"Fortunatus" was printed in Augsburg in 1509 as the work of an unknown author, the first large early middle-class novel that was not based on an older or foreign-language original. It describes the rise and fall of two generations of a Cypriot merchant family: 18-year-old Fortunatus moves out to seek his fortune and meets the Virgin of Fortune in the wild forest, who lets him choose between six assets. He chooses wealth in the form of a bag of luck, marries and moves out again after twelve years of marriage. After robbing the Sultan of Alexandria of a wishing hat, he returns permanently to Cyprus; the inheritance goes to the two sons Andolosia and Ampedo. But Andolosia loses the bag of luck and the hat. Although he can get them both back, he is captured by two counts, robbed of his bag and murdered. Ampedo destroys the hat in his suffering and dies.

The work reflects not only the economic and social changes of the late Middle Ages but also the heterogeneous narrative motifs of fairy tales, sagas, farces and folk books, which are held together by the author's didactic intention (ideal of moderation and wisdom). The narrative material was mainly picked up again in Romanticism (Chamisso, Tieck).

To the digitised copy