Synopses & Reviews
The Contes et nouvelles en vers of Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) were published at various times throughout his life, both before and after his celebrated Fables, between 1664 and 1685, and even posthumously. In quite a different key from the more innocent Fables, the Contes often threatened to get him in trouble with both Church and Acadmie. It was, indeed, the bawdy tales of Boccaccio, Rabelais, and other medieval and renaissance masters of ribaldry that inspired La Fontaine's Contes, presented here in a chronologically and stylistically diverse selection translated by Norman R. Shapiro. This spirited recent translation, spanning the entire corpus, offers about half the tales, from early to late, in all their variety of lengths and poetic narrative forms. The mildly suggestive mingle with the frankly bawdy, while others would hardly raise a vicar's eyebrow. Yet all these gems from one of France's truly great poets, scrupulously faithful to the originals, are rendered with the spirit of his style, his subtle rhythms, cadences, rhymes, and delectable wit left intact.
Finalist for the 1993 Bolton Memorial Prize, Latin American History
Includes bibliographical references (p. xxi-xxii).