Scholarly Works

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Dr. Florence Weinberg is the author of four scholarly books. 

During her career as a professor of French and Spanish Renaissance literature, Dr. Florence Weinberg wrote four scholarly books. Two are about François Rabelais, generally thought to be an edgy humorist, a well-known 16th-century author of the five books of Pantagruel and Gargantua. Weinberg’s two books reveal his greater depths—and they are deep indeed. The first book is The Wine and the Will: Rabelais’s Bacchic Christianity, a sustained analysis of the five books. The second book, only available in French, is Rabelais et les leçons du rire (Rabelais and the Lessons of Laughter). This book is a compendium of the learned articles Weinberg published in various professional journals during her teaching career.

A third book, Gargantua in a Convex Mirror: Fischart’s View of Rabelais, examines the work of Johann Fischart, who was born when Rabelais was already a mature writer and physician. Fischart is a near-contemporary but as a native of Strasburg, a product of an entirely different culture and language. Nonetheless, his work gives the lie to those critics who believe that there is no (surviving) contemporary reaction to and evaluation of Rabelais’ work. In this book, Weinberg shows that Fischart understood much of Rabelais’ true meaning—in depth.

The fourth book is The Cave: The Evolution of a Metaphoric Field from Homer to Ariosto. This ground-breaking work investigates the symbolism of the cave in Western literature from its beginning through the Middle Ages. Plato uses the cave as a metaphor for ignorance and spiritual blindness. In Homer’s works, the cave has three functions: it serves as a monster’s lair, a sexual refuge, and a sacred shrine. This trilogy of uses repeats itself throughout the centuries in various works that Weinberg examines in detail. The book was meant to be volume one, to be completed by a projected study of the cave from the Renaissance to modern literature. That sequel was never written.