by La Fontaine, Jean de; Moore, Marianne (translator)
London: Faber & Faber, 1955. First English edition of Marianne Moore's translations of La Fontaine's seventeenth-century verse fables, selected by Moore from the complete American edition of 1954. La Fontaine's anthropomorphic animals were a natural choice of subject for Moore, who worked on these intricate poems for a decade, going through four drafts before publication. In her foreword, she thanks W.H. Auden, who first suggested the project, and Ezra Pound, who influenced her free style of translation. Moore includes many celebrated fables here: "The Grasshopper and the Ant," "The Town Rat and the Country Rat," "The Fox and the Grapes," and "The Hen That Laid the Golden Eggs," among others. Her translations emphasize the poetic ear and the satiric point: "A bitch who approached each hutch with a frown, / Since a-shiver to shelter an imminent litter, / Crouched perplexed till she'd coaxed from a vexed benefactor / A lean-to as loan and in it lay down." In 1954, the French government awarded Moore the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres for these translations. A very good copy. Octavo, original blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt, original unclipped blue dust jacket printed in black and red. Dust jacket spine and edges toned, a few small chips to jacket corners and foot of spine, offsetting to endpapers. (Inventory #: 1001027)
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