COURAGE, THE ADVENTURESS & THE FALSE MESSIAH by Hans Jacob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen


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These two classic German tales were first published anonymously by von Grimelshausen a while after the Thirty Years War, of which he was a product. Courage, the Adventuress has a bit of advance fame in that it lent Bertolt Brecht the germinal character for his great play Mother Courage and Her Children, although the earlier Courage varies enormously from Rrecht's. Both stories here translated are parts of a long novel called The Adventurous Simplicissimus which relates the life of Simplicissimus, a folk figure as famous in Germany as Dr. Faustus. At one point in the novel he buys Courage's favors in the Black Forest. The present story, which she tells, displays the ingenious harlot's spite against Simplicissimus and how she left a baby on his doorstep with a written note that it was an illegitimate child. Most of her picaresque account is a bland recital of prostituting, her many marriages, lovers, decline and fall, mixed with much purloining, catching of ""the French disease"" and with camp-following. She ends as a gypsy hag. In The False Messiah a lustful charlatan seduces a young Jewish girl by palming himself off as the angel Uriel...

Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press