Jean de La Fontaine: Fables, Tome I
La Fontaine, Jean de
. Georges Briffaut , Le Livre du Bibliophile: Geroges Briffaut, Éditeur . Paris (Bodemann identifier #424.1 )
Language note: French
PQ1808.A1 1930g (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: French
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Previously I had found Hémard's other work represented in Bodemann, his 1937 Quarante-Cinq Fables de La Fontaine published by Les Laboratoires Bouillet, Roger Dacosta, Éditeur. I have the sense of having seen his work elsewhere too. These two volumes were a lucky find on eBay. The 242 fables are ordered according to their date of appearance. Thus after the six books of fables -- and their epilogue -- that first appeared in 1668, there is 1671's dedication and eight fables, followed by The Sun and the Frogs of 1672 and the whole collection of things involved in the publication of 1678, including an Avertissement, a dedication to Madame de Montespan, and a First Book containing sixteen fables. Bodemann speaks of colored drawings (reproduction as a colored printing from several plates). Metzner doing the notes in Bodemann finds 26 illustrations outside of the fables. These he calls humorous sketches of figures with Jugendstil pedestal-like decorations. There are thirty-two illustrations before fables and twenty-nine after. Men and animals are marionette-like in their 17th-century costumes. I am particularly taken with the coloring of Hémard's work. The full frontispiece (CW) is followed by many designs and illustrations. The first book, for example, has four part-page illustrations. The strongest are for GA (43) and WL (55). Note the humor on 81 of the beetle using a mallet to break the eagle's eggs! The human-animal crossovers already strong in WL (55) are accentuated in WC (115): though both are human, they emit strong suggestions of their animal character, even through the bonnet and stance of the female crane. Watch the mother lark run with her children on 129. The T of C for the first volume on 271 has a lovely design of the acorn and pumpkin. Bodemann says that this limited edition of two volumes is part of an eleven-volume Works of La Fontaine. The upper part of the spine of this first volume is cracked, disconnected, and taped. When the library gets to repairing books, this is one of the first in the collection to work on!