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Rabelais and Montaigne - Essay Example

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Name: Professor: Course: Date: Gargantua and Pantagruel Rabelais and The Essays: A Selection by Montaigne Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel is a collection of stories written in five different novels that are connected. The author wrote the pieces in the 16th France, narrating fictitious lives of two giants…
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Rabelais and Montaigne
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Download file to see previous pages This is especially so as they give credence to art in its natural state where a lot of description and opinion, but which seek to indulge into inquiry. Even so, to argue that renaissance writers were only interested in theory may be a misconception. This paper shall assess the above claims under the thesis statement: early renaissance writers and characters appreciated theoretical generalizations and pragmatic action in equal measure. To do so, this paper shall focus on selected readings of the above scholars in an attempt to prove this position. The paper will also offer a counter argument through the lens of an alternative interpretation especially where ambiguity leaves room for multiple understandings of the texts. An Analysis of Depictions of Pragmatic Action versus Theoretical Generalizations To begin with, Book 1, the introduction offers a bit of the author’s background. One may notice that the fact that he threw himself at the movement of the Renaissance (Rabelais and Raffel 5). He is depicted as having acquired both the Latin antiquity knowledge as well as the Greek forms of knowledge. Raffel writes, “Almost all the elements which are united in Rabelais’ style are known from the later Middle Ages (Preface page X). It is observable that since the author lived at the intersection of two historical periods, it was inevitable that he was affected by the mannerisms and beliefs of those times. It is also observable that Rabelais did not always write in the same fashion (Rabelais and Raffel 12). Analyses of chapters 52-58 reveal some perceptions of the renaissance writers and characters about religion and logic. There was a lot of attention given to theory. For example, Rabelais says, “If one of the gallants of ladies should say, let us drink, they would all drink.” This depicts a situation in which the society did not assess keenly how practically their actions could affect other things around them. For instance, Rabelais’s work reveals in this chapter that the society perceived women as incapable of religious service. When the monk asks Gargantua what a good “a woman that is neither fair not good” serves, Gargantua replies that she should make a nun (Rabelais and Raffel 127). The monk agrees to this. One may observe that these renaissance characters depict religious principles were still important to the society. These show to theoretical approach to life. Besides, there is a lot of description of the abbey of the Thelemites, particularly in regard to how it was built. The author takes his time to describe the abbey, as was the common practice in romanticism. Rabelais’s says this of the abbey in chapter 52, “In the midst there was a wonderful scalier or winding stair, the entry whereof was without a house, in a vault or arch six fathom abroad.” He also engages in detailed description, a characteristic of theoretical life. he says in chapter 54, “Stay here, you lively, jovial, handsome, brisk, gay, witty, frolic, cheerful, merry, frisk, spruce, jocund, courteous, furtherer of trades, and in a word, all worthy gentle blades. This approach to life combines what one would call emerging pragmatism against a fading romanticism. Rabelais observes in what he termed a prophetical riddle, that “they will say that everyman should have his turn” (Rabelais and Raffel 137) to imply the births of human rights in the post renaissance period. He also continues with theoretical appro ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Michel de Montaigne
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