What do critical thinkers do when political, social or religious circumstances are hostile to truth and open discussion? One possibility is to seek refuge in the realm of the Aesopic and veil opinions about the ruling authorities in symbolic and coded terms, retreating to fairy tales and fables, and employing myths and elements of folklore. Such Aesopic voices create an alternative discursive form of protest and subversion.This collection attempts to break new academic ground. While Aesop has now been a ‘household name’ (and as such mostly been related to children’s stories) for at least a century and a half, academic recognition of Aesopic art and writing has been relatively sparse. Our book intends to fuel systematic analysis and appreciation of such examples of Aesopic creation.The contributions offer thought-provoking insights which span the five continents of the globe and more than a century. The book brings together historians, literary scholars, film theorists, scholars from Australian Indigenous studies, cultural theorists and arts practitioners.
Gert Reifarth has taught literature in Germany, Ireland and Australia, and now lives in Melbourne.Philip Morrissey is the Academic Co-ordinator of the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Melbourne.