The Fables of Ulrich Bonerius (ca. 1350): Masterwork of Late Medieval Didactic Literature
Albrecht Classen, Author

Serendipitously, at around the same time as Boccaccio published his famous Decameron (1350), the Swiss-German Dominican Ulrich Bonerius published his highly popular collection of fables, The Gemstone. Both authors pursued very similar goals, instructing their audiences about vices and virtues, Boccaccio by telling entertaining, often erotic tales, Bonerius by relating didactic tales, mostly based on animals as the active characters. This book provides the first English translation of all one hundred fables authored by Bonerius. Bonerius drew mostly from the classical Aesopian tradition, and his Gemstone in turn became the crucial source for vast fable collections in the late Middle Ages, and again in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In fact, the famous Grimm brothers included some of his narratives in their fairy tale collection of The Gemstone 1812. Not only was Bonerius an excellent poet, he also understood the depth of human nature exceedingly well, warning about many of people's shortcomings and failures.

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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