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Third Division of "The English Cyclopædia,"
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RABELAIS, FRANÇOIS, was born in 1483 (M. Rathery says in 1495), who, before they enter upon even a defensive war, exhaust every his jovial temper and satirical humour made him obnoxious to his the popes to interfere in temporal matters, and in his fourth book brother monks, and he was glad to obtain permission to remove into a he exposes the pretended mortifications of a certain class of devotees convent of Benedictines. But here also he could not sympathise with who feasted on meagre days on a variety of dishes of the finest fish the habits of his brethren, and at last he ran away from his convent, and other savoury things. and went to Montpelier, where he studied medicine and took his It has been assumed by some that Rabelais' work is a continued doctor's degree. He practised as a physician, though he retained the allegory of the events and personages of his time; and people have garb of a secular priest; and in his capacity of physician he became fancied that they recognised Francis I. in Gargantua, Henri II. in known at the court of Francis I. In 1536 he accompanied Cardinal Pantagruel, Louis XII. in Grand Gousier, &c. This however seems du Belloi to Rome, and obtained the pope's absolution for the breach very doubtful, and the notion has been strongly combated by Ch. of his monastic vows. On his return to France he obtained a prebend Nodier, in an article 'De quelques livres satiriques et de leur clef, in a collegiate church, and was afterwards appointed curé or rector of Paris, 1834. It seems more likely that Rabelais made occasional Meudon, in which situation he continued till his death in 1553. allusions to some of the leading characters of his age and their pre
Rabelais was a man of extensive and varied information; he was vailing faults, while he lashed in general the vices and follies of society. acquainted with the principal European languages, besides Latin and with regard to the traditional stories of Gargantua, which he took Greek, but his principal merit consists in overflowing humour, and in for his subject, see ‘Notice de deux anciens Romans, intitulés les the acuteness with which he caught at and exposed the absurdities Chroniques de Gargantua, où l'on examine les rapports qui existent and the vices of his contemporaries, sheltered as they were by hallowed entre ces deux ouvrages et le Gargantua de Rabelais, et si la première prejudice or by the cloak of superstition and hypocrisy. His principal de ces Chroniquos n'ost pas aussi de l'auteur de Pantagruel,' by J. Ch. work is a satirical novel, in which, under an allegorical veil, he lashes Brunet, author of the Nouvelles Recherches Bibliographiques,' all classes of society, kings, statesmen, scholars, clerical as well as lay, Paris, 1824. prelates and popes, and especially monks, of whom he seems to have The romance of Rabelais has gone through several editions, and has had a special dislike. Rabelais took for his first hero Gargantua, a been translated into German and English. One of the best French gigantic personage, about whom there were many wonderful traditional editions is that by Duchat, 'Euvres de Maitre François Rabelais, avec stories, to which Rabelais added many more. Gargantua lived for des remarques historiques et critiques,' 3 vols. 4to, Amsterdam, 1741. several centuries, and at last begot a son, Pantagruel, who is as won. An excellent recent French edition of the works of Rabelais is that derful as himself; beneath bis tongue a whole army takes shelter from published by E. Johanneau and Esmangart, with a biography of the rain; in his mouth and throat are cities which contain an immense author, and his 'Songes drolatiques,' being a collection of one hundred population, &c. The adventures of these personages are all ridiculous, and twenty caricatures, designed by Rabelais himself, and intended to and are described in humorous language, which often descends to low represent the characters of his romance, and also his "Sciomachie,' a buffoonery and very frequently to obscenity. This obscenity was work which had become extremely scarce. Swift, in his "Gulliver's according to the taste of the age, but it now is, in its loathsome Travels,' bas imitated Rabelais. Rabelais was charged in his lifetime excess, the chief drawback to the reading of the book. But under with irreligion and heresy, but he was protected by Francis I., who, this coarse covering there lies a moral, for Rabelais meant to correct having read his romance, said that he found po grounds for the charge. and improve society by his satire. He exposes the faults of the educa. Rabelais knew Calvin, who at one time thought of numbering him tion of his time, the barbarous eloquence of college pedants, the folly among his followers, but there was too much dissimilarity between of scholastic disputation, and the pretensions of self-styled philo- the two men to allow any such connection, and Calvin having gravely sophers; all which are successively held up to ridicule in the harangue censured Rabelais for bis profane jesting, the satirist took his revenge of Japotus de Braginardo, in which he demands back the bells of the by placing in the mouth of Panurge, while buying a sheep of Din. cathedral of Notre Dame, wbich Gargantua had detached from the denault, some of the theological expressions of his austere monitor. belfry and appended to the neck of his mare; in the curious catalogue RABENER, GOTTLIEB WILHELM, born in 1714 at Wachau of the books of the library of St. Victor; in the disputation carried near Leipzig, was educated in the public school at Meissen. In 1734 on by signs between Panurge and the English Thaumaste; and, lastly, he went to the University of Leipzig to study the law, where he became in the description of the prodigies which science had produced in the acquainted with some of the most eminent men of the age, and formed country of Quint-Essence, or kingdom of Entélécbie. In another an intimate friendsbip with Gellert, with whom he took an active part part of his work the author exposes the manners of courts and the in the establishment of a celebrated literary periodical called . Bremer weakness even of good monarchs. Pantagruel is a virtuous prince, Beiträge.'_In 1741 he received an office in the board of taxes for the devout, and severe in his morals, and yet he takes for his favourite circle of Dresden, and in 1763 he was appointed counsellor of the Panurge, an arrant rogue, a drunkard, a coward, and a libertine, who court of aids (Steuerrath), wbich office he held until his death, on the seems to be a counterpart of the Margutte of Pulci's ‘Morgante Mag. 26th of March 1771. Rabener was in his time one of the most popular giore,' for Rabelais was acquainted with the Italian romance writers, writers in Germany, and he exercised a very beneficial influence wbose tales of giants and heroes and their wonderful achievements he upon his countrymen. His satires, in which he attacked in a goodprobably bad in view in his caricatures. The disastrous wars of humoured strain the most glaring follies, fashions, and pretensions of Charles VIII. and Francis I. bad produced too many evils in his time bis time, though not marked by much depth of thought, are still not to attract Rabelais' censure. To the headlong ambition of those instructive and amusing as bistorical pictures of the age in which he conquerors he opposes the prudence and moderation of his heroes, lived, for the things which he ridiculed have long ceased to exist.
BIOG. DIY. VOL. V.