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Aesopian Fables 1500-2010: Word, Image, Education

Leiden University – NWO project

Project leader: Prof. dr. Paul Smith

Researchers: Dr. J.G.M. van Dijk, drs. Dirk Geirnaert, Dr. Lisanne Wepler

PhD candidate: Céline Zaepffel MA

This project aims to study the Aesopian fable from 1500 to the present day in its complex relationship between text, illustration and education, adopting a broad, transnational perspective. The project is divided into three sub-projects.

Sub-project 1 forms the basis of the entire project: it addresses the metadiscursive reflection on the use of images in fable books ? a reflection expressed in the paratexts and the fables themselves. This metadiscursive reflection will be studied throughout the entire illustrated fable production of the early modern period, in French, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Neo-Latin and Greek.
Sub-project 2 focuses on the fable in France, examining how the illustrated fable has been used in education and teaching, from 1500 to 2010.
Sub-project 3 deals with the emergence of a pictorial genre, the “Tierfabelstück” (animal fable painting), practised by Frans Snyders, Melchior d?Hondecoeter, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and many others.

Using recent methodological approaches in emblem studies, a synthesis of the three sub-projects will be made from the perspective of a specific form of the illustrated fable, namely the ?emblematic fable?, a hybrid form between fable and emblem. The entire project will be supported by source access in cooperation with the Fabula Numerica project (Paris, Sorbonne).

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