THE FABLE OF THE FABLE'S ÜEATH There is a general consensus that the fable lost its importance in nineteenth-century Europe. No doubt it had flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when La Fontaine's Fahles came out between 1668 and 1694, when Gay's Fahles appeared in 1727 and 1738, and when Lessing published three books of his Fabeln in 1759. From the Romantic period onwards, however, traditional fables and their modern imitations alike went through a sharp decline in prestige in Germany, France, and England. Around the year 1800 there was already talk among critics of "the death of the fable". In our days this metaphor is taken literally. It is a case of a self-fulfilling obituary: since no fables are looked for in the nineteenth Century, none are found. Literary histories covering that period have completely lost sight of the genre. This is not due to a restricted notion of what is literary, taking into account only texts of a certain complexity and sophistication. Studies focussing on the social coritext, iike Amy Cruse's compendious works The Englishman and His Books (1930) and The Victorians and Their Books (1935), treat a broad ränge of unsophisticated texts, but there
Anglia - Zeitschrift für englische Philologie – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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