The Fables of Aesop and Others Translated into Human Nature.
Bennett?, Charles H.
. W. Kent & Co. . London
PN982.B4 1857b (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Here is a curious copy of this lovely book with a loose front cover. It presents on its front cover what is on the back cover of the better copy: WL. The front cover thus does not have the information on the better copy's cover, like title, author, and price. It does have the standard elements inside the book, starting with the frontispiece trial of a human male before Judge Lion. Next comes the lovely title page with its central image of a human being looking into a mirror and seeing a wolf. It has the usual blank pages between paired illustrations and texts with pagination only on the latter for the 22 fables. There is a penciled inscription: "Muriel Duncan from RC Poulter, June 1885." As I wrote of the good copy, there is one delightful wood engraved plate for each of the twenty-two fables here, plus two other engravings. One is the title-page's vignette of the man seeing a wolf in a mirror, and the other is the frontispiece. The latter illustration of "Man tried at the Court of the lion for the ill-treatment of a Horse," is carefully explained on the first page after the title-page. The same explanation announces a second volume coming within the year. Apparently it never came. Bennett does an excellent integration of illustration and text for serious social criticism. The analogy between fable and society often involves some very imaginative leaps; in fact "leaping" is itself one of them, used to make the fox of FG into a woman who has leapt on the dance-floor of life but has not grasped the prize of marriage. So the cheese in FC is the dowry or estate involved when a woman says "Yes." Bennett shows a lively sympathy for the poor (DM) and the artist (GA). Hobbs says his book is aimed at older children. She notes that, as with Grandville, the animals have human bodies, behave like humans and are fully clothed. She is right: a certain sophistication and knowledge of British life are needed for understanding these presentations. She notes that his followers in the use of color-Caldecott, Crane, and Greenaway-"have none of his sinister undertones" (98).