The Man and His Image book cover

The Man and His Image

"The Man and his Image" is a philosophical book by Jean de La Fontaine, which uses the allegorical narrative of a man who falls in love with his own reflection to explore themes of self-obsession, vanity, and the illusions of the self. The book combines elements of satire and Aesopian moral fable, placing emphasis on self-awareness and self-deception's peril.

Genre: Fable

FOR M. THE DUKE DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD. A man who had no rivals in the love He bore himself, thought that he won the bell From all the world, and hated every glass That truths less palatable tried to tell. Living contented in the error, Of lying mirrors he'd a terror. Officious Fate, determined on a cure, Raised up, where'er he turned his eyes, Those silent counsellors that ladies prize. Mirrors old and mirrors newer; Mirrors in inns and mirrors in shops; Mirrors in pockets of all the fops; Mirrors in every lady's zone. What could our poor Narcissus do? He goes and hides him all alone In woods that one can scarce get through. No more the lying mirrors come, But past his new-found savage home A pure and limpid brook runs fair.-- He looks. His ancient foe is there! His angry eyes stare at the stream, He tries to fancy it a dream. Resolves to fly the odious place, and shun The image; yet, so fair the brook, he cannot run. My meaning is not hard to see; No one is from this failing free. The man who loved himself is just the Soul, The mirrors are the follies of all others. (Mirrors are faithful painters on the whole;) And you know well as I do, brothers, that the brook Is the wise "Maxim-book."[1] [1] Rochefoucauld's Maxims are the most extraordinary dissections of human selfishness ever made.
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Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine was a renowned French fabulist and one of the most famous poets during the French classical period. He was born on July 8, 1621, and died on April 13, 1695. Known for his literary style, he is best known for his "Fables", which are considered classics of French literature. His works were marked by his sophisticated style and moral substance, and his fables provided a scathing critique of French society during his time. more…

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