Rabelais and his World [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 23 (4):737-738 (1970)

Abstract
This powerful, original, and tendentious book was written in 1940, published in Russia in 1965, and is now available in English. It suffers from many shortcomings--repetitiousness, oversimplification, the exclusion of material which fails to fit the author's thesis. It also inevitably reflects ignorance of scholarship since the thirties, which has tended to deny Rabelais' alleged agnosticism and nudged him closer to orthodoxy. But it represents nonetheless an important advance in the understanding of Rabelais' book, and defends provocatively an unfashionable theory of the Renaissance. Bakhtin lays heaviest stress on his author's freedom to play with authorized symbols and solemn institutions in the spirit of the carnival, a spirit deriving from folk humor. The common folk of town and country delighted in improprieties, turned all serious values and structures upside down, dwelt subversively and coarsely on the "bodily lower stratum." Just as food enters the body and is eliminated, so all authorized solemnity enters Pantagruel and is turned into fun. This peasant laughter remains unafraid before age and death because it recognizes the simultaneous destruction and creation in all experience. The medieval hierarchical conception of the universe is replaced in Rabelais and in the entire Renaissance by a new horizontal perspective upon the individual in history. This new perspective fastens particularly upon the body and renders it good-humoredly grotesque. Bakhtin seriously underestimates the breadth of both Renaissance religious feeling and neo-Platonic speculation as well as the strength of medieval survivals. But specific readings of Rabelais' text are genuinely enlightening even when they distort or simplify his meaning.--T. M. G.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph197023470
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,206
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

L'humanisme chrétien de Rabelais.Gt Bedouelle - 1987 - Revue Thomiste 87 (1):117-127.
Rabelais et la parodie.Raymond Lebègue - forthcoming - Bibliothèque d'Humanisme Et Renaissance.
Notes Sur La Vie De Rabelais.Jacques Boulenger - 1941 - Bibliothèque d'Humanisme Et Renaissance 1:30-42.
Rabelais Et Les Iles Canaries.Alexandre Cioranescu - 1963 - Bibliothèque d'Humanisme Et Renaissance 25 (1):88-96.
Une Pronostication Inconnue De Rabelais.Lucien Scheler - 1946 - Bibliothèque d'Humanisme Et Renaissance 8:119-128.
Rabelais et la licorne.Paul J. Smith - 1985 - Revue Belge de Philologie Et D’Histoire 63 (3):477-503.
Rabelais et la réforme de la justice.Robert Marichal - forthcoming - Bibliothèque d'Humanisme Et Renaissance.
Rabelais Fut-il Maître Des Requêtes?Robert Marichal - 1948 - Bibliothèque d'Humanisme Et Renaissance 10:169-178.
Rabelais, lecteur de Virgile.Raymond Chevallier - 2001 - Revue Belge de Philologie Et D’Histoire 79 (1):119-126.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-03-18

Total views
14 ( #619,078 of 2,285,631 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #839,861 of 2,285,631 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature