The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob Kristoffel von
GRIMMELSHAUSEN, grim'mels-how-sen, Hans Jakob Kristoffel von, German novelist: b. Gelnhausen, about 1625; d. Renchen, 17 Aug. 1676. At an early age he appears to have been present in the Thirty Years' War, and on his return entered the service of the bishop of Strassburg, Franz Egon von Fürstenberg. His appointment to the post of magistrate at Renchen gave him the opportunity of developing his literary proclivities. In 1668 appeared his ‘Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus, Teutsch, das ist; Aie Beschreibung des Lebens eines seltsamen Vaganten, genannt Melchior Sternfels von Fuchsheim.’ It is a tale of adventure, remarkable for the vivid descriptions of the Thirty Years' War. Its style shows the marked influence of the Spanish picaresque novel and is highly colored by the military experiences of the author. Against the staid literature of the century in Germany, ‘Simplicissimus’ stands out in bold relief. In the same vein Grimmelshausen wrote ‘Simplicianische Schriften: Die Erzbetrügerin und Lanstörtzerin Courascheliche Vogelnest’ (about 1669); ‘Der seltsame Springinsfeld’ (1670); ‘Das wunderbarliche Vogelnest’ (1672); ‘Dietwalt und Amelinde’ (1670), a group of satirical studies of the times; and ‘Joseph,’ a novel based on the biblical narrative. The ‘Simplicissimus’ has been edited by A. von Keller (in ‘Bibliotek des litterarischen Vereins’ (4 vols., Stuttgart 1852-62); by H. Kurz (in ‘Deutschen Bibliotek,’ Vols. III-VI, Leipzig 1863-64); by von Tittman (in ‘Deutsche Dichter des 17ten Jahrhunderts,’ Vols. VII, VIII, X and XI, Leipzig 1877).