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Reading Grimmelshausen’s Simplicissimus as a political treatise between Hobbes and Locke

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Title: Reading Grimmelshausen’s Simplicissimus as a political treatise between Hobbes and Locke
Author(s): Hollender, Kurt N.
Advisor(s): Wade, Mara R.
Department / Program: Germanic Languages & Lit
Discipline: German
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Gimmelshausen Simplicissimus Political Science Political Treatise Hobbes Locke Absolutism
Abstract: This is a study of the political argumentation in the German Baroque writer Hans Jacob Christoph von Grimmelshausen’s picaresque novel Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch (1668). This thesis argues that the novel contains the three-part political argument found in the contemporary political treatises of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651) and John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government (1689). The three-part argument asks what is the state of nature, what is the natural man, and what is the just political system that emerges from these definitions. Simplicissimus demonstrates political argumentation that refutes Hobbes’ defense of absolutism and anticipates Locke’s liberal political philosophy, while championing the moral hermit’s life above all political systems. The substantial political argumentation in the novel is presented as a series of distopian and utopian worldviews encountered by the protagonist. This thesis also presents a new interpretation both of the novel’s structure and of the novel’s frontispiece in light of the political reasoning in the work.
Issue Date: 2010-08-20
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Kurt Hollender
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-08-20
Date Deposited: 2010-08

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