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A Franciscan monk turned Benedictine, he abandoned the cloister in and began to study medicine at Montpellier. Two years later he wrote his first work, Pantagruel, which revealed his genius as a storyteller, satirist, propagandist and creator of comic situations and characters. In he published Gargantua, a companion to Pantagruel, which contains some of his best work.

It mocks old-fashioned theological education, and opposes the monastic ideal, contrasting it with a free society of noble Evangelicals. Following an outburst of repression in late , Rabelais abandoned his post of doctor at the Hotel-Dieu at Lyons and despite Royal support his book Tiers Livre was condemned. At the beginning of this book, Gargantua's wife dies giving birth to Pantagruel, who grows to be as giant and scholarly as his father.

Rabelais gives a catalog of his reading, mostly humorously-titled books, and judgements in nonsensical legal cases. He befriends hard-partying jokester Panurge.


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Together with a group of friends, they intoxicate an army of invading giants, burn their camp, and drown survivors in urine. Epistemon, decapitated in the fray, recovers when Panurge sews his head back to his body. He reports that souls in hell are poorly paid and work bad jobs, but that's the extent of their torments. Another battle is missed by the narrator, who is exploring the civilization in Pantagruel's mouth at the time.

After the success of Pantagruel , Rabelais revisited and revised his source material. This volume begins with the miraculous birth of Gargantua after an month pregnancy. The labor is so difficult, his mother threatens to castrate his father, Lord Grandgousier. The giant Gargantua emerges at his mother's left ear, calling for ale, while 17, cows were required for the provision of his daily milk. His first garment featured a codpiece whose "exiture, outjecting or outstanding He steals the bells of St.

Anthony, but gives them back after a sophist makes ludicrously self-centered appeals for their return. While he studies diligently in Paris, the neighboring Lord Picrochole 's bakers are insulted and attacked by Grandgousier's shepherds.


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A massive retaliatory strike against Grandgousier's lands is finally halted at Seville by the merciless Friar John. Grandgousier sues for peace, but Picrochole arrogantly rebuffs him. Gargantua and Friar John rally the troops and after Gargantua nearly swallows 6 pilgrims who accidentally fell in his salad they win a great battle, drive Picrochole back to his city, then overthrow it. It can be considered a point-by-point critique of the educational practices of the age, or a call for free schooling, or a defense of all sorts of notions on human nature.

Rabelais then returned to the story of Pantagruel himself in the last three books. He sermonizes against moral restraint and in favor of indebtedness, yet accepts Pantagruel's offer to repay all of his creditors. Now financially solvent for the first time, Panurge stops wearing his long codpiece and seeks advice about whom to marry. Various auguries opening Virgil to a random page, inducing prophetic dream through half-hearted fasting and councillors — the Sibyl of Panzoust, the mute Goatnose, the old poet Raminagrobis, Friar John, a group of learned doctors and lawyers, and a fool — all agree that if he marries, his wife will cheat on him, beat him, and rob him.

But he egregiously reinterprets their prophecies in a more favorable light. In a brief interlude, Pantagruel defends Judge Brindlegoose, who has pronounced sentence by rolling dice for 40 years, on the grounds that he is an old idiot and therefore favored by Fortune. As a last attempt to settle the question of marriage, Pantagruel and Panurge take a sea voyage to consult the Oracle of Bacbuc "Divine Bottle".

Their ship is well-provisioned with the phallic herb Pantagruelion, for which Rabelais gives a ribald natural history.

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The whole book can be seen as a comical retelling of the Odyssey , or of the story of Jason and the Argonauts. In The Fourth Book , perhaps his most satirical, Rabelais criticizes the arrogance and wealth of the Roman Catholic Church , the political figures of the time, and popular superstitions, and he addresses several religious, political, linguistic, and philosophical issues. The group sails to East Asia and buys many exotic animals.

Panurge quarrels with the sheep merchant Dingdong, and takes his revenge by drowning him and his flock.

Gargantua and Pantagruel (Penguin Classics)

They pass by the islands of the Bailiffs, whose peasants charge to be beaten. During a terrible storm at sea, Panurge is paralyzed with fear but feigns insufferable bravura afterwards. After slaying a sea-monster and being informed of the death of the giant Lent, they arrive at Wild Island, where the half-sausage inhabitants called Chitterlings mistake Pantagruel for their enemy Lent and attack. The battle is stopped by a divine winged pig, who excretes mustard on the battlefield. They proceed to Ruach, whose people eat air, to barren Pope-Figland where a farmer and his wife outwit the devil, and to the arrogantly Catholic Papimania, where the people worship the Pope and his Decretals.

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Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais - Audiobook ( Part 1/2 )

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