The Devil upon Crutches

Alain René Le Sage
Translated by Tobias Smollett
Edited by O M Brack, Jr., and Leslie A. Chilton

A classic satire on human failings

This is the first reprinting since the eighteenth century--and the first scholarly edition--of Tobias Smollett’s translation of The Devil upon Crutches. First published in France in 1707 as Le Diable boiteux, Alain René Le Sage’s novel relates the picaresque wanderings of Asmodeus, a refined, likable but decrepit devil, and Zambullo, his newfound mortal companion.

After Zambullo releases Asmodeus from a bottle, the two embark on a flight above the rooftops of Madrid. Peeking into houses, prisons, palaces, and even tombs, Zambullo witnesses one incident of treachery and self-delusion after another. Smollett’s superior wit and sense of irony suited him well as translator for this novel, with its juxtaposition of realism with romance, satire with sentiment, and sexual intrigue with moral admonition.

This authoritative textual edition is based on the 1759 second edition of Smollett’s translation. The extensive introduction covers such topics as the original French edition; the composition, printing, and reception of Smollett’s The Devil upon Crutches; and Smollett’s career as a translator. Also included are a complete textual apparatus and a guide to the now-exotic pharmaceuticals and remedies one encounters in the novel.

Works of Tobias Smollett

Page count: 312 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $81.95

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List price: $39.95

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O. M. Brack Jr. (left) is a professor of English at Arizona State University. Leslie A. Chilton (right) is the coordinator of the writing center at Arizona State University.