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Le Sage, Alain René

Le Sage, Alain René älăN´ rənā´ ləsäzh´ [key], 1668–1747, French novelist and dramatist. His masterpiece, Gil Blas de Santillane (1715–35, tr. by Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, 1749), is a rambling story in the style of Spanish picaresque romances, though unlike them in conception. It is instead strongly realistic, especially in its incidents exact description of exterior and physical appearance suffices to show character and to imply moral judgment. Gil Blas was a major influence in the development of the realistic novel. Smollett drew heavily on it, especially in Roderick Random. Of Le Sage's lesser novels, Le Diable boiteux (1707 tr. The Devil upon Two Sticks, 1708) is an adaptation of a Spanish novel, and Le Bachelier de Salamanque (1736, tr. 1737) is an imitation of Gil Blas. Le Sage made his living by writing light pieces for the theaters of Paris his best dramatic work is Turcaret (1709), a comedy of character, which bitterly satirizes tax farmers and the world of finance in general.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.