Article published in:Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society
Edited by Brian J. Levy and Paul Wackers
[Reinardus 10] 1997
► pp. 59–82
Four American Aesopic Parodists
Bierce, Thurber, Zimler, and Eichenberg
Abstract Carlson considers four Americans who took Aesopic texts and created others that somehow transform the originals. For each author he asks two questions: What does he do with Aesop's stories? And what is the effect. For the latter three, there is also a small sampling of images. Bierce the cynic gives fables a surprising switch. The effects of surprise are to challenge rethinking and to suggest that things are worse than we thought. Thurber disrupts, divides, and denies traditional fables in order to undermine the easy validity people give to tradition. Zimler adds new morals or surprising new phases to traditional fables and pokes fun at the psychology of characters in order to create a humorous new interpretation for each fable. Eichenberg the social critic combines strong woodcuts and playful textst to present his own mix of amusement and accusation.
Published online: 11 December 1997