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One of my favorite writers, Albert Jay Nock, was a huge Rabelais fan. He wrote two books about him. From the first:

It must be laid down once and for all, that the chief purpose of reading a classic like Rabelais is to prop and stay the spirit, especially in its moments of weakness and reservation, against the stress of life, to elevate it above the reach of commonplace and annoyances and degradations, and to purge it of despondency and cynicism.

According to Robert Crunden's indispensable Nock biography, Nock wrote in a letter to a friend:

Rabelais was one of the world's great libertarians and if I can do anything for him with American readers of the more thoughtful kind, I shall be truly happy; he has been a stay and support to my spirit for thirty years.

Said Crunden:

Nock's essay on Rabelais was a work of sheer devotion, a cheerful attempt to repay a debt that could never really be repaid.