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Dates: 1490 - 1553 (Dates are approximate. ) 

François Rabelais was born at Chinon in Touraine sometime between 1483 and 1495. He became a member of the Franciscan order and later the Benedictines. In 1530, he was studying medicine at Montpellier, where he became a lecturer. It was during his time at a physician in Lyon that Rabelais wrote the his first book, Pantagruel, a fantastical satire that mocked the Roman Catholic Church and the Sorbonne, among others. Four more books in the series would follow. His works were popular but also criticized and often banned as a result of their controversial topics. Rabelais was, however, supported by the king and later protected by his friend Bishop Jean du Bellay, allowing him to continue to write. He died in Paris in 1553. TLM