Francois Rabelais (1494 - 1553) was a Franciscan Monk with a qualification as a Bachelor of Medicine. He is one of the central figures of the Humanist literary movement, and had a firm belief in learning for learning's sake. He can be looked at as one of our great satirists and parodists-- ranking up there with Aristophanes in his unrelenting assaults. His most famous works are the cycles of Gargantua and Pantagruel, a must read for anyone interested in the French Renaissance or satire in general. While his prose, stylistically, did not hold up against the poetry of the era, it is eminently readable and skips along quite pleasantly. Rabelais was persecuted for his ideals, as many others are. His work holds a strong corollary to modern events and institutions. You can find him in the Penguin Classics section of your store. The best translation is by J.M. Cohen. It is from Rabelais that the adjective 'Rabelaisian' derives.