The English Fable: Aesop and Literary Culture, 1651-1740

The English Fable: Aesop and Literary Culture, 1651-1740

by Jayne Elizabeth Lewis


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Between 1651 and 1740 hundreds of fables, fable collections, and biographies of the ancient Greek slave Aesop were published in England. Jayne Elizabeth Lewis decribes the explosion of interest in fable from its origins at the end of the English Civil Wars to its decline, and shows how three Augustan writers--John Dryden, Anne Finch and John Gay--experimented with fable as a literary form. Often underestimated because of its links with popular nonliterary forms, fable is shown to have played a major role in the formation of the modern English culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521025317
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/30/2006
Series: Cambridge Studies in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Thought , #28
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction: The English fable; 1. Aesopiean examples: the English fable collection and its authors, 1651-1740; 2. 'The first pieces of wit': Augustan fable theory and the birth of the book; 3. Common and uncommon characters: the lives of Aesop; 4. Brutal transactions, 'mysterious writ': Aesop's fables and Dryden's later poetry; 5. In her 'transparent Laberynth': obstructions of poetic justice in Anne Finch's fables; 6. Risking contradiction: John Gay's Fables and the matter of reading; 7. The moral; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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