what does picaresque convey to a Native ? In my peregrination to your sense of English vocabulary, I ferreted out interesting usages of picaresque which I would appreciate your help, as a Native, in honing my understanding. although by dictionary picaresque means relating to a fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero, I figured out it can convey 4 different things or a combination of them as follows. 1. a story 2. an adventure 3. dishonesty 4. being attractive To make sure, I need your understanding or translation of picaresque as a Native in each of the following examples. 1- With all of these undercurrents and subterranean connections, “Sudden Death” might seem Pynchonesque but for its tone, which is mischievous and picaresque rather than paranoid and foreboding. New York Times Feb 14, 2016 2- Liverpool tend to carry a sense of place with them through these picaresque European campaigns. The Guardian May 18, 2016 and there are five more examples3- The originator was an Irishman named John Field whose picaresque life story contrasted sharply with his lyrical and dreamy creations. Washington Post Jul 7, 2016 4- After a long apprenticeship, an American picaresque that encompassed a flop in California, he was signed by Columbia Records. Economist Sep 27, 2016 5- Some critics accused him of recycling his picaresque plots and ideas, which at times seemed to verge on the nihilistic. Washington Post Sep 14, 2017 6- Two lithographs from 1827 by European visitors to Rio, capital of the new empire of Brazil, depict picaresque street scenes crowded with traders, monks, hawkers, and slaves. New York Times Apr 18, 2018 7- There’s only a little time left to invest in a ticket to Bruce Norris’s picaresque about free-market capitalism. New York Times Apr 5, 2018
Sep 25, 2018 9:50 PM
Answers · 7
It means nothing to me. I have never heard it used. If you use it, don't expect anyone except a scholar to understand you. You seem to be trying to overuse 'dictionary words' in your first sentence. I hope you realise how funny that overuse actually sounds. Reading that, my first assumption would be that you are making a joke, somewhat like the Ben Jonson sketch in Blackadder.
September 25, 2018
It is a specialized word with a very specific meaning. It refers to a long, rambling novel or story in which the protagonist, usually a quick-witted rogue, experiences a series of disconnected or loosely linked adventures. Often the protagonist is traveling, and the journey is one of the connecting links in the story. Examples of picaresque novels would include Cervantes' "Don Quixote," Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," and Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." I don't think it has other meanings. If it's used in some other way, I think it's being used incorrectly. In your second example, I strongly suspect the writer has blundered, and wrote "picaresque" when he meant "picturesque."
September 25, 2018
Almost nothing. Very few people know or use the word "picaresque." Most will assume that you mean "picturesque." The others will nod, say something meaningless, and then change the subject to something that uses words they understand. (The same is true for "peregrination." I have never heard nor read that word in my life and I hear and read a lot.) Now that I have looked it up, I might throw it in the next time I go on a rant about the TV show "How I Met Your Mother," but I will probably not and just use other words.
September 26, 2018
I think picaresque could be compared to the use of the word Gothic, although it's meaning has been less diluted. My take. Whether it's being used as an adjective as a noun, the word picaresque is always going to refer back in some way to that genre of literature involving the frantic misadventures of a (typically dishonest) narrator. Off the top of my head, Quevedo's El Buscon, and perhaps Candide come to mind. Your first usage is likely referring to a novel which is episodic and deals with human chicanery and vice. Picaresques are also typically frenetically paced, in contrast to a novel which has a sense of foreboding. Almost by definition, a foreboding tone is going to lead a reader in a certain direction (Eg Heart of Darkness) which is going to be at odds with the freewheeling style of a picaresque. Knowing nothing about European sports, the second quotation seems to be comparing a series of matches to events of a picaresque. So I'm guessing the events of the campaign involved manic and possibly unscrupulous turns of fortune. Liverpool is likened to a character in the picaresque tale. But I couldn't say whether or not they were involved in the fishy business.
September 25, 2018
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