Biography: Francois Rabelais

A stylized version of a portrait of the French Renaissance satirist, Francois Rabelais.

Francois Rabelais
Biography of a Renaissance Author

Written by DJ Hadoken

Francois Rabelais was born sometime around 1483 in Poitou, France. His father was said to be a hemp farmer. Near 1510, he became a novice in the order of St. Francis at La Baumette and later moved to the convent at Fontenay-le-Comte.

He became interested in humanism and in the writings of classical Greeks. His superiors tried to discourage him because they feared that his studies would lead to heresy.

Rabelais left Fontenay-le-Comte to join the Benedictine order. He then settled at Montpellier in the south of France to study medicine. He lectured at a university and in 1530 became physician of a hospital in Lyon.

Later, he became acquainted with Jean du Bellay. Bellay eventually went to Rome in 1534, Rabelais followed. He spent much of his life traveling Europe.

His famous series of satirical books, collectively titled Gargantua and Pantagruel, were published over a number of years, beginning in 1532 (a complete edition was published in 1567).

Rabelais’ third book in the series, published in 1546, was condemned as heresy. Rabelais then fled to Metz, where he became famous as a physician. After the fourth book was published, he went to Paris, where he died, probably on April 9, 1553.

Let’s spell his name with FACTS!

F rench.

R eligious.

A cquaintance to many.

N ot easily discouraged.

C ondemned.

O bsessive.

I ntellectual.

S pent his life traveling.

R ebellious.

A mbitious.

B orn in Poitou.

E uropean.

L ectured at a university.

A good writer.

I nterested in humanism.

S tudied medicine.


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