Aesop's Fables

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Rundell, J.B.
La Fontaine, Jean de
Croxall, Samuel
L'Estrange, Roger
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This copy with a white cover joins two with green and blue covers, respectively. It has two remarkable features. First, it is inscribed in 1869. That fact makes it perhaps the clearest candidate for a first edition; I believe it also validates those two other copies as first editions, since they are the same internally. The cover here features not a bird standing on a stump next to four medallions, but rather embossed images of FS and DS. This is the same cover design, incidentally, that Scott Schilb shows for his "first edition" selling for $375. I will continue with remarks made on those other two copies. It looks to me as though I have had a great piece of luck and have here a first edition of this work that would be so often reprinted. All the data square with Bodemann #344.1, including the lack of a printed date. The 244 pages, including an AI at the end, do not include the extra 132 fables and 32 illustrations added in a later (third?) edition, which Hobbs dates to 1893. The illustrations here are very good in a book in good condition. Hobbs says of Griset's illustrations: "Some of the wood engravings have his customary light and whimsical touch; others are powerful and macabre in Doré's manner, with similar chiaroscuro contrasts" (102). I find three types of Griset illustrations here among the ninety-three listed at the book's front. First and most impressive there are the full-page wood-engravings. They and their blank backs are included in the book's pagination. They are stark and even frightening sometimes. Some strong examples here would include LM (20), WC (29), "The Mountain in Labor" (69), FK (77), "Mercury and the Woodman" (92), FG (with three foxes, 101), "The Eagle and the Crow" (109), "The Bear and the Beehives" (141), "The Thief and the Dog" (an Eskimo, 212), and "The Nurse and the Wolf" (237). There are also some partial-page illustrations like these. Some good examples here are "The Two Frogs" (1), "The Fox and the Lion" (185), and MSA (227). There are, finally, some partial-page scenes with cartoon-like figures, e.g., "The Peacock and the Crane" (49), "The Boar and the Ass" (80), "The Ass Carrying an Idol" (155), "The Wolf, the She-Goat, and the Kid" (177), and "The Old Woman and the Empty Cask" (200). Bodemann's description fits right down to the eight pages of advertisements at the end. This book is another treasure, and I am lucky to have found it!
Cassell, Petter, and Galpin
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