Fables by Harriet SpiegelFables by Harriet Spiegel


EditorHarriet Spiegel

Paperback | October 26, 1994

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Marie de France, one of the best-known medieval women, is justly famous for her Lais, but her longer work, the Fables, has been newly discovered by modern audiences. This collection of 103 tales is the earliest extant vernacular collection of fables from western Europe.

Marie de France's sources are not clear; she appears to claim a unique source, but that is obviously not true; the first forty tales are part of the Latin tradition, specifically the Romulus Nilantii, but the other sixty-three seem to come from all over: other Greek and Latin works, fabliaux, monks' tales, the Panchatantra, and the folk traditions of Italy, Germany, Greece, France, and the Middle East. Whatever her source, she contributed her own perspective - a wry fatalism, timely social commentary, and a feminine perspective.

Harriet Spiegel's translation follows the original closely; the rhyming couplets not only render the tone and form of Marie de France's text with sympathy and fidelity, but also are particularly apt for the genre and sit squarely in the tradition of the English verse fable.

Originally published by University of Toronto Press, 1987.

Harriet Spiegel is a member of the English Department at California State University, Chico.
Title:FablesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:282 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.73 inPublished:October 26, 1994Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080207636X

ISBN - 13:9780802076366

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From Our Editors

One of the best known medieval women, Marie de France is justly famous for her Lais, but her delightful longer work, the Fables has yet to be properly appreciated by modern audiences. This jaunty collection of 103 tales is the earliest extant vernacular collection of fables from western Europe. This new edition and translation of the Fables captures the fresh and lively tone of the original text.

Editorial Reviews

'The stories amaze and delight ... All in all, a handsomely presented volume ...'

- R.J. Cormier - Choice