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Between 1651 and 1740 hundreds of fables, fable collections, and biographies of the ancient Greek slave Aesop were published in England. Jayne Elizabeth Lewis decribes the explosion of interest in fable from its origins at the end of the English Civil Wars to its decline, and shows how three Augustan writers--John Dryden, Anne Finch and John Gay--experimented with fable as a literary form. Often underestimated because of its links with popular nonliterary forms, fable is shown to have played a major role in the formation of the modern English culture.
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