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Whole name: Cugel the clever. The main character in two very nice fantasy novels by Jack Vance: The eyes of the overworld and Cugel's revenge.
(and of course I derived my nickname on Everything2 from the character)
Ah, a Vancian!

Cugel the Clever is a hapless, amoral, and infinitely vain comic antihero. I'd also say "picaresque", if I had room for another adjective.

The template for a Cugel story is simple:
  1. He hatches a bold and elaborate scheme to defraud somebody;
  2. The scheme goes well for a while; the reader begins to notice that there's somebody in the action smarter and more subtle than Cugel;
  3. Cugel is too overconfident and narcissistic to perceive the obvious and quit while he's ahead;
  4. The scheme ends in disaster; Cugel flees, emptyhanded.

This sounds like the stories would boil down to a single joke repeated ad nauseam, but Vance has such an inexhaustible and delightful imagination that it's not an issue: Somebody's always saying something wonderful, and there's always something new and fabulous to gawk at. Vance's plots are rarely more than a thin substrate for a wealth of improvised detail.

Cugel appears in the second and third volumes of the Dying Earth Series (and IIRC briefly in the first). The Dying Earth Series is as follows:

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