The Fables of Aesop
The Fables of Aesop

AESOP; Sir Roger L'Estrange, Trans. The Fables of Aesop.

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AESOP; Sir Roger L'Estrange, Trans. The Fables of Aesop Waltham Saint Lawrence, Berkshire: The Golden Cockerel Press, 1926.

Large 8vo., cream-backed brown publisher's boards lettered in gilt to spine; housed in the rather scarce printed dust jacket; with 11 wood engravings by Celia M. Fiennes; pp. [viii], iii-v, [i]; 94, [vi]; almost entirely unopened, spine tips lightly bumped; previous bookseller sticker to lower paste-down, else a near-fine example, the jacket good to very good only, but seldom found at all, lightly spotted, browned along spine and to folds, chipped to extremities with some closed tears along spine. Scarce thus. Provenance: bookplate of Alma Ruth Levenson to the front paste-down.
Limited to just 350 copies, this no. 268. Text reprinted from the 1692 edition of the Fables.
L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692, and the translation is now thought to be one of the most popular. His edition of Aesop was commissioned by a group of booksellers and appeared two years after Locke first recommended Aesop as a first reading book for children. Muir writes it was “the best and largest collection of fables in English, and he had children especially in mind when making his compilation” The DNB notes of L’Estrange’s Aesop that it was “an assemblage of fables and facetiae from a variety of sources, ancient and modern, the second volume being wholly unAesopian. The trenchant reflections added to the individual fables possess a strong political animus and were to draw severe criticism from the later whig fabulist Samuel Croxall; but all L'Estrange's translations have some degree of political colouring".
The simplistic yet highly effective wood engravings are by Celia M. Fiennes, a direct descendant of the 17th-century travel writer Celia Fiennes. She was an accomplished printmaker and illustrator - in the same year as this publication, she produced twelve wood engravings for the Cresset Press edition of Matthew Stevenson's 1661 work The Twelve Moneths.