“Our study is only a first step in the vast task of examining ancient folk humor” says Bakhtin on the last page of his monumental work. To me, this was not a first step, but a pretty comprehensive overview of Rabelais, his language and his time. Sometimes I even felt there was just a bit too much repetition.
What I will most likely remember best of Bakhtin’s analysis is the metaphor of the pregnant death: symbol for a number of processes characterized by the prefix re-: renewal, rebirth, regeneration, reconstruction, revitalization and ultimately Renaissance.
I find myself smiling and nodding in admiration simultaneously when reading Rabelais.
When he died, he said “I go to seek a Great Perhaps“.
Nobody knows, actually.
More and more I am confronted with the spuriousness of attributions.