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The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine written by Jean de La Fontaine

 

The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine written by Jean de La Fontaine

Synopsis:

Inspired new translations of the work of one of the world's greatest fabulists

Told in an elegant style, Jean de la Fontaine's (1621-95) charming animal fables depict sly foxes and scheming cats, vain birds and greedy wolves, all of which subtly express his penetrating insights into French society and the beasts found in all of us. Norman R. Shapiro has been translating La Fontaine's fables for over twenty years, capturing the original work's lively mix of plain and archaic language. This newly complete translation is destined to set the English standard for this work.

Awarded the Lewis Galantière Prize by the American Translators Association, 2008.

Katherine K. Koenig - Library Journal

Ably translated from the French by Shapiro (Romance languages & literature, Wesleyan Univ.), the voices of the animals, birds, insects (and even the occasional human) who populate La Fontaine's fables come alive in rhyme and rhythm that develop the traditional tales. Some rhyme seems technically forced, with line breaks in awkward places: "cheese; it" to rhyme with "seize it"; the awkward "circumspecter" to rhyme with "protector"; "forasmuch, it" coupled with "touch it." The rhythm, on sight reading, is also sometimes uneven: "They tell about two thieves who fought/Over a stolen ass: one thought/It should be kept." Yet somehow these imperfections merely enhance the humor and, when read aloud, both rhyme and rhythm flow well, perhaps even better than more perfect poetic versions. And since these fables are now, as they always have been, at their best in oral performance, that is an asset. For libraries lacking a collection of La Fontaine's fables, needing a new copy, or looking for a comprehensive single volume, this one will do nicely.

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Title: The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine

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