London: William Heinemann, 1912. Item #04348
Arthur Rackham Illustrates Aesop's Fables
First Trade Edition
[RACKHAM, Arthur]. Aesop's Fables. A New Translation by V.S. Vernon Jones with an Introduction by G. K. Chesterton and Illustrations by Arthur Rackham. London: William Heinemann, 1912.
First trade edition. Small square octavo (8 x 5 7/8 inches; 202 x 149 mm.). xxix, [1, blank], 223,  pp. Thirteen color plates, including frontispiece, with captioned tissue guards, fifty-three black and white drawings of which nineteen are full page.
Publisher's green cloth, front cover and spine pictorially decorated and lettered in gilt, lower cover with publisher's blind stamp, pictorial end-papers printed in green, top edge stained green. Extremities of cloth slightly rubbed, inner front hinge cracked but sound, ink inscription on front paste-down almost faded away. A very good copy, the gilt bright and fresh.
"In Aesop's Fables (1912)...Rackham's primary intention was to amuse, but his illustrations for fables of 'The Moon and her Mother' and 'The Gnat and the Lion' suggest the imaginative refinement that he brought to the task. Rackham was often his own model; there are several self-caricatures to be detected in Aesop's Fables. He is the man who catches the flea, the pompous gentleman who scoldsd the drowning boy, the credulous slave-owner who scrubs the black boy" (Hudson, Derek. Arthur Rackham His Life and Work, p. 94).
Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC.
The 1st century AD philosopher, Apollonius of Tyana, is recorded as having said about Aesop: "... like those who dine well off the plainest dishes, he made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events" (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book V:14).
Latimore and Haskell pp. 38-39; Riall, p. 111.