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From Aesop to La Fontaine and beyond: Word, Image and Education / D’Ésope à La Fontaine et au-delà: Texte, Illustration et Éducation

Thursday 2 December 2021 - Friday 3 December 2021
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Vossiuszaal [The conference is also accessible online via a zoom-link, given upon registration]
Marcus Gheeraerts, The Fable of the Bear and the Bees (1567), Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Since Antiquity, Aesopian fables have been used for educational purposes for two main reasons: their brevity and linguistic simplicity make them suitable for teaching grammar and rhetoric, and their “morality” makes them appropriate for moral education. From 1500 onwards, in the wake of Steinhöwel’s illustrated fable books, and especially since the 1540s, in the slipstream of the successful emblem books, fable books have become more and more sumptuously illustrated. Erasmus, in his De pueris (1529), was the first to emphasize the importance of illustrations for children reading fables – an idea that, through the ages and countries, was repeated by Locke and Schiller and put into practice in the illustrated La Fontaine-editions by the French followers of “la pédagogie par l’image” at the time of the Third Republic.

This conference aims to study the Aesopian fable and its complex relationship between text, illustration and education from a broad, transnational perspective. Case studies will be provided from various disciplines, including literary studies, art history, emblem studies, pedagogy, philology, and book history. 

Organisation: Paul J. Smith with the collaboration of Lisanne Wepler, Céline Zaepffel and Gert-Jan van Dijk

With support of LUCAS and NWO.

Attendance, both live and online, is free, but please register via this link: https://forms.gle/16Nc6qqkjY5ftGq17
Please note: time zone is Central European Winter Time (CEWT, Leiden time)


Thursday, 2 December 2021

10.00 welcome

10.10 Paul J. Smith (Leiden University), Introduction

First Session

Chair : Alicia Montoya (Radboud University Nijmegen)

10.30 Antoine Biscéré (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Le programme iconographique de la première édition illustrée des Fables de Phèdre (Amsterdam, 1667)

10.55 Stefan Schoettke (Haute école de gestion de Genève), De Versailles à la Place Vendôme. La représentation des Fables de La Fontaine dans quelques ensembles décoratifs de la première moitié du XVIIIe siècle

11.20 Discussion

Second Session

Chair: Paul J. Smith

14.00 Paul Pelckmans (Université d’Anvers),  Les situations d'apprentissage dans les Fables de Florian

14.25 Gert-Jan van Dijk (Université de Leyde), Fabulae selectae. La Fontaine en latin, ad usum studiosae juventutis. Avec un appendice sur Jauffret et Florian

14.50 Discussion

15.20 Presentation/display of fable books from the Leiden University Library

16.00 Gregory Carlson (Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska), Fable Fascination: Genesis of the Carlson Fable Collection

Friday 3 December 2021

Third Session

Chair: Alisa van de Haar (Leiden University)

10.00 Ashgar Seyed-Gohrab (Utrecht University),  ‘A Bird Who Burns with Aspiration’: Antinomian motifs in Attar’s Conference of the Birds

10.25 Alicia Montoya & Gabrielle Kamphuis (Radboud University Nijmegen), The fable tradition in eighteenth-century private libraries

10.50 Discussion

11.20 Dirk Geirnaert (Dutch Language Institute, Leiden), Drawings in Dresden. Watching Marcus Gheeraerts work on the De Warachtighe Fabulen der Dieren (Bruges, 1567)

11.45 Paul J. Smith (Leiden University), The Raven and the Scorpion. From Emblem to Fable

12.10 Discussion

Fourth Session

Chair: Maaike Koffeman (Radboud University Nijmegen)

14.00 Céline Zaepffel (Leiden University), Turning La Fontaine’s Fables into children’s literature in the 18th-19th century: from selection to transposition

14.25 Lisanne Wepler (Leiden University), La Fontaine in The Hague – a painting series as room decoration in the Johan de Witthuis

14.50 Discussion

15.20 Presentation by Dirk Geirnaert, Fables on tapestries

15.40 Concluding remarks by Paul J. Smith

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