The harrowing and hilarious Adventures of a Simpleton is unanimously acclaimed today as the greatest German novel of the 17th century. Set against the gristly background of the Thirty Years' War, it is a vivid and realistic re-creation of an age, evoked by an artless and earthy language new to German literature at the time. Grimmelshausen's grotesque realism is the primary literary testimony of the Thirty Years' War, and the human folly implicit in it, by an errant soldier of fortune. Influenced by the Spanish picaresque novel, the saga of Simplicius takes its hero through wars, marriages, and travels that culminate on an uncharted South Atlantic island. Walter Wallich, in this translation, aptly captures the zest, the pageantry and the humour of the original. He has also written a special postscript, with revealing sidelights on Grimmelshausen, whose life corresponded in many ways to that of his hero.