Antonio La Penna

edited by Giovanni Niccoli and Stefano Grazzini

About the book


A fascinating one-volume study of the fable’s history in antiquity and its meanings. 

Born in Mesopotamia, the ancient fable flourished in the Greco-Roman world as a literary genre that expressed the vision of the world matured by slaves across the centuries.

With their dry messages, Aesop’s fables reveals that, to occupy the minds of the lower classes, were mainly the crucial issues of existence: winning or losing, thinking or acting at the right time, knowing how to behave with strength or cunning.

The morality that emerges from Greek and Latin fables, what La Penna calls ‘the wisdom of the slaves’, is dominated by a bitter resignation: in the world of men there is no room for divinity, and power lies in the hands of the strongest, the most violent, the most astute, not the justest. Cunning, skill, energy serve only to survive in such a world, and any hope of changing its fundamental laws is illusory.

The Aesopian fable, although devoid of any revolutionary connotation, was a decisive step in the detachment from religious culture and in the development of a popular secular culture. 

★★★★★ «A worthy tribute, both to significant scholarly work and to the scholar himself». 
William M. Owens, BRYN MAWR CLASSICAL REVIEW

 

Antonio La Penna (1925), Professor of Classics at the University of Pisa and Florence, is a renowned authority on classical literature. He is the author of over six hundred publications on Latin literary culture and the fortune of classical antiquity in the modern world. He wrote monographs on Horace, Sallust, Propertius, Virgil, and Ovid.

Buyer’s guide

Cover price: 25,00 euros
Pages: 424
ISBN: 978-88-96209-42-4
Rights Held: WORLD
Publication date: June 2021 
Category: Classics, non-fiction
Audience: general, academic

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For details of rights availability, reading copy requests and all enquiries regarding translation rights, please write to rights@dellaportaeditori.com