Les Cinq fabulistes, ou les trois cents fables d'Ésope, de Lockmann, de Philelphe, de Gabrias et d'Avienus, Vol. I

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(Jean-Baptist Morvan) de Bellegarde
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Here is another strange experience in collecting. This spring I have been approaching a purchase of more expensive books with some grant money. “Les Cinq Fabulistes” was a pair of volumes I was long considering and finally decided for, basing my decision on the book’s high recommendation and pedigree on ABE. Some weeks before that final decision, this single book appeared on Ebay, advertised as “1802 THE FIVE FABULISTS.” I was struck mostly by the prolific and good illustrations. I never put the two offerings together until this week. Having finished cataloguing that other pair of volumes, I discovered this duplicate. It is such a lovely and, I believe, rare book that I am going to include it in the collection. I do note that the full-page illustration "The Snake and the Laborer" (56) seems to be missing in this copy. Otherwise, I repeat the essentials in my comment on the first volume of the set catalogued earlier. This is a serious treasure in the collection. It is rare, I believe, for bringing together five fabulists. It is also rare in France for not including La Fontaine. A particular strength of the book lies in the illustrations. This volume includes a frontispiece of Aesop in 18th century costume with the animals. There are five further full-page illustrations. One example of these faces 34, "The Two Cocks and a Falcon." Then there are some 58 pages with two illustrations. The first of these, facing 3, features CJ and WL in particularly high definition and very well preserved. One of my favorites among these pages faces 115: "The Thief and His Mother" and "The Man with Two Mistresses." Bodemann comments correctly that the illustrations draw their inspiration chiefly from Barlow and Baudoin. In this volume, there are 206 fables on 212 pages, as the closing T of C indicates. My understanding is that there is no attempt to assign authorship among the five fabulists here. It is also my understanding that Bellegarde is responsible for the quatrains accompanying these prose fables. About 4" x 6½".
J. - Ch. Poncelin
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