An "Earthly Paradise"?


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François Rabelais
French, 1494–1553
Les oevvres de Me. François Rabelais ... contenant cinq liures, de la vie, faicts, & dits heroïques de Gargantua, & de son fils Pantagruel (The Works of François Rabelais, containing five books, of the Lives, Heroic Deeds and Sayings of Gargantua and His Son Pantagruel)
Lyon, Jean Martin, first edition, 1558
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Rabelais was a major Renaissance writer, doctor, and humanist who was protected by Marguerite of Navarre, sister of King François I. With support from members of the prominent Du Bellay family, and from Marguerite de Navarre, he was able to publish his very inventive and provocative stories of giants. Rabelais mocked the flaws, ridiculous behavior, and hypocrisies of the elite, for instance, the passion of nobles for genealogy, the excess of effete politeness at the court, the ignorance of pedantic scholars, or the ruthless violence of knights.