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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the prologues to Rabelais’ works Kanjer, Vesna Marijana


In this thesis we propose to do an in-depth study of the prologues to the works of Rabelais, leaving aside the prologue to Le Cinquiene Livre. We will study the prologues for their own merit without embarking on an analysis of how they relate to the books they precede. Each of the four chapters has a two-fold purpose. The first is to examine the content, tone, and literary style of each prologue. The second is to examine the author/reader relationship that exists in the prologues. The first chapter illustrates how the oral aspect of the marketplace is the trademark of the prologue to Pantagruel. The second chapter examines the prologue to Gargantua where the author deals with the problem of interpretation. The third chapter studies the prologue to Le Tiers Livre. We see how this prologue is even more serious than the second, focussing on the problems of activity versus idleness and the acceptance of new ideas. The fourth chapter deals with Le Quart Livre, the longest of the four prologues. It shows how this prologue differs from the preceding three. Here the author is at ease with himself and his public which is reflected in the content and tone. Just as the content becomes more serious with each succeeding prologue the structure also becomeSmore complex. This becomes clear in the second half of each chapter where we analyse the narrating instance by Gerard Genette's method. In looking at the author/reader relationship we examine the functions of the narrator and then look at the role of the narratee. Throughout the four prologues the function of com--munication is always present and this is vital since the primary purpose of the prologues is to establish a rapport between author and reader. The role of the narratee is followed from prologue to prologue and we see it take on a more active and responsible capacity with each succeeding prologue.

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