Society and social critique in Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus Teutsch
Stevens, Polly Suzanne
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The allegorical representation of society in H.J.C. von Grimmelshausen’s Simplicissimus Teutsch (ST, 1669) is the central theme of the paper; an explication of the Ständebaum (tree of estates) emblem – Grimmelshausen’s representation of the social system as it obtained during the Thirty Years’ War – and an analysis of three alternative utopias provide the textual evidence for this study. Following the Introduction, chapter two describes the Ständebaum and clarifies the sociological terms of analysis. Chapters three through five each examines one portion of the hierarchically ordered tree and its respective representation: peasantry, nobility, and soldiery. Chapter six considers three utopian visions in ST as possible social alternatives to the Ständebaum society. The study’s main concern is how Simplicius, in experiencing life at all sociological levels, presents and reflects the author’s social criticism.