From picaro (“adventurer, rogue”) + -esque (suffix meaning ‘in the style or manner of’ forming adjectives), modelled after Spanish picaresco (“in the style or manner of a picaro; picaresque”), from pícaro (“rogue”) + -esco (suffix forming adjectives indicating a relation). The English word is cognate with French picaresque (attested later than the English word), Italian picaresco, Portuguese picaresco.
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /pɪkəˈɹɛsk/
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- Hyphenation: pi‧car‧esque
- Of or pertaining to adventurers or rogues.
- Synonym: roguish
- 1919 July 9, “Without Prejudice”, in Bruce Ingram, editor, The Sketch, volume CVII, number 1380, London: Illustrated London News & Sketch, OCLC 990502312, page 54, column 2:
- The blue and white of the Murano background and the frankly picaresque tramp seem to form strange bed-fellows for the supper-party below stairs into which any gentleman's gentleman of the siècle de Dr. [Samuel] Johnson might have walked at any moment. [Describing an adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters (1746).]
- (literature) Characteristic of a genre of Spanish satiric novel dealing with the adventures of a roguish hero.
- 1822, “Art. I.—Primera, y Segunda Parte de Guzman de Alfarache, por Matheo Aleman, Criado del Rey nuestro Senor, Natural, y Vezino de Sevilla. Madrid, 1723. 4to. The Rogue; or, The Life of Guzman de Alfarache. Written in the Spanish by Matheo Aleman, Servant to His Catholic Majestie, and Borne in Sevill. London, printed for Edward Blount, 1623.”, in The Retrospective Review, volume V, part II, London: Charles Baldwyn, […], OCLC 884714681, pages 189–190:
- A mere piece of roguery told in the abstract, without the proper picaresque ornaments, its manifold sinuosities and dexterities, has no interest for the reader; it may recommend the executor of it to the administration of a cat-o-nine-tails, or to an honourable post in the gallies: but there is no music in it without the proper accompaniments.
- 1839, Henry Hallam, “Section III. On Works of Fiction.”, in Introduction to the Literature of Europe, in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, volume II, London: John Murray, […], OCLC 1010696630, paragraph 41, pages 435–436:
- Spain became celebrated about the end of this century for her novels in the picaresque style, of which Lazarillo de Tormes is the oldest extant specimen.
- 1923, William J[oseph] Long, “Eighteenth-century Literature”, in Outlines of English Literature: […], Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Ginn and Company, OCLC 4226121, page 189:
- He [Daniel Defoe] produced an amazing variety of wares: newspapers, magazines, ghost stories, biographies, journals, memoirs, satires, picaresque romances, essays on religion, reform, trade, projects, – in all more than two hundred works.
- 2009 November 1, Neil McDonald, “Scaramouche and the Swashbuckler”, in Quadrant, volume LIII, number 11 (number 461 overall), Sydney, N.S.W.: Quadrant Magazine Limited, ISSN 0033-5002, OCLC 241426229, archived from the original on 15 April 2018, page 103:
- Opening in France just before the Revolution and concluding just after the attack on the Tuileries, [Rafael] Sabatini's novel deftly combines historical romance, picaresque novel and revenge tragedy.
- 2014, Konstantin Mierau; Binne de Haan, “Introduction: Bringing together Microhistory and the Picaresque Novel: Studying Menocchio, Guzmán de Alfarache, and Kin”, in Binne de Haan and Konstantin Mierau, editors, Microhistory and the Picaresque Novel: A First Exploration into Commensurable Perspectives, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, →ISBN, page 2:
- The picaresque novel finds its origins in the humanist search for an expansion of the historiographical genre. [...] The protagonist of the picaresque novel is the pícaro, a character of lowly descent who, by passing through a wide array of professions, attempts to rise in social standing.
picaresque (plural picaresques)
- (literature) A picaresque novel.
- 1850 September, “Art. I.—History of Spanish Literature. By George Ticknor. 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1849. [book review]”, in John Taylor Coleridge, editor, The Quarterly Review, volume LXXXVII, number CLXXIV, London: John Murray, […], OCLC 1009026207, page 326:
- Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas [From the sublime to the ridiculous there is only one step]; and that step in Spain was taken by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (already dealt with in his higher walk), the originator of the Picaresque, or low rogue's march novels, of which his Lazarillo de Tormes was the type— [...]
- 1856, Louis de Loménie, chapter XXVII, in Henry S. Edwards, transl., Beaumarchais and His Times. Sketches of French Society in the Eighteenth Century from Unpublished Documents. [...] In Four Volumes, volume IV, international copyright edition, London: Addey and Co., […], OCLC 645381991, page 121:
- [T]he word picaro, which is almost synonymous with rogue, [...] has given a name to a whole series of novels in Spain called "Picaresques," the heroes of which are adventurers.
- 1937, Ford Madox Ford, “[Theodore] Drieser”, in Portraits From Life: […], Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Company; […], OCLC 1054401911, page 175:
- 1992, Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, “The New England Frontier and the Picaresque in Sarah Kemble Knight’s Journal”, in Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, editor, Early American Literature and Culture: Essays Honoring Harrison T. Meserole, Newark, N.J.: University of Delaware Press; Cranbury, N.J.; London: Associated University Presses, →ISBN, pages 122–123:
- In picaresques, the protagonist usually acts as narrator to provide coherence and unity to the genre's inherent structural weakness—its episodic plot.