Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (845) 419-5090 †††



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Galland, M. Les contes et fables Indiennes, de Bidpai et de Lokman. Traduites D'Ali Tchelebi-Ben-Saleh, auteur Turc.
Oeuvre posthume.

Paris: Jacques Ribou, 1724. Two volumes, duodecimo. XL, (4), 390, (2); (2), 382, (2) pp. Contemporary red morocco, spine ribbed and elaborously gilt with flowers and other figures, gilt calf title-labels, triple-fillet borders on both covers, gilt inner dentelles, g.e. 9 full-page engraved plates illustrating some of the fables.


The first author ever of these fables was a Brahman, or Indian wise-man by the name of Vichnolu-Sarma. It is said that he wrote the fables, then called pantcha-tantra, in order to advice the ruler of the Indian empire. And in order not to offend him, he did this in writing stories in which the malign fox and the noble lion are the protagonists. It is clear that the fox stood for the ministers and other people with power, who wanted to undermine the powers of the king, represented as the lion. The king, Dabchelim, was very contented with this work and praised both the author and his work extensively. In the 6th century King Nouchirvan of Persia sent his medic, Barzouyeh to India to obtain this famous collection of fables. Soon, people from Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Arabic world came to read the work and translate it in their own languages. And though it is unavoidable that changes occur in these processes of translation, the basis, the real meaning or message of the fables has always been the same. In his forword to this work, Galland tells the reader that the Bidpai fables are at that time translated in every language used on the continent, and besides the translations in Arabic and Turkish he mentions translations in Greek, German, Flamish, Dutch, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian and Latin. The Greek and Latin versions, were the first "European tranlations. Siméon Seth made the Greek version already in the eleventh century, whereas the Latin version "Directorium Humanae Vitae" was written by Johannes de Capua, in the 12th or 13th century. The later one based his version on a Hebrew version, whereas Seth based his one on an Arabic text. Troughout the ages fables in general played an important role. Within this fable-tradition, the Bidpai-fables play an important role. Antoine Galland born in 1646, died in 1715. He published a lot of works, of which a considerable part postumous. It is said that of this work, he was only able to finish 4 chapters himself and that Cardonne completed the work. Splendid copy from the library of Ledru-Rollin.

¶ Cohen-De Ricci 146 ; Lewine, p. (lists an edition of 1724 with 9 plates, however 3 in the first volume and 6 in the second); Brunet 938; Graesse, p. 422.

Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (845) 419-5090 †††