The term picaresque is usually limited to narrative forms of expression, prose fiction and novels. New research has, however, shown that the designation is far more heterogeneous and includes certain kinds of poetry, comedy, and opera libretti. If the picaresque genre is defined in terms of common contents, topics and motifs, it comprises the drama and the theatre as well. It is significant that Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), the first picaresque novel in Spain, already contains dramatic scenes and passages of dialogue. This extended and hybrid genre understanding of picaresque narrative legitimizes this essay’s approach, focusing on individual, thematic and formal elements which link the plot of Peer Gynt to the main features of picaresque literature.
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