Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

qf Caricature 
writings. But nobody, I think, who knows the character of fociety at 
that time, who compares what we know of the lives of the other fatirifts, 
and who has read the hiitory of Gargantua and Pantagruel, will conflder 
fuch an argument of much weight againft the deliberate {tatements of 
thofe who were his contemporaries, or be inclined to doubt that the 
writer of this hiilory was a man of jovial character, who loved a good 
bottle and a broad joke, and perhaps other things that were equally 
objectionable. His books prefent a fort of wild riotous orgy, without 
much order or plan, except the mere outline of the ftory, in which is dif- 
played an extraordinary extent of reading in all claH'es of literature, from 
the molt learned to the molt popular, with a wonderful command of lan- 
guage, great imagination, and fome poetry, intermixed with a per- 
haps larger amount of downright obfcene ribaldry, than can be found in 
the macaronics of Folengo, in the "Epiftolae Obfcurorum Virorum," or 
in the works of any of the other fatirifts who had preceded him, or were 
his contemporaries. It is a broad caricature, poor enough in its Ilory, but 
enriched with details, which are brilliant with imagery, though generally 
coarfe, and which are made the occafions for turning to ridicule everything 
that exilted. The five books of this romance were publilhed feparately 
and at different periods, apparently without any tixed intention of con- 
tinuing them. The earlier editions of the firtt part were publiihed 
without date, but the earliett editions with dates belong to the year I535, 
when it was feveral times reprinted. It appeared as the life of Gar- 
gantua. This hero is fuppofed to have flourilhed in the firlt half of the 
fifteenth century, and to have been the fon of Grandgoutier, king of 
Utopia, a country which lay fomewhere in thedireetion of Chinon, a 
prince of an ancient dynafty, but a jovial fellow, who loved good eating 
and drinking better than anything elfe. Grandgouner married Garga- 
melle, daughter of the king of the Parpaillos, who became the mother of 
Gargantua. The firft chapters relate rather minutely how the child was 
born, and came out at its mother's ear, why it was called Gargantua, how 
it was dretfed and treated iu infancy, what were its amufements and 
difpotition, and how Gargantua was put to learning under the fophifls, 
and made no progrefs. Thereupon Grandgoufier fent his fon to Paris, to 


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