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. What do oaths and curses have in common with town announcements and the calls of vendors?

2. What are examples of carnivalesque victims?

3. Bakhtin asserts that the advertisement for "pantagruelion" in the Third Book expresses:

4. The prologue of _Pantagruel_ is a parody and travesty of:

5. What are the "intelligentsia"?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was the general perception of laughter in the Renaissance?

2. How are being drenched in urine or covered in excrement treated in Rabelais' novel?

3. What is the underlying nature of all of Rabelais' images?

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

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

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

7. What does Rabelais parody with the character of Janotus de Bragmardo?

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

9. How is Bakhtin's book "double-voiced," as Michael Holquist asserts it is?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Define the term "carnivalesque" as Bakhtin uses it. Then, demonstrate this definition by applying it to at least two of the episodes, characters, or scenes which take place in Rabelais' novel. What does the carnivalesque demonstrate about the nature of folk culture? What role does humor play in the carnivalesque?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Choose three main characters from Rabelais' novel and explain the meanings of their names (for example, Gargantua, Pantagruel, Panurge, King Anarchus, Friar John, Lord Basche, etc.) Discuss any connotations their names may have, any allusions to people, places, historical events, or mythology, and what their names represent in the context of carnivalesque folk culture.

(see the answer keys)

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