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LE SAGE, Alain-René (1668--1747)
[Gil Blas. English. 1778]
The adventures of Gil Blas de Santillane. A new translation, by the author of Roderick Random. In four volumes. Adorned with twenty copperplates. Volume the ...
London: printed for S. Crowder, C. Ware, and T. Payne, 1778.
3 vols [ex 4] ; 15.8 cm. (12º)
I:
II: iv, 231, [1] p., engr. frontis., [4] pl.
III: vii, [1], 256 p., engr. frontis., [4] pl.
IV: vii, [1], 246 p., engr. frontis., [4] pl.

Volumes II--IV only. 'The Author of Roderick Random' = Tobias Smollett. 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. The edition by Crowder, Ware and Payne first appeared in 1771. 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.), some copies heavily annotated with vocabulary notes. 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). ESTC n29564.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting vol. I. Volume II with extensive French and English annotations in ink, and pencil notes in each volume over a few pages at a time but not continuous, and some further vocabulary notes in ink and pencil on the endpapers of vols III--IV. Pencil numbers in the margins appear to refer to page numbers in the French-language edition of 1749 (q.v.), suggesting that Soane used the two texts side by side to improve his French vocabulary. On the front and rear fly leaves, recto of frontispiece and rear pastedown in vol. II there are numerous architectural sketches in pencil by Soane, some with measurements.

Binding C18th sheep, gilt-ruled spines, red morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 1013


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