Andrew Lang was born at Selkirk in Scotland on March 31, 1844. He was a historian, poet, novelist, journalist, translator, and anthropologist, in connection with his work on literary texts. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, St. Andrews University, and Balliol College, Oxford University, becoming a fellow at Merton College. His poetry includes Ballads and Lyrics of Old France (1872), Ballades in Blue China (1880--81), and Grass of Parnassus (1888--92). His anthropology and his defense of the value of folklore as the basis of religion is expressed in his works Custom and Myth (1884), Myth, Ritual and Religion (1887), and The Making of Religion (1898). He also translated Homer and critiqued James G. Frazer's views of mythology as expressed in The Golden Bough. He was considered a good historian, with a readable narrative style and knowledge of the original sources including his works A History of Scotland (1900-7), James VI and the Gowrie Mystery (1902), and Sir George Mackenzie (1909). He was one of the most important collectors of folk and fairy tales. His collections of Fairy books, including The Blue Fairy Book, preserved and handed down many of the better-known folk tales from the time. He died of angina pectoris on July 20, 1912.
The limits placed on the fable by the commentaries of the medieval period allow us to appreciate the narrative expansion of the fable in twelfth and thirteenth-century poetry. Themes in this book are the way the fable is used as a means for knowledge of physical nature and the development of science; the importance of language in the fable and in its settings when rewritten in other texts, and psychoanalytic aspects of Echo and Narcissus. The fable has the capacity to represent mental life and psychological crisis within other narratives and this is also an important discussion point, based around the medieval text Roman de la Rose. The book also considers the wider Metamorphoses and Ovid’s importance for literature.