Top positive review
A Comprehensive Edition of Aesop's Fables
Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2020
I read this English edition of Aesop's Fables as part of my journey through the Western canon. My rating and this review are not of the fables themselves, but of this English edition.
First, the introduction by Gibbs provides a helpful understanding of the Aesopic tradition that goes back as far as Hesiod and extends through the 17th century. While there may have been an actual slave named Aesop who lived on Samos, Gibbs makes it clear that "Aesop's fables" are a genre and not the work of a singular author. The introduction also serves to explain how the fables were constructed and how one should approach each fable's interpretation and moral.
Second, Gibbs gives the reader a very good, accessible translation of each of the 600 fables, aetiologies, paradoxes, insults, and jokes included in this edition. One of the reasons I chose this edition was its comprehensiveness.
Third, Gibbs provides helpful contextual notes after many of the fables. These notes help the reader understand the terms, situations, or names used in the fables as well as highlight the authors who used particular fables in their works.
Fourth, there were two issues I had with this edition that led to my 4-star rating. The first issue is noticeable editing errors (e.g. fable 86). The second issue is that Gibbs orders the fables by content (or theme), but then she fails to provide an index of these themes either in the Table of Contents or in the general index in the back of the book. What good is ordering by content (or theme) but not providing an index of those themes for the reader?