Gargantua and Pantagruel

already given too much importance to the false historical explanation. Here it is constantly coming in, and it rests on no evidence. In reality, there is no need of the key to Rabelais by which to discover the meaning of subtle allusions. He is neither so complicated nor so full of riddles. We know how he has scattered the names of contemporaries about his work, sometimes of friends, sometimes of enemies, and without disguising them under any mask. He is no more Panurge than Louis XII. is Gargantua or Francis I. Pantagruel. Rabelais says what he wants, all he wants, and in the way he wants. There are no mysteries below the surface, and it is a waste of time to look for knots in a bulrush. All the historical explanations are purely imaginary, utterly without proof, and should the more emphatically be looked on as baseless and dismissed. They are radically false, and therefore both worthless and harmful.

In 1840 there appeared in the Bibliotheque

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