“DO NOT BEGIN THE STORY OF MY LIFE TILL I HAVE TOLD YOU A SHORT TALE…”: BEAUTIFUL SET OF SMOLLETT’S TRANSLATION OF LE SAGE’S CLASSIC, GIL BLAS
LE SAGE, Alain Rene. The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane. London: Printed for James Cunningham, 1826. Four volumes. 12mo, early 20th-century full mottled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, red morocco spine labels, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. $1250.
Later edition, illustrated with engraved frontispieces in each volume, beautifully bound in full mottled calf-gilt by Zaehnsdorf.
First published in French in 1715, Gil Blas 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). This translation is particularly notable as the translator, Tobias Smollett, is “true to the sense, manner, and spirit of the original, and is often extremely happy in he interchange of particular idioms” (Lowndes, 1343).
A beautiful, fine set.