Public and Private Life of Animals.

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:


  1. rq says

    “Cute little animals”, ha! The drawings are excellent, I love the expressions and charcterization. Sounds like a fun read!

  2. johnson catman says

    The third illustration you have posted makes me wonder what kind of drugs they could have been trying. The drawings are wonderfully detailed though.

  3. says

    The illustrations are all on point to the stories they relate to. I’m only on the 2nd story past the introduction, but they are marvelously incisive and witty when it comes to observations on how humans work. The story I’m on right now is about Parisian Sparrows and the need for a better government.

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