() is a picaresque novel
by Alain-René Lesage
published between 1715
. It is considered to be the last masterpiece of the picaresque genre.
Gil Blas is born in misery to a stablehand and a chambermaid of Santillana
, and is educated by his uncle. He leaves Oviedo
at the age of seventeen to attend the University of Salamanca
. His bright future is suddenly interrupted when he is forced to help robbers along the route and is faced with jail. He becomes a valet and, over the course of several years, is able to observe many different classes of society, both lay and clerical. Because of his occupation, he meets many disreputable people and is able to adapt to many situations, thanks to his adaptability and quick wit.
He finally finds himself at the court as a favorite of the king and secretary to the prime minister. Working his way up though hard work and intelligence, Gil is able to retire to a castle to enjoy a fortune and a hard-earned honest life.<!--
Characters in Gil Blas
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~thematic description, using the work of literary critics (i.e. scholars) ~-->
Literary significance and reception
is related to Lesage's play Turcaret
(1709). In both works, Lesage uses witty valets in the service of thieving masters, women of questionable morals, cuckolded yet happy husbands, gourmands, ridiculous poets, false savants, and dangerously ignorant doctors to make... Read More