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. How is the Rabelaisian use of tripe an excellent example of grotesque realism?

2. What work of literature is parodied in the prologue of _Gargantua_?

3. In Rabelais' time, why was the meaning of debasement often ambivalent?

4. How, according to Bakhtin, does the current Russian literary criticism approach Rabelais' works?

5. What are the "Catchpoles" of which Rabelais writes?

Short Essay Questions

1. What about the episode of the Lord of Basche is carnivalesque?

2. What do Bakhtin's examples of Rabelais' tales of extraordinary urination have in common?

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

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

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

6. How does Rabelais describe the human body in the context of grotesque realism?

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

8. Why does the speaker of the prologue of the Third Book invite only good men to drink?

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

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

Compare and contrast the Medieval and Renaissance views of the world, including the individual, social, and cosmic aspects of the world. What spurred the change from the Medieval to the Renaissance way of thinking? How is this change, and the social, political, and religious controversies or struggles that accompanied it, evident in Rabelais' novel?

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

What is a "blazon"? How are blazons part of the carnivalesque and grotesque traditions of folk humor? What sorts of people or things were turned into blazons, and why? How is the theme of duality related to the blazon? How does Rabelais employ blazons in his novel?

(see the answer keys)

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