Benjamin Rabier

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Authors
François, Edouard
Issue Date
1982
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Book, Whole
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This book is not what I expected. I expected a overview of Rabier's life's work, including his editions of La Fontaine's fables (1906), the "Roman de Renard" (1909), and Florian's fables (1936) before he passed away in 1939, Instead this is a collection of his full-page cartoon series, generally either three columns by four rows colored or four by four black-and-white. The three works I mention are not included. There is a consolation prize. Several of these full-page sets deal directly with fables. "Le Rat de Champs" works directly, I believe, from La Fontaine's fables. The country rat knows he can have it better in the city, only to find that everything goes wrong in the city. He finally walks into a trap. "On tombe souvent d'un mal dans un pire." The facing page offers three fables. A butterfly insulting a cabbage is reminded that she lived and ate there. A crow mocks a squirrel and shows off the treasures of his nest. But, come winter, the squirrel can eat her treasures and the crow cannot eat his. Bertrand the monkey and Raton the cat play near a well and Raton falls in and asks for help. Bertrand fashions a knot and Raton puts it around his neck. Bertrand pulls him up -- dead in a hangman's knot. Later in the volume "Trois Nouvelles Fables" tell first of a wind that blows three chicks in their nest to their death. A pig consoles their mother that it brought apples down from a tree for him. The egoist sees the sorrow of another in terms of his own gain. In a direct use of GA, an ant rejects the grasshopper because she has such great color in her body. She must be able to find work. She also rejects a worm because she goes about without proper clothes. The avaricious are fecund in pretexts both bad and good. A flying fish then insults an oyster, but is then seized in mid-flight and devoured. The most brilliant situations are also the least safe.
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Pierre Horay
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