fable

(redirected from fables)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
Related to fables: Aesop's fables, Folktales

fable,

brief allegorical narrative, in verse or prose, illustrating a moral thesis or satirizing human beings. The characters of a fable are usually animals who talk and act like people while retaining their animal traits. The oldest known fables are those in the Panchatantra, a collection of fables in Sanskrit, and those attributed to the Greek Aesop, perhaps the most famous of all fabulists. Other important writers of fables include Jean de La Fontaine, whose fables are noted for their sophistication and wit, the Russian poet Ivan Krylov, and the German dramatist and critic Gotthold Lessing, who also wrote a critical essay on the fable. In England the tradition of the fable was continued in the 17th and 18th cent. by John Dryden and John Gay. The use of the fable in the 20th cent. can be seen in James Thurber's Fables for Our Time (1940) and in George Orwell's political allegory, Animal Farm (1945). The American poet Marianne Moore wrote poems quite similar to fables in their use of animals and animal traits to comment on human experience; she also published an excellent translation of The Fables of La Fontaine (1954).

Bibliography

See H. J. Blackham, The Fable as Literature (1985) and bibliography comp. by P. Carnes (1985).

Fable

 

a literary genre; a short tale, usually in verse and allegorical form, that satirically depicts human actions and relationships. The fable is similar to the parable and apologue. In addition to people, the characters in fables are animals, plants, and things. At the beginning or end of a fable there is usually an aphoristic, didactic conclusion (the moral).

The fable is one of the oldest literary genres. In ancient Greece, Aesop (sixth to fifth centuries B.C.) was famous for his fables in prose. In Rome, Phaedrus (first century A.D.) wrote fables. In India the collection of fables Panchatantra dates to the third century. The most outstanding fabulist of modern times was the French poet J. de La Fontaine (17th century).

In Russia the fable developed between the mid-18th and the beginning of the 19th century. It is associated with the names of A. P. Sumarokov (parables), I. I. Khemnitser, A. E. Izmailov, and I. I. Dmitriev, although the first experiments with verse fables had already been made in the 17th century by Simeon Polotskii and in the first half of the 18th century by A. D. Kantemir and V. K. Trediakovskii. In Russian poetry fables were written in free verse that captured the intonation of unconstrained, playful tales. I. A. Krylov’s fables, with their realistic vitality, sober humor, and superb language, marked the flowering of this genre in Russia. In the Ukraine, fables were written by G. Skovoroda, P. P. Gulak-Artemovskii, and L. I. Glebov. During the Soviet period, the fables of Dem’ian Bednyi, S. Mikhajl-kov, F. Krivin, and others became popular.

REFERENCES

Potebnia, A. A. Iz lektsii po teorii slovesnosti: Basnia, poslovitsa, pogovorka, 3rd ed. Kharkov, 1930.
Vygotskii, L. Psikhologiia iskusstva. Moscow, 1965. Pages 117–55.

fable

1. a short moral story, esp one with animals as characters
2. a story or legend about supernatural or mythical characters or events
3. legends or myths collectively
4. Archaic the plot of a play or of an epic or dramatic poem
References in classic literature ?
1471, from which the two fables of the "Miller, his Son, and the Ass," and the "Fox and the Woodcutter," are undoubtedly selected.
The knowledge of these fables rapidly spread from Italy into Germany, and their popularity was increased by the favor and sanction given to them by the great fathers of the Reformation, who frequently used them as vehicles for satire and protest against the tricks and abuses of the Romish ecclesiastics.
The greatest advance, however, towards a re-introduction of the Fables of Aesop to a place in the literature of the world, was made in the early part of the seventeenth century.
This was a noble effort to do honor to the great fabulist, and was the most perfect collection of Aesopian fables ever yet published.
This collection of Nevelet's is the great culminating point in the history of the revival of the fame and reputation of Aesopian Fables.
Nevelet, in the preface to the volume which we have described, points out that the Fables of Planudes could not be the work of Aesop, as they contain a reference in two places to "Holy monks," and give a verse from the Epistle of St.
1776, a Dissertation on Babrias, and a collection of his fables in choliambic meter found in a MS.
Mountain delivered of a Mouse", produces the moral of his fable in ridicule of pompous pretenders; and his Crow, when she drops her cheese, lets fall, as it were by accident, the strongest admonition against the power of flattery.
In this translation from the Italian, Dario Fo takes the historical figure of Saint Francis and builds around him a set of fables that decry the evils of greed and corruption.
Scholars of law and English literature explore the interplay between the two realms in terms of fabulizing law; contemporary fables; fables of family; and law, myth, and magic.
Almost anyone who has read a book well knows of the classic Aesop's Fables, one of the cornerstones of parables and moral fables - but the audio production of these tales is unexpected and delightful enough to make it a recommendation beyond its intended 6 to 11-year-old age group.
The power of Aesop's fables might seem to speak for themselves in print version; but the audio needed this extra boost to attract listeners of all ages, and one of the special delights here is Hay's ability to dramatize his reading while lending an accent that flavors the story without being unintelligibly thick.