Saturday, April 21, 2012


By Rabelais

Oh dear. I had hoped for a timless jewel of classical literature, but what I got was a load of medieval drollery which had been picked over by generations of eager academics. Every page has added annotations and notes explaining the obscure references to contemporary philosophy, the Bible and Rabelais's life, but  none of these change the fact that 'Pantagruel' (the first book in a compendium of several books in one binding), is about as funny as a headache and as pointless as a third shoe.

I was hoping for something along the lines of Balzac, something which might read odd and old fashioned, but there was at least a point to it I could grasp; some fundamental idea which told a story, like a fable perhaps.

'Pantagruel' seems to be nothing more than the deranged ramblings of a man whose fame can only have come about because he was able to publish in a time before authors were two-a-penny. If there was a point to this, some punch line or other, I was utterly unable to find it. I still have several hundred pages if I care to attempt the second, third, fourth and fith books of Pantagruel, but frankly I'd rather be bored with nothing to do than bored and read a thousand academic explanations as to how or why I should find this funny.

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