Jean de la Fontaine – Contes (Tales, not Fables!)
You maybe heard about Jean de La Fontaine, best writer of fables of his time (we are talking about 17th century, Louis XIV, France).
Or you maybe never heard about him, but you use some expressions from his famous fables, like ‘monkey business’, ‘goose with golden eggs’ and so on.
Either way I am pretty sure, even if you know about Le Fontaine’s Fables, you probably don’t know about his Tales. Yep, fables are not the same as tales, but we are not going to go too academic here.
Le Fontaine’s Tales were inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron and very (I shall say VERY) popular in his times because they were saucy and spicy and of course totally inappropriate for decent audience.
So everybody fully enjoyed it half secretly.
In next gallery of illustrations (they are many and I spent hours to make and edit scans, so enjoy them with proper respect;)) we can see La Fontaine inspired top artists from 17th century like Eisen and Pater (they were directly employed by king!) too:
The author became pretty famous thanks to his Tales, but they were not all in his favor. They were published in several volumes and some of them were banned and thanks to their notoriety La Fontaine failed to be accepted in French Academy twice before he finally passed the voting process.
Before his death (and with some help from the priests) he even abandoned his Contes, but today we can be only thankful to have them. Life is not black and white and La Fontaine was not exactly a saint in his private life, so it only seems fair to present this part of his creativity to wider audience, right?