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 pAA-caros--and pAA-caras--continued to follow in the footsteps of LAAzaro'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 AlemAAn's GuzmAAn de Alfarache or Quevedo's BuscAA3n 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 AAvila's Libro de la vida, to post-Spanish Civil War texts to twentieth-century Latin American novels and 1950s American beat narratives.