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The Picaresque Hero: Rogue (Picaro), Anti-Hero, Citizen
SPAN 233
Fall 2015
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: COL 223

A new type of character, the rogue or pícaro, emerges in early modern fiction, in a new genre (we now call the picaresque) built around an anti-hero. This course explores how and why the anti-hero displaced the virtuous ideal of the hero prevailing in classical and medieval literature. Through Spanish picaresque novels written between 1554 and 1647, we will trace the pícaro as a character who evokes, parodies, and subverts the attributes associated with the ideal citizen. To understand how the picaresque accomplishes this, we will look at its interplay with competing, often idealizing, genres (such as autobiography, lives of saints and soldiers, inquisitorial confessions, the arts of letter writing, etc.), together with political theory and natural-law theories of the period. Finally, we will look ahead to 20th-century examples of picaresque narrative such as Louis-Ferdinand Céline's JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT or E. L. Doctorow's BILLY BATHGATE, considering what picaresque characters mean for us now.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on MAY-28-2024
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