Aesop's Fables: A New Version Chiefly from the Original Sources
. John Murray . London
PA3855.E5 J36 1874 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Here is another copy of the 1874 printing of a book first published in 1867. This version has one external and one internal difference from that book, which came to me from June Clinton. The price of the two copies is amazingly close, since this book cost half a dollar less than that. The external difference here lies in the binding: marbled boards and leather with a golden title and golden scrollwork on the spine. The Clinton copy is covered in blue cloth, but with a beautiful golden illustration with title and author embedded in the front cover. Internally, the Clinton copy surprisingly presents a paper cover and a list of illustrations before the title-page. This copy has a more traditional arrangement of these elements. I will repeat my comments made on the Clinton copy. This little book represents my first copy of Wolf's revision of Tenniel's work. Tenniel's original 1848 work published by Murray apparently got such a negative response that, before reissuing it in 1851, the publisher asked Joseph Wolf to create replacements for many of the engravings, and Tenniel himself revised some of the others. Apparently Strahan published a Tenniel/Wolf edition in 1867, and this present, smaller-format book may be a later printing of that. In any case, it still contains the 203 fables of the 1848 edition, but their order is different. My favorite private collector's 1868 Murray printing (F-0110) represents the sixty-third thousand. If one compares this book with the 1848 Murray first edition, some illustrations seem untouched (The Fox and the Goat, The Dog Invited to Supper, MSA), while others are changed quite drastically (FG, WC, FS). What Wolf loses, I believe, is the strong sense of dimensionality Tenniel achieved by the intensity of black: the best of Tenniel leaps off of the page, and Wolf's work does not leap! Consult my 1995 The Fables of Aesop from the QPBC for extensive comment on the movement from Tenniel to Wolf.