How Rose Tremain Spends Her Day

I enjoy Rose Tremain’s essay on two levels.  First, as a warm, sympathetic portrayal of her typical day as a writer, with a surprising amount of detail included.  Second, as an evocation of a deep memory I have of a passage early in Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel (Book 1, ch. 23) in which Ponocrates teaches Gargantua how to live each single day fully and richly.  I’ve linked to an online copy of the latter text, but if you have access to a better translation (say, Burton Raffel’s, published by Norton, or Samuel Putnam’s in The Portable Rabelais by The Viking Press), by all means, read that text instead.  Part of the immense charm of Rabelais is that side-by-side with the great farting fun of Gargantua and Pantaguel’s many adventures are deep, thoughtful, idyllic passages on life, on education, on love, on medicine–each one inviting us to stop and dwell for a moment as if under the cool green shade of a tree set beside a quiet pond whose surface is clear but whose blue depth runs deeper than we can see.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s