The Fables of La Fontaine
Gibbs, J. W. M
La Fontaine, Jean de
. George Bell and Sons . London
PQ1811.E3 W6 1896 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This standard-seeming handy-sized edition of the Wright translation of LaFontaine without illustrations turns out to have a wonderful preface dated in 1881. The preface traces the history of Wright's translation. After six quick editions in Boston (1841-3) and one small-type edition in London at the same time, there had been nothing till this edition in 1881. (I have an 1860 Derby and Jackson edition by Wright. Its existence seems to contradict the preface's claim. I also have the small four-volume set done in 1881 by Estes and Lauriat.) In fact, there had been only one other translator of the complete LaFontaine's fables into English during that time (Thornbury), and the preface finds that translation inferior to Wright's. This edition embodies the corrections but not the expurgations of the sixth edition (see my 1843 copy); in fact the preface presents the five fables that Wright, under some duress, substituted for the expurgated LaFontaine fables in that sixth edition. The preface continues with a nice account of Wright's life. Notes with the fables. AI and forty pages of advertisements for Bell's books at the back. Originally owned by the University of California Medical School in San Francisco.