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Gargantua and Pantagruel, Illustrated, Book 1

Produced by Sue Asscher and David Widger

MASTER FRANCIS RABELAIS

FIVE BOOKS OF THE LIVES, HEROIC DEEDS AND SAYINGS OF

GARGANTUA AND HIS SON PANTAGRUEL

[Illustration: He Did Cry Like a Cow--frontispiece]

[Illustration: titlepage]

Translated into English by

Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty

and

Peter Antony Motteux

The text of the first Two Books of Rabelais has been reprinted from the first edition (1653) of Urquhart's translation. Footnotes initialled 'M.' are drawn from the Maitland Club edition (1838); other footnotes are by the translator. Urquhart's translation of Book III. appeared posthumously in 1693, with a new edition of Books I. and II., under Motteux's editorship. Motteux's rendering of Books IV. and V. followed in 1708. Occasionally (as the footnotes indicate) passages omitted by Motteux have been restored from the 1738 copy edited by Ozell.

[Illustration: Rabelais Dissecting Society--portrait2]

CONTENTS.

[Illustration: Francois Rabelais--portrait]

Introduction.

Had Rabelais never written his strange and marvellous romance, no one would ever have imagined the possibility of its production. It stands outside other things--a mixture of mad mirth and gravity, of folly and reason, of childishness and grandeur, of the commonplace and the out-of-the-way, of popular verve and polished humanism, of mother-wit and learning, of baseness and nobility, of personalities and broad generalization, of the comic and the serious, of the impossible and the familiar. Throughout the whole there is such a force of life and thought, such a power of good sense, a kind of assurance so authoritative, that he takes rank with the greatest; and his peers are not many. You may like him or not, may attack him or sing his praises, but you cannot ignore him. He is of those that die hard. Be as fastidious as you will; make up your mind to recognize only those who are, without any manner of doubt, beyond and above all others; however few the names you keep, Rabelais' will always remain.

We may know his work, may know it well, and admire it more every time we read it. After being amused by it, after having enjoyed it, we may return again to study it and to enter more fully into its meaning. Yet there is no possibility of knowing his own life in the same fashion. In spite of all the efforts, often successful, that have been made to throw light on it, to bring forward a fresh document, or some obscure mention in a forgotten book, to add some little fact, to fix a date more precisely, it remains nevertheless full of uncertainty and of gaps. Besides, it has been burdened and sullied by all kinds of wearisome stories and foolish anecdotes, so that really there is more to weed out than to add.


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