1699. London: for R. Sare, B. Took, M. Gillyflower, A. & J. Churchil, G. Sawbridge, and J. Hindmarsh, 1699.
2 vols. in one, folio, , 28, , 476; (16), 238, (2, ads.) pp. Engraved frontispiece portrait of L’Estrange by Roger White after Geoffrey Kneller and full page engraving of Aesop and animals, both in vol. 1. Contemporary calf, neatly rebacked and tips restored, a clean very well-margined copy. Inscribed twice by John Bailward dated 1730, and a few pencil notes and sketches in the text.
§ One of the first collections of fables prepared specifically for children. Third edition, corrected and amended from the 1692 edition. With the second part (in first edition), the two seldom found together. Roger L'Estrange (1616-1704) was Tory journalist and pamphleteer, notorious for his censorship of “seditious” (Whig) publications in his role as Surveyor of the Press. His edition of Aesop was commissioned by a group of booksellers and appeared two years after Locke first recommended Aesop as a first reading book for children. Muir writes it was “the best and largest collection of fables in English, and he had children especially in mind when making his compilation… He included many other fabulists besides Aesop, notably a selection from La Fontaine within 20 years of the first appearance of any of his fables in French. It is highly probable that this was their earliest appearance in English.” The DNB notes of L’Estrange’s Aesop that it was “an assemblage of fables and facetiae from a variety of sources, ancient and modern, the second volume being wholly unAesopian. The trenchant reflections added to the individual fables possess a strong political animus and were to draw severe criticism from the later whig fabulist Samuel Croxall; but all L'Estrange's translations have some degree of political colouring… This compilation also includes a biography of Aesop, an alphabetical table of the fables, and fables by Barlandus, Anianus, Abstemius, Poggius and La Fontaine.” (DNB). Wing A-709 and A-1247. Muir, English Children’s Books, p.24. Item #122913