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.
This work is both universal and French within a Spanish context. However, its originality was questioned. Voltaire was among the first to point out similarities between Gil Blas and Marcos de Obregon by Espinel, from which Lesage had borrowed several details. Considering Gil Blas essentially Spanish, Father Jose de Isla claimed to translate the work from French into Spanish in order to return it to its natural state. Llorente suggested that Gil Blas was written by the historian Solis, arguing that no contemporary writer could have possibly written a work of such detail and accuracy.
Gil Blas is also mentioned in Thomas Flanagan's The Year of the French, in which poet Owen MacCarthy mentions having it with him "on [his] ramblings, years ago." Flanagan uses Gil Blas to connect the poor Irish citizens and their French allies in the 1798 Rebellion, illustrating that the Irish may not all be as simple as Arthur Vincent Broome, the loyalist narrator, presumes. This allusion to Gil Blas also connects the somewhat roguish MacCarthy to the picaresque protagonist Gil Blas.
In a letter to William Dean Howells (July 5, 1875), Mark Twain tells of just completing the manuscript for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (written in third-person) and deciding against taking Tom into adulthood: to do so, he says, "would be fatal . . . in any shape but autobiographically—like Gil Blas." Walter Blair (Mark Twain and Huck Finn) thus concludes that Twain's new novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which, picaresque-like, "would run its protagonist ‘through life,' had to be written in the first person; Gil Blas was the model."
Théophile Semet composed a comic opera in five acts (1860).
Alphons Czibulka composed Gil Blas von Santillana, with libretto by F. Zell and Moritz West. It was first performed in 1889.