News & Publications
Lecture at St. John's on Noted Work by François Rabelais
FOR RELEASE: January 5, 2009
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey, 410-626-2539
The next Friday night lecture at St. John's College is on Gargantua and Pantagruel, by François Rabelais, a French Renaissance author and medical doctor. The lecture, by St. John's tutor Jonathan Tuck, is entitled "Gargantua's Games" and will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium on Friday, January 16, at 8:15 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Gargantua and Pantagruel was published serially, beginning in the 1530s. It recounts the adventures of two giants, a father named Gargantua and his son, Pantagruel. "Gargantua and Pantagruel is one of the great masterpieces of European literature," says Tuck. "It is a wild, brawling, bewildering, crazily funny book, notorious in its own time for its alleged atheism and obscenity. Its influence on subsequent prose fiction has been enormous, and it was a crucial event in the formation of the modern French language."
Tuck notes that "Rabelais was a hugely learned man, a humanist and disciple of Erasmus, and his book is enthusiastically strewn with allusions to Plato, Homer, and other Greek authors who had been newly rediscovered in the early Renaissance. Gargantua and Pantagruel is also uncannily modern, edgy and subversive."
Tuck holds undergraduate degrees from Columbia University and Oxford University and a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Tuck joined St. John's College as a tutor in 1979.