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 episode in which Pantagruel and his companions defeat King Anarchus' knights combines:

2. Carnival allowed:

3. What does the "form" of any kind of art express?

4. What does Bakhtin find to be the greatest error other critics make in their studies of Rabelais' works?

5. Why are Rabelais' billingsgate elements considered "coarse and cynical" by most scholars?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Bakhtin get around the prohibition of certain kinds of satire and irony in his own time?

3. How does Bakhtin interpret the prologue of _Pantagruel_?

4. What was Bakhtin's relationship with the Russian Union of Writers?

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

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

7. What role do oaths and profanities fill in Rabelais' novel?

8. Describe two episodes of beatings or injury are specifically centered around the theme of feasting.

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

10. In general, what happened to the use of humor in literature after Rabelais' time?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe how Rabelais uses Friar John as a representative of the Catholic Church. How does he describe Friar John? What situations does Rabelais put Friar John into, and how does the Friar behave? What might these situations and characterization say about the Church? How do official and unofficial modes of speech and communication work with Friar John? Does he represent the carnivalesque, the grotesque, or popular festivity in anything he says or does?

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

Explore Bakhtin's study of language in Rabelais. What is "vernacular" or "colloquial" language? How is it different from "official" languages, like that of the Church or of the monarchy? How is verbal communication different from written communication, and who or what does each type of communication serve? How does Rabelais keep his language lively and never dull? How does Rabelais transform names, nicknames, proper nouns, and all other forms of speech?

(see the answer keys)

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