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Abstracts: Volume 89, Number 1 (2010)

Special Issue: Transnational Picaresque
Edited by J. A. G. Ardila, Introduction by J. A. G. Ardila

From the Inside Out: The Poetics of Lazarillo de Tormes by Edward H. Friedman

Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) is often seen as a precursor of the "modern novel." While its complexity has been noted and praised by scholars, there is a tendency to view Lazarillo de Tormes as a type of work-in-progress rather than a polished and complete aesthetic object. The essay proposes to analyze the text as a poetics-through-praxis of the novel, that is, as a precocious, sophisticated, and flexible guide and exemplar. The anonymous author of the Lazarillo eschews idealism, but, like Cervantes in Don Quijote, he blends realism with what has come to be known as metafiction. He is fully conscious of the reader and of the act of composition, and he acknowledges both ends of the communicative spectrum throughout a narrative that is rich in irony, plays on perspective, interest in psychology, and intricate discursive strategies.

The Picaresque According to Cervantes by Chad M. Gasta

Miguel de Cervantes integrated numerous features of the Spanish picaresque into several of his literary works leading some scholars to mistakenly view him as a picaresque writer. In Don Quixote the development of the novel's self-conscious and unreliable narrator, episodic plot structure, psychological complexity, and stark realism all have roots in picaresque fiction. Despite these similarities, Hispanists agree that Cervantes' works do not follow the generally accepted traits of picaresque fiction in the strict sense as embodied in the genre's foundational works. Instead, in Don Quixote and the Exemplary Novels, Cervantes converses with the picaresque through imitation and parody, by introducing picaro types, and through the simulation of picaresque dialogue and plot, even as he disregards the picaresque genre outright.

Picaros, Pirates, and Colonial History by Jenny Mander

Russia, the Road, and the Rogue: The Genesis of a National Tradition by Marcia A. Morris

Prior to the age of Peter the Great, Russian literature differed quite substantially from western European literatures. Old Russian works were almost invariably third-person and non-fictive. Accordingly, many of the defining elements of the picaresque novel would seem to have been lacking until the second half of the eighteenth century, when Russian translations of western models became available. At this point, authors eagerly began to produce picaresque works of their own, a circumstance that has led some scholars to posit that the Russian picaresque is essentially a borrowed form. This article seeks to temper and nuance this view by suggesting that seventeenth-century native rogue tales provided a vital narrative stock onto which eighteenth-century Russian writers grafted borrowed conventions. It further argues that the seventeenth-century tales' narrative conflict arises from their authors' ambivalent vision of the road. Indeed, a deep suspicion of the road continues to infuse Russian rogue literature's plotting strategies and motivate its idiosyncratic structure even today.

Further Comments on Alfonso de Valdés as Author of Lazarillo de Tormesby Joseph V. Ricapito

In 1976, the author of this note posited the name of Alfonso de Valdés as the author of Lazarillo de Tormes. Many years later Rosa Navarro Duran repeated his affirmation that Alfonso de Valdés wrote the Lazarillo, without offering conclusive evidence for the claim. This article studies several parallel passages from Valdés's Diálogo de Mercurio y Carón and the Lazarillo in order to reveal similarities in rhetoric, style, and content.