(asked by Larry)
I have been reading your site for a few months now and I have a few questions relating to literature that I would like to ask.
1. The works of most French writers are readily available in English but I have been having trouble finding the novels of Alain-René Le Sage, such as Gil Blas and Le Diable Boiteux (Devil on Two Sticks.) Eventually, I was lucky and found some editions that were over 50 years old but it seems that the major publishers of “classic” literature haven’t republished his books too often. Hence, I was wondering about his reputation in his native country. Is Alain-René Le Sage still widely read? Is his work taught in the school system? I absolutely adored the picaresque adventures of Gil Blas when I eventually tracked it down so I would like to know a little more.
You’re asking two very interesting questions here. As they’re very different in nature I’ll answer them in separate posts.
So that was the first one.
And I have to admit that I am more or less stumped here.
Despite the fact that my background in literature doesn’t suck, I’m not familiar with Alain-André Le Sage at all.
The name Gil Blas is definitely familiar, but I have serious doubts about the reasons of that familiarity, as I may be confusing the novel with the 19th Century periodical of the same name and that became famous because it published Zola, Maupassant, Malot and Barbey d’Aurevilly among others.
Yet, the name of Alain-René Le Sage sounds familiar, as well as Le Diable Boiteux. However I really can’t say why. Was it because they were in the high school curriculum for some majors in high school (definitely not mine), or was it because years later, in graduate school, this time as a literature major, a classmate of mine was a big fan and picked this author for their thesis/dissertation? I really can’t tell.
So I guess this answers your question about whether it is widely read.
I wish I could help more (but maybe a reader will be able to).
Now, onto your next question…