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 did Renaissance humanists attempt to suppress oaths and profanities?

2. What were "street cries"?

3. Bakhtin connects Medieval "seriousness" most closely to:

4. Bakhtin thinks that life is:

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

6. How is degradation expressed, in terms of Rabelais' grotesque realism?

7. Describe the Catchpoles and what they symbolize.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the nature of Medieval and Renaissance popular dramatic forms. On what occasions were performances held? What genre were these performances, and what was their common subject matter? What does Bakhtin mean when he asserts that such performances had no "footlights"? Citing examples from the text, explore the theme of universalism in these dramas.

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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