Le Bachelier de Salamanque, ou les Memoires de D. Cherubin de la Ronda, tirés d'un Manuscrit Espagnol, par Monsieur Le Sage. Paris, Valleyre, 1736.
First Edition. 12mo, (155 x 84mm), pp. [viii], 378, , with three engraved plates, one to accompany each section, outer corner of text dampstained in the last few leaves and some light browning to the prelims, in contemporary or slightly later free-style tree calf with an attractive simple gilt border on the covers, the spine stained green, gilt in compartments with gilt lettering, marbled endpapers, Chiswick bookplate.
A handsome copy of the first part, containing the first three books, of one of the most popular picaresque novels of the French eighteenth century. Although it is stated on p. 378, ‘Fin du troisième & dernier Livre’, a second volume appeared two years later, containing books four to six (La Haye, Pierre Gosse, 1738).
Although not in quite the same league as his Gil Blas, Le Sage's Bachelier de Salamanque shares many of the same features, from the successful formula of the hero's many adventures loosely bound together to the enduringly popular Spanish theme common to many of Le Sage's novels. There were numerous editions throughout the century and beyond.
'He was a writer for his time, an artisan of letters, and a supporter of the modernes in the Quérelle. He wrote for a broad public, and Gil Blas in particular was much appreciated by readers of many countries for two centuries. Critics have sometimes viewed him rather more patronisingly, condemning the diffuse nature of his narratives and the banality or superficiality of his morality and his psychology. Yet he is in many ways a fascinating witness of his period. His writing is sharp and up to date, he has a gift for the dramatic scene and a keen eye for the masks and pretences of a corrupt society. While reusing old literary material, he nevertheless gives us a strong sense of life in a real, unidealized world' (Peter France in the New Oxford Companion to Literature in French).
Jones p. 59; Cioranescu 39528 (giving p. 383); Cohen-de Ricci c. 635; Tchemerzine VII, 206.