LA FONTAINE’S TALES: FIRST COMPLETE EDITION IN ENGLISH, IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
LA FONTAINE, Jean de. La Fontaine’s Tales: Imitated in English Verse. London: C. Chapple, 1814. Two volumes. Octavo, original boards, original paper spine and printed paper labels. Housed in custom half morocco clamshell box. $2000.
First complete edition in English of La Fontaine’s Contes et Nouvelles.
An “Advertisement” in Volume I states: “For more than a century, the sportive Tales of La Fontaine have been the delight of the French youth of both sexes. Some of these have been occasionally translated by Prior and others; but the whole, for the first time, is now presented to the Publick in English.” There was an edition published in London, 1735, but this did not get past Volume I. Other editions were published in London and Edinburgh in 1762, but both are selections only. One of his most famous works and his first work of real importance, Tales and Novels follows the stories of Boccaccio, Marguerite, and other renowned literary storytellers whose subjects concerned “light love, the misfortunes of husbands, the cunning of wives, [and] the breach of their vows by ecclesiastics.” Bookplates.
Expert restoration to paper spines; small piece of lower boards and margin of last seven leaves of first volume nibbled. Text exceptionally clean. A most desirable copy in original boards of this scarce edition.