Time to Rob the Dead

Jeremy Adler

Hans Grimmelshausen’s Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus, first published in 1668, is one of the great picaresque novels. Like Cervantes and Hašek, Grimmelshausen invented a naive, feckless hero with a guileless yet lovable persona whose innocent wisdom shows up the folly of the world around him. Simplicissimus comes to symbolise sanity in a depraved, degenerate Europe torn apart by the Thirty Years’ War, and the novel, besides being funny, was German Baroque literature’s most powerful plea for peace.

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