Sunday, July 3, 2016

The illustrated Fables of Jean de La Fontaine

Portrait of Jean de La Fontaine.
        "Jean de La Fontaine was born on the 8th of July, 1621, at Chateau-Thierry, and his family held a respectable position there.
        His education was neglected, but he had received that genius which makes amends for all. While still young the tedium of society led him into retirement, from which a taste for independence afterwards withdrew him.
        He had reached the age of twenty-two, when a few sounds from the lyre of Malherbe, heard by accident, awoke in him the muse which slept.
        He soon became acquainted with the best models: Phoedrus, Virgil, Horace and Terence amongst the Latins; Plutarch, Homer and Plato, amongst the Greeks; Rabelais, Marot and d'Urfe, amongst the French; Tasso, Ariosto and Boccaccio, amongst the Italians.
        He married, in compliance with the wishes of his family, a beautiful, witty and chaste woman, who drove him to despair.
        He was sought after and cherished by all distinguished men of letters. But it was two Ladies who kept him from experiencing the pangs of poverty.
        La Fontaine, if there remain anything of thee, and if it be permitted to thee for a moment to soar above all time; see the names of La Sabliere and of Hervard pass with thine to the ages to come!
       The life of La Fontaine was, so to speak, only one of continual distraction. In the midst of society, he was absent from it. Regarded almost as an imbecile by the crowd, this clever author, this amiable man, only permitted himself to be seen at intervals and by friends.
        Amongst a large number of works that he has left, everyone knows his fables and his tales, and the circumstances of his life are written in a hundred places.
        He died on the 16th of March, 1695 and was buried in the cemetery of Saint-Joseph, by the side of Moliere."
       According to Flaubert, he was the only French poet to understand and master the texture of the French language before Victor Hugo. A set of postage stamps celebrating La Fontaine and the Fables was issued by France in 1995. Read more...

The Following Fables Were Illustrated by Percy J. Billinghurst and have been fully restored by Kathy Grimm:
  1. The acorn and the pumpkin  
  2. The Animals Sick of the Plague 
  3. The Ape 
  4. The Ass and his Masters 
  5. The Ass and the Dog 
  6. The Ass and the Little Dog 
  7. The Ass Carrying Relics
  8. The Ass Dressed in the Lion's Skin 
  9. The Ass Loaded With Sponges 
  10. The Bat and the Two Weasels 
  11. The Battle of the Rats and the Weasels
  12. The Bear and the Two Companions 
  13. The Bird Wounded by an Arrow
  14. The Camel and the Floating Sticks
  15. The carter in the mire
  16. The Cat and the Fox 
  17. The Cat and The Two Sparrows  
  18. The Cock and the Fox  
  19. The Council held by the Rats 
  20. The countryman and the serpent 
  21. The Cunning Fox
  22. Death and the Woodman 
  23. The dog and his master's dinner 
  24. The Dog whose Ears were Cropped 
  25. The Dove and the Ant
  26. The Dragon with many Heads
  27. The Eagle and the Magpie 
  28. The Eagle and the Owl 
  29. The ears of the hare
  30. The Earthen Pot and the Iron Pot 
  31. Education
  32. The fool who sold wisdom
  33. The Fox, the Flies, and the Hedgehog
  34. The Fox, the Monkey, and the Animals  
  35. The Fox and the Turkeys
  36. The fox, the wolf, and the horse
  37. The grasshopper and the ant
  38. The Hare and the Partridge 
  39. The Head and the Tail of the Serpent 
  40. The Heifer, the Goat, and the Sheep 
  41. The Heron
  42. The Hog, the Goat, and the Sheep
  43. The Hornets and the Bees
  44. The Horse and the Wolf
  45. The Joker and the Fishes
  46. The Lion and the Ass Hunting 
  47. The Lion and the Hunter
  48. The Lion and the Gnat
  49. The Lion and the Monkey
  50. The Lion beaten by the Man
  51. The Lioness and the Bear 
  52. The Lion Going to War  
  53. The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox  
  54. The Lobster and her Daughter 
  55. The Man and his Image 
  56. The Man and the Wooden God
  57. The Mice and the Owl 
  58. The Miser and the Monkey 
  59. The Monkey and the Cat
  60. The Monkey and the Leopard 
  61. Nothing too Much 
  62. The Oak and the Reed
  63. The Old Cat and the Young Mouse
  64. The Old Man and the Ass 
  65. The Old Woman and her Servants  
  66. The Oyster and the Litigants
  67. Philomes and Progue 
  68. The Ploughman and his Sons
  69. The Quarrel of the Dogs and Cats
  70. The Rat and the Elephant
  71. The rat and the oyster
  72. The Rat Retired from the World  
  73. The Shepherd and his Dog
  74. The Shepherd and his Flock
  75. The Shepherd and the Lion
  76. The shepherd and the sea
  77. The Stick Stag
  78. The Spider and the Swallow
  79. The Stag and the Vine
  80. The sun and the frogs
  81. The swan and the cook
  82. The thieves and the ass
  83. The tortoise and the two ducks
  84. The two asses
  85. The Two Bulls and the Frog
  86. The Two Dogs and the Dead Ass
  87. The Two Goats
  88. The Two Mules 
  89. The Two Rats, the Fox, and the Egg
  90. The Vultures and the Pigeons 
  91. The Wallet
  92. The Wax- Candle  
  93. The weasel in the granary 
  94. The wolf accusing the fox  
  95. The Wolf and the Fox 
  96. The Wolf and the Lean Dog 
  97. The Wolf, the Goat, and the Kid
  98. The wolf turned shepherd
  99. The Woodman and Mercury
  100. The Woods and the Woodman 

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