The Devil Upon Two Sticks

The Devil Upon Two Sticks


Le Diable Boiteaux: or, The Devil Upon Two Sticks 1729, First Illustrated Edition, Sixth overall

By Alain-René Lesage

Printed In London For J. Tonson

The Volumes are in Very Good Condition Rebacked, retaining gilt-ruled speckled english calf- with the newer spines divided into six gilt-stamped compartments by five gilt and raised bands, with red morocco letter-piece in the second compartment from the top, with the board edges blind tooled, and leaf edges red speckled. Externally the boards and spines are lightly scuffed, with any significant damage having been repaired, with scuffing to the edges and the board corners bumped a bit. Internally the leaves are generally clean and well margined, with some browning, more prominently in volume II. with some mild general foxing otherwise.
The Volumes are Complete in All Respects with frontispieces and six plates throughout each volumes. See below for pagination & dimensions.

Frontispieces and Title - The Devil Upon Two Sticks

Of Alain-René Lesage

Alain-René Lesage was a French novelist and playwright. Lesage is best known for his comic novel The Devil upon Two Sticks, his comedy Turcaret, and his picaresque novel Gil Blas. Lesage began his career by translating plays chiefly from Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla and Lope de Vega. Le Traître puni and Le Point d’honneur from the former and Don Félix de Mendoce from the latter were acted or published in the first two or three years of the 18th century. In 1704, he translated the continuation of Don Quixote by Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, and soon afterwards adapted a play from Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Don César Ursin, which was successful at court and damned in the city. Lesage was, however, nearly forty before he obtained decided success. In 1707, his farce, Crispin rival de son maître, was well received, and Le Diable boiteux (with a frontispiece by Louise-Magdeleine Horthemels) was published and ran to several editions. Lesage altered and improved this play in 1725, giving it its present form. Notwithstanding the success of Crispin, the actors did not like Lesage, and refused a small piece of his called Les Étrennes. He thereupon altered it into Turcaret, considered his theatrical masterpiece.

Some years passed before he again attempted romance writing, and then the first two parts of Gil Blas de Santillane were published in 1715, without the popularity of Le Diable boiteux. Lesage worked at it for a long time, and did not bring out the third part till 1724, nor the fourth till 1735. During these twenty years he was, however, continually busy. Notwithstanding the great merit and success of Turcaret and Crispin, the Théâtre Français did not welcome him, and in 1715 he began to write for the Théâtre de la foire, the comic opera held in booths at festival time. According to one computation he produced, either alone or with others, about a hundred pieces, varying from strings of songs with no regular dialogues, to comediettas only distinguished from regular plays by the introduction of music. He was also industrious in prose fiction. Besides finishing Gil Blas he translated the Orlando innamorato, rearranged Guzman d’Alfarache, published two more or less original novels, Le Bachelier de Salamanque and Estevanille Gonzalez, and in 1733 produced the Vie et aventures de M. de Beauchesne, which resembles certain works of Daniel Defoe. Besides all this, Lesage was also the author of La Valise trouvée, a collection of imaginary letters, and of some minor pieces including Une journée des Parques. He did not retire until 1740, when he was more than seventy years of age; he and his wife went to live with his second son, who was a canon at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Lesage’s eldest son, Louis-André, had become an actor, and Lesage had disowned him. Lesage’s last work, Mélange amusant de saillies d’esprit et de traits historiques les plus frappants, appeared in 1743.

Pagination & Dimensions

The volumes are paginated as follows: Vol. I; [vi], [1]-297, [1-15]: Vol. II; [vi], [1]-288, [xvi]. The volumes collate as follows: Vol. I; [A]3, B-O12: Vol. II; [A]3, B-N12, O8. Each volume measures about 17 cm. By 10.5 cm. By 2.5 cm. Each leaf measures about 165 mm. By 95 mm.


Both volumes are inscribed on the binders blank: Henry John Eaton, Jan.lry 10 1735.

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