Gargantua & Pantagruel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Gargantua & Pantagruel (Gargantua and Pantagruel #1-5)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  6,969 ratings  ·  218 reviews
In English-speaking countries, Rabelias has been seen as a forerunner of Swift, whose buffoonery masks incisive criticism of contemporary politics, religion and society. Sir Thomas Urquhart's 1635 translation does full justice to Rabelias' inventiveness and comic genius, and to the patchwork of style, tone and register which for a time alienated French readers conditioned...more
Paperback, 832 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Wordsworth Editions (first published 1532)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Good fellow pantagruelists, join us in our feast! Trinck! Read! Pass another pint of tripe! All you pouty agalasts, I fart upon you! To the devil with you, you black-beetles, you dull and dappled drips. Here we make it merry! Pantagruelists of goodreads, unite! You have nothing to lose but the contents of your bowels. Trinck! Laugh! Burst!

Properly to give Rabelais his due, to pursue you and persuade you that (as our Good Book says), “Pantagrueling is the beginning of wisdom,” would require the s...more
Ian Paganus
An Exuberant Masterpiece

This novel is almost 600 years old, yet it’s hugely entertaining, far more so than I had expected.

In both content and style, there were times when I couldn’t have guessed when it was written.

It’s no longer argued that it was the first ever novel. However, its narative diversity highlights that the institution of the novel has always been about stylistic innovation and that there is little that differentiates the origins of the novel from subsequent Modernism and Post-Mode...more
Miriam
Jun 02, 2011 Miriam rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parrhesia afficionados
Recommended to Miriam by: my Rennaissance lit prof

You know what philosophy needs? François thought to himself. More fart jokes. And excrement jokes. Also some obscenity, blasphemy, over-eating, and sex. Ooh, and giants! But most of all, more fart jokes.

Personally, the philosophical discourses were the part I found most interesting, but if you think several hundred pages of various characters calling one another prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy rascals, shite-a-bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy l...more
MJ Nicholls
That is why, Drinkers, I counsel you to lay up a good stock of my books while the time is right; as soon as you come across them on the booksellers’ stalls you must not only shuck them but devour them like an opiatic cordial and incorporate them within you: it is then that you will discover the good they have in store for all noble bean-shuckers. Reading Rabelais over the last few months has been an enlightening and perplexing and stimulating pleasure, a delirious encyclopaedic cornucopia of cod...more
El
How to describe this book? (You don't describe it, you read it, hahahaha...)

This book is absurd. It makes me think absurd things and make stupid jokes. It has some funny moments, yes, but it's sort of like when you're with that one funny friend who just takes it all a step too far and can't let a joke go, and pretty soon it's just like, "Yeah, dude, shut up already." That's how it felt reading Rabelais and his fart joke after fart joke, references to other bodily functions and other dirties, and...more
Tom
Dec 31, 2007 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
September
This is going to be a long term, yet highly enjoyable, reading project. Gargantua and Pantagruel is the anti-novel before the novel, a proto-Swift, a proto-Pynchon, who combines and blurs the boundary between low and high culture. It's also highly readable, as each chapter is maybe 1-3 pages long.

December
The behemoth has finally fallen, slain at my feet (by my feat?). What memories have I of the battle? That it was one of the greatest battles I've ever fought.

Gargantua and Pantagruel i...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A number of GR readers have confessed starting this and not finishing. It has five books with several chapters each. The chapters are short, but they are many: 1st book - 58 chapters; 2nd book - 34 chapters; 3rd book - 52 chapters; 4th book - 67 chapters; and the 5th book has 48 chapters.

The secret of my picking up this title (among the hundred or so in my tbr) AND finishing it is that I read this like a hungry donkey. More precisely, I read it like I was a donkey with a carrot in front of me ha...more
Claire
Thank you, Colin, for reminding me to add this book to my Hate Shelf.

Great hammer of Thor, I hate this book. Seriously. It is the most heinous book ever. I can handle the Renaissance humor, although, as my dad put it (we both got stuck reading this book in college classes and our mutual hate of Rabelais binds us together): "There's only so much you can do with codpiece jokes."

Well said, Father. Well said.
Scribble Orca
May 14, 2013 Scribble Orca marked it as to-be-consideread  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Scribble by: MJ Nicholls
Fire-flies! Fripperies! Drolls and dullards, trolls and tankards, blight me a merry feets, bodies worked and panned, mints-o-gold, spears and peppery pots!


(Wake and rabble louse!)
Liza P.
I know that this crossed into the territory of heated historical debate... but technically this is the FIRST NOVEL ever written [or rather the first book that was written in that style].

Aside from that, this is just a beautiful, imaginative, slightly creepy book! One of my favorite books in the world!
Jeremy
I know that this was considered an important transition between renaissance literature and the beginnings of what we call the novel, but I found this next to impossible to get into. Rabelais might not have invented toilet humor, but he stretches it out about as far as it can possibly go (which ultimately, isn't that far). The constant references to glands and bodily fluids get old real fast. I suppose that in the 16th century, the fact that people poop, pee, spit, vomit, sneeze, fornicate and fa...more
Justin Evans
Imagine that the world insisted that Dante's Comedy, the Vita Nuova, the writings on Monarchy, his book about using Italian instead of Latin, and some random thing written by someone claiming to be Dante were all one book, and insisted on printing them together in one 2000 page behemoth. That is what happens here. 'Gargantua' and 'Pantagruel' are rollicking. The third book no doubt repays close study by people really into the Renaissance and who get off on making fun of the Papacy. The fourth bo...more
Brad
Utterly unique, completely over-the-top and overflowing with every substance from wine to excrement. The definitive exemplar of the grotesque and the carnivalesque: Gargantua and Pantagruel is the high and holy testament to satiric diatribe, excess verbiage and sensory overload.
Joseph Nicolello
My Currently-Reading might seem curious - The books are broken into different realms.

Gibbon is a long, long archival work in progress - I should have this listed as Current at least until summer's end, if not autumn's, if not the years, /beyond.

Ovid is a current recreational read after several years of anticipation, my decision to finally buckle down prompted by today's reading(s) of several biographical and critical pieces.

Swift is for the bathtub.

Rabelais has replaced my Wake and obscurer Joyc...more
Rachel Hartman
I suppose if I list this as one of my influences, that's going to earn me some pointed looks. It's like admitting you like Frank Zappa: you're constantly defending yourself. "But... but the scatological humour conceals a subtle brilliance! You have to look behind it! Huh huh huh, I said 'behind'!"

See? There's nothing you can do. You just have to stand up straight and own the ugly, knowing full well that there's an intelligence and humanity there that will inevitably be eclipsed in most readers'...more
Sarah Owens
A perfect encapsulation of Renaissance literary ethos - high-spirited, bawdy, elegant and curious - this long narrative is at the same time a flippant send-up of the contemporary literary culture: Rabelais dedicates the story to "most beloved syphilitics and illustrious drinkers" and warns that his words should not be taken seriously. No matter whether you heed that warning (though in my opinion, and in the spirit of a true Pantagruelist, you shouldn't), you'll have a lot of fun reading this boo...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Bloody hell trying to identify the edition I have.

 photo RabelaisDeutsch_zpscb507262.jpg

"Rabelais (Hg. Horst und Edith Heintze) Gargantua und Pantagruel. Vollständige Ausgabe in zwei Bänden. Leipzig Dieterich 1970
Hardcover Rotes Leinen 18x11 cm, guter Zustand. Schutzumschlag leicht abgegriffen. 580 + 422 S.; Sammlung Dieterich Band 306/307.; 1. Auflage" from this seller's listing:: http://www.en.zvab.com/displayBookDet... I have only the first volume, covering Books I-III, and it fails the dustjacket. But what the heck.

Edited by H...more
Angana
I recommend for those who do know French to read it in French. However for those who do not have access to the language, like myself, have little choice but to read it in some other translation. An excellent example of Renaissance prose, this work of literature will probably need a little background study in order to be understood and appreciated thoroughly.

To start with, the original was written in 16th century colloquial French which none of us are probably familiar with, which when translate...more
Mark
George Orwell said that Rabelais was "perverse, and a candidate for psychoanalysis." One need not but read twenty pages to get a clear idea why. However, Rabelais exists as an icon of literature because Gargantua and Pantagruel is, perhaps, the first "fantastic novel." The very precursor to Swift and his Gulliver's Travels. And despite the all scatology and genitalia and the excreta and effluvia, there is yet enough of the higher man inside Rabelais to balance all that with notions of better mea...more
Josh Friedlander
Going through this back-to-back with the Canterbury Tales (and not far removed from Don Quixote) afforded me ample opportunity to reflect on the development of the modern novel, and the modern sensibility. Something subversive lies in these two books - which are so ripe with scatological humour and hanky-panky - and one wonders how much this contributed to their enduring popularity. Both, too, along with Don Quixote, contain metafictional elements (Chaucer's cameo narration, G&P's endless ma...more
Mogg Morgan
Extract here:
in unfinished essay on Aleister Crowley & Rabelais
http://www.scribd.com/doc/78423790/Pe...
Louis
La base de tous les romans satiriques, de Swift à Rushdie, doublée d'une érudition infinie.
Carol
I'm not done with this book yet. Truthfully I've been on a horrible book slump for months and months and it feels awful, like enduring a long sexless dry spell with your spouse. After starting and not finishing Moviegoer, Tin Drum, and Wings of the Dove, I was starting to feel like a miserable failure at reading and then I picked this up. It says too many things about my personality that the book that finally motivated me to read beyond the halfway point is an eight hundred page long poop joke....more
Elisabeth
Rabelais’ pentalogy of (literally and figuratively) epic proportions recounts the lives and adventures of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. Published over a span of some thirty-two years in the first half of the 16th century during the dawn of the individual and humanism, the parodic books and their maker suffered condemnation by various institutions including the Catholic Church, the University of Paris, the Sorbonne, and vitriol from Calvin, while enjoying considerable public popularity, as t...more
James
In 1532 Francois Rabelais wrote a story about the giant Gargantua. For the following twenty years he would continue to write producing Gargantua and Pantagruel, the first great novel in French literature. This novel, in five parts chronicles the adventures of the giant Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. While many consider Rabelais a difficult writer, he is in many senses a modern novelist, rejecting the rules for the novel, if for no other reason than they had yet to be established. His translat...more
Arukiyomi

Click the pic to read my full review.

Snippet
Urghh… took me an age to read this. It was partly my fault and partly the book’s. Long ago, I realised during the first book of this five book tome that I wasn’t going to enjoy lengthy sections of this. I’ll explain why in a bit. But rather than bite the bullet and get it over with, I decided, somewhat subconsciously influenced by Rabelais himself, to not leave the toilet until I had read at least a chapter. Granted the chapters are tiny. But there a...more
Leslie
I am putting this aside unfinished, as I am not really enjoying it. Here are my thoughts so far (15% through, about halfway done with the first 'Book'):

•Written in mid-1500's (before Shakespeare and after Chaucer)
•I find I have some of the same difficulties with language that I have with Shakespeare (my recent reading of Shakespeare's plays has enhanced my ability to skip over words not only unfamiliar to me but also unknown to my dictionary!) A fair amount of Latin & perhaps other languages...more
Michaela
The translation I was reading (not this one, but I couldn't find it quickly on here) was a bit tedious. I am not entirely certain whether I appreciate this book or not. Throughout reading, I suffered from the malaise involved in not knowing whether my teacher's extreme enthusiasm for the book was comprehensive enough to warrant my own enthusiasm. I'm sure his love is founded, I just wasn't fully invested in the books. Decidedly bawdy, Rabelais creates endless humorous points for satire, which re...more
Dan Creighton
I can't claim to have read all of it, but I'm pretty certain I won't read anything filthier, funnier or as curiously life affirming. Operates from a position I guess is the opposite of Olympian, down amongst the filth, fluids and fury, but the disdain is the same, and the conviction that we are ridiculous little creatures with foolish and damaging passions. There's a lot of joy in it though.
Kylos
Jul 03, 2007 Kylos rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those with alot of criticism and no historical context
it's gross. it's wild. it's over the top and in your face and down your pants.
and when people say that our popular culture is "getting" too violent, vile, offensive, etc. i laugh and i laugh and i laugh!
cause it aint new! it's old! we're new! it was vile and gross and offensive before we got to it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Jacques the Fatalist
  • The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works
  • Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  • The Recognition of 'Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts
  • Njal's Saga
  • بوستان سعدی
  • The Complete Essays
  • The Heptameron
  • Mahabharata
  • Grande Sertão: Veredas
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
  • The Temptation of St. Antony
  • History
  • Euphues the Anatomy of Wit: Euphues & His England
  • Thomas Of Reading
  • Julie, or the New Heloise
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • Lost Illusions (La Comédie Humaine)
11029
François Rabelais was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor and Renaissance humanist. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, and both bawdy jokes and songs. Rabelais is considered one of the great writers of world literature and among the creators of modern European writing.
More about François Rabelais...
Gargantua Pantagruel The Complete Works of Francois Rabelais Le tiers livre The Portable Rabelais

Share This Book

“Seeing how sorrow eats you, defeats you.
I'd rather write about laughing than crying,
For laughter makes men human, and courageous.”
59 likes
“the wise may be instructed by a fool” 18 likes
More quotes…