Interpretations of Rabelais

Author: Parkin, John


"In this follow-up to his Interpreting Rabelais: An Open Text Reading of an Open Text (1993), Parkin (Bristol Univ., UK) considers the following topics: Rabelais and Guillaume Coquillart and their presentations of trials; Pantagruel's early years (his birth, education, and meeting up with Panurge); the two wars (Dipsodian and Picrocholine) compared; Pantagruel's later years (his role in Rabelais' Le Tiers Livre and Le Quart Livre, where Pantagruel states, "These are books where he has fulfilled his destiny and is in the curious position of having a literary identity which depends on his companion Panurge. . ."); the question of interpreting Bakhtin; and Le Cinquiesme Livre. On this last topic, Parkin tackles the question of authenticity by asking, "Can we read the Cinquieme Livre as in any way relevant to Rabelais' work...?" Although he never takes a stand on this thorny question, Parkin does present some interesting theories, as he does in each of the topics covered. This study may leave some with many unanswered questions, but it is a valuable addition to Rabelais scholarship." - CHOICE

“Dr. Parkin’s book is characterized for me above all by its thoughtfulness and its intellectual honesty, and in the way in which, while (rightly) emphasizing the dialogic nature of Rabelais’ work at the same time opines up a potential dialogue with its own reader. Dr. Parkin already has an eminent reputation as a Rabelais specialist, and I am sure that this book will cement that reputation even further.” – Stephen Bamforth

“Parkin’s last chapter deals with the vexed question of the authenticity and aesthetic value of the Cinquième livre. . . . His judgment is nuanced and judicious, doing justice to the often overlooked strengths of the disputed work without glossing over its weaknesses. All in all, John Parkin’s latest book makes a significant contribution to our appreciation of the kaleidoscopic genius of his author” – Max Gauna

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Preface; Introduction
1. Rabelais and Coquillart
2. Pantagruel, the early years
3. Two wars compared
4. Pantagruel, the latter years
5. The Bakhtin Question
6. Polytechnics in the Cinquième livre
Bibliography; Index