The Devil on Two Sticks
by
Alain-René Lesage

Translated by Joseph Thomas

Illustrated by Kitty Shannon

 

Introduction

Alain-René Lesage (1668-1747) was a French dramatist, poet and novelist. He is best known as the author of Gil Blas (also available on this site). The Devil on Two Sticks (Le Diable Boiteux) is an earlier work in the same vein and is also set in Spain around 1700. Don Cleophas Leandro Perez Zambullo, a Madrid gallant, accidentally frees a demon from captivity. In gratitude, the demon takes him up to a high place and makes all the roofs of Madrid transparent so he can see what is going on everywhere. The demon describes to him the people he can see, and their histories. The stories of true and false love, star-crossed lovers, robberies, duels, enslavements and liberations make up the bulk of the book, and the follies, vices and corruption of the ancien régime are mercilessly satirised in dozens of character sketches of people of every kind.

This ex-classics edition is the 1841 translation by Joseph Thomas, from a edition published by Hutchinson (undated, but apparently early 20th Century) with 24 illustrations in colour and black and white by Kitty Shannon. Title page of this edition

 

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