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3 Landscape and Body in Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel

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Chapter Summary

One of the major comical devices of the five novels by François Rabelais on the giants Gargantua and Pantagruel lies in the author's continuous reversal of traditional literary themes and conventions. This also applies to the age-old anthropomorphisation of space, according to which, for instance, a landscape is represented as a human body. In order to analyse Rabelais's comical, often alienating use of this traditional simile, it is important to come to a working typology of the different ways this theme manifests itself in French Renaissance literature. In the early modern period, the relationship between space (especially landscape) and body is not always metaphorical. The relationship between body and space is further thematised in a multilayered way, also in connection with the art of reading and interpreting, in the episode of the Isles of the Macreons.

Keywords: François Rabelais; French renaissance literature; Gargantua; Pantagruel; space-body relations

10.1163/9789004275034_005
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