Recueil de Fables d'Ésope, by AESOP (c. 620-560 BC).LA FONTAINE,…

AESOP (c. 620-560 BC).
LA FONTAINE, JEAN DE (1621-1695).
LEGRAND, Augustin Claude Simon (1765-1856), engraver.
HUET, Jean-Baptiste (1772-18?), engraver.

Recueil de Fables d'Ésope, et autres Mythologistes; les mêmes, mises en vers par La Fontaine, ornées de gravures par Augustin Legrand, ouvrage destiné à l’Instruction et à l’Amusement des Enfans et de la Jeunesse. Paris, Marcilly, 1799.

First Edition. 4to (235 x 155 mm), engraved frontispiece and pp. [iv], vi, 150, [1] errata, [2] contents, [2] bookseller’s advertisements, [2] final blank, with 75 part page engravings (each circa 105 x 70 mm) on the verso pages, one to each fable, internal tear to frontispiece skilfully repaired on verso, two clean tears on M2 (pp. 80-81), with small repairs at the margin (making it a closed tear), two small paper repairs on M3 (pp. 82-82), some foxing and scattered staining in the text, text within typographical border, in contemporary mottled calf, gilt border to covers, flat spine elegantly gilt with black morocco label lettered in gilt, spine restored and with later marbled endpapers.

A delightful illustrated collection of 75 fables with engravings by Augustin Legrand. As stated on the title-page, this edition was prepared for the ‘Instruction and Amusement’ of both children and young people. The editor’s preface states the intention that the prose version of the fables - much shorter, with the moral printed separately a little way below the main text - is intended for the use of children, where older readers, ‘la jeunesse’, will find an additional pleasure in the immortal verse of La Fontaine. The fine engravings on each page clearly add to the delight of readers of all ages and the charming combination of all three suggests a successful outcome for the hope modestly expressed in the editor’s preface: ‘Puissions-nous avoir rempli le but que nous nous sommes proposés dans notre titre’.
Each fable occupies a double page spread, with the prose version given on the left hand page underneath the illustration and La Fontaine’s verse fables given on the right hand page. The running title to the prose fables is ‘Fables d’Esope’, with the exception of numbers 7, 11, 14, 17-20 and 22 which have the running title ‘Fables ***’, while the running title to the recto leaves, above La Fontaine’s verse fables, is ‘Fables Choisies’ throughout.

OCLC lists BN, Paris-Institut, Princeton, Claremont Colleges and Virginia.

Not in Gumuchian, Osborne, Cohen-de Ricci or Brunet.

Keywords: Children
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