Jean de La Fontaine was one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. Born in Château-Thierry in 1621, his literary career did not truly begin until he was in his thirties and spending most of his time in the French capital, Paris. Among La Fontaine’s most famous works are his collections of fables, issued in several volumes between 1668 and 1694. The earliest of these books, from which the current collection was drawn, were mostly adapted from the works of Aesop, Babrius, and Phaedrus. La Fontaine initially wrote his rhyming fables for a sophisticated audience, but the poems were regarded as an excellent source of moral education for children and were used by educators and parents alike to instill proper values in their charges.
La Fontaine died in Paris in 1695 at the age of 73. His remains now reside in the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery.
This bilingual edition of some of La Fontaine’s fables is designed to assist those learning French. The original French text appears on the right-hand pages of the book, with the corresponding English translation on the left-hand pages.