The Rabelaisian Mythologies

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1996 - 293 páginas
Author Max Gauna has contributed to Rabelaisian studies an analysis of the author's four authentic novels, considered in the light of his own description of them as mythologies.
In the preface, Gauna remarks that such an enterprise requires attention to meaning and recognizes that meaning itself is called into question by much of postmodernist criticism, especially deconstruction. He also observes that deconstruction impinges on Rabelaisian criticism with particular force insofar as it may be seen to derive from the doctrines of the classical sophists as they are depicted in the Platonic dialogues, which themselves are an inspiration for author Rabelais.
In the introduction, Gauna relates the question of critical ideology to the age-old philosophical dialectic of the One and the Many. He shows how Rabelais's work exemplifies the tensions of that dialectic in a highly significant way, in that the multiform exuberance of the writing may be seen to play against its philosophical tenor, which espouses wholeheartedly the cause of the One against the Many. He then considers the question of mythology and suggests that Rabelais's stories may properly be seen as philosophical rhetoric, or the logotherapy of a committed Platonic doctor. He attends lastly to the question of laughter.
Gauna then devotes a chapter to each of the Rabelaisian chronicles, considered as mythology. An outline of all significant sections is provided, but where existing interpretations seem satisfactory, the reader is simply referred to the relevant critical literature. Thus, while chapters 1 and 2 are relatively shorter insofar as the philosophical content of the first book is episodic and that of the second largely clear-cut, new exegeses of certain sections of both are adumbrated. Chapter 3 suggests a new reading of the third book as a whole, in which Rabelais is seen to draw inspiration from the doctrines of Plato and the battle of Socrates with the sophists, incorporating into his worldview the central role of divination and the good demons who mediate between God and man. Chapter 4 examines in detail the various myths of the fourth book and suggests that in it Rabelais propounds a radically unorthodox syncretism in which the poetic attractions of Platonic and Plutarchan demonology are preponderant, in which Christ Himself may be seen as the greatest of the demons, and where the climax of the book shows us the hero Pantagruel in direct communication with his own guardian demon.
A short epilogue sums up Gauna's conclusions and suggests reasons for the literary and philosophical attractions of magical Platonism.

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Contenido

Pantagruel
29
Gargantua
69
The Tiers Livre
103
The Quart Livre
195
Epilogue
265
Notes
269
Bibliography
279
Index
287
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Página 186 - But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty...
Página 267 - This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. — Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
Página 186 - For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Página 130 - Et se gouverna si bien et prudentement Monsieur le nouveau chastellain qu'en moins de quatorze jours il dilapida le revenu certain et incertain de sa chastellenie pour troys ans.
Página 77 - Si ne le croiez, quelle cause est pourquoy autant n'en ferez de ces joyeuses et nouvelles chronicques, combien que, les dictans, n'y pensasse en plus que vous, qui par adventure beviez comme moy...
Página 238 - En ce temps que j'ay dit devant, Sur le Noel, morte saison, Que les loups se vivent de vent Et qu'on se tient en sa maison, Pour le frimas, pres du tison, Me vint ung vouloir de brisier La tres amoureuse prison Qui souloit mon cuer debrisier.
Página 123 - Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun...
Página 249 - Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Página 75 - And therefore if the head and body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul ; that is the first thing. And the cure, my dear youth, has to be effected by the use of certain charms, and these charms are fair words...

Acerca del autor (1996)

Max Gauna is a senior lecturer in French language and literature at the University of Sheffield, England.

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