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Rabelais's radical farce; late medieval comic theater and its function in Rabelais.


Rabelais's radical farce; late medieval comic theater and its function in Rabelais.

Hayes, E. Bruce.

Ashgate Publishing Co.


188 pages




Rabelais is best remembered as the author of outrageously scatological, obscene, and entertaining stories, particularly Pantagruel and Gargantua. Hayes (French, U. of Kansas) adds another dimension to Rabelais studies, the author's use of the theatrical form of farce. In the first section, Hayes takes a close look at the farce, seeing not a formulaic presentation lacking in creativity, but a well-structured vehicle for expressing frustrations as well as letting off steam. He then points out the many ways that Rabelais used this form as a background for his own humanistic opinions. He also notes the references to farces throughout Rabelais' work, often by name. He closes with an examination of Rabelais' later, less hopeful, writings, showing that an element of farce remained to the end. Hayes presents a study that combines literary research with historical and social conditions. Scholars working on the sixteenth century will find much information and food (or drink) for thought.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Apr 1, 2011
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