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Rebirth of an Old Genre in a Modern Novel: Analysis of the Picaresque Nature of John Wain’s Hurry on Down





There is a tendency among scholars to look upon neopicaresque novels not as genuinely picaresque narratives, but as specimens of what Claudio Guillén calls the picaresque myth. These novels, in other words, do not reflect the core features of the first picaresque novels, but include only certain picaresque characteristics. In this article, the justice of the above statement is tested by investigating the picaresque nature of John Wain’s debut novel, Hurry on Down. The extent to which Wain’s novel conforms to or deviates from the core features of the picaresque genre is measured through the application of Ulrich Wicks’s theory of the picaresque to that novel. The findings of the study show that Hurry on Down meets all of the eight characteristics Wicks enumerates for the picaresque genre at least in a tangential way. Therefore, despite the contrary view of many critics, it is possible and reasonable to pigeonhole Wain’s novel as a generically picaresque narrative.

Keywords: Picaresque; Genre; Ulrich Wicks; Postwar Novel; John Wain.


Authors:Seyed Iman Bassir , Maryam Soltan Beyad

Doi: https://doi.org/10.47012/jjmll.15.2.10

Cited by: Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literatures (JJMLL) 2023, 15 (2): 561-578


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