“DO NOT BEGIN THE STORY OF MY LIFE TILL I HAVE TOLD YOU A SHORT TALE…”
LE SAGE, Alain Rene. The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1809. Four volumes. Quarto, contemporary full straight-grain navy morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and covers, raised bands, all edges gilt. $1500.
Deluxe large-paper illustrated edition of this classic of French literature, the first Benjamin Heath Malkin translation and the first to appear with 24 lovely copper-engraved plates by Smirke printed on India paper and mounted, beautifully bound in contemporary straight-grain morocco-gilt.
Gil Blas, first published in French in 1715, follows in the great tradition of Cervantes and presages works such as Tom Jones and Roderick Random. It earned Le Sage notice as "a great master of French style, the greatest unquestionably between the classics of the 17th century and the classics of the 18th" (Britannica). The publishers simultaneously issued a four-volume edition in the original French with Smirke's engravings. Lowndes, 1343.
Light foxing and offsetting to plates; text clean and fine. A beautiful set in excellent condition.