Aesop's Fables: A New Translation

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Dodo Press, 2009 - Fables - 348 pages
Aesop (c620-560 BC), known only for the genre of fables ascribed to him, was by tradition a slave who was a contemporary of Croesus and Peisistratus in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. The various collections that go under the rubric Aesop's Fables are still taught as moral lessons and used as subjects for various entertainments, especially children's plays and cartoons. Most of what are known as Aesopic fables is a compilation of tales from various sources, many of which originated with authors who lived long before Aesop. Aesop himself is said to have composed many fables, which were passed down by oral tradition. Socrates was thought to have spent his time turning Aesop's fables into verse while he was in prison. Demetrius Phalereus, another Greek philosopher, made the first collection of these fables around 300 BC. This was later translated into Latin by Phaedrus, a slave himself, around 25 BC. The fables from these two collections were soon brought together and were eventually retranslated into Greek by Babrius around A. D. 230. Many additional fables were included, and the collection was in turn translated to Arabic and Hebrew, further enriched by additional fables from these cultures.

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About the author (2009)

Though many modern scholars dispute his existence, Aesop's life was chronicled by first century Greek historians who wrote that Aesop, or Aethiop, was born into Greek slavery in 620 B.C. Freed because of his wit and wisdom, Aesop supposedly traveled throughout Greece and was employed at various times by the governments of Athens and Corinth. Some of Aesop's most recognized fables are The Tortoise and the Hare, The Fox and the Grapes, and The Ant and the Grasshopper. His simple but effective morals are widely used and illustrated for children.

Arthur Rackham was born in London, England. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art. In 1892 he left his job and started working for The Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator. His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes, but his first serious commission was in 1894 for The Dolly Dialogues, the collected sketches of Anthony Hope, who later went on to write The Prisoner of Zenda. Book illustrating then became Rackham's career for the rest of his life. Rackham invented his own unique technique which resembled photographic reproduction; he would first sketch an outline of his drawing, then lightly block in shapes and details. Afterwards he would add lines in pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after it had dried. With color pictures, he would then apply multiple washes of color until transparent tints were created. Arthur Rackham died in 1939 of cancer in his home in Limpsfield, Surrey.

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