The most complete corpus of the proverbs and fables of Aesop ever assembled
Ben Edwin Perry's Aesopica remains the definitive edition of all fables reputed to be by Aesop. The volume begins traditionally with a life of Aesop, but in two different and previously unedited Greek versions, with collations that record variations in the major recensions. It includes 179 proverbs attributed to Aesop and 725 carefully organized fables, for which Perry also provides their eldest known sources. To better evaluate the place of Aesop in literary history, Perry includes testimonies about Aesop made by Greek and Latin authors, from Herodotus to Maximus Planudes.
Ever since children have learned to read, there has been children’s literature. Children’s Literature charts the makings of the Western literary imagination from Aesop’s fables to Mother Goose, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Peter Pan, from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter.
The only single-volume work to capture the rich and diverse history of children’s literature in its full panorama, this extraordinary book reveals why J. R. R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, and many others, despite their divergent styles and subject matter, have all resonated with generations of readers. Children’s Literature is an exhilarating quest across centuries, continents, and genres to discover how, and why, we first fall in love with the written word.
“Lerer has accomplished something magical. Unlike the many handbooks to children’s literature that synopsize, evaluate, or otherwise guide adults in the selection of materials for children, this work presents a true critical history of the genre. . . . Scholarly, erudite, and all but exhaustive, it is also entertaining and accessible. Lerer takes his subject seriously without making it dull.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Lerer’s history reminds us of the wealth of literature written during the past 2,600 years. . . . With his vast and multidimensional knowledge of literature, he underscores the vital role it plays in forming a child’s imagination. We are made, he suggests, by the books we read.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“There are dazzling chapters on John Locke and Empire, and nonsense, and Darwin, but Lerer’s most interesting chapter focuses on girls’ fiction. . . . A brilliant series of readings.”—Diane Purkiss, Times Literary Supplement
In this imaginative and illuminating work, Annabel Patterson traces the origins and meanings of the Aesopian fable, as well as its function in Renaissance culture and subsequently. She shows how the fable worked as a medium of political analysis and communication, especially from or on behalf of the politically powerless. Patterson begins with an analysis of the legendary Life of Aesop, its cultural history and philosophical implications, a topic that involves such widely separated figures as La Fontaine, Hegel, and Vygotsky. The myth’s origin is recovered here in the saving myth of Aesop the Ethiopian, black, ugly, who began as a slave but become both free and influential, a source of political wisdom. She then traces the early modern history of the fable from Caxton, Lydgate, and Henryson through the eighteenth century, focusing on such figures as Spenser, Sidney, Lyly, Shakespeare, and Milton, as well as the lesser-known John Ogilby, Sir Roger L’Estrange, and Samuel Croxall. Patterson discusses the famous fable of The Belly and the Members, which, because it articulated in symbolic terms some of the most intransigent problems in political philosophy and practice, was still going strong as a symbolic text in the mid-nineteenth century, where it was focused on industrial relations by Karl Marx and by George Eliot against electoral reform.