Hermann Hesse

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got to pg 75 of the glass bead game once; bought a 2nd hand german version but haven't read it yet - yay/nay?

fcussen (Burger), Thursday, 28 April 2005 15:00 (nineteen years ago) link

The Glass Bead Game I found a bit arid. A bit too cerebral, not in the sense that it was difficult (in fact the writing is very clear) but that it is more interested in ideas than character or plot. Long, and a bit of an effort to get through. Steppenwolf (or even Demian) are more enjoyable reads although there is still something very schematic, almost semi-allegorical even, in the way other elements of the novels are subordinated to the interplay of ideas. That the ideas are so rooted in their time doesn't help. Hesse's reputation isn't what it was and I'd predict it will decline further.

frankiemachine, Thursday, 28 April 2005 15:21 (nineteen years ago) link

One of my favorite writers of all time. Like frankiemachine said, his style and stories couldn't be called 'realist,' but that doesn't take away the enjoyment of his work for me at all. His writing was most alive when he was tackling his favorite themes of 'flesh vs. spirit' or 'engagement vs. detachment.'

57 7th (calstars), Thursday, 28 April 2005 15:37 (nineteen years ago) link

I wouldn't start with _Glass Bead Game_ if you've never read him before though. Try _Narcissus and Goldmund_.

57 7th (calstars), Thursday, 28 April 2005 15:38 (nineteen years ago) link

I would rank the four I've read (all worth reading, by the way):

1. Steppenwolf.
2. A Journey to the East
3. Narcisuss and Goldmun.
4. Siddartha.

Mayor Maynot, Thursday, 28 April 2005 16:01 (nineteen years ago) link

I would go with "Demian". I thoroughly enjoyed reading that one.

schmutzie, Thursday, 28 April 2005 16:04 (nineteen years ago) link

I thought Glass Bead Gane was excellent and also Nacissus and Goldmund, but that Steppenwolf was not so good, once you'd got past the central idea of what was going on. Probably N & G is the best one to start on, but it's quite a while since I read them.

andyjack (andyjack), Friday, 29 April 2005 06:56 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
If you like Siddartha, you may also enjoy "The Pilgrim Kamanita" by Karl Gjellerup. Though I have no idea how many copies have been printed for english-speaking countries back then. And how many there are available nowadays.

Some facts about Karl Gjellerup i stumbled across while looking for the engish title:

Docolero (Docolero), Monday, 30 May 2005 19:29 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
it surely wouldn't take much out of me but for some reason i've nevertheless been putting off reading any hesse, for years now. i sometimes wonder if it has to do with his reputed and perhaps actual appeal to the actually and spiritually adolescent. but having come across discussion of the novel that places hesse's as 'lyric novels' (not just a description of the prose style but a formal variant on the novel, not hesse's alone) kind of made them more appealing.

Josh (Josh), Saturday, 27 August 2005 05:28 (eighteen years ago) link

i haven't read any since freshman yr. of highschool where me and jm had an english teacher that was all about this guy so i read a buncha others besides the one assigned -- demian?

they seemed kinda goofy and turned me off coz i wanted BIG REVELATIONS and instead got dippy spiritual ones, even tho i felt like they promised the other. a sorta like zen that was too broken to be profound.

but reading them again at a difft. level for historic context etc. might... might prove to be interesting.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Saturday, 27 August 2005 05:39 (eighteen years ago) link

well i certainly wouldn't mind the small piece they would add to my understanding of german literature.

Josh (Josh), Saturday, 27 August 2005 06:13 (eighteen years ago) link

three years pass...

what do yall niggas think of siddhartha

a narwhal done gored my sister nell (cankles), Sunday, 23 August 2009 05:37 (fourteen years ago) link

I need to read this. Fortunately i bought an older edition--the current one has an introduction by master-dickhead Paulo Coelho

When two tribes go to war, he always gets picked last (James Morrison), Monday, 24 August 2009 00:41 (fourteen years ago) link

loved 'siddhartha' in high school. own a couple others that i'd like to read.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 28 August 2009 03:58 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...


just sayin, Monday, 8 October 2012 16:54 (eleven years ago) link

ten years pass...


calstars, Friday, 28 April 2023 23:38 (one year ago) link

I read a book more than a decade ago that made extensive reference to The Glass Bead Game, which I picked up because of that other book and which I could not get more than about 75 pages into. It bothers me that I can't remember what the other book was.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Sunday, 30 April 2023 00:45 (one year ago) link

I didn’t make it any farther either

calstars, Sunday, 30 April 2023 01:01 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

i've been on a bit of a Hesse kick. read PETER CAMENZIND last month, and just now finished DEMIAN. i was a bit disappointed in the latter, which started to fall off about halfway through and then eventually became downright silly -- "dippy spiritual" revelations upthread is otm. CAMENZIND was much less cornball but ultimately was another case of the first half being much better, and the second half failing to deliver.

i'm thinking now of tracking down some of the other early ones, like GERTRUD and ROSSHALDE. still haven't read STEPPENWOLF, and eventually will probably read NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND, which is my favorite of his along with SIDDHARTHA.

budo jeru, Tuesday, 30 April 2024 03:11 (two months ago) link

*re-read N&G

budo jeru, Tuesday, 30 April 2024 03:12 (two months ago) link

it's crazy how much that cover of Der Spiegel looks AI generated ...

budo jeru, Tuesday, 30 April 2024 03:18 (two months ago) link

Hesse made his bones as a westerner who appropriated various strands of eastern philosophical and religious traditions, but filtered them through an essentially western interpretation and reworked them into narratives with allegorical elements. That's his basic contribution to the canon. But I have trouble with his novels because, for me, he never quite figured out how to marry his ideas with compelling narratives. I'd rate Steppenwolf as probably his most successful, if only because it came from a more personal and urgent place and broke through his tendency toward awkward and labored exposition.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Tuesday, 30 April 2024 04:04 (two months ago) link

I loved the Glass Bead Game when I was in my early 20s but I don't think I'd dare re-read it: current me would see straight through it, I think?

I read a lovely short book of his, Wandering, a spiritual autobiography built around his walks in the Italian Alps.

I would prefer not to. (Chinaski), Tuesday, 30 April 2024 09:29 (two months ago) link

I would never bother with Jesse again but that sounds nice

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 30 April 2024 12:37 (two months ago) link


xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 30 April 2024 12:37 (two months ago) link

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