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Rabelais remembered

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 11 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1576
  1. A Dorozynski

    The official declaration that 1994 is the 500th anniversary of Francois Rabelais's birth is the occasion for celebrations, festivities, and philosophical discourse. Born in the Loire Valley to a wealthy landowner and prominent lawyer, Rabelais studied theology and law and Greek and Latin. He became a monk, then a doctor, and is best remembered as writer, either vilified as the author of bawdy and vulgar comedy or acclaimed as a humanist philosopher, pacifist, and religious moderate who promoted therapeutic merriment (26 March, p 803). To Chateaubriand he was the founder of French letters, while Voltaire described his work as “a heap of the most impertinent and gross filth a monk could vomit.”

    Rabelais was born at La Deviniere, near Chinon, in a wine grower's house that belonged to his father and is now a museum full of Rabelaisian memorabilia, including graffiti in Latin he allegedly daubed at the …

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