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Imagining Rabelais in Renaissance England /
Anne Lake Prescott.
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1998.
xviii, 257 p. : ill.
0300071221 (alk. paper)
More Details
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1998.
0300071221 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-07:
This reviewer has not enjoyed a scholarly book so much since reading Barbara C. Bowen's anthology One Hundred Renaissance Jokes (1988). Prescott's presentation of "Rabelaisian" reincarnations in English literature gives the reader examples of alleged references to the 16th-century French author, stressing both his humor and the dichotomy of his ideas. Rabelais was alternately appreciated and condemned for his writings--a trait picked up by the English authors. Prescott (Barnard College) treats Sidney, Johnson, Donne, and Drayton, among many others; chapters include "Body Matters," "The Chapbook Giant in England," "Rabelais and the World of Words." As an introduction to Prescott's book, this reviewer recommends consulting the essay by William Engel in Rabelais in Context (1993). But this book easily stands on its own, giving an important insight into "reception theory" as applied to Rabelais in English, especially to the ambiguity of this reception. The extent to which his name and works permeated English literature shows the popularity of Rabelais, both for his wordplay and his salaciousness. The reader is sure to learn something from this book, but since familiarity with Rabelais is essential it will best serve upper-division undergraduates and above. C. E. Campbell; Cottey College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 1998
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Bowker Data Service Summary
Famed for his learning, wordplay, fantasy and insight, Rabelais was also known for scoffing, supposed atheism, salacious writing & irresponsible whimsy. This book explores Renaissance England's response to this funny yet difficult & ambiguous man.
Unpaid Annotation
Famed for his learning, wordplay, clever fantasy, and insight, the notorious French writer Francois Rabelais (1494?-1553) was also widely known for scoffing, supposed atheism, salacious writing, and irresponsible whimsy. This engaging book is the first exploration in more than sixty years of Renaissance England's response to the humorous yet difficult and ambiguous Rabelais. Anne Lake Prescott describes in entertaining detail how a host of English writers -- Philip Sidney, Ben Jonson, John Webster, John Donne, James I, Shakespeare, and Michael Drayton, among many others -- collectively and sometimes individually appreciated and condemned Rabelais. She shows that precisely because Rabelais's reputation was contradictory, appropriating his name or words was useful in Renaissance England for expressing division on topics ranging from authorship and sex to heresy and political secrets."Prescott is really breaking new ground here. Her book is original and entertaining. I can't remember when I've laughed as often while reading a thoroughly scholarly book". -- Barbara Bowen, Vanderbilt University
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Para-Rabelaisian Complicationsp. 1
Reshaping Gargantua: The Chapbook Giant in Englandp. 13
Copia Verborum and the Seat of the Scorner: Rabelais and the World of Wordsp. 42
Quicksilver Interlude: Panurge and Panourgia in Englandp. 86
Body Mattersp. 103
The Fantasies of "Mad Rablais": Exploiting the Unrealp. 146
Coda: Gabriel Harvey's Double Visionp. 196
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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