Illustrations from Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel

Bibliodyssey has posted two mind-blowing selections of surrealist characters from a 1565 publication called "Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel, ou sont contenues plusieurs figures de l’invention de maistre François Rabelais : & derniere oeuvre d’iceluy, pour la recreation des bons esprits." While Rabelais is often credited with drawing the characters to accompany his text, they were apparently most likely drawn by François Desprez. The absurd monsters remind me of the wonderful phantasmagoric work of Jim Woodring.

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From Bibliodyssey:

Franciscan friar, doctor, traveller, model for the Thelemic magickal writings of Aleister Crowley, humanist, Benedictine monk, alchemist, teacher, leader of the French renaissance, heretic, greek scholar and groundbreaking satirical writer, François Rabelais (?1483/1493-1553) issued his magnum opus 'The life of Gargantua and Pantagruel' as a five book series over 20 years up to 1564.

The books chart the humorous adventures of giants Gargantua and his son, Pantagruel in a scatalogical and often bawdy manner. Rabelais wrote in the epic tradition of Homer, and beyond the burlesque, there is an underlying serious examination of society, politics, education and philosophy whilst introducing 500 new words to the french lanugage.

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