Graduate Seminar: David Posner

David Posner, Loyola University Chicago
David Posner, Loyola University Chicago
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Graduate Seminar
Tuesday, February 4, 1997 to Tuesday, April 15, 1997

Interpreting Rabelais

David Posner, Loyola University of Chicago

This seminar surveyed the works of Fran├žois Rabelais and the considerable interpretive difficulties they pose.  Rabelais’s multilayered texts both thematize techniques of interpretation and call into question the possibility of any interpretation whatsoever.  This seminar will approach these problems from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, combining intensive readings of Rabelais with readings in a broad range of other primary texts–Biblical, classical, patristic, scholastic, and humanist–in an effort to understand Rabelaisian hermeneutics in the context of late medieval and Renaissance interpretive practices.  The seminar also examined texts in the light of contemporary theories of interpretation, surveying the often contentious field of recent Rabelais criticism.  The goal of the course was to understand how Rabelais proposed to construct a community of ideal readers for his texts, readers that could be trusted both to find the sensus altior and to understand the jokes.

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