyes have misread
concern to cast aside pedantic medieval accre- the dice. We should be surprised not that a hum-
tions and to restore the texts of Roman law to ble judge who has been given a prophetic gift in
their original purity. The comic legal trial be- a divinely appointed universe has been a success,
tween Baisecul and Humevesne (9, bis) is a but only that his success should have lasted so
multifaceted episode that mocks the Italian jurid- long. The episode demonstrates the syncretic use
ical tradition of Bartolus of Sassofarrato (1314– of legal learning in the service of evangelical hu-
57) and Franciscus Accursius (1182–1260), and manism.
144 Lefèvre d’Etaples, Jacques

Readings: J. M. Derrett, “Rabelais’s Legal Learning and Hebrew in order that he might daily read and
and the Trial of Bridoye,” BHR 25 (1963): 111–71; study the Old and New Testaments in the origi-
Alban J. Krailsheimer, Rabelais and the Franciscans nal. Both M. A. Screech and Donald Frame argue
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963); Michael A. Screech, convincingly for Rabelais as an evangelical.
“The Legal Comedy of Rabelais in the Trial of Bri- The character of Hippothadée in the Third
doye in the Tiers Livre de Pantagruel,” ER 5 (1964): Book is thought to refer to Lefèvre.
175–95; Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (London: Readings: Guy Bedouelle, Lefèvre d’Etaples (Ge-
Duckworth 1979). neva: Droz, 1976); Donald Frame, François Rabelais
John Lewis (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977); Philip
Edgcumbe Hughes, Lefèvre (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerd-
LEFÈVRE D’ETAPLES, JACQUES (1450?– mans, 1984); Augustin Renaudet, Humanisme et Ren-
1537) Humanist and theologian, considered in aissance: Dante, Pétrarque, Standonck, Erasme, Le-
his day to be the equal of Erasmus. In 1492, he fèvre d’Etaples, Marguerite de Navarre, Rabelais,
traveled to Italy where he met Marsilio Ficino Guichardin, Giordano Bruno (Geneva: Droz, 1958);
and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. He was ac- Michael A. Screech, L’évangélisme de Rabelais: as-
knowledged as the leading Aristotelian authority pects de la satire religieuse au XVIe siècle (Geneva:
of the day, and he urged his fellow scholars to Droz, 1959).
abandon the scholastic tradition in favor of the Megan Conway
study of original Greek texts. At the same time,
Lefèvre was exploring the mystical side of the- LENT, KING See Quaresmeprenant
ology. He increasingly devoted himself to the
study of the Bible, and in 1509, inspired by Eras- LETTERS Rabelais is the author of seventeen
mus, he wrote a commentary on five different letters that have survived. Other of his epistolary
Latin versions of the Psalms. In 1512, he pub- texts, known to us through sixteenth-century doc-
lished a groundbreaking commentary on Saint uments, are presumably lost. Among the extant
Paul’s Epistles that prefigured the theology of works are two letters in Latin sent to the human-
the Reform. Lefèvre moved to Meaux in 1521 istic luminaries Guillaume Budé and Erasmus,
at the invitation of his friend Guillaume Briçon- a letter in French addressed to Rabelais’s friend
net, the bishop. There Lefèvre led the Circle of Antoine Hullot, a verse epistle intended for the
Meaux, a group devoted to the evangelical study rhétoriqueur Jean Bouchet, four dedicatory epis-
and preaching of biblical texts. In 1523, he pub- tles in Latin at the beginning of learned editions,
lished a French translation of the New Testament a dedication in French inserted at the beginning
which drew the fire of the Sorbonne until Fran- of the Fourth Book, three letters composed in
cis I intervened. Unfortunately, the king’s im- Rome for the attention of Rabelais’s protector
prisonment in Spain gave the Sorbonne the op- Geoffroy d’Estissac, an indirect request for
portunity to demand the dispersion of the Meaux money to his patron Jean du Bellay, and four
Circle in 1525 on grounds of heresy. Threatened letters inserted in his fictional works.
with arrest, Lefèvre fled to Strasbourg. When Traditionally, critics have shown little interest
Francis returned, Lefèvre was appointed keeper in Rabelais’s epistolary works, using them pri-
of the royal library at Blois and tutor to the marily to confirm or disprove interpretations
king’s youngest son, which allowed Lefèvre to bearing on his fiction. For example, scholars
continue his work on a French translation of the have cited the Gallic doctor’s reference to the
Old Testament which appeared in 1530. That dissipation of Cimmerian shadows, found in his
same year, Lefèvre went to live at the little court dedication to the second volume of Manardi’s
of Marguerite at Nérac where he remained until Lettres médicales to André Tiraqueau, to sup-
his death. port both serious and parodic readings of Gar-
Rabelais was strongly influenced by Lefèvre’s gantua’s famous programmatic letter to Panta-
(and others’) emphasis on studying biblical gruel, where the son is exhorted to take
sources and his rejection of medieval scholar- advantage of the dawn of humanism and become
ship. Pantagruel’s education includes Greek a veritable “abyss of knowledge” (“abysme de
Lists 145

science”). This letter on education has long been toria) or the “letter from Rome” according to
the target of critical attention, eliciting specula- Fritz Neubert (Romsbrief), seem to be more
tion as to whether it indirectly attacks the naı̈veté strictly factual and stylistically austere, empha-
of “triumphant humanism,” or whether, on the sizing the eyewitness or earwitness testimony of
contrary, it serves as a vibrant defense of the the writer. It is thanks to this economy of means,
movement. In any case, this missive corresponds however, that we discover the rhetorical impli-
exactly to Erasmus’s definition of the letter of cations of these missives: they are destined to
advice on study methods and curricular matters maintain the illusion of Rabelais’s importance in
(epistola monitaria de ratione studiis), both in Rome in the eyes of his patron, whom he re-
regard to persuasive strategies (including emu- peatedly plies with requests for money since, as
lation of the father by the son, also advocated in Richard Cooper has shown, he often retranscri-
Budé’s letters to his son Dreux) and the serious bes in these letters distorted rumors or news
style (gravis) that is used. taken from gli avvisi (notices). The missive to
Rabelais’s nonfictional letters have elicited Antoine Hullot, moreover, constitutes a veritable
few analyses, with the exception of a study by anthology example of the humoristic letter (ep-
Fritz Neubert drawing our attention to Rabelais’s istola jocosa), a typically French genre according
use of the Ciceronian style in the most common to Erasmus. The epistle shares numerous affini-
and general sense of “persuasive strength resort- ties with Rabelais’s fiction, notably its rerouting
ing to language adornments.” The decade be- of liturgical Latin and its critique of Lent, as well
tween 1530 and 1540, during which most of Ra- as its deliberate and systematic transgression of
belais’s letters were written, witnesses a dispute the epistolary code—for example, use of the su-
pertaining to the epistolary style between the fol- perlative in the address “baillif du baillif des bail-
lowers of Nosopon, an Erasmian caricature who lifz,” and the disparagement of the letter-writer
advocates word-for-word borrowing from Cic- in the signature: “your humble festivities organ-
ero, and the Erasmians who seek to adapt clas- izer, servant, and friend” (“[v]ostre humble ar-
sical rhetoric to the specific needs of their times. chitriclin, serviteur et amy”).
Situated at the very crossroads of this debate, Ra- Readings: Charles Béné, “Rabelais et l’art épisto-
belais exhibits a kind of linguistic schizophrenia, laire dans le Pantagruel,” Recherches et travaux 26
since his epistolary practices vary according to (1984): 101–14; Richard Cooper, Rabelais et l’Italie,
whether he is writing in Latin or French. His neo- ER 24 (Geneva: Droz, 1991); Richard Cooper, “Ra-
Latin correspondence, strongly epideictic, fea- belais’s Neo-Latin Writings,” Neo-Latin and the Ver-
tures rhetoric that is more conventional, as we nacular in Renaissance France, ed. Grahame Castor
see in his letter of thanks to Erasmus and in his and Terence Cave (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984);
missive to win Budé’s favor. These epistles are Claude La Charité, La rhétorique épistolaire de Ra-
not exempt from syntagmas or expressions con- belais (Quebec: Éditions Nota bene, coll. “Littéra-
sidered to be typically Ciceronian by his contem- ture(s),” 2003); Fritz Neubert, “François Rabelais’
poraries, such as the conjunction “cum” at the Briefe,” Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Lit-
beginning of the letter, the locution “etiam atque eratur 71 (1961): 154–85.
etiam,” or the measured “tum . . . tum.” The ded- Claude La Charité
icatory epistles are also dominated by the de-
monstrative genre, involving praise of either the LIMOUSIN SCHOOLBOY See Ecolier Lim-
work to follow or the dedicatee. If Rabelais will- ousin
ingly adopts the Ciceronian style in his Latin let-
ters, however, in his French correspondence he LISTS One of the most gratuitous and provoc-
is much more sensitive to Erasmus’s definition ative comic devices in Rabelais’s repertoire. His
of the letter as a octopus, which takes on the pages are crowded with obstinate enumerations
color of the place in which it finds itself, and thus of the most varied and improbable items includ-
is capable of an infinite variety. ing food, games, books, boats, hot springs,
Rabelais’s Italian letters, which fall under the snakes, ancestors, and epithets. Sometimes these
heading of informational letters (epistola nuncia- lists have a satiric function, as when the pain-
146 Loup Garou

staking inventory of 217 children’s games (G 22) ship, nor does contiguity imply causality. Lists
mimes the tedium of Gargantua’s first, pre- resist the artificial coherence of syntax and plot.
humanist education. At other times, Rabelais’s Precisely for this reason, the list provides Ra-
lists seem to have no other function than to assert belais with an alternative model of narration
their material presence on the page. Occupying faithful to our aleatory experience of life. The
vertical blocks of text, the list explores the spatial best example of a list of stories in Rabelais’s
dimension of writing and enhances the status of work can be found among the prolific pockets of
the book as object, in keeping with Rabelais’s Panurge’s cloak, whose contents are inventoried
aesthetic of visual prose. in chapter 16 of Pantagruel. Here the narrator
One context in which to situate Rabelais’s lists recounts a few of Panurge’s typical pranks or
is the Renaissance fascination with copia, or lex- pastimes in no particular order, introducing each
ical proliferation. For some readers, Rabelais’s anecdote with temporally imprecise adverbial
verbal cascades recall the vertiginous variation phrases such as “one time,” “another time,” or
exercises in Erasmus’s rhetorical manual De co- “one day.” There is no effort of concatenation or
pia. From this perspective, the pointless luxuri- consecution. Since all these anecdotes involve
ance of lists enacts the Renaissance conscious- special props or accessories, the narrator also de-
ness of the hollow abundance of language. scribes Panurge’s cloak or “saye,” which has
The itemizing, anatomizing style of the list more than twenty-six pockets full of tricks. The
also offers a powerful critique of narrative co- inventory of the pockets in turn yields a series
herence. This tendency can be seen in the de- of brief anecdotes, each drawn from a different
scription of Quaresmeprenant from the Fourth pocket of Panurge’s cloak. Apparently, every
Book. Xenomanes anatomizes the monster in a pocket contains a story, but the stories do not
series of lists enumerating his internal and exter- form any coherent sequence. Rather, like the
nal features as well as his “contenences” or man- pockets, they are items on a list whose order is
nerisms. The consequence of such enumeration purely arbitrary and endlessly interchangeable.
Rabelais’s lists disrupt our habits of reading
is to dislocate the syntax or coordination of the
and open up new prospects of narrative sequence.
text, leaving only isolated, interchangeable im-
In some ways, they bring the experience of read-
ages. It is as if we were to view a mosaic from
ing closer to the experience of life. The list can
such close range that we could only admire the
be a mimesis of history when it is not simply a
pieces and never comprehend the whole design.
deposit of verbal wealth or an experiment with
Another example, also from the Fourth Book, of
visible speech.
the substitution of enumeration for narration is
Readings: Michel Butor, “Le livre comme objet,”
the alphabetical ordering of snakes and other Répertoire II (Paris: Minuit, 1964); Terence Cave, The
venomous animals that interrupts the episode of Cornucopian Text (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979);
Chaneph, which in turn interrupts or immobi- Alfred Glauser, Rabelais créateur (Paris: Nizet, 1966).
lizes the voyage in a prolonged calm at sea. Hav- Eric MacPhail
ing satisfied his hunger and having thus neutral-
ized, according to Aristotle, the danger of his LOUP GAROU “Werewolf,” a cruel and ar-
saliva for venomous animals, Eusthenes lists rogant giant, leader of three hundred giants in
ninety-eight such animals in imperfect alphabet- the army of King Anarche, defeated by Panta-
ical order in two parallel columns whose dispo- gruel at the climactic moment of the war against
sition varies from edition to edition according to the Dipsodes (P 26, 29). Although Loup Garou
the size of print and page. Despite Frère Jean’s is armed with an enchanted mace that destroys
irreverent inquiry as to where Panurge’s future everything it touches and Pantagruel has only a
wife will fit in this “hierarchy” of poisonous fragile mast and the hull of his ship filled with
creatures, the list is certainly not hierarchical. In salt, the hero prevails, killing not only Loup
fact, it defies any logical arrangement. In these Garou but all the other giants as well who have
opposing columns whose alignment depends on treacherously joined the fray. This heroico-comic
the printer, proximity is not a sign of relation- showdown is modeled on the duels of epic poetry
Lucian 147

(Achilles vs. Hector, Aeneas vs. Turnus, etc.) and weak in the first two books, the most remarkable
on the confrontation between David and Goliath, episodes being Epistémon’s descent into the un-
with Pantagruel in the role of the innocent David derworld, inspired by Lucian’s Menippus (P 30)
and Loup Garou in the role of the Philistine and the narrator’s entry into his master’s mouth,
brute. Just before the battle, the hero utters a fa- incorporating elements from the True Story (P
mous prayer in which he vows to spread the Gos- 32). Rabelais was very familiar with Lucian,
pel and abolish all forms of popery wherever he however. While a monk at the Benedictine mon-
has dominion, if only God will grant him victory. astery at Maillezais (c. 1524), he may even have
The vow is answered by a voice from heaven translated some of his works. As the earlier
saying: “Do this and victory will be yours” (P chronicles’ often delightfully farcical satire, with
29). The defeat of Loup Garou thus marks the its typically lucianesque mixture of fantasy and
triumph of a chosen people and the beginning of reality, becomes more refined, subtle, and eru-
a new reign. dite, the influence of the Greek Cynic becomes
As both a giant and a “werewolf,” Loup Garou more palpable. In the Third and Fourth Books,
is the perfect adversary in this archetypal battle Lucian’s satirical dialogues, tall tales, and mock
between good and evil. Wolves were known in encomia help Rabelais to create a satire that goes
the Renaissance primarily for their rapacity and beyond its model. If we keep in mind the fun-
violence toward humans, werewolves for their damental significance of Rabelais’s prologues for
anthropophagy, and giants for their cannibalism, the text as a whole, the strong presence of two
their cruelty, their impiety, their lawlessness and Lucianic dialogues in each of the prologues of
their overweaning pride. All these qualities are the latter two books—A Prometheus in Words
annihilated in the person of Loup Garou, to make and How to Write History (3BK), as well as Ti-
way for a new Golden Age of peace and broth- mon and Icaromenippus (4BK)—seems to illus-
erly love in Utopie. trate the Cynic’s prominent position as a major
Readings: Jean Céard, “L’histoire écoutée aux inspiration of Rabelais’s move toward a satire
portes de la légende: Rabelais, les fables de Turpin et marked by erudition, paradox (see Panurge’s
les exemples de Saint Nicolas,” Etudes seiziémistes of- Praise of Debts at the beginning of the Third
fertes à Monsieur le Professeur V.-L. Saulnier par plu- Book [3–5], and the gradual opening toward a
sieurs de ses anciens doctorants, THR 177 (Geneva: reader who is supposed to take an active part in
Droz, 1980); Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabe- the task of interpretation.
lais’s Pantagruel (New Haven, CT: Yale University This last point shows how Rabelais ended up
Press, 1991). thoroughly “digesting” (in the sense of Joachim
Edwin M. Duval du Bellay’s famous demand in his 1549 Défense
et illustration de la langue française) and sub-
LUCIAN (second century a.d.) The Greek sequently outdoing his model. Whereas the mes-
Cynic Lucian of Samosata was, together with sage and targets of Lucian’s satire are usually
Varro, the most prominent imitator of Menippus easily identifiable, Rabelais attempts to create a
(third century b.c.), the founder of Menippean true dialogue with his readers by failing to give
satire. Lucian’s popularity in the Renaissance is clear-cut answers, which he generally achieves
documented by over 330 editions of his works by providing an incredible amount of seemingly
between 1470 and 1600, the most famous one contradictory, or simply opaque details and in-
being Erasmus and Thomas More’s partial formation (e.g., the case of Judge Bridoye [3BK
Latin edition (Paris, 1506) that had a strong in- 39–43] or the descriptions of monsters in the
fluence on Erasmus’s Praise of Folly and More’s 4BK). This leads to his trademark Menippean
Utopia. Lucian’s presence in Rabelais is docu- paradox that leaves the reader perplexed. This
mented as early as in chapter 1 of Pantagruel, unusual approach is meant to incite the reader to
where the narrator refers to the Cynic’s Icaro- interpret more carefully and finally to question
menippus to explain how the race of the giants dogmas and received truths that are normally ac-
had survived the deluge. cepted blindly. Lucian can therefore be consid-
In general, Lucian’s influence seems rather ered a milestone in the development of Rabela-
148 Luther, Martin

isian hermeneutics and his idea of “how to write tween Luther and Erasmus on free will (1524–
history.” 25) distinguished these two Renaissance titans
Readings: Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabe- in the minds of the most conservative. Closer to
lais’s Tiers Livre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Erasmus, Rabelais gives us no indication that he
Edwin M. Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s Quart Li- adhered to Lutheran sola fide. Nonetheless, the
vre de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1998); Christiane new ideas were globally labeled “luthériennes,”
Lauvergnat-Gagnière, Lucien de Samosate et le lu- particularly before the Council of Trent. Lu-
cianisme en France au XVIe siècle (Geneva: Droz, ther’s schismatic stance quickly became appar-
1988); David Marsh, Lucian and the Latins. Humor ent, and historians distinguish him from those
and Humanism in the Early Renaissance (Ann Arbor: who remained committed to reforming the
University of Michigan Press, 1998); Claude-Albert Church from within, including Rabelais and the
Mayer, Lucien de Samosate et la Renaissance fran- evangelism movement. Not so the conservative
çaise (Paris: Champion, 1984); Marcel Tetel, “Rabe- Sorbonne; curiously, among the mostly theolog-
lais et Lucien: de deux rhétoriques,” Rabelais’s Incom- ical titles they censored appeared a couple of lit-
parable Book (Lexington, KY: French Forum, 1986). erary works considered suspect. They were au-
Bernd Renner thored by Marguerite de Navarre and Rabelais.
Readings: Robert Fife, The Revolt of Martin Luther
LUTHER, MARTIN (1483–1546) A German (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957); Eva
Church reformer whose ideas were much dis- Kushner, “Was King Picrochole Free? Rabelais be-
puted during Rabelais’s time. Martin Luther’s tween Luther and Erasmus,” CLS 14.4 (December):
writings began to circulate in France shortly after 306–20; Will G. Moore, La réforme allemande et la
their publication. Froben, a printer in Basel, even littérature française. Recherches sur la notoriété de
sent a bundle to the Sorbonne for examination Luther en France (Strasbourg: Faculté de Lettres de
in good and due form. These works, in Latin, Strasbourg, 1930).
caused little more than a ripple as people only Amy C. Graves
began to grasp the magnitude of the Saxon
monk’s audacious propositions; at this early date LYON Located on two navigable rivers, the
even the decision of the papacy was still pend- Rhône and the Saône, near the cultural centers
ing. The Sorbonne previewed its intentions in a of northern Italy, southern Germany, and Ge-
determinatio in 1521, before condemning Lu- neva, at many crossroads, Lyon was a prosperous
ther’s works, past and future, later that year. The financial and commercial city during Rabelais’s
fifteen months that it took to render judgment time, with a population of about 60,000. Lyon
gives rise to speculation. Although it is not sur- was a base for Francis I’s military incursions
prising that the Sorbonne exercised its Gallican into Italy and thus he frequently visited that area.
prerogative, it does seem that Paris theologians Four annual fairs, which brought books, cloth,
were waiting for the other shoe to drop in Rome. and other manufactured and raw goods into
To crown the condemnations, Parlement for- France as well as exporting French products, as-
bade the preaching of “Lutheran” doctrines in sured Lyon’s ties with the rest of Europe. None-
1526. theless, the city experienced periods of scarcity,
By insisting on biblical exegesis in Greek and one of the worst occurring in 1531, two years
Hebrew, expressing a desire to return to a purer after the serious grain riot known as La Grande
Church, holding the Bible over Catholic tradi- Rebeyne. A welfare program, l’Aumône général,
tion, and rejecting the idea that one can force a was founded in 1534 to prevent these volatile
man’s conscience in matters of faith, Luther situations. Lyon arguably surpassed Paris in the
seemed (at least initially) to be saying no more importance of its printing industry, as censor-
or less than Erasmus. But Luther’s doctrine of ship was less to be feared here. In this period,
salvation—sola scriptura (by Scripture alone) Lyon had neither a university nor a Parlement,
and sola fide (by faith alone)—would prove to but rather groups of relatively independent hu-
be a major fault line of Christian belief. manist scholars and authors who were extraor-
Strangely enough, not even the showdown be- dinarily productive. Among them were Clément
Lyon 149

Marot, Maurice Scève, Louise Labé, and works in the relatively repressive environments
Etienne Dolet. Because of the numerous indus- of other French cities.
tries, silk and printing being the foremost, arti- Readings: Françoise Bayard, Vivre à Lyon sous
sans gathered to create carnivalesque organiza- l’Ancien Régime (Paris: Perrin, 1997); Natalie Zemon
tions such as mock courts and abbeys of misrule. Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France
Rabelais entered this lively atmosphere when he (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1965);
became a doctor at the city’s Hôtel-Dieu in Philip Ford and Gillian Jondorf, eds., Intellectual Life
1532. He chose to publish most of his works first in Renaissance Lyon (Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-
in Lyon. Although his colleague Symphorien sity Press, 1993), especially Richard Cooper, “Human-
Champier’s work figures in the Library of ism and Politics in Lyon in 1533,” 1–32; Jean-Pierre
Saint-Victor (P 7), only passing mention is Gutton, Histoire de Lyon et du Lyonnais (Paris:
made of the city itself (G 33, P 4, for example). Presses Universitaires de France, 1998).
Still, it is hard to imagine Rabelais writing his Kathleen Perry Long
MACHIAVELLI, NICCOLÒ (1469–1527) A alist Thought in International Relations since Machi-
Florentine bureaucrat often credited with creating avelli (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002);
political science as an autonomous discipline. Machiavelli, Il principe, ed. Federico Chabod and
His Il principe or The Prince, written between Luigi Firpo (Turin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Tori-
1513 and 1521 in an effort to persuade Lorenzo nese, (Turin: 1961); Machiavelli, Discorsi sopra la
de’ Medici’s son Piero to take him into his serv- prima deca di Tito Livio, ed. Gennaro Sasso and Gior-
ice, and his more substantial Discourses on the gio Inglese (Milan: Rizollo, 1984); Verdun-Louis
First Ten Books of Livy (Discorsi sopra la prima Saulnier, ed. Pantagruel, TLF (Geneva: Droz, 1965).
deca di Tito Livio), circulated widely in manu- Edward Benson
script, though they were not published until five
years after his death. Along with On the Art of MACREONS “People who live a long time”
War (Dell’arte della guerra [Florence, 1521]), (“Gens qui vivent longuement”), according to the
they made his ideas known to intellectuals across Briefve Déclaration. Their island is the setting
Europe, but they had scant influence on Rabelais. for chapters 25–28 of the Fourth Book. It is here
A possible exception is the twenty-fourth chapter that Pantagruel and his entourage land to repair
of Book 2 of the Discorsi, in which Machiavelli the damages made to their vessels by the great
reports an Athenian query on whether a visiting storm of chapters 18–22. The island is domi-
Spartan did not find Athens’ walls impressive. nated by a vast forest filled with temples, obel-
Yes, the Spartan was reported to have replied, if isques, pyramids, monuments, and sepulchres
the city were inhabited by women. Although Ra- and has become home to demons and the heroes
belais might have conceived the walls of Paris of legend. Their presence and that of inscriptions
chapter of Pantagruel (TLF 11; P 15) on reading and epitaphs in a variety of writing systems and
these lines, Verdun-L. Saulnier identified Plu- languages characterize the island of the Ma-
tarch as the likely source and pointed out that the creons as a land of myth, legend, lessons, and
exchange made it into the innumerable chap- philosophy to be gleaned from antiquity. Yet the
books of useful quotations. long discussion that ensues between Pantagruel
Gargantua and the first two chapters of the and their guide, the “old Macrobius” (“vieil Ma-
Third Book showed more interest in politics for crobe”), reveals that this land of ancient wisdom
its own sake than either the first or last books; but is also the island of death. The heroes and de-
even these texts, often labeled “anti- mons that live here have come here to die, and
Machiavellian” for their advocacy of clemency the great monuments found in the forest are in
toward prisoners of war and the vanquished owed ruin. The characters speak at length of signs pro-
more to Rabelais’s relations with his patrons and duced in nature at the deaths of great men, in-
protectors, the brothers Du Bellay, than to his cluding that of Guillaume du Bellay in 1543
meditations on the Prince or the Discourses. (4BK 27). During this same discussion, Panta-
Readings: Philip Bobbitt, The Shield of Achilles: gruel relates the tale of the Egyptian pilot Tham-
War, Peace, and the Course of History (New York: ous and the death of Pan (4BK 28). As perhaps
Knopf, 2002); Francesco Guicciardini, Antimachia- the only unambiguously positive escale or port
velli, ed. Gian Franco Berardi (Rome: Edition Riuniti, of call in the Fourth Book, the island of the Ma-
1984); Jonathan Haslam, No Virtue like Necessity: Re- creons highlights the value of classical wisdom.
Major, John 151

With its hieroglyphs and polyglot inscriptions, whose Saturnalia he mentions at the end of chap-
the discussion regarding the significance of the ter 3 of Gargantua. The name Macrobius also
storm, and also Pantagruel’s analysis of the tale appears in chapter 42b (OC 1678) of the Fifth
of Thamous, the island of the Macreons also Book.
evokes one of the frequently discussed themes in Readings: Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, “Macrobe et les
Rabelais’s work: the problematic relationship be- âmes héroı̈ques (Rabelais, Quart Livre, chapters 25 to
tween writing and reading and the interpreta- 28),” RAR 11.3 (1987): 211–21; Diane Desrosiers-
tion of signs. Bonin, “Le Songe de Scipion et le commentaire de
Readings: Alice Fiola Berry, The Charm of Catas- Macrobe à la Renaissance,” Le songe à la Renaissance
trophe (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina (Saint-Étienne; France: Institut d’études de la Renais-
Press, 2000); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais (Ithaca, sance et de l’Âge classique, 1990); C. R. Ligota,
NY: Cornell University Press, 1979). “L’influence de Macrobe pendant la Renaissance,” Le
Douglas L. Boudreau soleil à la Renaissance. Sciences et mythes (Bruxelles/
Paris: Presses Universitaires de Bruxelles/Presses
MACROBE A fictional character in the Universitaires de France, 1965); Macrobius, Commen-
Fourth Book, old Macrobe welcomes Panta- tary on the Dream of Scipio, ed. William H. Stahl
gruel and his companions to the island of the (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952); P.
Macreons after the storm at sea. The Brief Dec- Matthaeus Schedler, Die Philosophie des Macrobius
laration offers the following definition: “Ma- und ihr Einfluss auf die Wissenschaft des christlichen
crobe, the long-lived man,” and the narrator of Mittelalters (Münster: Aschendorff, 1916).
the Rabelaisian tale presents him as the “burgo- Diane Desrosiers-Bonin
master” of the Macreons. In chapters 25 to 28 of
the Fourth Book, devoted to the travelers’ stay MAJOR (MAIORIS, MAIR), JOHN (1467–
on the island, Pantagruel asks the old man about 1550) Scholastic logician and theologian. Ma-
the causes of the storm. The old man’s expla- jor was born in Gleghornie near Haddington,
nation is that natural disasters occur at the mo- Scotland, and died at Saint Andrews. After early
ment that demons and heroes die. In French, Ma- studies at Haddington and Cambridge, he took
crobe’s name is a homonym of Macrobius, the the M.A. at the University of Paris in 1494 and
fifth century a.d. Latin writer. This magistrate the doctorate in theology, at the Parisian colleges
(vir consularis) was the author of the Saturnalia of Montaigu and Navarre, in 1506. He was one
and a commentator on the Dream of Scipio. His of the most popular teachers of Nominalist-
commentary, famous throughout the Middle terminist logic at the Collège de Montaigu in
Ages and the Renaissance, assured the transmis- Paris (1496–1517 and 1526–31), spending the in-
sion of fragments of Cicero’s De Republica. For tervening and later years at Glasgow and Saint
centuries, all that was known of Cicero’s treatise Andrews.
was the sixth and last book with the comments Major’s numerous editions of Aristotelian
of Macrobius. Although P. M. Schedler and physics, ethics, and especially terminist logic
W. H. Stahl have uncovered Macrobius’s influ- were reprinted many times. As a theologian, he
ence on the Middle Ages, little work has yet been wrote commentaries on the Gospels (1518, 1529)
done on the reputation Macrobius enjoyed during and on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (1509,
the Renaissance. Nevertheless, the large number 1510, 1517, 1528), and he edited the Reporta-
of editions, translations, and commentaries pub- tiones of Johannes Duns Scotus (1518). Rabelais
lished in the sixteenth century testify to the broad and other humanists were critical of his scholas-
circulation of his works. Even in the fifteenth tic methodology and style (P 7, where Major is
century, François Villon cited Macrobius in his said to have authored De modo faciendi boudinos
Ballad of Parisian Women (Ballade des femmes [How to Make Sausages]). But his works mani-
de Paris), and the author of the Saturnalia is the fest creative, independent thinking on questions
writer from classic antiquity to whom Petrarch of authority, economics, and morality. Although
referred most frequently. Like his contemporar- a staunch critic of humanist-based curriculum, in
ies, Rabelais was quite familiar with Macrobius, 1529 he wrote to Noël Béda and Pierre Tem-
152 Mardigras

pête that scholastic theologians had too long ig- more or less subtle ways (the episode of the pap-
nored the Bible. Active in the proceedings of the imanes and papefigues would serve as an ex-
Paris Faculty of Theology, he was a conciliarist ample for the latter case) runs through the text.
and critic of ecclesiastical abuses but abhorred The apparition of Mardigras aims at two main
heretical movements. Francisco de Vitoria and targets: the Eucharist, which at least since the
later Francisco Suárez were influenced by his Affaire des Placards (October 1534) had been
theological works. Some regard him today as a main concern of Protestant and humanist re-
having contributed to the rise of modern science. formers; and the definitive schism brought about
Readings: Alexander Broadie, The Circle of John by the Council of Trent’s official condemnation
Mair: Logic and Logicians in pre-Reformation Scot- of Protestantism.
land (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985); John As for the Eucharist, Niphleseth’s definition of
Durkan and James Kirk, University of Glasgow (Glas- the resuscitating mustard as the Chitterlings’
gow: University of Glasgow Press, 1977); James K. “sangreal and heavenly balm” alludes to contem-
Farge, Biographical Register of Paris Doctors of The- porary ecclesiastical rites, in which the flesh—in
ology, 1500–1536, n. 329 (Toronto, Pontifical Institute true Shrovetide fashion, as Carnival was known
of Mediaeval Studies, 1980); Louis Vereecke, “Mari- as “Charnage” (“flesh”) in medieval French lit-
age et sexualité au déclin du moyen-âge,” Vie spiri- erature—triumphs over the spirit of the cere-
tuelle, Supplément, 56.14 (1961): 199–225; F. Vos- mony. The elevation of “mustard” to the position
man, Giovanni Maior (1467–1550) et la sua morale of the Savior’s “real” and “royal blood” clearly
economica intorno al contratto di società (Rome: Pon- shows the contemptible reification of sacred cer-
tificia Universitas Lateranensis, 1985). emonies. Rabelais had already presented a model
James K. Farge for the Cena (4BK 1), in which the preparations
for the fleet’s departure are completed by a cer-
MARDIGRAS Protector and idol of the Chit- emony dominated by the Holy Scriptures, remi-
terlings or Andouilles in their eternal war against niscent of the early days of pure Christianity, the
Quaresmeprenant; one in a long line of mon- opposite of Mardigras’s cult. Such pursuit of the
sters that people the Fourth Book. In the incar- restoration of “primitive Christianity” was also
nation of a grotesquely described winged pig, at- the basis of Erasmus’s criticism, which, like Ra-
tributed to the fact that all sausages are made of belais’s, goes far beyond the relatively timid ref-
pork, Mardigras flies over the battlefield at the ormation attempts of the Protestant liturgy. The
height of the mock battle between Frère Jean’s Greek inscription around the pig’s neck (“A Pig
culinary army and the Andouilles (4BK 42), Teaching Minerva”) refers to an Erasmian adage
dropping large quantities of mustard, which heal criticizing the ignorant who attempt to teach the
the wounded and resuscitate the dead sausages. wise and satirizes the decadence of Lutheran and
Upon seeing their monstrous God, all sausage Calvinist reformers as well as of the Catholic
warriors kneel down and join their hands as if in Church. The Council of Trent had focused on
silent prayer. Niphleseth describes the apparition these issues in its seventh (the sacraments) and
as the “archetype” (“idea” in the Platonic sense) thirteenth sessions (the Eucharist), respectively,
of “Mardigras,” founder of the race of Chitter- in 1547 and 1551–52. But instead of reconciling
lings, the sausages’ idolatry being thus directed the factions as its name (concilium) would sug-
toward an image of the self. In contrast to its gest, it had contributed to the division of Chris-
ambivalent offspring, the monster seems to rep- tianity. Rabelais exploits this play on words at
resent a more univocal incarnation of Carnival the beginning of the episode (4BK 35) and an-
on a literal level. nounces its biting religious satire, directed at
Despite the episode’s religious ambiguities Catholics and Protestants alike and capped by
that see Pantagruel’s party caught between the Mardigras’s timely appearance.
warring Catholic and Protestant factions without Readings: Edwin M. Duval, “La messe, la cène, et
endorsing either side, Mardigras’s impact lies le voyage sans fin du Quart Livre,” Rabelais en son
mainly in the realm of the satire of the Catholic demi-millénaire, ed. J. Céard, and J.-Cl. Margolin, ER
Church and its contemptible practices, which, in 21 (Geneva: Droz, 1983); Samuel Kinser, Rabelais’s
Marot, Clément 153

Carnival (Berkeley: University of California Press, spiritual thinker and Rabelais as much more ori-
1990); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais, chapter 9 (Lon- ented toward the physical, the topic of marriage,
don: Duckworth, 1979). with its union of the physical and the spiritual,
Bernd Renner is emblematic of the need for both writers to
combine the two. The friendship between Ra-
belais and Marguerite, if friendship there was,
MARGUERITE DE NAVARRE (1492–1549) shows them to have been more like-minded than
Scholars of the French Renaissance have won- was previously believed. For Rabelais scholars,
dered about the relationship between Rabelais this possible friendship offers a needed corrective
and Marguerite de Navarre, who was sister to the to the popular stereotype of Rabelais as only a
king, Francis I, and patron of the author during misogynistic “bon vivant.”
the early to mid-1540s. Rabelais had been named Readings: Cathleen M. Bauschatz, “Rabelais and
“Master of the King’s Requests” in 1543, and Marguerite de Navarre on Sixteenth-Century Views of
relations with the royal family appear to have Clandestine Marriage,” SCJ 34.2 (2003): 395–408;
been good until he left Paris for Metz in 1546 Carla Freccero, Father Figures: Genealogy and Nar-
(Zegura and Tetel 1993: 20). rative Structure in Rabelais (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Uni-
It seems no accident that around this time Ra- versity Press, 1991); Abel Lefranc, “Etude sur Rube-
belais dedicated the Third Book to Marguerite, lais,” Oeuvres, vol. 3 (Paris: Champion, 1922); Renja
inviting her to come down from her “manoir di- Salminen, ed. Heptaméron,TFL 516 (Geneva: Droz,
vin,” in order to enjoy more stories about the 1999): Marcel Tetel, Marguerite de Navarre’s Hep-
earthy Pantagruel (3BK ded.). Marguerite is taméron: Themes, Language and Structure (Durham,
portrayed here as a patron of Rabelais and in fact NC: Duke University Press, 1973); Elizabeth Chesney
probably did help him obtain the privilege for Zegura and Marcel Tetel, Rabelais Revisited (New
republication of Gargantua and Pantagruel as York: Twayne/Macmillan, 1993).
well as for printing the Third Book in September Cathleen M. Bauschatz
1545. She was to begin to assemble the tales for
the Heptameron the same year (1545–46), a key
time for the relationship between the two (Sal- MAROT, CLÉMENT (1496?–1544) French
minen 111). poet of the early Renaissance whose embattled
But did the relationship go beyond patronage? relationship with the Sorbonne, evangelical lean-
Traditionally, many scholars have been surprised ings, taste for Erasmus, and satiric verve invite
by the dedication of the Third Book to Margue- comparisons with his friend and fellow humanist
rite, since they see major differences and disa- Rabelais. Praised by Boileau for his “élégant
greements between the spiritual, feminist Mar- badinage” (Art poétique 1.96), the poet seems on
guerite and the earthy, misogynist Rabelais. The one hand to build upon the legacy of his father
dedication has been viewed as gently ironic by Jean Marot, a rhétoriqueur renowned for his ex-
the majority of writers on the subject (Freccero aggerated wordplay. On the other hand, the
1991: 150; Lefranc, 1922) and only a few see sharp-edged social, political, and religious com-
agreement as a motivation for it (Bauschatz mentary lurking beneath many of Marot’s poems,
2003: 406; Tetel 1973: 106, 122). particularly his Epistres and Enfers, is cut from
Some similarities between the two writers in- the same fabric as his life. Imprisoned at least
clude their sympathy with the Reform, and par- three times and forced to seek refuge abroad, de-
ticularly with subjects discussed at the Council spite the royal protection he enjoyed early in his
of Trent, which convened in 1546, such as the career as the king’s valet de chambre, Marot al-
condemnation of clandestine marriage, a subject most certainly crossed paths with Rabelais on a
raised by both Rabelais (3BK 48) and Marguerite number of occasions: at the court of Renée de
(Heptaméron 21, 40). Both reject clandestine France in Ferrara, for example, a haven for Re-
marriage in favor of a more traditional marriage formers where Marot sought exile during Rabe-
arranged by parents (Screech 281–86). lais’s southward journey to Rome with Jean du
Although Marguerite has been viewed as a Bellay in 1535, and at a banquet of humanists
154 Marriage

held in 1537 to celebrate Etienne Dolet’s pardon Marriage makes appearances in Gargantua
for accidentally killing a man (Frame 1977: 14– and Pantagruel, often evoking rather traditional
15). Occasional Marotic echoes also find their beliefs related to the institution. In Gargantua’s
way into Rabelais’s work (Screech 1979: 149 n. famous letter to Pantagruel (P 8), “lawful mar-
23, 359), particularly his Gargantua, while two riage” is mentioned within the lengthier discus-
or three poems attributed to the Gallic physician sion of the immortality acquired by having chil-
appear in the 1533 edition of Marot’s Adoles- dren. Though marriage is generally taken for
cence Clementine, suggesting a “close collabo- granted in discussions of procreation, in his letter
ration” between the two authors (Defaux 1997: Gargantua does not insist that his son marry, nor
404) (see also Evangelism). does he enumerate the virtues of marriage. Gar-
Readings: Gérard Defaux, Rabelais agonistes: Du gantua’s ambivalent reaction to the death of his
rieur au prophète (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Gérard De- wife who dies in childbirth (P 2) suggests the
faux, Rabelais, Marot, Montaigne: l’écriture comme view that marriage could be purely functional
presence (Paris: Champion-Slatkine, 1987); Donald and not based on intimacy or affection. As one
Frame, Rabelais. A Study (New York: Harcourt Brace element of Rabelais’s utopia, marriage appears
Jovanovich, 1977); Claude A. Mayer, Clément Marot briefly in the description of the Abbey of Thé-
(Paris: Nizet, 1972); Michael A. Screech, Rabelais lème (G 57). Though living in an abbey, the Thé-
(London: Duckworth, 1979); Pauline M. Smith, Clé- lèmites can “be regularly married” if they so de-
ment Marot: Poet of the French Renaissance (London: sire, reflecting their motto “Do what you will”
Athlone, 1970). and possibly a critique of the Catholic Church’s
Elizabeth Chesney Zegura rigidity in the area of marriage. Those who leave
the utopia of Thélème marry and live “in devo-
MARRIAGE Issues related to marriage were tion and friendship.” Marriage explicitly based
widely discussed and debated during the French on intimacy and companionship is thus placed
Renaissance for a variety of cultural reasons. In outside the realm of the ideal world.
the wake of the Reformation, theologians such It is in the Third Book that Rabelais moves
as John Calvin and Martin Luther discussed marriage to the fore, as Panurge visits various
the topic and its relation to religion. Whether types of people to ask them whether he should
women were suitable for marriage and whether marry. Although his comic quest for knowledge
men should marry were questions debated within about marriage and women is ostensibly per-
the larger intellectual context of the querelle des sonal, the issue is also framed as a larger ques-
femmes, a recurring debate among male and fe- tion of whether men in general should marry.
male authors over the nature and status of Through the numerous and lengthy consultation
women. The necessity of marriage for men was scenes (3BK 9–46), various reasons to marry are
also a standard topic for rhetorical pro/contra ar- juxtaposed with reasons not to marry in rhetori-
gumentation practice. As a result, it is difficult to cal for/against fashion. Panurge’s desire for
determine to what extent writers’ positions on companionship, in particular, is contrasted with
marriage were influenced by rhetorical conven- his fear of being cuckolded by a cruel wife, re-
tions. In this cultural context, a number of French flecting an anxiety about the masculine ability to
and Latin tracts treating marriage were pub- control female sexuality. Rabelais accepts the
lished, including Erasmus’s In Praise of Mar- widespread view that marriage exists for procre-
riage (1518), Vives’s The Instruction of a Chris- ation, but like Erasmus, he extends this limited
tian Woman (1523), and Agrippa’s The definition to include the possibility of compan-
Commendation of Matrimony (1526). As a writer ionship. As a result, marriage need not be con-
deeply engaged in the cultural and intellectual sidered an impediment to purity and a hindrance
debates of his period, Rabelais makes marriage to spirituality. If marriage can be for companion-
an important concern of his work, but his views ship, women are also assumed to be more than
are less clear and more difficult to ascertain than simple bearers of children for their husbands,
those of most contemporary writers on the sub- even as they are not necessarily considered equal
ject. to men. Rabelais also implies that, as was a com-
Medamothi 155

mon assumption in marriage tracts, marriage can (G prol.). Although this metaphor serves as the
moderate the excesses of male sexuality, al- cornerstone for allegorical readings of Rabelais’s
though Panurge appears to be incapable of mod- text, it is also undermined by the narrator’s sub-
erating his excesses. sequent caution about seeking hidden meaning
Despite these implicit critiques of the institu- where none exists: “If you believe Homer
tion of marriage the question of whether Panurge thought about allegories while he was writing the
should marry is never resolved, and no definite Iliad and the Odyssey,” he says equivocally,
judgment on marriage is ever presented. Rather, “then your interpretation is a far cry from my
like the texts that circulated in the Renaissance, own” (G prol.).
marriage is open to interpretation by the male Readings: Mary Farrell, “The Alchemy of Rabe-
individual who has the freedom to make his own lais’s Marrow Bone,” MLS 13.2 (1983): 97–104; Fred
choice about whether to marry. Panurge consults W. Marshall, “Worrying the Bone Again: The Struc-
numerous men and women (including a doctor, ture and Significance of the Prologue to Gargantua,”
lawyer, philosopher, and theologian) about his AJFS 24.1 (1987): 3–22; Ellie Ragland-Sullivan, “The
dilemma, implying that his personal decision Myth of the Sustanficque Mouelle: A Lacanian Per-
about marriage should be a well-researched one spective on Rabelais’s Use of Language,” Literature
employing all the tools at his disposal. Marriage and Psychology 34.3 (1988): 1–21.
is not inherently a good or bad way of life. Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
Rather, its nature should be determined on a
case-by-case basis. This individual, however, MEDAMOTHI (4BK 2) The island where
would appear to be necessarily male in the Third Pantagruel and his companions make their first
Book. Marriage is not discussed as a choice for stop on the way to the Holy Bottle in the Fourth
women, who are continually represented in re- Book. According to the glossary or Briefve Dé-
lation to men in the various discussions of mar- claration that accompanies Rabelais’s text, Me-
riage. At the same time, Panurge’s comic exces- damothi means “no place” in Greek. Although
ses, bordering on hysteria, imply a mockery of some scholars have attempted to identify the ge-
masculine attitudes toward marriage. ographic location of Medamothi, others insist
Readings: Constance Jordan, Renaissance Femi- that its name and nature function to discourage
nism: Literary Texts and Political Models (Ithaca, NY: any literal or realistic reading of the voyage. Ar-
Cornell University Press, 1990); Todd W. Reeser, riving on the island during the annual fair that
“Moderation and Masculinity in Renaissance Marriage attracts the richest and most famous merchants
Discourse and in Rabelais’s Tiers livre,” RR 90.1 of Asia and Africa, the Pantagruelists purchase a
(2000): 1–25; M. A. Screech, The Rabelaisian Mar- series of paradoxical art works and exotic ani-
riage: Aspects of Rabelais’s Religion, Ethics and mals which raise fascinating questions about
Comic Philosophy (London: Edward Arnold, 1958). literary and artistic mimesis. The inventory of
Todd Reeser Pantagruel’s art acquisitions has prompted con-
flicting interpretations, suggesting either a sud-
MARROW OR MARROWBONE English den penchant for “Alexandrian” symbolism on
translations of “la sustantificque mouelle” and Rabelais’s part or a preclassical taste for ideal-
“os medulaire,” respectively, terms introduced in izing imitation or a demonstration of the auto-
the prologue to Gargantua in the narrator’s dis- referentiality of fiction. In particular, the painting
cussion of allegory. Serving as metaphors of the of Platonic ideas purchased by Epistémon may
Rabelaisian text, the marrow and marrowbone be understood to parody the Neoplatonic ambi-
suggest that the chronicles have an “inside” as tion to render the intelligible visible by means of
well as an “outside,” and that the hidden meaning hieroglyphs and other occult symbols. This par-
underneath the work’s grotesque surface, akin to ody of the utopian impulse to materialize the im-
the “fine drugs” contained within the frivolous- material may in turn remind us of the materiality
looking Silenus box, is accessible only to those of language, which in Rabelais often assumes
who through “curiosity” and “frequent medita- the density and opacity of a work of visual art.
tion break the bone and suck out the marrow” In this way, language becomes visible in Rabe-
156 Medicine

lais’s text just as it does on Medamothi in the a way of living out the ideals expressed in his
portrait of Echo or the paintings of proverbs. For reading.
its many paradoxes, Medamothi remains a pop- From 1528 until 1530, possessing a strong
ular destination of Rabelais criticism. command of Greek and having abandoned the
Readings: Michel Beaujour, Le jeu de Rabelais Benedictine order to become a secular priest, Ra-
(Paris: L’Herne, 1969); Antoinette Huon, “Alexandrie belais made his way from Paris to Montpellier
et l’alexandrinisme dans le Quart Livre: L’escale à where he enrolled in medical school. A mere six
Medamothi,” ER 1 (1956): 98–111; Abel Lefranc, Les weeks after the opening of classes, Rabelais was
navigations de Pantagruel. Etude sur la géographie granted his diploma in testimony to the consid-
rabelaisienne (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1967); Eric erable preparation he had received through prior
MacPhail, “The Masters of Medamothi: Rabelais and tutoring and personal study. Study in this case
Visual Prose,” ER 35 (1998): 175–91; Paul J. Smith, was key; medical school involved no practical
Voyage et écriture (Geneva: Droz, 1987). application of the healing arts but rather focused
Eric MacPhail on deciphering and commenting on texts by the
ancients. Rabelais could do this so well that he
MEDICINE Renaissance field of study and gave a public lecture (an exit requirement for
profession intimately intertwined with religion medical students having obtained their diplomas)
and philosophy, selected as an interest by Ra- on Hippocrates’s Aphorisms and a medical trea-
belais as early as 1520 when he learned Greek tise by Galen, translating directly from Greek
and began to pour over ancient texts. During his manuscripts. Needless to say, his presentation
years as a novice, exposure to the sick and des- made a grand impression. Still, the goal of many
titute likely formed in the future doctor a foun- years of patient, diligent work, according to all
dation of interest in charity toward his fellow that he had read and studied, was actually to care
man. Upon arrival in Fontenay, discussion and for the body as a practicing physician, with the
quarrels in which he participated led him further hope that healing the body would ultimately
in the direction of medical studies, pushed on by bring peace and contentment to the soul.
the humanistic promise of medicine to seek ever In the two years that span his graduation from
more deeply a complete and encyclopedic Montpellier and subsequent arrival at the Hotel-
knowledge of the human body and soul. The Dieu in Lyon, Rabelais added to his growing
leap from novice and future priest to medical reputation with several scholarly publications. In
doctor was not unrealistic for Rabelais, in light 1532 he was named primary physician of the
of the nature of his studies to this point, for he Lyon public hospital and began the practice that
had been exposed to both ancient and modern would complement and complete his years of
philosophies. According to Erasmus in his in- study and preparation. It is impossible to know
terpretation of Galenic theory, the medical pro- the physician’s exact impressions as he encoun-
fession is perfectly aligned with religion. He tered the stark realities of the public hospital. He
placed the doctor’s care for the body in line only had accepted work among the very poorest and
behind Christ’s care for the soul, naming the indeed most physically suffering patients in the
practice of medicine the most important profes- city. The hospital’s beds were full of people in
sion in Christian life. The respect for life nec- the clutches of a wide variety of ailments ranging
essary in the medical field could only be mani- from dermatological problems to syphilis, from
fested though multiple acts of charity and indeed battle wounds to full-blown contagious disease.
through a focus on moral philosophy. Healing Although he had some access to pharmaceuticals
the sick and caring for general health could take and could prescribe surgical procedures to be
place only if doctors also served as moralists. carried out under his supervision by a barber-
Reforms in lifestyle, during the Renaissance as surgeon, little could be done to assuage pain,
today, were considered essential to the mainte- much less actually cure those under his care. The
nance of health. Rabelais’s humanistic studies difficulty of this work, the pitiful salary received
and life experiences thus impressed upon him the for it, and a recognition of the limits of the trade
importance of medicine as a career choice and as most certainly played a role in Rabelais’s deci-
Menippean Paradox 157

sion to take up the pen in a singularly caring act to combine comedy and dialogue, which marks
of genius. the menippea’s typical mixture of genres, allow-
Presenting his books from the outset as med- ing for a formal framework incorporating philo-
icine for the very public he could do little to help sophical profundity and levity in the same text
tangibly as a physician, Rabelais concocts a po- and thus achieving the Horatian utile dulci mix-
tion of words with a promise of beneficial heal- tum. This syncretism of quasi-incompatible gen-
ing for all who partake. The allegories are thor- res is mirrored on the content level by the device
oughly filled with references to the doctor’s of the Menippean paradox: in Rabelais’s case,
Greek mentors and medical themes of all sorts. multiple, often seemingly mutually exclusive, in-
Fantastical gestation and birth are followed by terpretative possibilities that surface especially in
unbelievable, life-restoring surgical procedures the Third and Fourth Books, whose prologues
and miraculous healing, while diet, exercise, and display perhaps the most explicit Lucianic influ-
musings on the role of vital organs are intermin- ence.
gled with discussions of women and sexuality. Gargantua displays the timid beginnings of
The books are infused with Rabelais’s vast this phenomenon, particularly in the prologue
knowledge of anatomy, physiology, botany, and with its emphasis on the paradoxical Silenus fig-
a variety of other disciplines. Yet the healing his ure and its convoluted commentary on methods
allegories purport to contain resides not in the of interpretation. The paradox becomes even
author’s knowledge or transmission of these sci- more prevalent in the contrasting readings of the
ences, but rather in a specific and encompassing final Enigmatic Prophecy (alternatively a tennis
attention to the soul. For in Rabelais’s quest to match or the persecution of Christians [G 58]).
create laugher and thus “resjouir le malade” (give Because of its central question of Panurge’s
enjoyment to the sick), in his desire to buoy the marital fate, the entire Third Book may be seen
spirit, he knows that the body will no more be as a prime illustration of the Menippean paradox,
healed than by his daily visits to the sick of the and so can the trickster’s sole persona, espe-
Hotel-Dieu. His target, as dictated by his human- cially considering his change in attitude and
ist past, is the whole person—body and soul. Ra- status from Pantagruel to the Third and Fourth
belais’s primary medico-philosophical “message” Books, which accentuates his initial ambivalence.
of health calls for moderation, simplicity, and hu- Panurge is simultaneously a “mischievous rogue”
mility in all aspects of life. Only in this manner, and the “best fellow in the world” (P 16). It is
he maintains, will the human being find balance Pantagruel, who, at the end of the philosophical
and health. In writing, Rabelais goes beyond his banquet (3BK 35), presents a model for resolving
objective to exercise the most important profes- paradoxes through careful and informed interpre-
sion in Christian life, for his charitable act and tation. Drawing on common sense and sound er-
message of health reach far beyond the sphere of udition, he shows how the philosopher Trouil-
his work as physician in Lyon to all readers who logan’s contradictory answers to the question of
encounter the substantial, healing marrow of his Panurge’s marriage (“both” and “neither”) mu-
texts. tually enhance each other, thereby illustrating the
Reading: Roland Antonioli, Rabelais et la méde- menippea’s characteristic concordia oppositorum
cine, ER 12 (Geneva: Droz, 1976). or union of opposites.
Lesa Randall The Fourth Book abounds in paradoxical epi-
sodes that are henceforth most often combined
MENIPPEAN PARADOX A characteristic of with another essential Menippean element: the
the hybrid genre of Menippean satire, founded grotesque. Prime examples would be the contro-
by Menippus (third century b.c.), whose writings versial farces of Dindenault (4BK 6–7) and
have been lost. Our knowledge is based on imi- Basché (4BK 12–16), questioning, in our per-
tations by Varro (first century b.c.) and the Greek spective, the right measure for punishment. The
Cynic Lucian of Samosata (second century a.d.). monstrous episodes of Quaresmeprenant (4BK
Lucian’s influence on Renaissance writers is 29–32), the Chitterlings or Andouilles (4BK 35–
considerable. He claimed to have been the first 42), and Messere Gaster (4BK 57–62) stand out
158 Mercury

as their hermeneutic cornucopia is embedded in corpus of allegories. Although Rabelais mentions

an anatomy of the grotesque, which helps them it in passing—in enumerations of other gods—
exceed the boundaries of conventional human or as a planet whose position may influence af-
thinking and perceptions. In Gaster’s case, for fairs, he was likely best acquainted with mercury
instance, the criticism is directed not only at the as a chemical element used in the medico-
disturbing image of the ambivalent ventripotent pharmaceutical community as a powerful ingre-
god, “first master of arts in the world,” but dient in lotions and ointments destined to treat
equally at the idolatry of his followers. patients suffering from syphilis. When used ex-
Because of its roots in Cynicism, the Menip- tremely sparingly, treatment involving frictions
pean paradox enables us to escape the tyranny of with mercurial ointment followed by sessions in
dogmata and universal truths. It is therefore a a steam bath produced positive results that were
powerful device in Rabelais’s satire of the abuses well-documented. However, in the hands of em-
of ecclesiastical, political, or intellectual author- pirics and charlatan doctors the element was
ities, challenging the validity of the officially overused, and mercury treatments acquired con-
sanctioned altior sensus and thus opening the notations of dreadful pain and, ultimately, death.
door to radical doubt—hence the anti-intellectual Rabelais had these associations in mind when
bent of this extremely erudite approach. This fun- reserving a main role for Jupiter’s messenger in
damental skepticism provides an epistemological the Couillatris story (4BK prol.). In this mock
grounding to the plurality of meanings and in- parable, as woodsmen lose their axe blades, sym-
terpretations, one of Rabelais’s major themes. bols of sexual health, Mercury is charged with
Consequently, it even inscribes the paradox in its presenting them the choice of their own axe
modus operandi and questions the authority of blade along with one of gold and another of sil-
human reason by appealing to the potential of ver, the latter two symbolizing sexual excess and
that very same reason, capable of pushing back desire. Selecting one’s own blade thus represents
the limits of human knowledge if one keeps an moderation in sexual activity and carries the re-
open mind and the willingness to think outside ward of living richly. Opting for one of the other
the norm. blades carries the penalty of instant death at Mer-
Readings: W. Scott Blanchard, Scholars’ Bedlam. cury’s terrible hand. Rabelais’s dear syphilitics
Menippean Satire in the Renaissance (Lewisburg, PA: would not have mistaken the meaning of this
Bucknell University Press, 1995); Dorothy G. Cole- tale, told by the doctor who wished to spare them
man, Rabelais. A Critical Study in Prose Fiction the fateful horrors of mercury.
(Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1971); Readings: Roland Antonioli, Rabelais et la méde-
Edwin Duval, The Design of Rabelais’s Tiers Livre cine, ER 12 (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1976); Gilles
de Pantagruel (Geneva: Droz, 1997); Christiane Henry, Rabelais (Paris: Librairie Académique Perrin,
Lauvergnat-Gagnière, Lucien de Samosate et le lu- 1988).
cianisme en France au XVIe siècle: athéisme et po- Lesa Randall
lémique (Geneva: Droz, 1988); Bernd Renner, “Du
coq-à-l’âne à la ménippéenne: la satire comme forme MODERATION (MEDIOCRITAS) Principle
d’expression littéraire chez Rabelais” (Ph.D. diss., of measure and balance promoted by Rabelais
Princeton University, 2000); André Tournon, “Le par- in his books as essential for health and content-
adoxe ménippéen dans l’œuvre de Rabelais,” Rabelais ment in life. Made popular by Galen, whose
en son demi-millénaire, ER 21 (Geneva: Droz, 1988): medical texts Rabelais knew well, this notion of
309–18. equilibrium encompasses moral and spiritual liv-
Bernd Renner ing but involves the physical as well. Recogni-
tion of and respect for the body’s limitations was
MERCURY As official messenger to Jupiter, deemed the surest manner to maintain health. In
the smallest of the major planets, or a metallic his allegories, Rabelais encourages readers to
element easily distinguished from all others by make moderation a goal in all things with the
its constant liquid state, the name Mercury ap- examples of biblical and invented characters like
pears with regularity throughout the Rabelaisian Zachhaeus and Couillatris (4BK Prol.). In the
Money 159

case of Zachhaeus (Luke 19.1–10), who climbed blance to one where money and other signs were
a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus passing considered arbitrary couplings of signifier and
through town and was later visited and blessed referent functioning by pure convention (168–
by him in his own home, Rabelais demonstrates 76).
that positive consequences are likely to result for The inflationary nature of the French economy
those with moderate desires. The Couillatris is well known. Pierre Vilar stipulates that prices
story includes the same lesson, but with strong rose fourfold in France during the period from
emphasis on health and balance with regard to 1520 to 1600 (1976: 178). The circulation of for-
sexuality. eign coins added further confusion to monetary
To make his point, Rabelais shows a wealthy, exchanges. Vilar mentions that eighty types of
happy Couillatris who, after praying for the re- coin were in circulation even in seventeenth-
turn of his lost source of livelihood—in this tale century France (21). Furthermore, while the
a metaphor for sexual health—was rewarded for pound (livre) had at one time been an actual
his simplicity and honesty with land, animals, pound of silver, the actual coin had ceased to be
and gold. Rabelais then juxtaposes a contented produced, although, throughout the sixteenth
Couillatris with the hoards of greedy men who, century, people continued to estimate prices in
interested only in pleasure and rapid wealth, are terms of livres and sous which had become imag-
given the extreme punishment of death for their inary counting monies (Vilar: 21). Adding to the
desires of excess. Sure to appeal to the sensibil- difficulty in calculating fair prices, governments
ities of philosophers, doctors, and patients alike, maintained the right to devalue or inflate the
Rabelais’s lessons on this rule of measure may value of the currency in circulation to suit their
be considered a form of medicine insofar as they needs (Vilar: 21). The means of payment could
provide both preventive instruction and amuse- also include premonetary barterlike exchange,
ment. In an age of epidemic disease, syphilis and with the actual payment at times involving such
warfare, Rabelais seeks to prolong and improve diverse means as horses, weapons, sacks of grain,
lives by popularizing mediocritas as the best and or cloth estimated to hold the value of the agreed
most accessible method he knows. upon price (Bloch 1954: 48). Finally, the emer-
Readings: Vivian M. Gruber, “Rabelais: The Di- gence of credit in the form of bills of exchange,
dactics of Moderation,” EC 32 (1963): 80–86; James which permitted payment through the balancing
S. Hans, The Golden Mean (Albany, NY: State Uni- of debts and credits without the exchange of ac-
versity of New York Press, 1994); Todd W. Reeser, tual gold, proliferated in the sixteenth century,
“Framing Masculinity: The Discourse of Moderation particularly at the fairs such as the one in Lyon
in Renaissance Culture,” Ph.D. diss., University of (Vilar: 73).
Michigan, 1997; Todd W. Reeser, “Moderation and Rabelais seems to delight in exploring the
Masculinity in Renaissance Marriage Discourse and in multiplicity of means of payment and competing
Rabelais’s Tiers livre,” RR 90.1 (1999): 1–25. value systems with their possibilities for decep-
Lesa Randall tion and the creation of paradoxical relations. Ze-
gura and Tetel identify this practice as Rabelais’s
MONEY The presence of representations of propensity for “trafficking in two-sided tokens”
monetary exchange and financial terms through- (1993: 23). They see Panurge in his immoral
out Rabelais’s novels is indicative of the budding economic practices as a reference to the schemers
of capitalism and the concomitant changes in the of Gallic folklore and the ethics of personal ec-
mentality of sixteenth-century France. Historian onomic profit which were reputed to dominate
Eugene Rice identified the period from 1460 to Italian business practices at the time (24–25).
1560 as the period when Western Europe became Panurge characteristically manipulates economic
capitalist (Lavatori 1996: 1). According to transactions for personal gain, often producing an
Michel Foucault in The Order of Things, after effect contrary to the acknowledged purpose of
the sixteenth century, the entire organization of the exchange and crediting the windfall to his
signs, or episteme, changed from one where signs own sense of justice. Whenever he met a mon-
were seen as based on a natural order or resem- eychanger, he managed to secret away five or six
160 Money

coins without the changer’s knowledge (P 16). utive justice (3BK 2), promoting natural or even
Rabelais seems to be redressing the abuses of celestial harmony (3BK 4). However, in his por-
moneychangers and lenders who, through their trayal of the perfect peace, Panurge presents a
knowledge of the rates of exchange, could sur- world where gold, silver, coins, jewelry, and
reptitiously extract money from their clients. merchandise are exchanged (3BK 4). His portrait
In a similarly carnivalesque reversal, Panurge of the ideal economy presents the transitional na-
outwits the sellers of pardons, returning from ture of the sixteenth-century economy in which
kissing relics with his pockets full of money. gold and silver circulated as coins and in the
Panurge explains that, while only giving a “de- more personalized form of rings. In this incom-
nier” or small change coin, he did so with such pletely monetary economy, more financially ad-
reverence as to make it seem a much more im- vanced processes such as debt or credit are pres-
portant denomination, actually taking twelve or ent and praised (Lavatori 1996: 73–74). There is
more deniers as “change.” Although Pantagruel no absolutely privileged way of determining
denounces the practice as heresy, Panurge de- value or meaning in the systems evoked in the
fends himself using the pardoners’ own promise sixteenth-century episteme as it appears in the
of a hundredfold return against them (P 17). Re- Third Book.
versing similar inequalities from the real world In contrast, Rabelais at times proposes a func-
which Rabelais inhabited, the underworld Epis- tional model of society in which exchanges are
témon visits has popes selling paper and meat based not on the materiality of the signs pro-
pies to earn a meager living and usurers collect- duced but on relationships of good-will between
ing rusty pins and scrap metal just to earn a mis- participants in exchange. In an effort to convince
erable penny (P 30). Panurge to take advice from a fool, Pantagruel
As with many enumerations in Rabelais, ex- recounts how Seigny Joan once settled a notori-
pressions of monetary value are often indications ously difficult dispute by determining that a por-
of the self-referential nature of Rabelais’s texts. ter had paid for the smoke he had used from a
For the construction of the Abbey of Thélème meat-roaster’s fire to season his bread by simply
which Gargantua offers in feudal fashion to taking out a silver coin and ringing it (3BK 37).
Frère Jean in recognition of his service, Gar- Rabelais is pointing to a realm of symbolization
gantua pays out 2,700,831 Agnus Dei gold coins where signs have a value in themselves beyond
in cash (G 53). This very exact figure recalls its their intrinsic value, serving to facilitate
fictive nature and casts doubt on the credibility exchange, much as fiduciary or paper money
of such a playful narrator. According to Zegura does in more developed economies (Vilar 1976:
and Tetel, one of Rabelais’s goals from the very 20).
first prologue to the end of the book is to culti- In the Fourth Book, Rabelais investigates the
vate a skeptical and informed reader through his fetishization of economic signs and their produc-
constant references to conflicting and indetermi- tivity in exchange. Dindenault, an insulting and
nate expressions of value (54). dishonest sheep merchant whom Panurge and the
In the prologue to the Third Book, the nar- crew of the Thalamège meet on a ship they come
rator initially fears that his readers will be of- across on their voyage to consult the oracle of
fended by the arbitrary nature of his production. the Divine Bottle, goes so far as to call his live-
Later he realizes that the readership he has cul- stock “moutons à la grande laine,” playing on a
tivated will accept his eccentric production in pun that refers to both high-quality wool sheep
good faith as he has seen them take good-will, and gold coins stamped with an image of the
or credit as payment (prologue). In this way Ra- Lamb of God (4BK 6). Christophe Deberre
belais links his production of fiction with its pro- points out that Dindenault literally sees his sheep
ductive play of pure signs to the developing of only for their exchange value as money (Lavatori
credit in the economic domain. In chapters 2–5, 1996: 127–128). Similarly, Panurge conflates his
Rabelais presents Panurge’s famous Praise of economic transaction with the merchant and a
Debts through which the trickster defends his secondary emotional payoff. When Dindenault
own cause by casting credit as a form of distrib- and Panurge finally agree upon a price, it is only
Monsters 161

for Panurge to throw the sheep purchased over- coins, all the money from them is misshapen and
board, knowing that the nature of sheep is such full of holes (4BK 52), reinforcing the theme of
that the others will follow, eventually taking Din- distorted values. However, the Papimaniacs are
denault with them as he attempts to save his live- not without funds. Their bishop appears from
stock. Panurge thus exploits the productivity of their temple with basins full of Papimaniac
signs and claims to have profited from the money (4BK 51). In rather ethnocentric fashion,
exchange, getting “fifty thousand francs’ worth” even these distant islands reflect the economic
of amusement at the drowning of his adversary situation of their contemporary France with its
(4BK 8). developing capitalism. The bishop Homenaz ex-
The prologue to the Fourth Book tells the plains that the Decretals benefit the Papimaniacs
story of Couillatris, a poor woodcutter who one with their “aurifluous energy,” which causes hun-
day loses his ax and loudly implores Jupiter to dreds of thousands of “ducatz” to flow from
have it returned or provide its fair market equiv- France to Rome each year (4BK 53). Clearly, the
alent in “deniers” (4BK prol.). Jupiter eventually exotic world of the Fourth Book with its mys-
rewards Couillatris for his modest request with terious economic practices is not so removed
gifts of a gold and a silver ax in addition to his from the realities of France, which was supplying
own. In turn, he exchanges the gold and silver the Roman court to its own detriment.
axes at the Chinon market for quantities of gold Reflecting the historical reality of his society,
and silver coins with which he purchases farms Rabelais’s characters experiment with the varied
and livestock. Because of this productive chain means of symbolization and of exchange char-
of exchanges, Couillatris is the envy of his fellow acteristic of the transitional nature of the Ren-
countrymen who intentionally “lose” their axes aissance episteme. In this sense, Rabelais’s de-
and are punished (4BK prol.). pictions of monetary exchange can be seen as an
On the Island of Procuration, in chapter 12, exploration of the basis of representation at a
Panurge and the crew meet the Chiquanous who pretheoretical level.
earn their living by being beaten. The practice Readings: Marc Bloch, Esquisse d’une histoire mo-
illustrates to what extent the monetary economy nétaire de l’Europe (Paris: Librairie Armand Colin,
and the desire for money had denatured relation- 1954); Jean-Christophe Deberre, “La généalogie du
ships to the point where they are objectified and pouvoir dans les trois premiers livres de Rabelais,”
become “purely instrumental relations,” as Jür- Littérature 50 (1983): 15–35; Michel Foucault, The
gen Habermas describes the effects of money on Order of Things, ed. Ronald D. Laing (New York:
human interaction (qtd. in Lavatori 1996: Vintage Books, 1973); Gerard Lavatori, Language and
p. 140). For the Chiquanous, all social relation- Money in Rabelais (New York: Peter Lang, 1996);
ships are defined and justified by monetary