“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: Vernor and Hood, et al., 1802. Three volumes. Tall octavo, late 19th-century full yellow morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $1250.
Large-paper edition of Smollett’s renowned translation, illustrated with 11 copper-engraved plates by Thomson, and extra-illustrated with 24 copper-engraved plates by Smirke, for a total of 35 illustrations, beautifully bound in full morocco-gilt by Hammond.
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 the interchange of particular idioms" (Lowndes, 1343). Smollett frankly acknowledged the influence and inspiration of Le Sage in the preface to his own Roderick Random. The 24 additional plates by Smirke added to this copy were originally issued in 1809. Smollett's translation first appeared in 1761. Old dealer description tipped to front free endpaper.
Fine condition. A lovely extra-illustrated set.