Jean de La Fontaine: Fables
La Fontaine, Jean de
Marsh, Edward Howard
. Alfred A. Knopf . NY/Toronto ,
PQ1811.E3 M3 2001 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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By chance I passed by Olsson's in Bethesda between visits to used book stores, and I found this lovely recent book. It combines the excellent work of de la Nézière, both in color and in black-and-white, with the good verse translations of Marsh. Might the occasion of using de la Nézière's work be that it is exactly 75 years since its publication in 1926? I notice that the back of the title page is careful about acknowledging Marsh's original publication (in Everyman's Library) in 1952 but says nothing about the art of de la Nézière. Sixty fables are presented here, regularly with two black-and-white illustrations. I find sixteen illustrations in color, and they are strong: FC; OF; WL; FS; BC; The Lion and the Gnat; The Hare and the Frogs; FK; FG; The Cat and the Old Rat; The Donkey and the Lapdog; BF; DLS; TH; The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox; and The Fox, the Wolf, and the Horse. The art likes to employ airplanes for flying animals, e.g., in AD (37) and TT (156). The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox (141) wins my prize for the best illustration. This might be the book I would recommend most highly this year as an excellent, sturdy, inexpensive fable book. Well done!