This collection of acerbic animal fables, originally published in 1842 as Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux, boasts among its contributors some of the finest literary minds of mid 19th-century France, including Honoré de Balzac, George Sand, and the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel (under the pseudonym of P. J. Stahl). The book is also home to some of the finest work (some featured below) by the caricaturist J. J. Grandville, drawings in which we can see the satirical genius and inventiveness that would be unleashed in full glory just two years later with the publication of his wonderful Un autre monde.
So far, I have only read The Philosophic Rat, and it’s a wonderful tale. I have gotten this downloaded to my tablet though, and am looking forward to all the stories. The illustrations are magnificent, and you can see many of them at The Public Domain. The book can be read or downloaded here.
Just a few of the illustrations: