Sunday, April 7, 2013

Where to read Rabelais

According to D. B. Wyndham Lewis:
RABELAIS must be read among the rich lands of the Chionnais in Touraine, on the edge of a white road with cornfields and vineyards on either side. But let there be a farmyard near, with a ripe and aromatic muck-heap in it, the scent of which must be borne to you on the wind; and let there be also loud bursts of rustic laughter and a bottle of Chinon.
Via LTA, which has Wyndham Lewis' thoughts on other authors.

Rabelais was probably born somewhere near Chinon, in the region then called the Touraine. Wyndham Lewis wrote a biography of Rabelais (Doctor Rabelais, 1957) and said that rather than seeing Rabelais as a kind of Renaissance superhero, he considered him to be
a highly cultivated, brilliant, jolly, slightly alcoholic, quick-tempered member of the French professional bourgeoisie talking gloriously at high speed and occasionally making an ass of himself.
Which seems a much more human perspective to me.

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