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the first of French novelists, was born, according to one of his

, the first of French novelists, was born, according to one of his biographers, in 1677, at Ruys, in Britanny; or, according to another, in 1668, at Vannes. At the age of twenty-five he came to Paris, with a view to study philosophy. His talents, although they did not display themselves very early, proved to be equally brilliant and solid. He made himself first known by a paraphrastic translation of the “Letters of Aristsenetus,” which he published in two small volumes. He then travelled through Spain, and applied to the study of the Spanish language, customs, and writers, from whom he adopted plots and fables, and transfused them into his native tongue with great facility and success. His works of this kind are, “Guzman D'Alfarache” the “Bachelor of Salamanca;” “Gil Bias;” “New Adventures of Don Quixote,” originally written by Avellaneda; “The Devil on two Sticks,” as it is called in our translation, in French “Le Diable boiteux,” and some others of less note. Of the “Devil on two Sticks,” we are told that the first edition had amazing success, and the second sold with still greater rapidity. Two noblemen coming to the bookseller’s, found only one single copy remaining, which each was for purchasing: and the dispute grew so warm, that they were going to decide it by the sword, had not the bookseller interposed. He was also distinguished for some dramatic pieces, of which “Crispin,” and “Turcaret,” both comedies, were the most successful, and allowed to fall very little short of the genius of Moliere. “Turcaret,” which was first played in 1709, has been praised by the French critics, as comprehending a dialogue just and natural, characters drawn with peculiar fidelity, and a well-conducted plot. He composed also many pieces for the comic opera, which, if somewhat deficient in invention, were in general sprightly, and enriched with borrowed fancies very happily adapted to the genius of the French theatre.