Gargantua and Pantagruel

The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (French: La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) is a pentalogy of novels written in the 16th century by Franois Rabelais, telling the adventures of two giants, Gargantua ( gar-GAN-tew-, French: [ata]) and his son Pantagruel ( pan-TAG-roo-el, -l, PAN-t-GROO-l, French: [ptayl]). The work is written in an amusing, extravagant, and satirical vein, features much erudition, vulgarity, and wordplay, and is regularly compared with the works of William Shakespeare and James Joyce. Rabelais was a polyglot, and the work introduced “a great number of new and difficult words […] into the French language”.The work was stigmatised as obscene by the censors of the Collge de la Sorbonne, and, within a social climate of increasing religious oppression in a lead up to the French Wars of Religion, it was treated with suspicion, and contemporaries avoided mentioning it.”Pantagruelism”, a form of stoicism, developed and applied throughout, is (among other things) “a certain gaiety of spirit confected in disdain for fortuitous things” (French: une certaine gat d’esprit confite dans le mpris des choses fortuites).


Read or listen to Gargantua and Pantagruel

by Francois Rabelais