The dazzling and exuberant comic 'Chronicles' of Rabelais (c. 1483-1552) are a feast of wisdom and laughter. Realism intertwines with carnivalesque fantasy, Renaissance learning with obscene humour to make readers look at the world afresh. Pantagruel, a tale of comic chivalry, satirizes lawyers, theologians and academic buffoons, while Gargantua mocks rash generals, idiotic monarchs and uncouth professors. It champions freedom and laughs at a dirty young giant before he turns into a splendid prince. Sequels lead into more complex and daring laughter and high mythology, often at the expense of Panurge - the mad, word-spinning companion of Pantagruel (who becomes a giant in wisdom, a Renaissance Socrates).
M. A. Screech's translation captures Rabelais' ingenious wordplay and mastery of language. The introduction explores his individuality while comparing him to Shakespeare, and presents each book to open up the new horizons of Renaissance Europe. This edition also includes a chronology and notes.