Rabelais Notes

Rabelais and His World – Mikhail Bakhtin
François Rabelais (French: [fʁɑ̃.swa ʁa.blɛ]; c. 1494 – 9 April 1553) was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs. Wiki

Rabelais’ use of his native tongue was astoundingly original, lively, and creative. He introduced dozens of Greek, Latin, and Italian loan-words and direct translations of Greek and Latin compound words and idioms into French. He also used many dialectal forms and invented new words and metaphors, some of which have become part of the standard language and are still used today. Rabelais is arguably one of the authors who has enriched the French language in the most significant way.
His works are also known for being filled with sexual double-entendres, dirty jokes and bawdy songs that may shock even modern readers.

Can I link language with narrative?
Canonical formulas with the novel and painting
·         Heteroglossia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteroglossia
·         Bakhtin argues that the power of the novel originates in the coexistence of, and conflict between, different types of speech: the speech of characters, the speech of narrators, and even the speech of the author. He defines heteroglossia as “another’s speech in another’s language, serving to express authorial intentions but in a refracted way.” Bakhtin identifies the direct narrative of the author, rather than dialogue between characters, as the primary location of this conflict.
·         Carnival is the indispensible component of laughter
·         The rejection of subcultures
·         Prohibition of laughter, irony and satire
·         ‘Laughter, like language is a unique characteristic of the human species’
·         Revolution – Russian cultural system identity crisis
·         Unusual dangers and unique opportunities
·         Parallels with the Renaissance – death and birth of a new world/Subversive
·         Loopholes – what is punishable in different contexts
·         Grotesque realism – inversion of social realism
·         The anonymous mass – folk
·         ‘polarised depiction of ‘folk’’ – prologue xix
·         Rhetorical cunning, subversive and other, non conformity
·         Intro p5 – manifestations on folk culture
·         King and queen, 2 world and double world condition – parody noun (plural parodies)
  • Parody – an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect:
·         Bahktin’s ‘…folk are blasphemous rather than adoring, cunning rather than intelligent; they are coarse, dirty, and rampantly physical, reveling in oceans of strong drink, poods of sausage, and endless coupling bodies.’ Prologue xix
·         ‘The fairy tale world can be defined as strange and unusual, but it is not a world that has become alienated. In the grotesque, on the contrary, all that was for us familiar and friendly suddenly becomes hostile.’ Pp. 48
·         ‘The fact is that the new concept of realism has a different way of drawing the boundaries between bodies and objects. It cuts the double body in two and separates the objects of grotesque and folklore realism that were merged within the body.’ Pp. 53
·         Light characterises folk grotesque whereas dark/nocturnal is gothic grotesque
·         ‘The mask is related to transition, metamorphosis, the violation of natural boundaries…it contains the playful element…on a peculiar interrelation of reality and image, characteristic of the most ancient rituals and spectacles.’ Pp. 40
·         ‘…the carnival-grotesque form exercises the same function: to consecrate inventive freedom, to permit the combination of a variety of different elements and their rapprochement, to liberate from the prevailing point of view of the world, from conventions and established truths…’ pp. 34
·         ‘…the passing of one form into the other, in the ever incompleted character of being.’ Pp. 32
·         Aperture, convexities, protuberances
·         Key point – ‘The unfinished and open body (dying, bringing forth and being born) is not separated from the world by clearly defined boundaries; it is blended with the world, with animals, with objects.’
·         Hieronymus Bosch and elder Breughel
·         ‘The grotesque image reflects a phenomenon in transformation, an as yet unfinished metamorphosis, of death and birth, growth and becoming. The relation to time is one determining trait of the grotesque image. The other indispensible trait is ambivalence. For in this image we find both poles of transformation, the old and the new, the dying and the procreating, the beginning and the end of the metamorphosis.’ Pp. 24
·         Uncrowning
·         ‘Because of their obvious sensuous character and their strong element of play, carnival images closely resemble certain artistic forms, namely the spectacle.’ Pp. 7
·         ‘…in reality [carnival] is life itself, but shaped according to a certain pattern of play.’ Pp. 7

Coincidentally I found this which is quite cool…http://notpaper.net/blog/?month=march-2009

“The alphabet compares our culture with medieval folk culture where life and death was the same thing and always happened simultaneously. Bakhtin argues that the grotesque ornament was the ultimate symbol for this, where human, animal and plant form intertwined.”


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