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Thanks for your understanding.

Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2018-04-23 08:54:26

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1364

"picaresque" << >> "picturesque"

This one was mentioned here in passing by Joe in his list of Paul Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage waaaay back in ought-six, but it deserves its own post.

Here’s the example I stumbled upon:

The guitarist/singer and his cohorts in the raw and raucous trio The Devil Makes Three have found their way onto that road numerous times since they first left their picaresque rural hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont.
event ad

Google yielded 103 hits for “picaresque village” and most of them are eggcorns, as “picaresque” and “picturesque” are not similar enough in meaning to be synonymous, yet it’s easy to imagine that picaros would see many picturesque sights in their peregrinations.

Looking to see if this eggcorn is a round-tripper, I chose to search on the term “picturesque novel” (Wikipedia: “The picaresque novel (Spanish: picaresca, from pĂ­caro, for “rogue” or “rascal”) is a genre of prose fiction that depicts the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by their wits in a corrupt society. Picaresque novels typically adopt a realistic style, with elements of comedy and satire…It continues to influence modern literature.
In the English-speaking world, the term “picaresque” is used more loosely and can simply refer to an episodic recounting of the adventures of an anti-hero on the road.”).

Google yielded quite a few hits, but in most cases it’s hard to tell whether they’re really eggcorning the genre label “picaresque” into “picturesque” or are just using “picturesque” as an adjective describing a novel. Some, though, are clearly eggcorns:

A Picturesque Novel…An adventure story that involves an anti-hero who wanders around with no actual destination in mind.
Huck’s unaccepted presence in society, along with his unwillingness to fit in proves him to be the perfect picaro—or anti-hero…
...Huck has all Picturesque traits a character should have…Dishonest, making him a picaro…
[This passage defines a Picaresque Novel in detail, while consistently calling it a “Picturesque” Novel.]
study notes

1. Gothic novel stressed the supernatural, suspense, and horror.
2. Novel of manne explored the way people behaved social ly .
3. Picturesque novel told stories of sea voyages and travels to foreign lands.
class syllabus

Some argue Moll Flanders is a picturesque novel, others say a fictionalized Puritan spiritual work, still others claim it is a bourgeois romance.
search page

“Regarded as the pride and joy of American literature, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a picturesque novel depicting Huck’s epic journey from boyhood to manhood.
search page

So yes, a dandy eggcorn, and a round-tripper at that.



#2 2018-05-07 00:04:42

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2671

Re: "picaresque" << >> "picturesque"

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#3 2018-05-07 04:46:35

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1364

Re: "picaresque" << >> "picturesque"

Damn, how did I miss that one in the Google search?



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