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The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine

The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine

Translated by Norman R. Shapiro
Introduction by John Hollander
Illustrations by David Schorr
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 504
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  • Book Info
    The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine
    Book Description:

    Charming and elegant, Jean de La Fontaine's (1621-1695) animal fables depict sly foxes and scheming cats, vain birds and greedy wolves, all of which subtly express his penetrating insights into French society and the beasts found in all of us. Norman R. Shapiro has been translating La Fontaine's fables for over twenty years, capturing the original works' lively mix of plain and archaic language. This newly complete collection is destined to set the English standard for the oeuvre of one of the world's greatest fabulists.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09167-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
  2. Introduction
    (pp. xxiii-xxxviii)
    John Hollander

    With the epic formula, “Je chante les héros”(I sing those heroes), Jean de La Fontaine begins the opening poem of his epical twelve books of not quite epical fables. The remainder of the passage makes clear the author’s quieter but perhaps no less modest claim, “Je chante les héros dont Esope est le père”—and I quote, as throughout these remarks, Professor Norman Shapiro’s splendid renderings—

    I sing those heroes, Aesop’s progeny,

    Whose tales, fictitious though indeed they be,

    Contain much truth. Herein, endowed with speech—

    Even the fish!—will all my creatures teach

    With human voice; for animals...

  3. Notes on Illustrations
    (pp. 441-444)
    David Schorr