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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I am surprised and delighted to have this book. I may have seen it once, at Southern Mississippi's library. 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, (also on the front cover) 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. The cover announces a colored version. The Pierpont Morgan has a hand-colored version. Would all of the colored versions have been hand-colored? 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).