Fables Choisies Mises en Vers par M. de La Fontaine, Tome I
La Fontaine, Jean de
. Louis Conard . Paris
Language note: French
PQ1808.A1 1930c (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: French
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Bodemann #425. Here is a real treasure! I think I did not realize what I was getting when I bid on this set of books. Each fable has a lovely colored woodcut about a third of a page in size. An early note indicates the woodcut plates were destroyed in the presence of witnesses after the printing of the book. This volume covers Books 1-4. I had found a copy of it, but not of the other two volumes, earlier. There are three sets of art work here. Each fable gets a small illustration above its title, done by either Malassis or Money. They are demanding work, as is clear from the start in GA. These illustrations often give the particular scene a large background, as in Les Deux Mulets (9). Some of these have a lovely design quality, e.g. Le Dragon à plusieurs Têtes, et le Dragon à plusieurs Queues (29). Among my favorites in this group is one of the few human depictions I have seen of TMCM (23). Also good are 2W (41); L'Enfant et le Maitre d'École (45); L'Oiseau blessé d'une Flêche (69); SS (81); L'Ivrogne et sa Femme (133); and Le Lion amoureux (163). The cat-woman chasing the rat is completely naked here (99). SM (117) has for its illustration a simple portrait of a French king surrounded with a sunburst. Perhaps the most curious of the illustrations is for Le Loup, la Mère et l'Enfant (207). The visual paradigms behind these illustrations are quite traditional. As Bodemann notes, many of the illustrations move out slightly beyond their rectangular margins. There is also a clever little design between each illustration and its title. Thus for La Besace (17), it is appropriately a mask. A third group of illustrations comprises the decorative compositions of Laprade placed at the beginning of each book. These are light and airy. Of the four here, I like best the image of ape and dolphin at the beginning of IV. There is a place-marking ribbon. Many of the pages are uncut. See 1931 and 1933, respectively, for Tome II and Tome III.