Fables and Satires, With a Preface on the Esopean Fable
. Archibald Constable and Co. , Constable Hunter, Park, and Hunter, . Edinburgh ,
Aesop and others
PN982.B6 1809 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Aesop and others
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My first volumes by a baronet! Leather binding and cover-edges. Marbled covers and page edges. Excellent condition. The preface begins with a bold self-advertisement of this attempt to present [Esopean fable] in a less ungracious form than it has hitherto assumed in English (v). The preface goes on to cover considerable territory, including a list of the most objectionable of LaFontaine's fables (xv-xvii). What most charms Frenchmen in his work is but little felt by other nations. Gay's are the best esteemed English fables, but they are political satires rather than Esopean fables. Prose versions like those of Lestrange and Croxall use the language of a night-cellar! And then they offer endless applications. Dodsley avoids gross faults but is heavy and redundant. All of Boothby's fables are in verse. The preface offers a helpful breakdown of the then state of knowledge of Aesopic fable sources. It also catalogues many elements of a positive, noble life of Aesop, as opposed to Planudes' version. Phaedrus seems complete here, including five extra fables discovered by Gudius at Dijon. Avianus is represented by twenty-nine fables. Then there is a section whose make-up is hard for me to understand: translations of forty-five fables in Greek and Latin attributed to Aesop. Gabrius is recognized as a source but not included as a fabulist on his own. The translations of the Latin authors seem brief, sometimes (as on 139) so brief as to make it hard to find the point. Particularly good is The Cameleon (160), where a fourth surprise finishes the fable. The Sick Man and the Physician (162) becomes clearer to me here than it has ever been before. I think his rendition of The Horse and the Wolf (191) does not work: the thorn needs to be alleged rather than real. New to me: The Frogs and the Tortoise (163), The Crow and the Wolf (164), The Oak and the Lilac (169), and The Fox and the Two Holes (181). T of C on lvii.