Arthur and Merlin appear with Grantgosier, as he is here spelt, Galemelle (Gargamelle), Gargantua himself, XXII.
The letters of the well-known Greek scholar Budaeus, two of which are addressed to Rabelais himself and several more to his friend and fellow-monk Pierre Amy, together with some notices by Andre Tiraqueau, a learned jurist, to whom Rabelais rather than his own learning has secured immortality, show beyond doubt what manner of life the future author of Gargantua led in his convent.
There is no doubt that both Gargantua and Pantagruel were popular names of giants in the Middle Ages, though, curiously enough, no mention of the former in French literature much before Rabelais's time has been traced.
In 1526, however, Charles de Bordigne, in a satiric work of no great merit, entitled la Legende de Pierre Faifeu, has the name Gargantua with an allusion, and in 1532 (if not earlier) there appeared at Lyons les Grandes et inestimables chroniques du grand et enorme grant Gargantua.
But there is no trace of the action or other characters of Gargantua that was to be, nor is the manner of the piece in the least worthy of Rabelais.
What does, however, seem probable is that the first book of Pantagruel (the second of the whole work) was composed with a definite view to this chap book and not to the existing first book of Gargantua, which was written afterwards, when Rabelais discovered the popularity of his work and felt that it ought to have some worthier starting-point than the Grandes chroniques.
The earliest known and dated edition of Pantagruel is of 1533 of Gargantua 1535, though this would not be of itself conclusive, especially as we actually possess editions of both which, though undated, seem to be earlier.
But the definite description of Gargantua in the title as "Pere de Pantagruel," the omission of the words "second livre" in the title of the first book of Pantagruel while the second and third are duly entitled "tiers" and "quart," the remarkable fact that one of the most important personages, Friar John, is absent from book ii., the first of Pantagruel, though he appears in book i.
There is also in existence a letter of Calvin, dated 1 533, in which he speaks of Pantagruel, but not of Gargantua, as having been condemned as an obscene book.
It is also thought that the first edition of Gargantua may have appeared this year.
Gargantua and Pantagruel, notwithstanding their high literary standing and the frequency with which certain passages from them are cited, are, owing partly to their archaism of language and partly to the extreme licence which their author has allowed himself, so little read that no notice of them or of him could be complete without some sketch of their contents.
The first book, Gargantua, describes the birth of that hero (a giant and the son of gigantic parents), whose nativity is ushered in by the account of a tremendous feast.
Gargantua is recalled from Paris, whither he had been sent to finish his education, owing to a war between his father, Grandgosier, and the neighbouring king, Picrochole.
Picrochole defeated and peace made, Gargantua establishes the abbey of Thelema in another of Rabelais's most elaborate literary passages, where all the points most obnoxious to him in monastic life are indicated by the assignment of their exact opposites to this model convent.
This book, like the other, has a war in its latter part; Gargantua scarcely appears in it and Friar John not at all.
These are - Wha.t is the general drift and purpose of Gargantua and Pantagruel, supposing there to be any?
Those who in the same way identify Rabelais with Panurge can never explain the education scheme, the solemn apparition of Gargantua among the farcical and fantastic variations on Panurge's wedding, and many other passages; while, on the other hand, those who insist on a definite propaganda of any kind must justify themselves by their own power of seeing things invisible to plain men.
The fabliaux, the early burlesque romances of the Audigier class, the farces of the t5th century, equal (the grotesque iteration and amplification which is the note of Gargantua and Pantagruel being allowed for, and sometimes without that allowance) the coarsest passages of Rabelais.
(Gargantua), and many other proofs show the order of publication clearly enough.
Rabelais wrote a panegyrical memoir of Guillaume, which is lost, and the year before saw the publication of an edition of Gargantua and Pantagruel, book i., together (both had been repeatedly reprinted separately), in which some dangerous expressions were cut away.
Lastly, the epitaph, read impartially, is not libellous at all, but simply takes up the vein of the opening scenes of Gargantua in reference to Gargantua's author.
The first is connected with the great blemish of Gargantua and Pantagruel - their extreme coarseness of language and imagery.
The next important date in the bibliography of Rabelais is 1823, in which year appeared the most elaborate edition of his work yet published, that of Esmangart and Johanneau (9 vols.), including for the first time the Songes Drolatiques, a spurious but early and not uninteresting collection of grotesque figure drawings illustrating Gargantua and Pantagruel, and the second edition of M.
All these Cronus swallowed; and this " swallow-myth " occurs in Australia, among the Bushmen, in Guiana, in Brittany (where Gargantua did the swallow-trick) and elsewhere.