Item description for Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel Von Grimmelshausen, Mike Mitchell & Mike Mitchell...
This gaudy, wild, and raw tale of a war-torn 17th Century Europe depicts Simplicissimus as the eternal innocent, the simple-minded survivor. We follow him from an orphaned childhood to the casual atrocities of occupying troops, through his own soldiering adventures, and up to his final vocation as a hermit alone on an island. Mike Mitchell's superb translation allows readers to enjoy more fully one of the great masterpieces of European literature and the first German bestseller.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5" Height: 7.5" Weight: 1.04 lbs.
Release Date Feb 15, 2006
ISBN 1903517427 ISBN13 9781903517420
Availability 17 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 19, 2017 10:01.
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More About Hans Jakob Christoffel Von Grimmelshausen, Mike Mitchell & Mike Mitchell
Reviews - What do customers think about Simplicissimus?
The Great Bildungsroman of World Weariness Sep 20, 2008
This book captured me from the first page and as I read chapter after chapter, I was delighted, impressed and taken in to a world that is both far away in setting yet close to heart and mind.
On the outside, this book is about a boy becoming a man through the various trials and errors of life. There is the Bildungsroman element here (Bildung - building up or 'growing up', roman - novel) He is the pure fool, the original innocent, looking for guidance. He goes from his parent's farm, to the hermit's hut, to the courts, to the battlefields, to the forests, to the cities, to the slums, finding himself in allegiance not with either side in the Thirty Years War but with himself.
Simplicissimus wears many masks, plays many roles. He is court jester, a warrior, a huntsman, a lover, a quack, a musketeer, a duped man, a cuckhold, a mystic. He begins as the fool but is transformed by the knowledge he acquires within the World. But his knowledge leads him eventually into corruption. He is continually wise, at times naive, at times bitter.
By the end, the reader feels he/she has journeyed with the narrator, accompanied him and begins to sense the world weariness of his wanderings, his lack of place in a dark time; the longing to turn away from life pervades the last quarter of the novel. The last chapter alone could have been written in any century, in any time. Simplicissimus is the great Everyman reflecting on the hopelessness and absurdity of life where the useless are presented as useful and the useful, useless. Especially now, in a time where politics is more a sideshow, where leaders appear less real and like characters in a bad Disney movie, Simplicissimus' remarks and conclusions hit home in a profound and universal way.
This book is timeless and will carry on through the centuries. So long as we are born into the freak show of life (as George Carlin put it), this book will be a faithful and timeless mirror to the mockery that is the World governed by men and their greedy, foolish and hopeless ideals.
Delightful English translation, but NOT the complete novel Apr 22, 2004
Mitchell's translation of Grimmelshausen's picaresque novel about a boy from SW Germany in the 1620s who has his life disrupted by the Thirty Years War, into which he is swept up for decades is delightfully funny. Unfortunately, Mitchell's version follows the commonly available (and artificially antiquated) Goodrick translation and omits the sixth book! Grimmelshausen wrote a whole cycle of ten novels revolving around Simplicissimus and other Thirty Years War characters, most of which are not readily available in a contemporary English translation. This, the core novel, is the most famous of the lot, but I can't help but feel disappointed by the lack of the sixth book, which was referenced by Borges (in "The Book of Imaginary Beings") and by others. I feel as though readers of "Don Quixote" must if they discover that they have read only the first part of his multi-part novel. The work of Cervantes, however, is much more readily available in English than is Grimmelshausen, so the absence is easily rectified; with the Simplicissimus books, however, one takes what one can get. Mitchell's translation of Books 1 - 5 is, fortunately, quite good, and there aren't any references in the first five books to events in the sixth book which would be weirdly jarring if the final book is missing, so there's no reason to feel cheated unless you KNOW that something has been left out. Mitchell's version is in good colloquial English and is a fast and satisfying read. I went through the whole book in a few days, finding it very difficult to put down. Mitchell writes so smoothly that the reader is swept breathlessly along just as Simplicissimus himself was.
This is THE classic novel of the Thirty Years War, which caused the death of one-third the population of Germany and involved almost every country from Sweden to Italy and from Spain to Russia, and -- strangely enough -- it's a comedy. Perhaps the war was so terrible that afterwards the only way for the survivors to stay sane was to laugh about the bitter joke which history played upon them. "Simplicissimus" is regarded by many as a definitive account of the mood and temperment of many of the survivors. Read it and laugh ... or weep. It's the story of Everyman and Everywoman caught up in an insane war in which the only option is make everything a joke, because the reality of the situation is too terrible to consider.
Excellent Book Dec 15, 2000
One of the finest and funniest books I have ever read, I suggest to read along "Vida y Hechos de Estebanillo Gonzalez, Hombre de Buen Humor", also a XVII century rogue amidst the 30 years war!!. I find Grimmelhausen book very clever and defenitely a must to anybody who is interested in Europe. Unfortunately I do not read German so I miss many of the jokes, still the book is very well worth cover to cover. I am surprised that such a classic of the German Literature have not got a wider reputation: it is so amusing to read.
Classic Eye-Witness Account of the 30Years War. Apr 11, 2000
Obviously, nobody here cared to tell you what this book is about. It's the story (some say it's autobiographical - some say it's not - The author has been a mercenary captain in the war) about a simple peasant-boy being torn into the chaos and suffering of one of Europe's longesr and THE most devastating war (half of the population in the area died). He gradually advances from being servant to being court-jester and becomes a warleader. The fascinating thing about this is:
a- Even after nearly 400 years it's easy to read.
b- Every aspect of war is described in (sometims painful) detail.
c- It's done by a man who's seen it all. So although it reads like a fantasy novel, it's authentic.
Bizzare - 30 years war - erbildungsroman - Candide - Dec 30, 1997
I have read three of this series and am amazed by the core of what Grmm. was saying. Let alone the historical magnitude of a novel like this (One of the first printed material available after Guttenburg did his thing). This guy printed out what seems to me essentially the first Superman comic books. Each chapter of the three (or more) books in this series was printed as a serial. Precursor in some ways to Kafka? Simple(sic) is a hero and a knave. His love (and her Courage) now a gypsy fortuneteller, his old friend a beggar. Of course Simple finds God in the end, but it is old German stuff ain't it!