Q44563

List of Picaresque Novel Books and Works : Vote for your favorites.

List of Picaresque Novel Books and Works   : Vote for your favorites.

The picaresque novel (Spanish: picaresca, from pícaro, for "rogue" or "rascal") is a genre of prose fiction that depicts the adventures of a roguish hero/heroine of low social class who lives by his or her wits in a corrupt society. Picaresque novels typically adopt a realistic style, with elements of comedy and satire. This style of novel originated in 16th-century Spain and flourished throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It continues to influence modern literature.

According to the traditional view of Thrall and Hibbard (first published in 1936), seven qualities distinguish the picaresque novel or narrative form, all or some of which an author may employ for effect:

  • A picaresque narrative is usually written in first person as an autobiographical account.
  • The main character is often of low character or social class. He or she gets by with wit and rarely deigns to hold a job.
  • There is no plot. The story is told in a series of loosely connected adventures or episodes.
  • There is little if any character development in the main character. Once a pícaro, always a pícaro. His or her circumstances may change but they rarely result in a change of heart.
  • The pícaro's story is told with a plainness of language or realism.
  • Satire is sometimes a prominent element.
  • The behavior of a picaresque hero or heroine stops just short of criminality. Carefree or immoral rascality positions the picaresque hero as a sympathetic outsider, untouched by the false rules of society.

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