Rabelais and His World Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. The core images of the prologue of _Gargantua_ are:

2. In the seventeenth century, the decline of laughter as a primary force in folk culture resulted from:

3. During the "feast of fools" and the "feast of the ass," laughter:

4. Why did Bakhtin feel his times were comparable to those of the Renaissance?

5. In the Renaissance, bodily excretions were closely associated with:

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do modern readers find it difficult to read Rabelais' novel?

2. Describe the Catchpoles and what they symbolize.

3. What was the "feast of fools," and why was it a particularly festive laughter in the Middle Ages?

4. What does Bakhtin mean when he argues that laughter affirms the people's unofficial truth?

5. Why does Bakhtin state that in Rabelais' novel everyday kitchen implements and foods have an intrinsic value?

6. What is important about the figure of the physician in Rabelais' novel?

7. What do Rabelais' long lists of names and epithets signify?

8. What was Rabelais' relationship with the fairs based upon?

9. What does the prologue of _Pantagruel_ parody?

10. What are the "cris de Paris," or "street cries"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine the structure, the presence, and the purpose of the Foreword and the Prologue. What do they offer to the reader? What is the purpose of a foreword or a prologue--what is the function of writing an introduction to someone else's book? Can, or do, such prefatory remarks influence the reader's experience of the text? Can reading ever be a "pure" activity with no outside influence of opinion?

Essay Topic 2

Explain the role that herbalists, druggists, and physicians occupied in Renaissance France, and how Bakhtin incorporates them into his study of the marketplace in Rabelais' novel. How does Bakhtin relate the material body to physicians and medicine? How does Rabelais portray bodily ailments, physicians, heath, life, death, and birth?

Essay Topic 3

What connections do Bakhtin and the authors of the Foreword and the Prologue draw between Bakhtin and Rabelais? How were their lives and times similar? What common themes are evident in their writing? In which important ways do they differ?

(see the answer keys)

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