Aesopi Fabulae II

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1982
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Book, Whole
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This pair of volumes is among the most valuable books in the collection. Together the two books present a broad study of Aesopic fable with a wealth of illustration. The boxes and dust jackets exhibit a large, vivid, comprehensive illustration by Oberländer pulling together characters from a number of fables here against a yellow background (see his work, also from 1982, in my Der Fuchs und die Trauben und sieben weitere Fabeln des Aesop). The inside of the dust jacket shows a photograph of a kylix of Aesop and a fox (also found on 237). The endpapers show Aesopic stamps from Hungary, San Marino, Poland, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Burundi, and Syria. The book's first pages are four full-page colorful paintings by Oberländer: LM, TB, BW, and TH. A T of C gives Western numbers and page numbers for Fables 187 through 359. Stars above fourteen of the T of C listings apparently indicate outstanding stories. The stories are decorated with a variety of small early illustrations, among which I recognize many from Steinhöwel and Tuppo. One can compare two woodcut styles for a peacock on 186-7. My favorite illustrations are on 116 (the arrogant horse looks down on the heavily-laden ass) and 159 (the mother monkey carries her unwanted son to safety while her favorite son is devoured by those who have pursued her). On 214-236 are twelve fables from Odo of Cheriton. At 238 there is an introduction to Aesopic fable: its origin, structure, and meaning; the animals, gods, and people one finds in Aesop's fables; and the historical existence of Aesop himself. This introduction is accompanied by illustrations of such things as the original Esopono Fabulas done for and in Japan by the Jesuits, Velasquez' portrait of Aesop, statues of well known Greek figures, and the covers of famous scholarly editions. From 292-311 there is a spectacular display of the history of illustrations for fables, including some from the Orient. On 312 there is a short bibliography of scholarly editions, and on 313-24 an index. There is even a ribbon to mark your place!
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Shogakukan Company
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