The Works of Francis Rabelais

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by François Rabelais

François Rabelais (c. 1495-1553) was a physician, priest, and notable writer.[1] He began his career as a Humanist and was well studied in the classics.[2] Around 1521, he became a priest, but broke his vows in 1530 to study medicine.[3] He was one of the first, if not the first, physicians to dissect the human body.[4] In 1532 he became head physician at a hospital in Lyons, and he began to write.[5]

Rabelais’s writing is famous for its bawdy, satirical nature.[6] His style is so distinct, the Oxford English Dictionary includes the adjective “Rabelaisian” to describe writings with “earthy humour, [a] parody of medieval learning and literature, and [an] affirmation of humanist values.”[7]

His most famous books are Gargantua and Pantagruel, comprised of four books published from 1532 to 1535.[8] Framed as chivalric romances, these books use the theatrical language of vaudeville to satirize heroic works, traditional pedagogy, and humanist ideals.[9] He grotesquely caricatured people in a playful way, in a style extensively imitated by seventeenth and eighteenth century French writers.[10]

Bibliographic Information

Author: François Rabelais

Title: The Works of Francis Rebelais, M.D.

Published: London: Printed by J. Hughs for J. Brindley and C. Corbett, 1737.


Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary full calf bindings, blind tooled and gold ruled. Purchased from Book Den East.


  1. “Francois Rabelais, M.D.,” The British Medical Journal, 1, No. 4814 (BMJ Publishing Group, Apr. 1953), p. 831.
  2. “François Rabelais,” Encyclopædia Britannica Online (Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013), accessed October 28, 2013.
  3. Ibid.
  4. “Francois Rabelais, M.D.,” The British Medical Journal.
  5. Ibid.
  6. “François Rabelais,” Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  7. “Rabelaisian, adj.,” Oxford English Dictionary (OED Third Edition, June 2008), accessed October 28, 2013.
  8. “François Rabelais,” Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Dorothy S. Packer, “François Rabelais, Vaudevilliste,” The Musical Quarterly, 57, No. 1 (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 127.