L'Ineffable la Fontaine revisité

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Arnaud, François
La Fontaine, Jean de
Salachas, Gilbert
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I am indebted to John for finding me this outstanding work. It combines imagination of various sorts. It presents forty-one fables of La Fontaine and does several things with each. First it offers a delightful line-drawing by Arnaud, each drawing made without lifting the pen. In the very first (10), the wolf towers over the lamb. Sweeping lines draw together the fox and the crow (14). One line includes the pail, the pig, the cow, and the chicken in MM (18). Other outstanding illustrations include The Lion in Love (44), The Lion and the Mosquito (58), and TMCM (74). The other gift to each La Fontaine text is one of Salachas' grains of salt. These are, as far as I can perceive, contemporary replays of the fables. Thus for OR, a resistance leader ridicules a new young woman in the movement, but when the Nazis come, it is the leader who talks and not the woman (13). For FC, two rascals stand under a rich kid's balcony and ask him if he can play his new harmonica without hands (15)! For La Fontaine's fable on the ass carrying a sacred object, Salachas offers the story of an unattractive thirty-year old woman who suddenly turns heads, only to realize late in the day that she threw on a tee-shirt depicting Marilyn Monroe (29)! For each poem a source is offered, like Aesop, Horace, or Phaedrus. After every few pages, there is also a pochette surprise, something like a lucky bag or even a grab-bag. One of them presents a student essay correcting everything that is wrong with La Fontaine's FC (16-17). There are also pages of hommage to great film directors. One of the main benefits of this collection is to find and bring together the sort of wit that Aesopic fables unleash in people. This book is a great example! I find this book so important that as I am reviewing it, I have purchased a second copy. Unfortunately, the binding of the Baxter copy is already loosening at its top. Since it is signed by Salachas, I will keep the second copy in the collection.
Atelier Akimbo
Éditions Gilbert Salachas
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