The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane

The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 740
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  • Book Info
    The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane
    Book Description:

    Tobias Smollett, in the preface to his first novel, The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), acknowledges the influence of Alain René Le Sage's L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (1715-35 in four volumes) on his work. By far the most successful of "useful and entertaining" romances, Smollett writes, Gil Blas describes "the knavery and foibles of life, with infinite humour and sagacity." "The following sheets," he adds significantly, "I have modeled on his plan." Smollett's translation of Gil Blas appeared nine months after the publication of Roderick Random. This chronicle of a merry, philosophical young man whose adventures lead him into all levels of society from the highest to the lowest, presents special problems for a translator. Smollett, without always adhering to the literal expression of the novel's language, is true to its style, spirit, and ideas. After two and a half centuries, his remains the finest translation of this humorous, satiric, and classic French novel. In his early years in London, Smollett struggled to find a way to distinguish himself through his medical practice, medical writings, poetry, and plays. None of these attempts, however, allowed him to demonstrate the full range of his personality and talents. Only when he combined his own boundless imagination with the skills he had learned from translating Gil Blas was he able to create energetic narratives filled with vivid and original characters.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-3732-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xxx)

    In Nathaniel Dance’s 1764 portrait of Tobias Smollett as a successful man of letters the author is “seated in a library against a green curtain, in a grey suit with white cravat and wig, ruffles at his wrists, his left arm resting on a writing table” on which are placed three leaves of a manuscript as well as an inkpot and quill. His right hand holds a book that is resting on his leg, its spine turned outward.¹ His choice for the symbolic book that announces to all who view the painting that the man portrayed is indeed an author...

  7. The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane
    • VOLUME I
      • Middle Matter
        (pp. 1-2)
        (pp. 3-6)
        (pp. 7-8)

        As there are some people who cannot read, without making applications of the vicious and ludicrous characters they meet with in works of this kind; I declare to these mischievous readers, that they will be to blame, if they apply any of the pictures drawn in this book. I publickly own that my purpose is to represent life as we find it: but God forbid that I should undertake to delineate any man in particular! Let no reader, therefore, assume to himself that which as properly belongs to others; lest, as Phaedrus¹ observes, he makes an unlucky discovery of his...

        (pp. 9-10)

        Gentle reader, before thou hearest the history of my life, give me leave to entertain thee with a short story.

        Two scholars, in their way from Pennasiel to Salamanca,¹ being thirsty and fatigued, sat down by a spring they met with on the road. There, while they rested themselves, after having quenched their thirst, they perceived by accident, upon a stone that was even with the surface of the earth, some letters, already half effaced by time, and the feet of flocks that came to water at the fountain: having washed it, they read these words in the Castilian tongue:...

      • BOOK I.
        (pp. 11-60)

        My father, Blas of Santillane, after having carried arms many years for the service of the Spanish monarchy, retired to the town in which he was born, where he chose a wife among the second-rate citizens, who, tho’ she was no chicken,¹ brought me into the world ten months after her marriage.—They afterwards removed to Oviedo, where my mother became a waiting-woman, and my father Squire* to a lady: and as they had nothing but their wages to depend upon, I should have run the hazard of being very poorly educated, had it not been my good fortune to...

      • BOOK II.
        (pp. 61-104)

        We were so much afraid of coming too late, that we made but one leap from the alley to the house of the old licentiate. We knocked at the door, which was opened by a girl ten years old, who passed for the housekeeper’s niece, in spite of scandal; and asking if the canon could be spoke with, Dame Jacinta appeared: she was a person already arrived at the age of discretion, but still handsome; and, in particular, I admired the freshness of her complexion. She wore a long gown of coarse stuff, with a large leathern girdle, from one...

      • BOOK III.
        (pp. 105-148)

        Having staid some time with the young barber, I afterwards joined a merchant of Segovia, in his way thro’ Olmedo, with four mules, on which he had transported goods to Valladolid, and was returning with them unloaded. We became acquainted on the road, and he conceived such a friendship for me, that he insisted upon my lodging at his house when we arrived at Segovia. There he detain’d me two days; and when I was ready to set out for Madrid, along with a carrier, he intrusted me with a letter, which he desired I would in person deliver, according...

      • Middle Matter
        (pp. 149-152)
        (pp. 153-154)
      • BOOK IV.
        (pp. 155-214)

        A remnant of honour and religion, which I did not fail to preserve, amidst such corruption of morals, made me resolve not only to leave Arsenia, but also to break off all correspondence with Laura, whom, however, I could not help loving, though I was sensible of her flagrant infidelity. Happy is he who can thus profit by those moments of reflection that interrupt the pleasures which engross his attention! Early one morning, I bundled up my cloaths, and without clearing with Arsenia, who was indeed, little or nothing in my debt; or taking leave of my dear Laura, I...

      • BOOK V.
        (pp. 215-258)

        I am the son of an actress at Madrid, whose name was Lucinda, famous for her theatrical talents, and still more for her gallantry. As for my father, I cannot, without presumption, assume any one in particular. ’Tis true, I might tell what man of quality was in love with my mother when I came into the world; but that epocha would by no means be a convincing proof of his being the author of my birth. A woman of my mother’s profession is so little to be trusted, that even while she appears the most attached to one nobleman,...

      • BOOK VI.
        (pp. 259-268)

        The Count de Polan having spent one half of the night in thanking and assuring us, that we might depend upon his gratitude, called the landlord, in order to consult with him about the means of getting in safety to Turis, whither he designed to go. We left that nobleman to take his measures accordingly; and departing from the inn, followed the road that Lamela was pleased to choose.

        After having travelled two hours, day surprised us near Campelio; upon which, we immediately betook ourselves to the mountains, which are between that village and Requena, and there passed the day...

      • Middle Matter
        (pp. 269-272)
        (pp. 273-278)
      • BOOK VII.
        (pp. 279-338)

        I went accordingly to Xelva, to make restitution of the three thousand ducats,¹ which we had stole from Samuel Simon: and will freely own, I was tempted on the road to convert the money to my own use, in order to begin my stewardship² under happy auspices. This I might have done with impunity; for, had I travelled five or six days, and then returned, as if I had acquitted myself of my commission, Don Alphonso and his father would never have suspected my fidelity. I did not yield, however, to the temptation, which I surmounted like a lad of...

      • BOOK VIII.
        (pp. 339-378)

        My not having heard of Nunnez all this time, surprized me so much, that I concluded he must be in the country: and as soon as I could walk, went to his lodgings, where I understood that he had actually gone to Andalousia, three weeks before, with the Duke de Medina Sidonia. One morning, at waking, Don Melchior de la Ronda came into my head; and remembering that I had promised to him, while I was at Grenada, to visit his nephew, if ever I should return to Madrid, I resolved to keep my promise that very day. Having got...

      • BOOK IX.
        (pp. 379-410)

        One evening, after the company which had supped with me was gone, seeing myself alone with Scipio, I asked what he had done that day? “A master-piece, (he replied) I intend to have you married to the only daughter of a goldsmith of my acquaintance.” “The daughter of a goldsmith! (cried I, with an air of disdain) hast thou lost thy senses? How canst thou propose a wife from the city? One who has certainly merit, and is on a sure footing at court, ought to entertain more elevated views, methinks.” “How, Sir! (replied Scipio) sure you are not in...

      • Middle Matter
        (pp. 411-414)
        (pp. 415-420)
      • BOOK X.
        (pp. 421-482)

        While I was getting ready for my departure from Madrid, with Scipio, on my journey to the Asturias, Pope Paul the fifth named the Duke of Lerma to the cardinalship. The Pope being desirous of establishing the inquisition¹ in the kingdom of Naples,² invested the minister with the purple, that he might engage him to make King Philip consent to such a laudable design. All those who were well acquainted with this new member of the sacred college, thought, like me, that the church had made a fine acquisition.

        Scipio, who would rather have seen me in a brilliant post...

      • BOOK XI.
        (pp. 483-516)

        I have already observed, that there was great harmony between Antonia and Beatrice; the last being used to live like a submissive waiting-woman, and the other habituating herself to act the mistress. Scipio and I were husbands of too much gallantry, and too well beloved by our wives, to be long without children: they grew pregnant almost at the same time. Beatrice, who was the first delivered, brought into the world a girl; and a few days after, Antonia crown’d my happiness, in bringing forth a boy. I sent my secretary to Valencia with this piece of news for the...

      • BOOK XII.
        (pp. 517-548)

        During a whole month almost, his Grace had been saying to me every day, “Santillane, the time draws near when I shall set thy address to work;” and still this time did not come. At length, however, it arrived; and his Excellency spoke to me in these words: “It is reported, that in the company of players belonging to Toledo, there is a young actress whose talents make a great noise: it is said that she dances and sings divinely, and quite captivates the spectator by her declamation. I am assured also, that she has a considerable share of beauty....

    (pp. 549-606)
    (pp. 607-612)
    (pp. 613-632)
    (pp. 633-634)
    (pp. 635-636)
    (pp. 637-686)
    (pp. 687-694)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 695-698)