Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob Christoph von

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob Christoph von


Born about 1621, in Gelnhausen, Hessen; died Aug. 17, 1676, in Renchen. German writer.

In childhood Grimmelshausen experienced the calamity of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) and was a participant in it. He was a clerk who managed estates, and he also was an innkeeper. In his novel Simplicissimus (1669) he showed the devastation and collapse of civilization in his country, the atrocities of the lansquenets, and the sufferings of the peasants. He expressed the protest of the people against feudal wars and religious intolerance and social injustice. Simplicius (“simpleton”) in his youth is deeply troubled by the evils of the world, tries to correct them, and becomes a clown who “laughingly tells the truth.” Having experienced many misfortunes, he renounces the world and settles on an uninhabited island. The novel, written in a grotesque and satirical form, contains elements of social utopia. It combines bookish rhetoric and allegory with the narrative manner of a storyteller, which is especially evident in his novels Runagate Courage (1670). Springinsfeld (1670), and The Marvelous Bird’s Nest (1672).


Werke, vols. 1–4. Weimar, 1960.
In Russian translation:
Simplitsissimus. Leningrad, 1967.


Purishev, B. Ocherki nemetskoi literatury XV-XVII vv. Moscow, 1955.
Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962.
Weydt, G. Nachahmung und Schöpfung im Barock: Studien um Grimmelshausen. Bern, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.