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      Death and Mr. Pickwick

      Stephen Jarvis 9780374139667

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Selected Fables


Selected Fables Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

La Fontaine's verse fables turned the traditional folktales derived from Aesop and a range of Oriental sources into some of the greatest, and best-loved, poetic works in French. His versions of stories such as The Hare and the Tortoise and The Wolf and the Lamb are witty and sophisticated, satirizing human nature in miniature dramas in which the outcome is always unpredictable. The behavior of both animals and humans is usually centered on deception and cooperation (or the lack of it), as they cheat and fight each other, arguing about life and death, property and food, in an astonishing variety of narrative styles. The fables have long been popular with all ages, though their ironic take on contemporary society in French aristocratic circles is best appreciated by adults.

This new translation by Christopher Betts matches the original in inventiveness and subtlety. It includes half of the fables first published in twelve books between 1668 and 1693, across the full range of subjects and themes. The fables are illustrated with a selection of Gustave Doré's majestic engravings, and an introduction offers insights into La Fontaine's life and literary artistry.

About the Author

Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95) followed a career as a poet after early training for the law and the Church. He came under the wing of Louis XIV's Finance Minister, Nicolas Fouquet, and later enjoyed the patronage of the Duchess of Orléans and Mme de La Sablière. His Fables were widely admired, and he was already regarded in his lifetime as one of the greatest poets of his age.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Introduction xiii

Note on the Translation xxxii

Select Bibliography xxxvii

A Chronology of Jean de La Fontaine xxxix


(books i to vi, 1668)

The Cricket and the Ant (I.1) 3

The Fox and the Crow (I.2) 4

The Frog who Wanted to Be as Big as an Ox (I.3) 4

The Two Mules (I.4) 5

The Wolf and the Dog (I.5) 6

The Heifer, the Goat, and the Sheep, in Alliance with the Lion (I.6) 7

The Two Pouches (I.7) 8

The Swallow and the Little Birds (I.8) 10

The Town Rat and the Country Rat (I.9) 13

The Wolf and the Lamb (I.10) 14

The Man and his Image (I.11) 15

The Dragon with Many Heads and the Dragon with Many Tails (I.12) 16

The Thieves and the Donkey (I.13) 17

Simonides is Saved by the Gods (I.14) 18

Death and the Unhappy Man (I.15) 20

Death and the Woodcutter (I.16) 21

The Middle-Aged Man and his Two Loves (I.17) 22

The Fox and the Stork (I.18) 23

The Boy and the Schoolmaster (I.19) 24

The Cock and the Pearl (I.20) 25

The Hornets and the Honey-Bees (I.21) 26

The Oak and the Reed (I.22) 27

Against Those of Fussy Tastes (II.1) 28

The Rats who Held a Council (II.2) 30

The Two Bulls and the Frog (II.4) 32

The Wounded Bird and the Arrow (II.6) 33

The Lion and the Fly (II.9) 34

The Lion and the Rat; The Dove and the Ant (II.11; II.12) 35

The Astrologer in the Well (II.13) 38

The Hare and the Frogs (II.14) 39

The Cock and the Fox (II.15) 42

The Lion who went Hunting with the Ass (II.19) 43

Aesop's Explanation of a Will (II.20) 44

The Miller, his Son, and the Ass (III.1) 47

The Wolf in Shepherd's Clothing (III.3) 51

The Frogs who Asked for a King (III.4) 53

The Fox and the Goat (III.5) 55

The Gout and the Spider (III.8) 56

The Wolf and the Stork (III.9) 58

The Lion Defeated by a Man (III.10) 59

The Fox and the Grapes (III.11) 59

The Lion in Old Age (III.14) 60

The Drowned Woman (III.16) 6 0

The Cat and an Old Rat (III.18) 61

The Lion in Love (IV.1) 64

The Shepherd and the Sea (IV.2) 66

The Gardener and his Lord (IV.4) 68

The Battle of the Weasels and the Rats (IV.6) 70

The Ape and the Dolphin (IV.7) 72

The Wolf, the Nanny-Goat, and her Kid; The Wolf, the Mother, and her Child (IV.15; IV.16) 7 4

The Miser who Lost his Treasure (IV.20) 77

The Master's Eye (IV.21) 79

The Skylark and her Young, and the Owner of a Field (IV.22) 80

The Woodcutter and Mercury (V.1) 84

The Pot of Iron and the Pot of Clay (V.2) 86

The Fisherman and the Little Fish (V.3) 8 7

The Ploughman and his Children (V.9) 89

The Mountain that Gave Birth (V.10) 90

The Doctors (V.12) 92

The Hen that Laid the Eggs of Gold (V.13) 92

The Snake and the File (V.16) 94

The Bear and the Two Friends (V.20) 95

The Donkey Clad in the Skin of a Lion (V.21) 96

The Shepherd and the Lion; The Lion and the Huntsman (VI.1; VI.2) 97

The Cockerel, the Cat, and the Little Mouse (VI.5) 99

The Hare and the Tortoise (VI.10) 100

The Villager and the Snake (VI.13) 103

The Sick Lion and the Fox (VI.14) 104

The Dog who Gave Up the Substance for the Shadow (VI.17) 105

The Young Widow (VI.21) 105


(books vii to xi, 1677-8, and book xii, 1693)

The Animals Sick of the Plague (VII.1) 108

The Man who Married Badly (VII.2) 110

The Rat who Retired from Worldly Life (VII.3) 112

The Heron; The Girl (VII.4) 113

The Wishes (VII.5) 116

The Coach and the Fly (VII.8) 118

The Milkmaid and the Can of Milk (VII.9) 119

The Curé and the Dead Man (VII.10) 121

The Two Cocks (VII.12) 122

The Soothsayers (VII.14) 123

The Cat, the Weasel, and the Little Rabbit (VII.15) 125

Death and the Dying Man (VIII.1) 127

The Cobbler and the Financier (VIII.2) 129

The Power of Fables (VIII.4) 132

Women and Secrets (VIII.6) 134

The Bear and the Gardener (VIII.10) 135

The Funeral of the Lioness (VIII.14) 137

The Rat and the Elephant (VIII.15) 141

The Donkey and the Dog (VIII.17) 142

Jupiter and the Thunderbolts (VIII.20) 143

The Wolf and the Huntsman (VIII.27) 145

The Unfaithful Guardian (IX.1) 148

The Two Doves (IX.2) 151

The Acorn and the Pumpkin (IX.4) 154

The Metamorphosis of the Mouse (IX.7) 155

The Oyster and its Claimants (IX.9) 158

The Treasure and the Two Men (IX.16) 160

The Two Rats, the Fox, and the Egg (IX, last, extract) 162

The Man and the Snake (X.1) 163

The Tortoise and the Two Ducks (X.2) 166

The Fishes and the Cormorant (X.3) 167

The Wolf and the Shepherds (X.5) 169

The Two Adventurers and the Talisman (X.13) 170

An Address to M. de La Rochefoucauld (X.14) 172

The Lion (XI.1) 176

The Dream of One who Lived in Mogul Lands (XI.4) 177

The Danube Peasant (XI.7) 1 79

The Old Man and the Three Youngsters (XI.8) 182

Odysseus and his Companions (XII.1) 185

The Cat and the Two Sparrows (XII.2) 189

The Two Goats (XII.4) 190

The Old Cat and the Young Mouse (XII.5) 192

The Ailing Stag (XII.6) 193

The Forest and the Woodcutter (XII.16) 194

The English Fox (XII.23) 195

The Judge, the Doctor, and the Hermit (XII, last) 198

Explanatory Notes 201

Index of English Titles 221

Product Details

La Fontaine, Jean De
Oxford University Press, USA
Fontaine, Jean de La
Betts, Christopher
La Fontaine, Jean de
Literature/English | World Literature | France
Mythology-Folklore and Storytelling
Publication Date:
23 engravings by Gustave Dore
5.6 x 8.6 x 1.1 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling
Humanities » Mythology » French

Selected Fables New Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199650729 Reviews:
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