Francis Barlow's magnificent 1687 edition of Aesop's Fables with 30 superb full page engravings, plus 110 in-text engravings
Aesop’s Fables With His Life: In English, French, and Latin.
Item Number: 65016
London: H. Hills jun. for Francis Barlow, and are to be sold by Chr. Wilkinson, Tho. Fox, and Henry Faithorne, 1687.
Rare second edition (first published in 1666; virtually all copies of the first edition were destroyed in the great fire of London of 1666) of this classic work. Folio, bound in full red morocco by Riviere & Son with the crest of The Earl of Derby on the front panel, 31 etched plates and 110 half-page illustrations by Francis Barlow with captions by Aphra Behn. Etched frontispiece, additional title, and coat of arms of the dedicatee, the Earl of Devonshire. In very good condition light toning and wear. Text in Latin, French and English. Rare and desirable.
Aesop's Fables, or the Aesopica, is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media. The fables originally belonged to the oral tradition and were not collected for some three centuries after Aesop's death. By that time a variety of other stories, jokes and proverbs were being ascribed to him, although some of that material was from sources earlier than him or came from beyond the Greek cultural sphere. The process of inclusion has continued until the present, with some of the fables unrecorded before the later Middle Ages and others arriving from outside Europe. The process is continuous and new stories are still being added to the Aesop corpus, even when they are demonstrably more recent work and sometimes from known authors. Manuscripts in Latin and Greek were important avenues of transmission, although poetical treatments in European vernaculars eventually formed another. On the arrival of printing, collections of Aesop's fables were among the earliest books in a variety of languages. Through the means of later collections, and translations or adaptations of them, Aesop's reputation as a fabulist was transmitted throughout the world. Initially the fables were addressed to adults and covered religious, social and political themes. They were also put to use as ethical guides and from the Renaissance onwards were particularly used for the education of children. Their ethical dimension was reinforced in the adult world through depiction in sculpture, painting and other illustrative means, as well as adaptation to drama and song. In addition, there have been reinterpretations of the meaning of fables and changes in emphasis over time.