Picaresque Literature of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Criticism: Genre - Essay

W. M. Frohock with Gregory Fitz Gerald and Eric Steel (interview date 1971)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Frohock, W. M., Gregory Fitz Gerald, and Eric Steel. “Picaresque and Modern Literature: A Conversation with W. H. Frohock.” Edited by Philip L. Gerber and Robert J. Gemmett. Genre 13, no. 2 (1971): 187-97.

[In this interview, Frohock discusses the characteristics of the picaresque novel and the possibility of a modern picaresque.]

[Steel:] Mr. Frohock, you have said that you feel the term picaresque has been used for too loosely in describing modern fiction. At the same time you admit that many modern works contain features that can be legitimately classified as picaresque. Since some modern works of fiction exhibit characteristics of the old...

(The entire section is 3660 words.)

Claudio Guillen (essay date 1971)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Guillen, Claudio. “Genre and Countergenre: The Discovery of the Picaresque.” In Literature as System: Essays Toward the Theory of Literary History, pp. 135-58. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1971.

[In the essay below, Guillen reviews the development of the picaresque novel as a model for a theory of genre.]

Bibliographical research, of which the works of Antonio Rodríguez-Moñino offer today an eminent example,1 provides the student of literature with a very substantial problem: that of the relationship between a poem and its readers. As everyone suspects in the most generic way—scripta manent—art can and often does...

(The entire section is 7993 words.)

Daniel Eisenberg (essay date 1976)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Eisenberg, Daniel. “Does the Picaresque Novel Exist?” Kentucky Romance Quarterly 26, no. 2 (1979): 203-19.

[In the following essay, presented in 1976, Eisenberg argues that “picaresque” as a literary term is so general as to be meaningless and proposes doing away with the classification.]

The concept of the picaresque novel and the definition of this “genre” is a problem concerning which there exists a considerable bibliography;1 it is also the subject of a bitter personal debate.2 According to Fernando Lázaro Carreter, the picaresque novel is “escurridiza” and something which “se resiste enérgicamente a ser...

(The entire section is 8586 words.)

Ulrich Wicks (essay date 1978)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Wicks, Ulrich. “The Romance of the Picaresque.” Genre 11, no. 1 (1978): 29-44.

[In the essay below, Wicks defends the notion of a picaresque tradition, while acknowledging the difficulty in defining the characteristics of the genre.]


—Es tan bueno—respondió Ginés—, que mal año para Lazarillo de Tormes y para todos cuantos de aquel género se han escrito o escribieren.

Don Quijote (Part I, Chapter 22)

The awareness of picaresque fiction as a genre begins almost simultaneously with the first (though not universally accepted) prototype,...

(The entire section is 6570 words.)