Les Fables de La Fontaine

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La Fontaine, Jean de
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I already had found Dupuis' publication of Hausman's work from 2010. When I found this 1965 copy, I presumed that it was the original edition, identical in content. The format of this book is slightly larger, but it turns out to be the first half of that 2010 edition. I see now in Bodemann that the original behind the 2010 edition was a pair of volumes done in 1970 and 1977. This 1965 edition was the original of that 1970 Volume 1. It contains the first 41 fables on some 89 pages. Thus the pagination of those first 89 pages is identical with the pagination in my 2010 edition. Let me include comments from that edition. Ren� Hausman is a celebrated illustrator of comic books in Belgium and France. Here is his La Fontaine, and it is wonderful! In image and after image, I found myself saying either "He has it right!" or "I have not thought of that approach to this fable." Each fable has at least one trenchant illustration. One knows hardly where to start in this explosion of artistry! Look at FS on 10 and 11. Hausman catches the chagrin of the outwitted fox wonderfully. When it comes to humans, look at "The Worker and His Sons" on 16-17. Hausman catches the youth of these three figures. They will learn! I love the dimensions of "The Bear and the Lover of Gardens" (22-23). The rock is about to come crashing down on the insect -- and the head of the bear's own sleeping friend. Hausman is clever to avoid the problem many illustrators have with "The Fly and the Coach" by bringing the insect to the foreground and putting the whole caravan of travelers in the background (30-31). Again in "The Banker and the Cobbler" (56-57), Hausman does an excellent job with the faces of the two protagonists: one small and the other expansive. TMCM on 62-63 contrasts the two phases of the rats' experience brilliantly: the color of the orgy stands out against the black-and-white fear of the flight. Grippeminaud could not be more frightening than he is on 74 as the witless weasel and hare approach. He already recognizes them as victims. The approach to MSA on 86-87 took me completely by surprise, but it fits the piece well. Recognize nature -- yours and his -- and be smart. I notice that the illustrations are sometimes cropped and that the more recent copy is sharper. One could use these two books to show how printing has changed in 45 years. There is a T of C here on 90-91. This early edition turns out to be quite a find!
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