Fables of La Fontaine, Part II

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Wright, Elizur, Jr.
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Book, Whole
Research Projects
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This book continues the first half of Volume I by covering Books IV through VI of La Fontaine's fables. It thus becomes Part II of four parts. This set of four volumes constitutes a wonderful surprise. I had thought it would be a worthy second copy of the original Tappan and Dennet publication of Wright's translation of La Fontaine. I remembered the printing of Grandville's illustrations as being especially good. I was surprised by the description that it spreads into four parts the two volumes which Tappan and Dennet published then. The surprise when I received the four books is that this edition intercalates La Fontaine's French texts with the Wright translations. The binder apparently did not have an easy time with this procedure, partly perhaps because, as in that edition, the full-page illustrations are never printed on the obverse. The strange result, described in my comments on Part I, is that French and English texts do not match up perfectly and page numbers are repeated. This second part begins with an endpaper and a blank page before we see the title-page for Book IV. As the second half of Volume I of two it would not have had a title-page of its own. The first full-page illustration, which occurs at that very point, is the brilliant depiction of the lion having his nails cut so that he can marry the human girl. The illustrations are wonderfully executed. Another fine example is the miser who finds that his buried treasure has been stolen (IV 20). Students of the history of the book may want to compare the elaborate printer's devices around the fable numbers -- in both English and French -- with those in the several states of Grandville's first printing of 1837/38. This part ends with the end of Book VI of La Fontaine's fables and a notation "End of Volume First." It features the same two gold embossed urns on its covers as the two volume English edition referred to above, and as on the covers of Part I here. The inside front cover features a small seal "Bound by P. Row, 21 Devonshire St., Boston."
Tappan and Dennet
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