'Gaudy, wild, raw, amusing, rollicking and ragged, boiling with life, on intimate terms with death and evil - but in the end, contrite and fully tired of a world wasting itself in blood, pillage and lust' Thomas Mann
A story of war in all its absurdity and horror, this incomparable novel describes the fortunes of a young boy travelling through a world ravaged by conflict, and the terrible things he witnesses. Written by someone who fought in the Thirty Years War which decimated Europe in the seventeenth century, it combines brutal, documentary realism with fantastical, knockabout humour to depict a universe turned upside down. Now this pioneering work of fiction, considered the first great German novel, is brought to life in all its striking modernity by J. A. Underwood's new translation.
Simplicissimus was rediscovered in 20th century Germany where the book's grim message resonated and the book is now established as one of the essential works of German literature.
Translated by J. A. Underwood
With an introduction by Kevin Cramer
Simplicissimus not only satirizes the world's folly but offers a Christian view of the vanity of this transitory existence. For this purpose, Grimmelshausen sense Simplicius off on a series of picaresque adventures. ... And he has done so in a lively, colloquial, folksy style that is a major and original achievement, and a test for the translator. J. A. Underwood certainly passes this test. He has gone all out for a vivid, slangy, contemporary style, and his version is tremendous fun to read, as well as accurate. -- Ritchie Robertson * TLS *