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New edition by Pierre Coste of the famous fables of Jean de la Fontaine,
illustrated by Jacques Anthony Chovin

FONTAINE, Jean de la.
Fables choisies, mises en vers par monsieur De La Fontaine...
Genève, J. Samuel Cailler, 1772. 2 volumes. 8vo. With titles printed in red and black, a portrait of De la Fontaine as frontispiece for vol. 1, and Aesop teaching the animals as frontispiece for vol. 2, 241 engraved illustrations to the 239 fables. Many woodcut and typographical endpieces. Marbled paper over boards, manuscript title on spine. [4], XLVIII, 256; [4], 352 pp.
€ 650
Apparently a co-edition with another title-page of the edition Lausanne, J. Pierre Heubach, 1772 (Bodemann, 156.1 who considers this a Neuausgabe of the Coste redaction; cf. also the caption on the frontispiece for vol. 2: a Lausanne chez J.P. Heubach).
Pierre Coste (1688-1747) was a Swiss theologian and translator who also edited the Fables of De la Fontaine.
Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695) is one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century, known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions. After a long period of royal suspicion, he was admitted to the French Academy and his reputation in France has never faded since. His Fables unquestionably represent the peak of La Fontaines achievement. The first six books, of the "Fables choisies", known as the "premier recueil" (first collection), were published in 1668. The 124 fables were in the main adapted from the classical fabulists Aesop, Babrius and Phaedrus. In these, La Fontaine adhered to the path of his predecessors with some closeness; but in the later collections he allowed himself far more liberty and in the later books there is a wider range of sources. They were followed by five more books (the second recueil) in 1678-79 and a twelfth book in 1694. Between 1682 and 1685 a few fables were published dealing with people in antiquity. These were included in book 12 (in 1694), next to 25 real fables.
A bit cut short, especially vol. 1 which is a bit smaller than vol. 2, not affecting the text, some staining and slight browning especially in the right margins of vol. 2. Bodemann, 156.1.
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Literature & linguistics  >  Emblem, Fable & Songbooks