A New Book: Gargantua and Pantagruel

Little Women is completed and so we move on to a new book on the Master List. A quick glance at the Books Left to Read list, and I see there are very few left in the top tier. Nine, to be exact, ranging from St. Augustine in the 4th Century to William Gaddis in the 20th.  Many of these books are intimidating to pick up. (Would you want to casually breeze through In Search of Lost Time?) But one of them piques my interest because it is the book I know the least about: Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel. It is a series of novels that predate Cervantes, which is worth noting since Don Quixote is often cited as the first novel. It is also reportedly full of vulgarity, obscenity, and vice. 

I know next to nothing about Rabelais, his philosophy or biography, so I’ll be doing a bit of digging into the background of this novel as I read. Feel free to join in!

Here is the introductory sentence (It is going to be an interesting ride with this one):

Most noble and illustrious drinkers, and you thrice precious pockified blades (for to you, and none else, do I dedicate my writings), Alcibiades, in that dialogue of Plato’s, which is entitled The Banquet, whilst he was setting forth the praises of his schoolmaster Socrates (without all question the prince of philosophers), amongst other discourses to that purpose, said that he resembled the Silenes.


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