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. A juxtaposition of realism with romance, satire with sentiment, and sexual intrigue with moral admonition.
“For myself, I have other occupations: I make absurd matches; I marry greybeards with minors, masters with servants, girls with small fortunes with tender lovers who have none. It is I who introduced into this world luxury, debauchery, games of chance, and chemistry. I am the author of the first cookery book, the inventor of festivals, of dancing, music, plays, and of the newest fashions; in a word, I am ASMODEUS, surnamed The Devil on Two Sticks.”
Alain-René Lesage (1668 – 1747) was a French novelist and playwright. Lesage is best known for his comic novel The Devil upon Two Sticks (1707, Le Diable boiteux), his comedy Turcaret (1709), and his picaresque novel Gil Blas (1715–1735).