Mikhail Bakhtin

Start Your Free Trial

Explain the concept of Grotesque Realism and also the main theme of the chapter Rabelais and His World which the Russian formalist Bakhtin wants to put forward to us. 

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,183 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Bakhtin wants to understand how comic literature intersects with and reflects social concerns. In his study of Rabelais, he shows how the comic reveals truths about society. To do this, he uses the terms carnivalesque and grotesque realism. Carnivalesque refers to those moments, often represented by carnivals such as the Mardi Gras, in which the normal rules of social relationships are turned upside down. Hierarchies are flattened, for everyone can join in the festivities and mingle freely. A person's normal rank or gender in society can be disguised through a costume or simply treated as unimportant: in the carnival space, we are all equal and true community, a genuine coming together, can occur.

Grotesque realism focuses on how Rabelais emphasized the embodied aspects of this carnival atmosphere . Rabelais's descriptions of the body and its function are often bawdy and gross (grotesque), but this, to Bakhtin, underscores how fecundity and creativity come out of encounters with the "raw...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 630 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,297 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial