Approaches to Teaching Lazarillo de Tormes and the Picaresque Tradition
In 1554, Lazarillo de Tormes, a slim, unassuming little volume, unsigned by the author, made its first published appearance in the bookstalls of several important mercantile centers in Spain and the Netherlands. Since then, as narratives of pícaros—and pícaras—continued to follow in the footsteps of Lázaro's fictional life, picaresque literature developed into a major genre in literary studies that remains popular to this day.
Yet the genre's definition is anything but simple, as the diversity of this volume demonstrates. Part 1, "Materials," reviews editions and translations of Lazarillo and other picaresque works, as well as the critical and historical resources related to them. The essays in part 2, "Approaches," explore the picaresque's place in language and literature classrooms of all levels. Some contributors contextualize Lazarillo in the early modern Spanish culture it satirizes, investigating the role of the church and the marginalization of Muslims and Jews. Others pair Lazarillo with Alemán's Guzmán de Alfarache or Quevedo's Buscón to concentrate on the genre's literary aspects. A cluster of essays focuses on teaching the picaresque (including the female picaresque) to nonspecialist students in interdisciplinary courses. The volume concludes with a section devoted to the picaresque novel's influence on other literary traditions, from early modern autobiographies, such as Teresa of Ávila's Libro de la vida, to post-Spanish Civil War texts to twentieth-century Latin American novels and 1950s American beat narratives.
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"The collection of essays may be most fruitful for those teachers, whether experienced or novice, who are exploring ways to teach Lazarillo and the Spanish picaresque in an interdisciplinary context." —Danae T. Orlins, Sixteenth Century Journal
"The collection of essays may be most fruitful for those teachers, whether experienced or novice, who are exploring ways to teach Lazarillo and the Spanish picaresque in an interdisciplinary context."—Danae T. Orlins, Sixteenth Century Journal
"This excellent range of essays will prove extremely useful in the teaching of Lazarillo and its widespread successors. The volume does a superb job of addressing directly a host of pedagogical questions encountered by all who teach these texts." —Nina Davis, Washington University
"This slender volume contains eighteen approaches to the picaresque by eighteen different educators, as well as a thorough introduction and comprehensive materials section provided by the editor. This text is a valuable handbook for professors at all levels, teaching all types of courses." —Amy P. Alfieri, Spring Hill College
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