Fables from Aesop and Others
. Transatlantic Arts . [London]
PZ8.2.A254 Jm 1944 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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A beautiful book that I had read about in Ash and Higton's Aesop's Fables: A Classic Illustrated Edition (1990) but had had little hope of finding. They give the 1944 date, which I cannot find in the book itself. The strong black-and-white title page of a court scene is followed by twenty-three fables. The texts are generally well thought out, except that the bear on 14 only pretends to dislike the smell in the lion's den. The version here seems to sympathize with the grasshopper against the ant (23). New to me is The Eagle, the Jackdaw, and the Magpie (27). Where does The Bear and the Fowls (45) on mocking others' customs come from? For each fable there is a full-page colored illustration done in something that looks like pastels. Among the best illustrations are those of the leopard and the fox (28, used in Ash and Higton) and the monkey and dolphin (36). There are many little black-and-white designs as well. That of the monkey and dolphin is particularly well integrated with the colored illustration. Johnston dresses up the animals well. Jupiter and the Animals spans two pages (20-21) with both text and illustration at the center of the book and reverses the rhythm of placement of text and illustration. The last story puts both text and illustration onto one page. Now, after a detailed analysis in '97, I can offer the following additional comments: Johnston is relying very heavily on Dodsley and La Fontaine. The Lion, the Bear, the Monkey, and the Fox is from Dodsley (where the bear also pretends) as is The Bear and the Fowls asked about above. Jupiter and the Animals here presents half of what is in La Fontaine's fable, the half that is never used elsewhere. Similarly, The Lioness and the Bear (41) and The Rat Who Retired from the World (43) are only in La Fontaine, while The Cats Who Went to Law (6) and The Fox and the Crow (12) seem heavily dependent on him. The collection's twenty-three fables thus present an unusual selection.