Picaresque novel (4505 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


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The emergence of the picaresque novel in Spain (novela picaresca), in Germany (Schelmenroman) and in England (literally rogue's tales, or novel of roguery) forms one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of the novel. Removed from ancient and Renaissance novels – such as those by Longus and Heliodor in the third century CE, or Montalvo (Amadis de Gaula, 1482 cont.) and Silvio Piccolomini (Euryalus et Lucretia, 1470) – the development of the modern novel as a genre within the canon of rhymed poetry took centuries to achieve. Scholars usually attribute its final success to the rise of the middle class in England and the articulation of their world view in such works as Robinson Crusoe (1719)…

Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Picaresque novel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 February 2004 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=862, accessed 07 October 2022.]

862 Picaresque novel 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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