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Durham University

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Publication details for Prof John O'Brien

O'Brien, John (2011). Rabelais and Language: Change, Decay, Transition. In Approaches to Teaching the Works of Francois Rabelais. Gray, Floyd & Reeser, Todd New York: MLA. 73-79.

Author(s) from Durham


The works of François Rabelais--Gargantua, Pantagruel, the Tiers livre, and the Quart livre--embody the Renaissance spirit of discovery and are crucial to the development of early modern prose and to the birth of the novel. Rabelais's exuberant satire deals not only with the major cultural and intellectual issues of his time but also with issues of interest to students today.

This volume suggests the materials that can be used in teaching Rabelais: editions, translations, criticism, Web sites, music, artwork, and films. The volume's essays present strategies for the classroom, discussing the classical and biblical allusions; the context of humanism and evangelical reform; various themes (giants, monsters, war); both feminism and masculinity as vexing subjects; Rabelais's erudition; and the challenges of teaching his inventive language, his ambiguity, and his scatology.