Derik Badman's Journal

2020-09-11 08:34

Quite enjoyed, this week, The Life of Courage by Johann Grimmelshausen (as translated by Mike Mitchell), a 17th century picaresque about a woman (nicknamed Courage) during the Thirty Years War (the book is from 1670, the war ended ~1650, the author was around to see it first hand). It is an enjoyable narration by the protagonist as she chronicles her life from the start of the war (when she is a teen) until the end and how she survived as a thief, prostitute, business woman, and soldier. She goes through long term lovers and husbands at an amazing rate (a great number of them are soldiers who die), but always comes up with a scheme or stumbles upon a situation in which to continue surviving and for awhile at least, prosper. The story is, interestingly, not without a few small elements of the supernatural. Courage claims to have some kind of spell on her that keeps her from getting hurt, and she thus wades into the battles quite fearlessly and successfully. There is also an odd devilish charm thing towards the end that is clearly supernatural (and something I swear I've seen written up as a D&D treasure somewhere recently, because it was immediately familiar to me). But for the most part, it is of the heightened realism of such tales. It was a quick, fun read, and felt very D&D-esque in it's ways. I plan on reading Grimmelshausen Simplicissimus at some point.