Aesop’s Fables


The Everyman Library deserves congratulations for reprinting the L’Estrange translation, which has been a much loved, much abused, and highly influential collection of Aesop since it first appeared in 1692. Its merits have little to do with its translation, since L’Estrange translated from a Latin translation of the Greek fables, and translated freely at that. Instead, it’s the lively retellings, and the shamelessly opinionated “reflections” (usually longer than the fables themselves) that make this volume engaging and unique.

Modern readers will need a good dictionary in order to make sense of the obsolete vocabulary. For instance, this from “A Wolf and a Fox”: “The Fox had a fetch in’t, and when he saw it would not fadge; away goes he.” Readers who want only the fables should look elsewhere, but readers who are interested in how the fables were interpreted, or readers interested in overlooked classics of English literature, will enjoy this.


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