Definition of picaresque in English:

picaresque

adjective

  • Relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero:

    ‘a picaresque adventure novel’
    ‘canonical forms of European literature such as the picaresque’
    • ‘A picaresque novel with postmodern flourishes, the sinfully entertaining Zorro is serious fiction masked as a swashbuckler.’
    • ‘Part science fiction, part picaresque, and part burlesque, its alphabetized entries gesture provocatively, giving glimpses of their source's unattainable body.’
    • ‘Another structural characteristic of the picaresque novel is the education of the young rogue, which frequently coincides with his servitude.’
    • ‘It is more a picaresque novel with the journey motif at the centre and fantasy thrown in for spice.’
    • ‘Besides creating a literary genre, the picaresque novel, the book is like a mural depicting a society and an era.’
    • ‘Many theorists have chosen to restrict the picaresque and the baroque to specific time periods.’
    • ‘Juan's picaresque adventures in a wide variety of European contexts see him constantly dealing with disappointment and disillusionment.’
    • ‘Appropriately enough, it makes this transition within what we might think of as a picaresque interruption of the picturesque travel experience.’
    • ‘And a picaresque novel should be very lively and very funny.’
    • ‘The picaresque novels of the seventeenth century can count as forerunners as well.’
    • ‘The latter are allowed to take their course like diminutive picaresque novels.’
    • ‘Such recurrent encounters are typical of the picaresque, whose protagonists often meet their opponents again and again.’
    • ‘And that's life: it does not resemble a picaresque novel in which from one chapter to the next the hero is continually being surprised by new events that have no common denominator.’
    • ‘Even the longer works are essentially episodic and picaresque, rather than symbolic or abstract, at least in compositional categories.’
    • ‘The overall impression, though, would make a cult novel: a picaresque trip through a neo-Dickensian netherworld of rogues and romance.’
    • ‘This became my first comic novel, my first picaresque novel, my first epic novel, a genre I had been wanting to plunge into for a long time.’
    • ‘I had been fascinated by the idea of this magical clown, and it eventually found its way into my picaresque novel Baudolino.’
    • ‘We must ask, then, whether or not the baroque picaresque novel arises from certain historical/socio-political and/or literary circumstances.’
    • ‘The first three bedtime stories of the fictitious author have been transformed into a wickedly humorous, picaresque screen adventure for a dark winter's day.’
    • ‘The first treats these themes linearly, but with an episodic structure similar to that of the picaresque novel.’

Origin

Early 19th century: from French, from Spanish picaresco, from pícaro rogue.

Pronunciation:

picaresque

/ˌpɪkəˈrɛsk/