Jean de La Fontaine collected fables from le Serpent et la Perle PDF wide variety of sources, both Western and Eastern, and adapted them into French free verse. They were issued under the general title of Fables in several volumes from 1668 to 1694 and are considered classics of French literature.
Rome, 1492. La belle Giulia Farnese épouse le jeune et séduisant Orsino et croit que la fortune lui sourit. Mais elle découvre avec stupeur que son mariage n’est qu’un leurre, orchestré par l’influent cardinal Borgia, bien décidé à en faire sa concubine.
Enfermée dans une prison dorée, espionnée par les serviteurs, Giulia peut compter sur le soutien de Leonello, un cynique garde du corps qui poursuit de sa vengeance un mystérieux tueur, et de Carmelina, cuisinière irascible au passé secret.
Tandis que la corruption grandit au Vatican et que le nombre de leurs ennemis ne cesse de croître, Giulia et ses acolytes doivent faire preuve de ruse pour survivre dans le monde des Borgia. N’est pas intrigant qui veut…
Divided into 12 books, there are 239 of the Fables, varying in length from a few lines to some hundred, those written later being as a rule longer than those written earlier. The first collection of Fables Choisies had appeared March 31, 1668, dividing 124 fables into six books over its two volumes. Books 7 and 8 appeared in 1678, while 9-11 appeared in 1679, the whole 87 fables being dedicated to the king’s mistress, Madame de Montespan. The first six books, collected in 1668, were in the main adapted from the classical fabulists Aesop, Babrius and Phaedrus. In the later books, the so-called Indian Bidpai is drawn upon for oriental fables that had come to the French through translations from Persian. The subject of each of the Fables is often common property of many ages and races.
What gives La Fontaine’s Fables their rare distinction is the freshness in narration, the deftness of touch, the unconstrained suppleness of metrical structure, the unfailing humor of the pointed moral, the consummate art of their apparent artlessness. La Fontaine’s Fables », wrote Madame de Sévigné, « are like a basket of strawberries. You begin by selecting the largest and best, but, little by little, you eat first one, then another, till at last the basket is empty ». Lamartine, who preferred classic regularity in verse, could find in the Fables only « limping, disjointed, unequal verses, without symmetry either to the ear or on the page ». When he first wrote his Fables, La Fontaine had a sophisticated audience in mind. Nevertheless, the Fables were regarded as providing an excellent education in morals for children, and the first edition was dedicated to the six-year-old Dauphin.
This was in the context of getting the young people of the family to perform at social gatherings. Eventually the fables were learned by heart for such entertainments and afterwards they were adopted by the education system, not least as linguistic models as well. In England the bulk of children’s writing concentrated on Aesop’s fables rather than La Fontaine’s adaptations. The boundary lines began to be blurred in compilations that mixed Aesop’s fables with those from other sources. Le gland et la citrouille, IX. La cigale et la fourmi, I. L’âne vêtu de la peau du lion, V.