Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Christopher Braider

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Cox

Third Advisor

Samuel Junod


François Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow are works of literature separated by several centuries characterized at once by astounding resemblances and no less telling differences. This thesis proposes that both the similarities and disparities are grounded in a common conceptualization of time and space, specifically as they relate to human beings. It examines each work in its turn, drawing out the ontology that these conceptions entail, an ontology firmly situated within a vision of humanity's place in the world. It then turns in the final section to compare the two works, taking up the implications for several different histories that pass in the intervening centuries.