Did You Know?
Picaresque derives from Spanish picaresco, which means "of or relating to a picaro," the picaro being the rogue or bohemian usually at the center of picaresque fiction. The typical picaro is a wandering individual of low social standing who happens into a series of adventures among people of various higher classes, and often relies on wits and a little dishonesty to get by. The first known novel in this style is Lazarillo de Tormes (circa 1554), an irreverent work about a poor boy who works for a series of masters of dubious character. The novel has been attributed to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, but his authorship is disputable.
"His specialty was the picaresque novel, which took the hero (with the reader happily perched on his shoulder) on a wild ride…." — Martin Rubin, The Washington Times, 16 Mar. 2012
"Rafting down the Mississippi, Twain captured pre-Civil War America with a picaresque tale of marks and swindlers, innocents and thugs." — Ron Charles, The Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
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Fill in the blanks to complete the name for a novel or drama dealing with a swaggering adventurer: s _ _ s _ _ uc _ _ e _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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