2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

In The Middle of Things--A Reading of Simplicius Simplicissimus


Phillip A. Dryden
Dr. David Partenheimer, Faculty Mentor

              The challenge of a literary critic is to comprehend a text in a meaningful context.  Defining this context arguably has been the central pursuit of modern literary theory.  I assert that the quintessential skill of a literary scholar is the ability to consider the structure and function of an idea—of any kind, literary or otherwise—in the context defined by the idea without immediately asking about veracity.  I will use excerpts from my essay on Simplicius Simplicissimus, a 17th century novel by Hans Grimmelshausen, to demonstrate the reading of a text in the context it establishes for itself.  Simplicius is an obscure novel of an obscure genre with bizarre content.  If a reader cannot look beyond their own expectations and take cues from the text, they will never perceive Grimmelshausen’s earnest religious and existential themes because they come packaged in a bizarre swashbuckling adventure.  

Keywords: Literary, Reading, Context, Novel, Conceptual, Analysis, Simplicius, Grimmelshausen

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 301-5
Location: MG 1000
Time: 2:00

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