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The Portrayal of Community in Rabelais's «Quart Livre»

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Margaret B Harp

While François Rabelais's Quart Livre is less well-known than his more famous texts, Pantagruel and Gargantua, its rich themes and eclectic style make it arguably his most intriguing. The Portrayal of Community in Rabelais's Quart Livre analyzes Rabelais's presentation of alternately comical and grotesque insular communities in the Quart Livre. By considering all the work's episodes and not just its famous few, it demonstrates that Rabelais's final work maintains the optimistic and evangelical traits of early French Renaissance writings while still revealing the concern and despair provoked by the impending Religious Wars. It further examines the text's central themes of utopia and exile, significant leitmotifs in many Renaissance texts.