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French writer and humanist. He was the first western writer specialized in giants. From him come the ideas that the giants are abominable beings that devour people, through his masterpiece Gargantua and Pantagruel.
Data on the first part of his life are scarce. It follows from his work that he could have devoted himself to the study of laws from the age of 16. A letter sent to the humanist Guillaume Budé in 1521 reveals that he was already a friar and showed signs of having feminist tendencies.
In 1524, he was then associated with the circle of the poet Jean Bouchet, to whom he sent a versified letter, his first writing known in French. From 1530, he attended, as a student, the faculty of medicine of Montpellier, and despite not having the title of doctor already recognized great merits. He then went through a period of economic difficulties that led him to move to the city of Lyon, where he also practiced as a doctor, although he was not yet qualified.
In 1532 he published (at 38 years) the first book of his satire Pantagruel, whose success was spectacular, although the Sorbonne condemned in 1533 by obscene and heretical.
In 1535 (with 41 years), his second great work, The Inestimable Life of Gargantua, Pantagruel's father, was published by François Juste in Lyon. After a new stay in Rome, from 1536 he was dispensed from his ecclesiastical vows and took, during ten years, an adventurous life, dedicating itself mainly to medicine. Finally graduated by the University of Montpellier, in 1537, was introduced in the court and benefited of the protection of Guillaume du Bellay, brother of Jean.
Pantagruel's third book, published in 1546 (with 52 years) and dedicated to Margaret of Navarre, was condemned as heretical by La Sorbonne, who included it in the Index of Prohibited Books, together with Gargantua, after which Rabelais took refuge First in Metz and then in Rome. The first chapters of Pantagruel's fourth book appeared in 1548. In 1549 he returned definitively to Paris, where he lived on the prebendary that had been granted to him.
From Pantagruel's fifth book, the sixteen first chapters were published in 1562, nine years after his death; the others were added two years later, but their authenticity is doubtful.
His work constitutes a great satirical fresco of the society of his time, rich in concrete and picturesque details that contribute to a humorous, often exacerbated and parody description of the France of his time. Rabelais' satires are directed primarily against folly and hypocrisy, as well as against any obstacle imposed on human freedom, which he often faced with the Church, parodying his dogmatism and his ascetic aspirations. He opposed traditional education and opted for certain reforms that related him to Erasmus.
Work: Gargantua and Pantagruel
This work consists of 5 volumes (although one of these may not be his own):
- Pantagruel (1532)
- The inestimable life of Gargantua, Pantagruel's father(1534)
- Pantagruel's third book (1546)
- Pantagruel's fourth book (1552)
- Pantagruel's fifth book (possibly not written by Rabelais)(1562)
Influence on the present society
This idea was inherited as an artistic resource by several artists (especially those who like giants for non-fetish reasons). For example:
- In Nazi Germany, giants were often depicted as devouring people as a way of expressing that "the enemy is hurting the German people."
- In the book The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), Roald Dahl (non-fetishist writer) shows giants devouring children as an artistic resource, so that "devourer feature" was what made hateful giants in general.
- In the manga and animé Attack on titan, Hajime Isayama (non-fetishist author) drew giants devouring people as an artistic resource, using the traditional idea he inherited from Rabelais: that a giant devouring people is an abominable act.
For more information, see "vore".
- Karbo and François Rabelais share in common that both are specialized artists in giants who devour people, both are French and both are among the most influential artists in the communities that like the giants.
- The works of Rabelais, although they were only texts, were very badly seen by the scholastics because of the explicit content in them (there were: devours, anal insertions, dismemberments, explicit sexual content, foul language, explicit mockery of French society of Season, etc.). Fortunately, although these works were poorly seen and censored, they were not lost at the stake.
- That means that if Karbo had lived at that time, his canvases (which would surely have dealt with giant women devouring people) would have been burned by "obscene", "heretical" and "anti-patriarchal" (at that time the woman was considered as a being inferior to the male). He might even have been sentenced to death.