This is the first literary critical edition of Christopher Smart's translation of Phaedrus' fables, and the first literary commentary on these fables in English.
Many of the best known Aesopian fables are in fact the work of the Roman poet Phaedrus, a freed slave of the first century. In the eighteenth century, Phaedrus was in the pantheon of great classical authors, while Christopher Smart was considered the outstanding fabulist of his time. Yet today, while Aesop's fables are a household name, and other works by Smart enjoy critical acclaim, Phaedrus' fables and Smart's translation of them are both largely disregarded or unknown. The fables themselves
are familiar yet fresh; their social and political implications often have a startlingly contemporary flavour, and Smart's versions successfully catch the spirit and humour of the Latin originals. This edition provides a full introduction, commentary, and scholarly apparatus, and constitutes a
history of the reception of the text. Also presented is the case for a possible new attribution to Smart - the Phaedrus by a Gentleman of the University of Cambridge.