Jen Casebeer's blog

Pantagruel's Fertility and his "Other World"

When Pantagruel inadvertently gives birth to creatures bypassing gas, Panurge notes that his “pets sont… si fertiles” (281). He is infact so fertile that he creates an entire race that he names the Pygmies whoare “volontiers colériques” because “la raison physiologique est qu’ils ont lecoeur près de la merde” (281). Why does Rabelais insist upon Pantagruel’s fecalfertility only to send these creatures off to an island, completely separatedfrom the rest of the narrative? Pantagruel himself was born of a mother and afather and is therefore responsible for carrying on their legacy. So what doesthat make these creatures in relation to Pantagruel? He clearly does not thinkof them as his children, so what role do they play in Pantagruel’s life or inthe shaping of his character for the reader?


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