H. W. Longfellow - Evangeline - a tale of acadie - 1856
Frontispiece portrait, viii, 348; vi, 392; vii, 295; viii, 367pp.,
François Rabelais; born between 1483 and 1494; died 1553), has been called the first great French prose author. A humanist of the French Renaissance and Greek scholar, he attracted opposition from both John Calvin and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Though in his day he was best known as a physician, scholar, and diplomat, later he became better known as a satirist, for his depictions of the grotesque, and for his larger-than-life characters.
Both Ecclesiastical and anticlerical, Christian and a free thinker, a doctor and a bon vivant, the multiple facets of his personality sometimes seem contradictory. Caught up in the religious and political turmoil of the Reformation, Rabelais treated the great questions of his time in his novels. Assessments of his life and work have evolved over time depending on dominant paradigms of thought.
Rabelais admired Erasmus and like him is considered a Christian humanist. He was critical of medieval scholasticism, lampooning the abuses of powerful princes and popes, opposing them with Greco-Roman learning and popular culture.
Rabelais is widely known for the first two volumes relating the childhoods of the giants Gargantua and Pantagruel written in the style of bildungsroman, his later works—the Third Book (which prefigures the philosophical novel) and the Fourth Book are considerably more erudite in tone.
His literary legacy is such that the word Rabelaisian designates something that is "marked by gross robust humor, extravagance of caricature, or bold naturalism"