Baron Münchausen's Narrative of His Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia

by Rudolf Erich Raspe

Baron Münchausen's Narrative of His Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Hieronymus, Baron Münchausen

Hieronymus, Baron Münchausen (MEWNK-how-zehn), a German nobleman who narrates an account of his journey to Russia and the adventures that followed his acceptance of a commission in the Russian army, in whose ranks he fought against the Turks. The baron explains that while he was en route to Russia, he had several unlikely experiences, and that after he joined the army, his misadventures continued, reaching a climax when he reached the moon by climbing a giant beanstalk and then had to improvise a means of returning to Earth. In the original version of his adventures (which concluded at this point), the baron is a laconic character who retails his anecdotes in a matter-of-fact fashion, seemingly expecting that no one could possibly doubt the word of a man of his standing. Later versions, however, have him speaking in a far more elaborate and pompous fashion, so that he becomes a manifest liar whose tales are rather risqué as well as frankly preposterous. In the later editions of his story, the catalog of his adventures is expanded far beyond the limits of the original, so that he becomes a rather cartoonish figure frequently to be found in the company of legendary beings and characters borrowed from myths and fanciful literary works. The original baron is essentially a sportsman, and many of his tales concern incidents of the kind commonly reported by huntsmen, but the baron of the later...

(The entire section is 509 words.)