Fables

By Harriet Spiegel

© 1994

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP001717

  • PUBLISHED OCT 1994

    From: $26.21

    Regular Price: $34.95

    ISBN 9780802076366
  • PUBLISHED JUL 2020

    From: $26.21

    Regular Price: $34.95

Quick Overview

Comprising the 103 tales that form the earliest extant vernacular collection of fables from western Europe, this edition captures the fresh and lively tone of Marie de France’s text. This is a reprint of the first edition published in 1987.

Fables

By Harriet Spiegel

© 1994

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    'This edition/translation is an important contribution to medieval studies ... Spiegel provides here a translation which captures admirably the liveliness of Marie's imagination. As a "tribute to [Marie's] spirit" one could not ask for better.'


    Nancy Vine Durling
    Speculum

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


    R.J. Cormier
    Choice
  • Author Information

    Harriet Spiegel is a member of the English Department at California State University, Chico.