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Keywords: culture of folk humor, Rabelais, Bakhtin, archaization, appropriation, Renaissance humanism, vernacular language.
For citation:

Staf I.K. Rabelais’ “culture of folk humor” as a Technique of Archaicized Narration. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 2, pp. 10–25. (In Russ.)

Author: Irina K. Staf
Information about the author:

Irina K. Staf, PhD in Philology, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: September 03, 2017
Published: June 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №2
Department: Literary Theory
Pages: 10-25
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-2-10-25
UDK: 821.133.1
BBK: 83.3(4Фра)5

Abstract

The French reception of Bakhtin’s book on Rabelais excludes the author ofGargantua and Pantagruel. However, by analyzing Rabelais’s text as a reflection ofnational culture and ignoring the author’s role in the development and transformationof the novel’s cultural, generic, and linguistics codes, we inevitably distort the textof the novel. This article argues that novel (especially its first two books) is closelyconnected to the discussions about the status and meaning of vernacular language thatwere relevant for the time and that generated a wide range of non-humorous worksin France of the first half of the 16 th century (by Jean Lemaire de Belges, GeoffroyTory, etc.). The comic in Rabelais’s originates from French variant of humanist ideas.Famous prologs by Alcofribas Nasier represent a merely authorial play with canonsand methods of the medieval literature and a parody of the medieval understanding ofwords and books that had little to do with the spirit of popular carnival. At the sametime, the author consistently marks poetic canons of the late Middle Ages as archaic.Such combination of archaism with the intention to write a popular book can be tracedin the typographical features of the first parts of the novel that allows us to rethink theterm “national culture” in the light of Roger Chartier’s concept of appropriation. Thisreading demonstrates that Gargantua and Pantagruel is a masterly literary play thatrejects not only “official” culture but also the entire Medieval culture with its poeticnorms, values and rules for the sake of the incipient ideals of national humanism.

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