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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is time to announce the April–May 2021 topic challenge.

Based on the number of votes (+4), the fourth topic challenge of the year 2021 will be

Gargantua and Pantagruel


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main Meta post. In short, during April and May 2021 you are invited to try to read at least one part (or an excerpt) from François Rabelais's series of novels about Gargantua and Pantagruel and ask questions about it.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and questions on other works are more than welcome during April and May too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of one of the novels about Gargantua and Pantagruel and asking good questions about it. Questions about these works should be tagged with , and . We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is Tsundoku's presentation:

The series of five novels on Gargantua and Pantagruel by the French humanist François Rabelais (between 1483 and 1494 – 9 April 1553) are, as Wikipedia says, "written in an amusing, extravagant, and satirical vein, and [feature] much crudity, scatological humor, and violence". The novels are not to everybody's taste (for example, George Orwell didn't like them), but Laurence Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy, saw himself as Rabelais' successor in humour writing.

Rabelais is irreverent towards narrowmindedness (even though he was a monk, he also criticised the Church in a time when this was still dangerous) and pretentiousness. (Annotated editions from the 1950s still contained some partially censored footnotes.) His work has been the subject of much analysis, such as Bakhtin's study Rabelais and His World.

The series contains the following books (identified by their conventional short titles):

Feel free to add links to other translations and online texts below.

What's next?

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List of all questions posted in this topic challenge

  1. Did "Gargantua and Pantagruel" originally have illustrations? by bobble, 29/04/2021 (4 votes, 1 answer, around 70 views).
  2. Which ancient philosopher claimed that the sea's salinity was connected with the fall of Phaeton? by Tsundoku, 29/05/2021 (2 votes, 1 answer, around 41 views).
  3. Why would birds fall from the sky due to a lack of moisture? by Tsundoku, 30/05/2021 (5 votes, 1 answer, around 1000 views, HNQ).
  4. Meaning of the genealogical list in the first chapter of Pantagruel? by Tsundoku, 31/05/2021 (1 vote, no answer, around 18 views).

The highest-voted of these is Why would birds fall from the sky due to a lack of moisture?, with a score of 5 at the end of May.

The most viewed is Why would birds fall from the sky due to a lack of moisture?, with approximately 1000 views during the months of April and May, due to the question going HNQ.

Three questions received an answer; each of these answers was submitted by the same person, Tsundoku.

This site is temporarily in read only mode and not accepting new answers.

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