La Fontaine: Fables Choisies
La Fontaine, Jean de
. Les Éditions de la Nouvelle France . Paris
PQ1808.A2 1946 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This book got me in touch with Mike, who works as a volunteer selling old books for charity. Sometimes he notices books that could draw more and puts them on Ebay. I got lucky! There are forty-seven of La Fontaine's fables in this boxed set of folios. Many have simple and very attractive designs just above their titles. Among the prettiest are the silhouette for Le Coche et la Mouche (35). I also like the illustration for L'Éléphant et le Singe de Jupiter (49), which puts the elephant and his rhinoceros opponent both on circus performing drums. Of course, the elephant learns in this fable that he is not in the spotlight of the world's most important events! The amorous lion (61) wears a blindfold and is ridden by Cupid. The illustration for FG frames itself beautifully (109). Each page is framed in a maroon stripe, with Fables above left-hand pages and La Fontaine above right-hand pages. Unusually, the AI, tirage data, and colophon seem to be at the front of this set of folios. Might this folio have been misplaced from the back? I have found recently a number of outstanding French fable publications from just after the war. Were publishing houses eager to reestablish themselves and French literature? To set a high standard of artistic quality? To give artists a chance at last?