Aesop's Fables

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Rundell, J. B
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Here is a casual find from a Christmas shopping visit to Barnes and Noble. It seems to select from the enlarged versions of Rundell and Griset's work that appeared starting in about 1874, even though the only references here are to the original smaller work of this pair in 1869. From what I can gather, there is more here than was in the earlier work and less than was in the enlarged editions beginning about 1874. The clearest sign of the presence of the enlarged version here is the final Finis illustration (250). The clearest sign that some of the early work is missing is the lack here of The Ant and the Chrysalis. Many of Griset's illustrations in the original publications are dark, particularly in cheaper later printings. The advantage of this book is that those illustrations are sharp and clear here. Griset's work is still often dark in itself, as in The Frog and the Fox (118) and The Fir Tree and the Bramble (147). Griset remains whimsical. Why, for example, is the knight asking his horse to return to battle Don Quixote (95)? Why is the thief pictured as an Eskimo but not mentioned as such (132)? Why is the nurse threatening to throw her child to the wolf a monkey (155)? I still have questions about why the travelers run into a bear and a cub (36) and why there are three foxes in the illustration but only one in the text of FG (73). Griset works in several styles, one of which reminds me of the figures one sees in German beer halls, as on the T of C page and on 109. Other styles include those heavy on shadow, like WC on VII and again on 24; those that are cartoonlike, like The Eagle, the Cat, and the Sow on 22 and The Fox and the Mask on 39; and the more straightforward, like The Cat and the Cock on 49. Overall, I am delighted to see this classic reproduced and available economically. To find Rundell, by the way, one has to dig into the introduction. There is an AI at the end and a list of full-page illustrations on VI.
Fall River Press: Sterling Publishing
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