Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Simplicius Simplicissimus

Simplicius Simplicissimus, a simple lad reared in Germany’s Spessart Forest. At the age of twelve, when taken by soldiers to Hanau, he knows only that he has been reared by peasants and a hermit. He pretends to have lost his wits and becomes the governor’s fool. Later, he becomes a great soldier known as the Hunter of Soest and has many adventures. He learns eventually that he is really the son of a German nobleman and that his real name is Melchior Sternfels von Fuchsheim, but he still remains an adventurer, traveling all over the world.

A peasant

A peasant, Simplicissimus’ foster father, a good man. He turns up later to inform Simplicissimus of his true identity.

A hermit

A hermit, who befriends Simplicissimus when, at the age of ten, he is separated from his foster parents during the Thirty Years’ War. He is really a nobleman, Simplicissimus’ father, who became a hermit because he was sick of war. His name is Herr von Fuchsheim.

Ulrich Herzbruder

Ulrich Herzbruder, a young German who becomes Simplicissimus’ friend and aids him many times.


Oliver, an erstwhile friend of Simplicissimus who mistreats Ulrich Herzbruder.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Allen, Ann Taylor. Satire and Society in Wilhelmine Germany: Kladderadatsch and Simplicissimus, 1890-1914. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984. This work has an excellent history and criticism of The Adventurous Simplicissimus. Discussion of social problems as related to literature. Bibliography.

Glasberg, Ronald. “The Perversions of Folly in Grimmelshausen’s Simplicius Simplicissimus: Foreshadowing of Nazism.” CLIO: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 16, no. 3 (1987): 253-271. A great discussion of The Adventurous Simplicissimus and its characters. Attempts to bring Nazism into the article, but the character analysis is beneficial.

Negus, Kenneth. Grimmelshausen. New York: Twayne, 1974. A wonderful book that notes major influences on Grimmelshausen. Includes a chapter on his sources and references. Bibliography.

Richtie, J. M. “Grimmelshausen’s Simplicissimus and The Runagate Courage.” In Knaves and Swindlers: Essays on the Picaresque Novel in Europe, edited by Christine J. Whitbourn. London: Oxford University Press, 1974. An excellent essay integrating the Thirty Years’ War, Grimmelshausen’s life, and some of his other works. Bibliography.

Wicks, Ulrich. Picaresque Narrative, Picaresque Fictions: A Theory and Research Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1989. An excellent beginning source. Describes the various aspects of a picaresque novel. Discusses The Adventurous Simplicissimus and its themes.