Gargantua and Pantagruel
Francois Rabelais
1530s

Blood, sex, vomit and shit. Repeat. Gargantua and Pantagruel is sixteenth century violent, scatalogical satire about the lives of two Giants. Actually a series of five separate tales published between 1532 and 1564, it is the definitive text of what is called grotesque realism – a reduction of the abstract to not only the material but the base, and the discussion of general social and political dynamics by analogy with bodily functions. Eat, drink, shit, piss, fuck, fight – this is the world of Pantagruel and Gargantua, and also the world of politics, of religion, of civilization.

Human nature, law, education, marriage, religion, economics – Gargantua and Pantagruel tackles all of these, providing a sharp and insightful critique of all that western philosophy holds dear, and celebrating the animal of our humanity, the leveling impulse of revolt, the wildness of passion and drunkenness, the freedom of all that is bawdy.

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