A study of Rabelais (?1494-1553) as a literary artist giving special attention to the form and language of his fiction. Coleman uses a genuinely literary approach, using some of the techniques of stylistic analysis. She avoids the two extremes of approaching Rabelais either as a solemn sixteenth-century humanist who expressed profound truths in simple allegories or as a mere joker, drunk with words. Instead she sees him as finding a particular form - Menippean satire - in which he could achieve a balance between seriousness and irony, involvement and detachment, direct address to the reader and distance, and in which he was able to develop his own unique language. This study will interest students and teachers of French and European literature and Renaissance studies.