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LE SAGE, Alain-René (1668--1747)
[Gil Blas. English. Smollett. 1819]
The adventures of Gil Blas de Santillane. Translated from the French of Le Sage, by Tobias Smollett, M.D. Embellished with fifteen highly finished engravings, from drawings designed expressly for this edition. In three volumes. ...
London: printed for Thomas McLean; John Bumpus; W.H. Reid; John Brumby; and Priestley and Weale, 1819.
3 vols ; 20.9 cm. (8º)
I: xii, 384 p., [5] hand-col. aquat. pl.
II: viii, 378 p. [5] hand-col. aquat. pl.
III: xi, [1], 392 p, [5] hand-col. aquat. pl.

Originally published in French 1715--35. The first English translation appeared anonymously in 1716; Smollett's translation based upon the revised French text of 1747 first appeared in 1749. This edition was published in rivalry with an edition by Mawman in January 1819; the hand coloured aquatint plates are by J. Clark, dated July 1, 1819. Soane must have been very fond of Le Sage's picaresque novel, as there are copies (some partial) of ten different editions in his Library, in French, English and Italian (qq.v.). The book is mentioned in his amanuensis George Wightwick's lively description of his time in Soane's employment in 1826--27, when he was often asked in the evenings to read passages from Gil Blas in the original French; see A.T. Bolton, The portrait of Sir John Soane, London 1927, episode 35 (especially pp. 398, 404--5).

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the half-titles. Page references inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper of vol. I.

Binding C19th calf, black-stained and blind decorated boards with scalloped panel within geometrically ruled frame, gilt-tooled borders, gilt-tooled spines with black-stained alternating with unstained compartments, gilt-lettered.

Reference Number 4587


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