'Gargantua and Pantagruel'
By François Rabelais (Author), Burton Raffel (Translator)
The dazzling and exuberant moral stories of Rabelais (c.1471-1553) expose human follies with their mischievous and often obscene humour, while intertwining the realistic with carnivalesque fantasy to make us look afresh at the world. Gargantua depicts a young giant, reduced to laughable insanity by an education at the hands of paternal ignorance, old crones and syphilitic professors, who is rescued and turned into a cultured Christian knight. And in Pantagruel and its three sequels, Rabelais parodied tall tales of chivalry and satirized the law, theology and academia to portray the bookish son of Gargantua who becomes a Renaissance Socrates, divinely guided in his wisdom, and his idiotic, self-loving companion Panurge.
“Grand to see this new rendition of a work full of what life is all about and translated with an equal authenticity.”
(J. P. Donleavy)
“Raffel has done the impossible. . . . [He] has produced a text which is amazingly true to the meaning and the linguistic gusto of the original.”
“[Raffel] has provided us with a classic work, restored to its original complexity, humor, and gusto.”
François Rabelais (between 1483 and 1494 – 9 April 1553) was a French Renaissance writer, humanist, physician, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs. His best known work is Gargantua and Pantagruel. Because of his literary power and historical importance, Western literary critics consider him one of the great writers of world literature and among the creators of modern European writing. His literary legacy is such that today, the word Rabelaisian has been coined as a descriptive inspired by his work and life. Merriam-Webster defines the word as describing someone or something that is "marked by gross robust humor, extravagance of caricature, or bold naturalism."