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Pantagruel And Gargantua As Mock Biographies

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Chapter Summary

François Rabelais's first two books, Pantagruel (1532) and Gargantua (1535), adopt, in a very precise way, the basic structure of classical biography, which is formally prescribed by Greek and Latin epideictic (or demonstrative) rhetorical theory and practice. This chapter presents the bulky and complex material in a rather schematic way. Treating each epideictic topos individually in the traditional, chronological order, it first gives a short definition of each topos considered, together, if necessary, with some brief considerations on the theory and practice of the topos in question. Secondly, the chapter demonstrates its presence and subversive reworking in Pantagruel. Thirdly, the same is done for Gargantua, with special attention for the significant differences between the two books in dealing with the topos considered. In both Gargantua and Pantagruel the chapter finds educational features of the basilikos logos, the praise of the king, a subgenre of the encomium.

Keywords: basilikos logos; biographical narrative; François Rabelais; Gargantua; Pantagruel



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