The Literature of Roguery - Vol. 2

By Frank Wadleigh Chandler | Go to book overview

THE LITERATURE OF ROGUERY

CHAPTER VII
THE PICARESQUE NOVEL IN THE EIGHTEENTH
CENTURY

1. Defoe

THE eighteenth century, as the age of prose and observation, rather than of poetry and free imagination, fathered the modern novel. Even Richardson, who was laughed at by Fielding as an idealist, and who borrowed the letter- form from heroic romance, won success by his bourgeois realism, and owed a debt to the observational studies of the picaresque tale. Still more potent, of course, were such picaresque models in determining the fictions of the professed realists. Translations from the Spanish and the French continued to bear fruit, vying with native rogue elements long maturing. Though the day of direct borrowing was past, what was best in the picaresque manner and method only now became truly effective.

Fresh English renderings of the Spanish novels were not lacking. The Garduña was compressed from Davies's earlier version, and became The Life of Donna Rosina (c. 1700). Its inserted novelas were separately issued as Three Ingenious Spanish Novels( 1712), and L'Estrange and Ozell made a fresh translation of the whole ( 1717, 1727). Cervantes Novelas was Englished in part by Ozell ( 1709), and was redone by other hands in 1928 and 1729. Captain John Stevens issued The Comical Works of Quevedo ( 1707, 1709, 1742),

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