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By starting from the critical analysis of the fable “Gout and the spider”(Fables Choisies mises en vers, III,8) by Jean de La Fontaine, the author inquires into the historical and literary sources of such a tale. They lie in a short story by Francesco Petrarca (“Aranea et Podagra”), that can be found in a letter from the “Epistolae de Rebus Familiaribus” (III,13). Antecedent sources can be recognized in the Exempla by Jacques de Vitry and Jean Gobi, as well as in a brief poem by Paulus Diaconus.
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