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Price: £240.00

  

The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane

In Four Volumes

By Alain-Rene Lesage

1766 - London - T. Osborne, J. Rivington, R. Baldwin et al

6.5" by 4"; (xii) 312pp; (iv) 263pp; (vii) 292pp; (viii) 276pp.

DETAILS

A charming set of The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane by Alain-Rene Lesage.

Complete in four volumes.

A new translation.

Adorned with Thirty-three Cuts, neatly engraved.

The third edition.

Gil Blas is a picaresque novel by Alain-Rene Lesage published between 1715 and 1735. It is considered to be the last masterpiece of the picaresque genre.

Gil Blas is born in misery to a stablehand and a chambermaid of Santillana in Cantabria, and is educated by his uncle. He leaves Oviedo at the age of seventeen to attend the University of Salamanca. His bright future is suddenly interrupted when he is forced to help robbers along the route and is faced with jail. He becomes a valet and, over the course of several years, is able to observe many different classes of society, both lay and clerical. Because of his occupation, he meets many disreputable people and is able to adjust to many situations, thanks to his adaptability and quick wit.

He finally finds himself at the court as a favourite of the king and secretary to the prime minister. Working his way up though hard work and intelligence, Gil is able to retire to a castle to enjoy a fortune and a hard-earned honest life.

Gil Blas is related to Lesage's play Turcaret (1709). In both works, Lesage uses witty valets in the service of thieving masters, women of questionable morals, cuckolded yet happy husbands, gourmands, ridiculous poets, false savants, and dangerously ignorant doctors to make his point. Each class and each occupation becomes an archetype.

This work is both universal and French within a Spanish context. However, its originality was questioned. Voltaire was among the first to point out similarities between Gil Blas and Marcos de Obregon by Vicente Espinel, from which Lesage had borrowed several details. Considering Gil Blas is essentially Spanish, Jose Francisco de Isla claimed to translate the work from French into Spanish in order to return it to its natural state. Juan Antonio Llorente suggested that Gil Blas was written by the historian Antonio de Solis y Ribadeneyra by arguing that no contemporary writer could have possibly written a work of such detail and accuracy.

CONDITION

In original full calf leather bindings with contrasting labels to the spines. Externally, a trifle rubbed. There is some loss to the leather. Joints are starting but firm. Internally, generally firmly bound. Pages are generally bright and clean. There is an ink libaray stamp to the verso of front free end papers. There is a bookplate to the front pastedown in all volumes. There are also remnants of library labels to the rear pastedowns. Overall: GOOD.

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Price: £240.00


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