Picaresque refers to fiction that follows the adventures of a rogue character, a picaro who rambles along, relating the shady details of his everyday experiences in autobiographical form.
What kind of literature is a picaresque novel?
The picaro's tales often come across with humor, although tragedy of circumstances usually travels with the storytelling. Although he's a rascal, the picaresque hero can be quite likable in the realism he portrays.
You can find picaresque prose among many authors, including Henry Fielding (Joseph Andrews), Francois Voltaire (Candide), Lord Byron (Don Juan), and J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye). Thomas Nash is credited with writing the first picaresque novel in English (1594): The Unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Jack Wilton.