The English edition of 1761

Alain-René Lesage’s History of Gil Blas of Santillana will soon be three hundred years old. Although forgotten in English for most of the 20th century, it is now available as an exclusive e-book. Gil Blas remains one of the most popular early 18th century French novels in many languages. At once recognised as a masterpiece of story telling, its publication marked a turning point in European literature.

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First issued between 1715 and 1735, it has gone through several hundred French editions. Three different editions can be found in bookshops today. At time of publication, it sold three to five times more copies in France than popular, contemporary English books like Gulliver’s Travels or Robinson Crusoe did in England. It was very soon translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. An English version translated by Tobias Smollett (who used it as a source book for his own Roderick Random) first appeared in 1748 and was regularly reissued for the next one hundred and fifty years. Authors as diverse as Goethe, Dickens, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Sir Walter Scott and Thackeray all praised Lesage for the path-finding innovations contained in Gil Blas.

portraits gil blas

One of the great forerunners of the modern novel, Gil Blas is now available for the first time as an eBook in a brand new, modern English translation.

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Gil Blas silhouette You can get your copy HERE