The Devil on Two Sticks
Translated by Joseph Thomas
Illustrated by Kitty Shannon
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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