Tag Archives: Francois Rabelais

Doctor Rabelais Part I: The education of Gargantua

Gargantua visits Paris François Rabelais is one of the world’s greatest writers, one whose place is in the company of Aristophanes, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Dante. Regarded as the creator of modern French literature, he was a man of the Renaissance, yet emerging out of the Middle Ages and standing between the old world and the […]

Doctor Rabelais Part II: The adventures of Pantagruel and Panurge

Pantagruel Gustave Doré At 524 years old, Gargantua begot his son Pantagruel, also a giant, also educated in the same manner as his father. But Pantagruel was more careful than his father about racking his brain with too much study, for fear of damaging his eyesight. Wavering between medicine and law, he eventually decided against […]

Doctor Rabelais Part III: Doctor Rondibilis on bridling the senses

Rondibilis the physician, 1894 Gustave Doré During their travels Pantagruel and Panurge meet Dr. Rondibilis, from whom Panurge seeks advice on whether to marry. There follows a passage that has been characterized as “pearls buried in the manure, amid the coarse and obstetric remarks on Panurge’s marriage.” The learned doctor discusses the pros and cons […]

Doctor Rabelais Part IV: Rabelais on women and doctors

“When I speak of women,” said the doctor, “I speak of a sex so fragile, so variable, so changeable, so inconstant, and so imperfect . . . that Plato, you will recall, was at a loss where to class them. . . . For nature has placed in their bodies . . . certain humors, […]