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

2. Curses in Renaissance folk culture tended to focus most closely upon the victim's:

3. What repressive organization was Bakhtin forced to join in order to continue writing?

4. What is a "marketplace spectacle"?

5. What do some critics argue has been absent from Russian literature?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the marketplace become an indicator of folk culture in general?

2. What is the connection between the banquet and speech?

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

4. How does Bakhtin interpret the prologue of _Pantagruel_?

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

6. What is the significance of the figure of the androgyne in Rabelais' novel?

7. How is "folly" ambivalent?

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

9. What is "cosmic fear," and how is it treated in Renaissance folk culture?

10. How do the Medieval and Renaissance pictures of the cosmos differ?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Explain how laughter permeates every aspect of Renaissance folk culture, as Bakhtin argues it does. Cite specific examples from the text regarding the carnivalesque, the grotesque, official/unofficial modes of speech, and the ambivalence of certain forms and causes of laughter. Do these portrayals point to a greater "truth," as Bakhtin would say?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the relationship between praise and abuse. Use examples of this theme from what Bakhtin identifies as billingsgate and marketplace language and from popular-festive forms in Chapters 2 and 3. How were praise and abuse part of the tradition of "unofficial" language, and specifically how did they oppose "official" language? Are there elements of the grotesque in praise and abuse?

(see the answer keys)

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