The Picaresque Tradition and Its Development in England

Topics: Picaresque novel, Daniel Defoe, Don Quixote Pages: 5 (1644 words) Published: August 28, 2013
The Picaresque tradition and its development in England
Questions the following questions may help you draw up a logical scheme for the essay: What is the origin of the word picaresque?
What is the earliest picaresque work in Spain? What other Spanish novels followed? What are the general characteristics of the picaro
What is considered by many to be the first picaresque novel in England Could Nashe and Defoe have known about the Spanish picaresque novels? Which of Defoe’s novels contain picaresque elements
Is Defoe’s vision of life really picaresque
Which of Fielding’s novels contain picaresque elements?
Do Smollet’s works follow the picaresque tradition?
Do the English so-called picaresque novels really follow the picaresque tradition? Development beginning:questions 1-3
You will deal with the origin of the term picaresque; as its origin is Spanish say with which novels it originated what elements define a picaresque novel and what constitute the characteristic of the Picaro Central section questions 4-9

These questions will help you find out which English authors were influenced by this genre, and whether their entire output, or some of their works, or any part of individual works contain picaresque elements. You will see that the English rogue is somewhat different from the Spanish Picaro Conclusion question 10

Consider how the picaresque tradition develops and modifies in other european countries Revision Revise your work and check it against the composition proposed Composition
Beginning The origin of the picaresque tradition is Spanish; "picaresque", in fact, is the adjectival form of the word "Picaro" meaning a "Rogue", a man who only lives on his wits, begging, gambling or stealing, and whose social situation leads him to immoral or delinquent behaviour. In fiction, we define a "picaresque" a novel dealing with the habits and adventures of a Picaro or rogue. The earliest picaresque novel is the spanish La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes, an anonimous work of the XVI century (1554). In 1599 another novel followed, Guzmàn de Alfarache. Lazarillo son of a thief and a woman of easy virtue, is forced to leave home after his father’s death. He becomes the servant of several successive masters, always mean and severe, who are constantly deceived by their ingenious servant. Guzmàn de Alfarache is the son of a renegade Christian, a shrewd man and a social parasite At the beginning of the 1 17th century, a woman, La Picara justina, enters the picaresque world, until then inhabited only by men. She lives off her lovers (in addition to having been married several times), deceiving them just as Lazarillo and Guzman had deceived their masters and acquaintances. The general characteristics of the pìcaro are the following: a) he is forced to leave his family because of poverty and hunger, and to seek his own way in the world; b) he finds himself in difficult situations and faces danger and difficulties often committing criminal actions; c) he describes his experiences in the first person, with great precision as to the time and place of his adventures, so that the novel becomes an autobiography, the story of a man from youth to manhood; d) he exploits society (and is exploited by it), simultaneously giving a satirical representation of its defects and limits. These limits serve to justify his lies and thefts, as he portrays himself as no worse (if no better) than his masters and neighbours; he always declares that he is compelled to act dishonestly as he is alone without family, and has to struggle against misfortunes; e) his story consists of various episodes (there is no plot development), connected with one another only by successive vicissitudes and by the mutability of fortune. central section

The real "picaresque", as a genre, originated of course in the historical context of sixteenth-century Spain, a period of great social change. The power of Spain was declining, the towns and the roads were full of beggars,...
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