The Danish Aesop by Sandra Flavin, MALA 6000 student

The moment the reader looks at the lion’s head on the cover and the lion’s tail on the back cover, they know they’re in for a treat. The only thing left to do is open the front cover to reveal what’s inside.

Turning the first few pages, the reader will see the Zieler’s engaging illustrations. He had studied under the artist Harald Giersing in the 1920s. He then continued his education at the Copenhagen Academy of Fine Arts. As an artist, Zieler worked in a wide range of artistic genres. Here, shows us his humorous personality.  

Aesop’s fables originally belonged to an oral tradition. It was three centuries after Aesop’s death before the fables were written down. Manuscripts were first written in Latin and Greek. Aesop’s Fables were some of the earliest books to be printed in the fifteenth century. The fables were first meant for adults, telling stories with religious, political, and social themes. They were also used as ethical guides.

Although most people today believe that Aesop’s fables are for children, some of the illustrations and stories may not be appropriate for small children. Within the book, Zieler makes the purposeful decision to illustrate a fable in black silhouette, while in some of his illustrations, he uses color sparingly to accentuate the text. Notice the use of color to accentuate the gruesomeness of the story.  

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