Esopus von Burkhard Waldis, Erster Theil
. Verlagsbuchhandlung von J.J. Weber . Leipzig
Language note: German
PT1795.W2 A7 1862 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: German
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This is a little treasure which I would not have expected to find. For Waldis' original work, see Bodemann's Fabula Docet #15. This edition by Kurz is the one bibliographical work referenced in that item. Cataloguing the book has given me a chance to learn a little about Waldis. He lived from about 1490 to about 1556. Kurz believes that Waldis himself probably took part in the preparation of the first three editions of his Aesop in 1548, 1555, and 1557. Kurz uses the third (1557) as his basis here. Waldis began writing fables earlier, perhaps even before 1533. Kurz believes that Waldis' basic sources included Mathias Schurer for his Latin Aesop (1516 in Strassburg); either one edition without place or year and Steinhöwel or both; Aphthonius in Latin, Romulus, and the Anonymous Neveleti. He did not have Phaedrus, who was first published in 1596. Other sources name Martin Dorp as his chief source. There are three books of 100 traditional fables, and then a fourth book of 100 of Waldis' own fables. Waldis had a painful conversion from Roman Catholicism through a trip to Rome. Apparently he had been imprisoned for his Catholicism. He gave up his status as a Franciscan monk and converted to Protestantism. He became a tinsmith, traveled a good deal, and had a stormy marriage with a widow, which ended up in a separation. Apparently these experiences play out in his fables, namely a reaction against Roman religious frivolity and against women. After a second time in prison, he studied for the Protestant ministry and then undertook it. A second marriage was happier. According to Bodemann, the only illustration in Waldis' original work was the frontispiece; it seems to appear here on 1, which seems to be the title-page of the 1557 edition. This rhyming-verse collection begins with a life of Aesop. This book's 422 pages contain Waldis' first three books. Besides the texts, there are a few vocabulary footnotes. A reading of the first two fables, CJ and WL, shows what commentators describe, namely, that Waldis loves proverbs--even many of them--for making his points in the moral of the fable, which is marked here with a paragraph sign.