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Hesse Hermann (2017 Most Popular Book Lists)

$1.99
1. Siddhartha
$8.95
2. The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse
$7.20
3. Beneath the Wheel
$8.29
4. Narcissus and Goldmund: A Novel
$24.25
5. Hermann Hesse: Life and Art
$5.00
6. Steppenwolf: A Novel
$6.89
7. Poems (English and German Edition)
$31.08
8. Magister Ludi
$7.46
9. Demian: A Dual-Language Book (Dover
$8.50
10. The Glass Bead Game: (Magister
$6.10
11. Siddhartha (Penguin Classics Deluxe
$3.69
12. Rosshalde
$0.01
13. Pictor's Metamorphoses: And Other
$5.64
14. Journey to the East (Cathedral
$15.71
15. The Hesse/Mann Letters
 
$12.85
16. Demian
 
$27.95
17. Stories of Five Decades
$3.43
18. Peter Camenzind: A Novel
19. If the war goes on: Reflections
$6.40
20. Siddhartha (Modern Library Classics)

2017 buy books shipping

1. Siddhartha
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 102 Pages (2010-10-29)
list price: US$5.60 -- used & new: US$1.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1936041359
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
This best selling classic takes place in ancient Nepal around the time of Gautama Buddha. It starts as Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin,leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in the search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes through a series of changes and realizations as he attempts to achieve this goal.Amazon.com Review
In the shade of a banyan tree, a grizzled ferryman sits listening to the river. Some say he's a sage. He was once a wandering shramana and, briefly, like thousands of others, he followed Gotama the Buddha, enraptured by his sermons. But this man, Siddhartha, was not a follower of any but his own soul. Born the son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha was blessed in appearance, intelligence, and charisma. In order to find meaning in life, he discarded his promising future for the life of a wandering ascetic. Still, true happiness evaded him. Then a life of pleasure and titillation merely eroded away his spiritual gains until he was just like all the other "child people," dragged around by his desires. Like Hermann Hesse's other creations of struggling young men, Siddhartha has a good dose of European angst and stubborn individualism. His final epiphany challenges both the Buddhist and the Hindu ideals of enlightenment. Neither a practitioner nor a devotee, neither meditating nor reciting, Siddhartha comes to blend in with the world, resonating with the rhythms of nature, bending the reader's ear down to hear answers from the river. In this translation Sherab Chodzin Kohn captures the slow, spare lyricism of Siddhartha's search, putting her version on par with Hilda Rosner's standard edition. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Customer Reviews (543)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time Favorites
Love Hermann Hesse, love this book. Probably the 6th copy of this book Ive owned in my life. I often give this as a gift to people who enjoy philosophy, or are making big change in their life (going to college, moving away from home, new career, etc.). Its an inspirational story about finding ones place in the world and a book I personally find a lot of comfort and inspiration in.

For those that havent read it, I would certainly recommend this as well as Hesse's other works. Its pretty short and easy to get through as well. You could easily read it in a day or plow through it on a long plane flight.

5-0 out of 5 stars The new and chilling interpretation of nirvana
This great German has either super genius in composing story out of intellectual pieces of Buddhism or he himself is a stream enterer with personal and direct experiences of renouncing mundane life. His description of Siddhartha approaching the other shore of the river is so real and dramatic, transforming so distant religious path into tangible fragrant lotus bustling in breeze. I would visit this story again in years to come and wish to sing the verse together.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book...
This book was great... I bought it used and it looked like new...Love Amazon <3 Thanks soo much ;-)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing Translation
The German to English translation for this work is disappointing.Word order is often confused and confusing to the english reader.I will have to find and purchase a copy of the ~1968 translation I originally read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Philosophy class
I just finished reading this book for my philosophy class and I would recommend it for someone who either has a strong understanding of Hindu/Buddhist beliefs or reading it with a group of people in which to discuss said novel. It is a deep work about the soul, the nature of suffering and the journey of self exploration. Do not read it if you do not like to think a night because the ideas will keep you up at times. ... Read more


2. The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 304 Pages (1995-10-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$8.95
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553377760
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
A collection of twenty-two fairy tales by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, most translated into English for the first time, show the influence of German Romanticism, psychoanalysis, and Eastern religion on his development as an author. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
Read it several times. A collection of great stories, one after the other. This really gets my creative juices going.

4-0 out of 5 stars As Told by the Sunshine Hurdy Gurdy Superman From Atlantis
I just got it for the audio cassette (Also available as a download but alas no CD) because the book is narrated by none other than Donovan who is quite a storyteller himself, having composed the half spoken Atlantis [7-inch 45 RPM Single] and done several recordings for children. Each storyis introduced with a guitar interlude. When are we going to hear Donovan read his own autobiography?

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderous Stories

This is a wonderful volume; it takes you right back to your childhood and the first sheer enjoyment of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Anderson, and these tales are equally accessable to all ages.
Hesse uses the fairy tale genre to explore his pet themes on the spiritual meaning of nature and our existence; of art in a material world obsessed by property and science. As ever Hesse has this Biblical theme of leaving paradise (or happiness) only to journey through life to try and regain it.
The early tales are most definately fairy tales in the classical sense, but the latter ones concerning the war and empire are more like parables or allegories that (with todays knowledge of how things turned out) can be seen as almost predicting the rise of nationalism/ nazi-ism that was to come.
There are just so many good tales in the 22 in the volume. Personal favourites 'The City' 'A Man named Zweigler' 'Dr Knoegles End'(which almost lampoons the hippy cult 50 years before its invention!) 'Augustus''The Empire'.... I could list neigh on all the tales. A great collection and an ideal introduction to Hesse if you haven't read him before.

5-0 out of 5 stars A never ending shipment story !
The stories are excellent, I red them in Russian before.

However, I cannot tell much about French and English translations that I ordered with Amazon a month ago. I still wait for the two books while it was indicated that I would receive them after ten working days ! Amazon did not forget to ask me for a review, it only forgot to send the books themselves !!!

I am very disappointed by Amazon's service !

2-0 out of 5 stars Morbid effects - handle with care
I write this review purely as a personal response.The 2 star review is based on the sense of morbidity that I feel on reading these stories. They may bring out the opposite effect in others, which is great!

I found an initial charm in reading this book in a bookstore cafe. Hesse has huge insight into the human condition and rich imagination. However after buying it and reading about 7 or 8 stories it was harder to take the inner themes which mainly circulate around love and death and a thwarted search for meaning and peace.

For those of a sensitive disposition you may find it hard to digest these stories comfortably. Hesse (a German) lived through WWI and WWII, some very troubled times. From his 'dream sequence' story in particular it seems clear that his own mind went to extremes of emotion, heights and depths, such as a mental patient or drug addict might experience. That's all fine. It is all honest human experience and fascinating perhaps when your soul is robust enough to handle sharing his company. You might find in him a kindred spirit of deep imagination and emotion.

For me though, at this particular time, the stories just left me feeling dragged into a morbid and overly emotional way of relating to life. ... Read more


3. Beneath the Wheel
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 192 Pages (2003-07-01)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.20
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 031242230X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Hans Giebernath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only with more crushing assignments. When Hans befriends a rebellious young poet, he begins to imagine other possibilities outside the narrowly circumscribed world of the academy. Finally sent home after a nervous breakdown, Hans is revived by nature and romance, and vows never to return to the gray conformity of the academic system.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars deeply psychological,,,dangerous journey to self-discovery
A compact book that is powerfully insightful about the passages to self discovery and individuation, like The Cather of the Rye, but alot more disciplined and poetic style of writing. (which I actually prefer) The life of the promising young boy, whose identity was molded by expectations by others and confinements of the system, drastically changes as new judgment standards are introduced by his relationship with Hermann's character and Han's cognitive dissonance ultimately leads him to the ending of the book. (no spoiler).This book, although not hard to guess the ending from the title, is highly interactive with the reader through its powerful motifs.

3-0 out of 5 stars minor early work by Hesse
Hesse wrote a very short autobiography in his later years, which can be found on the web. In this minute memoir, Hesse lists the works which he feels best represent him. "Beneath the Wheel" is not among them. My perception of this second novel of Hesse's is that the artistic merits of this work are limited by a personal desire on the part of the author to assign blame. While there is no doubt validity to Hesse's expose of various authority figures as being willing to sacrifice genius on the altar of bourgeois philistinism, it reduces the scope of the story down to a very narrow and particular, rather than universal, application to humanity.

We can certainly sympathize with young Hans, who was robbed of his boyhood and adolescence by the insensitive ambitions of family and mentors. But there is a one-sided-ness to the portrayal. From the start, it is evident that Hans is to be a sacrificial victim, whose destruction paves the way for a condemnation of the establishment types who brought it about.

Somehow, though, Hans' portrayal strikes some incongruous notes for me. Beside being a whiz at languages, Hans seemed to be a pretty normal, although quite intelligent, kid. He loved fishing, the outdoors, keeping pets, and constructing little mechanisms such as the water wheel in his garden. But he is seduced away from all these pleasures by the mephistophelian temptation, instilled by his instructors, to become an academic star.

Somehow it doesn't ring true for me that a boy with such a love of nature would allow himself to become an inwardly pathetic, thin-armed, head-achy glory-seeker. Hesse felt he had been thwarted and impeded by the authoritarian academic system which destroyed Hans in his novel. But Hesse was not a grind who reveled in the brain-taxing philological studies of Hans, but was a nascent poet who made good his escape from the clutches of his repressive masters. Perhaps Hans had his counterpart in real life, but it seems likely that his character was a concoction designed to elicit maximum sympathy, and thus, maximum condemnation for the system and its practitioners.

It is not a poorly written or mediocre novel, but the subjectivity of its highly interior viewpoint begins to feel monotonous. More dialogue and more insight into other characters' point of view might have contributed more interest. As it stands, it reads more like an expose of a very particular situation than a universal work of art. The theme of the outstanding genius who is not properly nourished by society is one most of us can only identify with vicariously. Here, that theme is presented more or less in a vacuum, without enough inclusion of supplementary or corroboratory themes to flesh it out and make it really take on life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Novel pick - simple, ironic, and touching.
Luis Mejia - Hesse's Beneath The Wheel can be classified onto his classic "youth" tales. Actually, out of this context I am not too experienced with the rest of his works, although there is something about the nature of the human spirit; which can only be described with certainty and growing beauty on it's formation, on adolescence, that Hesse's captures in a way you can feel so close as to your own father. This first novel - which wasn't his cup of tea as a writer - tells the story, almost in a philosophic perspective, of how an educated formation of a young kid, who by the times the story is set and it's cultural contexture (the Germany of early 20th century) is taught to be a sort of "spokeman" for his very own town, to the cumulative expectatives of others, by the honor of him being the only one to assist to a famous exam and even more famous institute. but through the experience this boy passes through crude and serious adult experiences, turning around numb headeaches, frustating insecurity, the lack of a clear goal, his thoughts of going through a wrong path only to go different from what the boy calls "the rest", and soon in this spiral he goes all the way back to dissapointment, finally falling without any type of emotional support; or rather unravelling it.

On this institute (which was somewhat accurate due to Hesse once being expelled from this academy) the group of classmates is well explained, the death of one of the children; but specially his acknowledgement of friend Herman Heilner; a flamboyant poet boy who has such a strong spirit the proper academy has encounters with him. The story is dramatic by Hans going out due to his physical pains; and by this archaic failure, he soons discovers (progressively and secretively) the whole town and relatives had worn him out, and his treatment was just like a living death. The results: to fall into the dark side and end in tragedy. Apart from the severe education critic Hesse exposes with such delicate spirit, he describes most greatly the nature of the adolescent condition with such a warm and factual nature...I can't explain it very well, all I can say is that you must read it specially when you're a teen and specially to understand it; it will open spiritual doors. At the end of almost each of his stories, there's always that sense of essay and the message drowning the story, although this is something very peculiar about Hesse. It is short, to the point and sincere; a very important read.

5-0 out of 5 stars delightful story.. strange critiques
after reading and greatly enjoying two of hermann hesse's other works ("siddhartha" and "narcissus and goldmund"), i read this book.. and i loved it! 5 stars, easy :)

along with numerous others, both the top-ranked positive and negative reviews (and wikipedia?) portray this book primarily as an indictment of educational systems. even the back cover reads ->

"based on his [hesse's] own experience, his second novel attacks an educational system that fosters intellect and ambition at the expense of emotion, soul, and instinct"

what?

i didn't experience this at all.narratively, most of the book is about hans' education, in grammar school and then in boarding school.true.and it certainly isn't an endorsement for late-nineteenth century german education.but if that's all it is, why would you read it anyway?

hesse exquisitely whisks us through (both!!!!!!!!) the ups and downs of education, and everything in between with his intensely vivid - and amazing! -style

after his educational tour concludes, hans works for exactly one week in a blacksmith shop.. and then??that's it.you'll have to read the book :)

"BTW" is an excellent adventure through the interplay of pleasure, memory and the agony of aging.does everything that was once new and exciting eventually become "old news" and lifeless?this is the question hans asks us through (h) hesse's unbelievable talents as a writer - lyrically transporting us through life's highest highs, and its lowest lows - with pathos only a child can hold ("old news" for the rest of us).. and, while reading this book, i was a child again.thank you hermann (h)

if there is an indictment in this book (and it does seem so), it is either with our human memory, orour civilization at large. eg, p150 ->

"the precocious boy experienced an unreal second childhood during this period of illness. his sensibility, robbed of its real childhood, now fled with sudden yearning back to those already dimming years and wandered spellbound through a forest of memories whose vividness was perhaps of an almost pathological nature. he relived these memories with no less intensity and passion than he had experienced them in reality before. his betrayed and violated childhood erupted like a long pent-up spring"

this book challenges me to experience - and appreciate! - life's pleasures and torments with the perception of a child.. without the dulling burden of personal (or cultural) memory

5-0 out of 5 stars 1906 is not far from 2008
For anyone being crushed and canned within the (mostly) incompetant and self-serving system of American Educational Faculty personnel, this book is a fair warning to any prospective college student (of any age) as to what they are really signing up for. I would suggest it as required reading prior to completing applications for any US institution of "higher learning". I completed a BA, MBA, and PhD...and found two professors in all that time who even vaguely gave an idle damn about the students they were supposedly educating. I have since found that comparative discussions with peers have proven my experience to be anything but unique...indeed, my observations have met commonplace agreement, and therefore are all the more disappointing as a result. Hesse called it fairly and true way in advance of current times. ... Read more


4. Narcissus and Goldmund: A Novel
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 320 Pages (2003-02-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.29
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312421672
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of a passionate yet uneasy friendship between two men of opposite character. Narcissus, an ascetic instructor at a cloister school, has devoted himself solely to scholarly and spiritual pursuits. One of his students is the sensual, restless Goldmund, who is immediately drawn to his teacher’s fierce intellect and sense of discipline. When Narcissus persuades the young student that he is not meant for a life of self-denial, Goldmund sets off in pursuit of aesthetic and physical pleasures, a path that leads him to a final, unexpected reunion with Narcissus.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hesse's deepest exploration of man's duality
One of German writer Hermann Hesse's most consistent themes was man's duality. His books often contemplated the paradox of mankind being two very opposite extremes at the same time. How can a man be both gentle and savage? Contemplative and rash? Sensual and spiritual? A thinker and a doer?

These issues are certainly at the forefront in Narcissus and Goldmund. Narcissus, a young instructor at a monastery, is the exemplar of the withdrawn, contemplative life. His young friend, Goldmund, a student is just the opposite. He is as worldly as his teacher is ascetic. Despite their differences, the Apollonian Narcissus and the Dionysian Goldmund, the two men become friends. Eventually, Narcissus comes to realizes the monastic life is not for his friend and he bids him farewell. Goldmund re-enters the "real" world and samples the many pleasures that would be denied him had he chosen to remain in the monastary.

The remainder of the book follows Goldmund's travels and he eventually comes full-circle to a reunion with his friend Narcissus. To say more of there reunion would be to deprive readers of discovering the story's path for themselves. This is, indeed, one of Hesse's greatest novels and deserves a place on the top shelf of the world's greatest literature.

1-0 out of 5 stars Review of translation, not of novel
This is a review of Molinaro's translation, not of the novel itself, which I read in German. From reading the first page of Molinaro's translation, I have no confidence that this English version does any justice to Hesse's novel. For example, in reading the first page, I quickly saw one poorly translated sentence:

Molinaro: Generations of cloister boys passed beneath the foreign tree,...

Hesse: Unter dem ausländischen Baume waren schon manche Generationen von klosterschülern vorübergangen;...

A much more accurate English rendition of the German would be:

Many a generation of monastery pupils had passed beneath the exotic tree,...

Note that the German 'Kloster' usually means 'monastery' or 'convent'; that the tense of the German sentence is the past perfect, while Molinaro incorrectly puts it in the simple past; and the awkwardness of 'foreign' instead of 'exotic'.
In a quick glance, I noticed several unpalatable inaccuracies in the first paragraph as well.
I regret to say that if the rest of the translation is as poor as the first page, Molinaro drained much of the richness of Hesse's language from the work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great benefits in reading and reading
In this work Hesse is writing in full stride. Wonderful narrative,fully realized characters and deep philosophical insights informing example of "literature" in the best sense of the word.
Hesse gives us two friends who are archetypes for the pursuit of the examined life and contrasts them. One is of the world and the other in the monastic tradition.
In one way Hesse is presenting the choices each thoughtful person must make and the benefits and problems with living in religion or the mind on the one hand and the world on the other. Otherwise this is a fine presentation of friendship.
James Pope

1-0 out of 5 stars Long, boring passages about a womanizing wanderer
I'm a little surprised most people praise this book.In my opinion, the writing was boring at times.I actually glanced over pages.I actually thought the main character was a disgusting, murdering, womanizer.I do see the relevance between the great contrast of good and evil, but I'd rather read Stephen King's "The Stand" over again instead of reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, profound, important
This book has it all.The writing is beautiful, just reading it is soothing. Hesse discusses an important aspect of everyone's life - namely our wants, desires and strives vs. being bound by our surroundings and society. The author develops important insights for how to deal with this struggle using an illustrative example.This technique allows the reader to spend hours on this topic in a constructive manner, while enjoying a beautiful book. ... Read more


5. Hermann Hesse: Life and Art
by Joseph Mileck
Paperback: 412 Pages (1981-01-29)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$24.25
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0520041526
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book- for what it is
This book is an incredibly researched biography. As one reviewer puts it on the back cover, Mileck's familiarity with Hesse's vast body of works "borders on omniscience." This is NOT, however, a standard biography in the sense of a straight-forward telling of the author's life. Mileck's intent is to show the relation between Hesse's life and work, most of which is highly autobiographical in nature. The majority of the content is literary criticism as opposed to biography. Another caveat- one must be very comfortable with, at the very least, Hesse's major novels to follow many of the points Mileck tries to make. I had read five of his novels before starting this book, all in the two past years, and still found myself overwhelmed by much of what he said. As research, and as a critical biography dealing concurrently with Hesse's body of literature, this is a wonderful book. It is not, however, intended for "beginners."

4-0 out of 5 stars Know your teacher
If you liked such masterpieces as 'Demian' 'Steppenwolf' and 'Siddhartha',you must know who is the one who stands behind those marvelous works.Those books have influenced my life a lot, and I think of Hesse as myteacher and my friend. That`s why I wanted to know more about this Nobelprize winner,and this book gave me all the informations I wanted to know. ... Read more


6. Steppenwolf: A Novel
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 224 Pages (2002-12-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312278675
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Hesses best-known and most autobiographical work is one of literatures most poetic evocations of the souls journey to liberationHarry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine. The tale of the Steppenwolf culminates in the surreal Magic TheaterFor Madmen Only!Originally published in English in 1929, Steppenwolf s wisdom continues to speak to our souls and marks it as a classic of modern literature. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (64)

2-0 out of 5 stars strictly for pre-teens
I'm an admirer of Hesse's "Glass Bead Game," which I see as a complex, mature work, deserving of a careful read.And Hesse's "Siddhartha" was also pleasing, though sharply limited in scope.

But "Steppenwolf"?"I, the homeless, the Steppenwolf, the solitary, the hater of life's petty conventions . . . ."

Oh, sheesh.What are you, 14?

3-0 out of 5 stars Oh How We Existentialists Suffer!
Existentialism! What a wonderful philosophy! Even though some folks think it's phony.

Existentialism stands unique as the philosophy dedicated to those people who label themselves "intellectuals," and who place a premium upon self-pity. And so Steppenwolf enters the world where he bleeds and suffers as a victim of entrapment, caught between eros and thanatos, while reason crumbles beneath the devastating power of chaos. He whimpers through life like the Underground Man, who wallowed in self-pity. Both men had medical problems, so I suppose these conditions should be factored into the misery they so deeply treasured.

Harry suffers like Job, but Hermine realizes he is very much a child in need of authoritarian guidance and, well, sex. So she sends the blessed Maria to comfort him. Hermine is his savior, and, like every bona-fide savior, she must be sacrificed. And who better than Harry to render such sacred service?

Hesse was forty years ahead of the hippies. They shared the Magic Theater with the help of cocaine in 1927 and LSD in 1967. They thought the destruction of brain cells was the most intelligent service a person could render toward him/herself. The social consequences have been--and continue to be--a burdensome bummer.

I will credit this novel with one feature: At the end, laughter is recognized as the best medicine for humanity. If anything is there to redeem Steppenwolf, that's it.


5-0 out of 5 stars Manifesto for our time
The Steppenwolf, the wolf from the steppe, is the misanthropic Harry Haller, and this is written as his diary, or confessions. Haller has reached middle age, and neither a conventional lifestyle nor pure intellectual pursuits can sustain him anymore. But just as he is about to kill himself, earthly pleasures beckon as our protagonist meets the dancer Hermine and her shadowy partner in pleasure Pablo. Haller is sucked into a phantasmagorical chase, a final gamble for reconciliation of the man and beast within him, of the multi-faceted self that is cast back at him as from a broken mirror.

Part psychology and part allegory, the Steppenwolf is the story of Haller's redemption by Hermine and at the same time a denial of simple formulas. It rejects no path and despises no one for the choices they make. In this sense it is thoroughly modern, as it is in its Epicureanism. And if, in its allegorical style, it is thoroughly out of fashion (realism, veracity, research are in, philosophising is out), such is Herman Hesse's writing that at no point does the book seem belaboured. Hesse commented that of all his novels, this is the one that has been the most misunderstood. Of course, in our relativistic age, all interpretations are equally valid. But the author also warned that: `in most cases the author is not the right authority to decide on where the reader ceases to understand and the misunderstanding begins.' Steppenwolf is a work to reflect on. It is also funny, though only in the way that Kafka can be funny: sarcastic, dark, and at the same time poignant. Indeed, it shares something of the timelessness of Kafka, the mix of seriousness and levity, of realism and parable. Steppenwolf was a prescient work. It is both challenging and easy to read: just what our time needs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hesse on reaching middle age
Set in Germany between the two world wars this novel chronicles the plight of Harry Haller as he reaches his fifties and descends into a vortex of depression, nihilism and self-pity.Hesse does a magical job of making an almost actionless plot riveting.Harry contemplates his two-fold nature as a wolf-man who is simultaneously attracted and repulsed by society for about half the novel.The second half tells of his relationship with a young woman who is his opposite in her pursuit of pleasure over asceticism.This book is philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual in all the best ways.

5-0 out of 5 stars Journey of a Literary Loner
I can't believe I haven't read Steppenwolf before this point in my life. This is a great novel that is sure to linger in the mind of the intelligent reader longer after the last word is read.Harry Haller is my kind of guy. He abandons his past life to shack up at a bed and breakfast.There he is surrounded by countless books and spends his days thinking, reading, and writing. At night he goes out for wine and solitary brooding.If I could quit my job and do the exact same thing, I wouldn't hesitate. Harry is a complicated guy who must keep the wolf inside at bay. Hermann Hesse does a wonderful job in the way he inserts beautiful poetry in with his prose.The best part of Steppenwolf for me, and I won't reveal any of it in this review, is from page 160 onwards. I can't remember the last time I got so caught up in an ending and could do nothing else but keeping reading until I was finished.Unlike most novels out there, this story had a good conclusion that didn't cheat the reader.
Steppenwolf is definitely a psychological novel that requires more than one reading to get at all the rich details going on.There is so much in this novel, despite the fact it is only 218 pages.Hesse manages to pack into it much of his thoughts concerning two of Life's biggest subjects, love and death.I can't think of another novel that blends love and death so successfully.
This is a great novel to sit and read.Steppenwolf doesn't take long to finish but it does sit in the mind long afterwards. ... Read more


7. Poems (English and German Edition)
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 96 Pages (2008-03-18)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.89
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0374526419
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****

Few American readers seem to be aware that Hermann Hesse, author of the epic novels Steppenwolf and Siddhartha, among many others, also wrote poetry, the best of which the poet James Wright has translated and included in this book. This is a special volumeÂ--filled with short, direct poems about love, death, loneliness, the seasonsÂ--that is imbued with some of the imagery and feeling of Hesse's novels but that has a clarity and resonance all its own, a sense of longing for love and for home that is both deceptively simple and deeply moving.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Real Poetry
I had a copy of these many years ago but gave a friend a loan of them. They were never returned to me but I am not surprised.
What a complement to a book. This is my favourite book. There are many, many books that one likes, or needs, or has to read, or really couldn't care less about; not this one. This is real poetry, as when young a teacher spoke of on some dreary wet day, this is the real thing. No vain intellectual pretence, no prolix mania, no boring litanies, no embarrassing mess, no pseudolit arty farty rubbish, real poetry. From the heart and the head, well crafted, fully mature, vintage poetry. Not too many, perhaps too few, poems, as if unfinished. Almost perfect, where 'perfection' is vanity. I'm not giving it away again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Melancholic and moving
The poems contained in this volume are all from Hesse's early days as a writer before and during the outbreak of World War I.I was struck by the depth and flow of the original language.Wright translated very well and did a great job of trying to incorporate the pathos into his English translations of each poem.A couple themes that became very apparent were a spirituality verging on panentheism, suffering and death .Of those poems that deal primarily with nature (and every poem deals with nature in some fashion), Hesse is clearly intrigued in and convinced about the unity of soul or being.This would be an inkling of the buddhist (and Native American) tendencies of Hesse's storytelling and explorations in *Knulp* and *Siddhartha*.Towards the end of the book, Wright has chosen some poems that deal more directly with war, death, and suffering.They are truly moving and made me think immediately of Wilfred Owen's profound poetry.For true Hesse fans and for those who are only beginning to know the works of this German star of literature, this brief book will give you a moving, albeit melancholic, experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars PLEASANT SUPRISE
AT AGE 76 YRS , I DECIDED TO REREAD SOME OF THE BOOKS THAT HAD A POWERFUL EFFECT ON ME IN MY 20'S . HESSE WAS A FAVORITE. I WAS UNAWARE THAT HE WROTE POETRY.
HIS EPIC NOVELS ,GAVE ME SO MUCH SPIRITUAL AND CREATIVE UNDERSTANDINGS.
I ORDERED THE BOOK OF POETRY BECAUSE I WAS CURIOUS . IT IS A THIN VOLUME, IN GERMAN AND TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH ON THE FACING PAGE.
WHEN I READ HESSE IN MY 20'S I WAS SEARCHING FOR KNOWLEDGE OF MANY THING.
REREADING HESSE NOW, I REALIZE THAT HE WAS TOO SEARCHING FOR HIMSELF.BUT HE WAS OLDER.
KNOWING MORE OF HIS PERSONAL HISTORY, I UNDERSTAND HE WAS A COMPLEX MAN THAT USED HIS WRITING AS A WAY OF FINDING HIMSELF.
HOWEVER, NONE OF THIS MATTERS. HIS WRITING IS STIMULATING IN A VERY CREATIVE WAY.IT STILL STIMULATES ME CREATIVELY . I RECOMMEND HIS POETRY. ALL HIS WRITINGS SHOULD BE READ IF ONLY TO UNDERSTAND FROM WHERE WE WHO ARE IN OUR 70 OR 80'S EVOLVED SOCIALLY.

5-0 out of 5 stars ~Excellent Work~
Poetry by any writer is truly a subjective exerience and you either feel something from the poems or you don't.Well I must say that this collection of Poetry from Herman Hesse is outstanding.You can't help but to feel the longing and lonliness written in this poems.It is the sad, poor me type of stuff but more like the observations of a man who spent time observing people and speaking for all of us.The poems I have liked the best were---Lonesome Night, Destiny,Lying in Grass and Without You. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading poetry the way it was meant to be written!

4-0 out of 5 stars Poems by Herman Hesse selected and translated by James Wright
If you know and love Herman Hesse through his stories then I would guess you will appreciate this collection of his poems.There are not many poems, that is my only complaint, otherwise the poems are beautiful and the introduction insightful.I am glad to have it on my shelf next to the many books of Herr Hesse's fiction. ... Read more


8. Magister Ludi
by Hermann Hesse
Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1982-06-01)
list price: US$4.95 -- used & new: US$31.08
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553262378
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unio Mystica as Ultimate Purpose
_What is the Glass Bead Game? It is no less than the highest reason that an entire future civilization exists. It is the grand and ongoing synthesis of all knowledge into a unified, integrated whole (a Unio Mystica.) It is an attempt to forge a holographic intellectual world where all is interconnected and reflected in every part. This is a mission to weave the golden thread of significance and meaning through every part of a culture- science and the arts and the spiritual are all unified into a system of concentric, interpenetrating rings. All this is primarily accomplished by using the language of music and mathematics as common universal symbolism (the "glass beads" are part of a symbolic physical aid that was once used for this purpose.)

_It is no wonder that the book places the first origins of the game with Pythagoras, Gnostics, and Socratic ethics. No wonder that the League of Journeyers to the East also figure prominently in its development. To some extent the Game has been the goal of all sensitive and introspective individuals and groups down through the ages.

_All of this stands in stark contrast to our own Feuilletonistic Age where all knowledge, all culture, is unsynthesized, chaotic, and largely meaningless babble.

_The crisis that develops from this is that even if you accomplish this grand synthesis in some isolated ivory tower refuge of intellectual contemplatives- it isn't enough. It is necessary to reach out to the entire society once it is achieved in the same way that a bodhisattva attempts to enlighten the rest of mankind instead of individually passing onto Nirvana. The entire society must be made whole and sacred and not just an isolated elite. This is the realization that comes even to the Magister Ludi, the Master of the Game.

_For the game to be ultimately meaningful we have to coach everyone to eventually become Masters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hesse's "Dr Faustus"
I just read this book and it was one of the best books I've ever read. The preface to my edition compared it to Thomas Mann's "Dr Faustus (my favorite Mann)- which i found to be very true. I love Hesse but this is the only one of his books that was on the level of Mann for me. "Goldmund and Narcissus" and especially "Stepanwolf" also are excellent. Magister Ludi has a lot in common with the character Goldmund. This book has the intellectual incisive prose that I like so much in Mann - the mind and motivation are clearly written out, not just suggested.
The book follows the life of a great scholar from grade school to death. What distinguishes him is he has a great heart/sense of morality along with his genius. You follow his evolution as a person throughout the story. The story is set somewhere around 2500 AD but theres no indication that technology has advanced since the 1940's- or that life socially is much different...the emphasis is on the political situation as it relates to Knecht's scholarly order. Since there the order is celebate like the 19C Oxford scholars there are no female characters of consequence - so you see a lot of male relationships in all different shades. Hesse lets you know as much about the game as he can and still do it justice...the game is supposed to be one of the supreme human achievements so he couldnt invent it fully fleshed out for the purposes of a novel. Magister Ludi is Joseph Knecht's title: he is Master of the Game. He's on the highest board which includes a Music Master and Master of Meditation. The climax of the book is a discussion Knecht has to have with the Master of Meditation/President of the Board of Educators to justify a momentous life changing decision he makes.I reread very few classics (I plan on rereading the major Mann and Doestoyevsky books) but this is one I would reread: it's beautiful. If you loved "Doctor Faustus" or "Goldmund and Narcissus" you most likely love this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hesse's
I just read this book and it was one of the best books I've ever read. The preface to my edition compared it to Thomas Mann's "Dr Faustus"(my favorite Mann)- which i found to be very true. I love Hesse but this is the only one of his books that was on the level of Mann for me. "Goldmund and Narcissus" and especially "Stepanwolf" also are excellent. Magister Ludi has a lot in common with the character Goldmund. This book has the intellectual incisive prose that I like so much in Mann - the mind and motivation are clearly written out, not just suggested.
The book follows the life of a great scholar from grade school to death. What distinguishes him is he has a great heart/sense of morality along with his genius. You follow his evolution as a person throughout the story. The story is set somewhere around 2500 AD but there's no indication that technology has advanced since the 1940's - or that life socially is much different...the emphasis is on the political situation as it relates to Knecht's scholarly order. Since the order is celebate like the 19C Oxford scholars there are no female characters of consequence - so you see a lot of male relationships in all different shades. Hesse lets you know as much about the game as he can and still do it justice...the game is supposed to be one of the supreme human achievements so he couldn't invent it fully fleshed out for the purposes of a novel. Magister Ludi is Joseph Knecht's title: he is Master of the Game. He's on the highest board which includes a Music Master and Master of Meditation. The climax of the book is a discussion Knecht has to have with the Master of Meditation/President of the Board of Educators to justify a momentous life changing decision he makes. I reread very few classics (I plan on rereading the major Mann and Doestoyevsky books) but this is one I would reread: it's beautiful. If you loved "Doctor Faustus" or "Goldmund and Narcissus you most likely love this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book ever read
This is the best book I have ever read.It is fantastically engaging and has a surprise ending.Hesse never really explains the Game to a point that the reader must construct his own version of what the Game is like.The Game uses beads that represent high information density symbols, somewhat like advanced mathmatics, to show connections between fields of study or disiplines that have interconnections that are not immediately obvious.The Game imbodies the ultimate "life of the Mind" and to study the Game is a truly life long adventure.Ludi becomes the Magister, or top player, of the Game and greatly admired.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
This book, so it's been suggested, is in part Hesse's response to the misunderstanding of his previous book, Steppenwolf. It is a brilliant exploration of themes of institutions and loyalty to them, and of personal excellence and humility. It is also in many ways an indictment againstanti-intellectual popular culture, and in this sense the book is absolutelyvisionary.The titular subject of the book, the Glass Bead Game, is,furthermore, a dazzling invention of an almost surreal character. Finally,the book is tied together by several compelling, intricate characters.Magister Ludi is at the very pinnacle of my favorite books list. ... Read more


9. Demian: A Dual-Language Book (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 237 Pages (2002-06-11)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.46
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0486420426
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
This first major novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Hermann Hesse incorporates a theme he returned to again and again in most of his works: the fundamental duality of existence. The youthful protagonist, Emil Sinclair, recognizes that life consists of opposing forces; however, his older friend, Max Demian, manages to both clarify and complicate Sinclair's confusion about life's conflicting values. Recounted in engaging prose, rich in sympathy and imagination, this brilliant psychological portrait of a troubled young man's exploration of the polarities of human nature has retained its remarkable power as a poignant statement of the terrors and torments of adolescence.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dual language version great for students
I really enjoyed having the dual language version of this book to read the German and then glance over at the English side for any words that I didn't understand rather than interrupting my reading to page through a dictionary.The book is well laid out so that each recto in one language corresponds to the verso in the other language.As for the story itself, I don't find the main character of Sinclair to be very endearing.In fact, he's so full of himself that some parts of the book are just painful to read.So would I recommend the story?Maybe not.But if you are planning to read the story and are not a Muttersprachler, this is a nice version to get. ... Read more


10. The Glass Bead Game: (Magister Ludi) A Novel
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 576 Pages (2002-12-06)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.50
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312278497
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, The Glass Bead Game is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature

Set in the 23rd century, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).
... Read more

Customer Reviews (90)

5-0 out of 5 stars A leap out of faith
Set in an undefined but obviously distant future (the papacy of Pius XV is mentioned), Hermann Hesse's novel "The Glass Bead Game" (1949) is not so much science fiction as philosophy fiction, taking place in a monastic yet secular realm where life is balanced by the cerebral excercises of the mysterious titular Game. (I don't know why the alternate title "Magister Ludi" was given to the English translation. The original German title "Das Glasperlenspiel" translates directly as "The Glass Bead Game".) The fact that the Game is never described in detail only adds to its mystery. Evidently it is not a regulated game of strategy like chess, not an execution but rather an inspiration based on a single concept, be it a detail in Chinese architecture or a passage from a Mozart andante. Castalia,the realm where this game is idealized, is outside the everyday world of business and society and has been inaugurated for the very purpose of maintaining spirtual and educational ideals after a long period of destructive wars and facile culture referred to as the Digest Age. By having his futuristic characters look back on this epoch with distaste, one can only assume that Hesse was referring not only to the 20th Century but to the 21st as well. If there is satire intended here, it has eluded me. Within Castalia is the Vicus Lusorum (Game Town) where the Game is played and polished and where the Master of the Game (the Magister Ludi) is in serene control. The novel's central character is Joseph Knecht, who during the course of the story becomes Game Master. Oddly enough, the word Knecht in German means servant, and at one point he reveals that as Master he associates himself with Christopher, the saint who gladly accepted burdens. Thus it is partly out of intellectual curiosity and partly out of political spying he visits a Confucian hermit and a Benedictine monk in order to understand their viewpoints, visits which are not completely approved of by the pedagogy in Castalia. He also holds long discussions with Plinio Designori, a civilized but somewhat decadent man from the outside world (shades of "Steppenwolf"!), and eventually becomes tutor to the man's son. In order to take this worldly position, he must renounce Castalia and the Glass Bead Game,leaving his colleagues and superiors shocked and saddened. (At this point I can't resist stating that in many ways "The Glass Bead Game" resembles Mann's "The Magic Mountain".) Hesse's book closes with13 poems and "three reincarnations", supposedly student works of Knecht's published posthumously. The three stories (the third one, a study of Yoga, is especially interesting) are reminiscent of the novelle of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, a writer probably admired by Hesse in his youth. Speaking of youth: I attempted to read this book when I was in my 20s. Personally I was not prepared, but that doesn't mean other young readers can't appreciate it. Though it requires serious concentration and some patience, particularly in the opening pages, "The Glass Bead Game" is a fascinating example of Hesse's ideals, what one reference book calls his "spirtual search for new goals and values to replace the no longer valid, traditional ones."

1-0 out of 5 stars A painful and unpleasant reading experience
A respected friend of mine recommended I read this book and I tried so hard to like it, but in the end (and the beginning and middle) I just didn't. I agree with several other reviews who admit the first 50-100 pages are difficult to get past. My problem with the rest is NOTHING HAPPENS! At least nothing important or relevant. After turning each page I kept asking myself, "What's the point? What's the plot?" For me-and probably a lot of others out there-there isn't enough dialogue or action to keep me interested. And in the beginning it was much too confusing and complicated (vague?) to consume my interest.

3-0 out of 5 stars New Book, minor secondary publisher
I wanted a hardback copy of "The Glass Bead Game" I hoped it would be from the main publisher. It was like a bookclub edition which was kind of cheezy. New, in good shape, yes. A library shelf addition, not much better than a paperback.

5-0 out of 5 stars Literature with Constructive Meaning
It's a synthesis.Imagine the sum of human perspectives and knowledge reduced into symbols and played like a symphony to permute meanings and explore conclusions.That's the glass bead game, which approaches a spiritual experience if played correctly.Frankly, it's a wonderful dream.

Despite the flaws of old literature and translations, I found this book riveting.The first fifty pages of background is not absorbing, and the style makes it hard it get into.The wonderfulness is because rather than the soul-crushing themes hedonism and nihilism present in so much modern 'literature,' this book is a celebration of living life and the best of man.The conceptualization of the Glass Bead Game itself overshadowed the flaws in plot structure and the overwhelming use of telling over showing into unimportant considerations.

A classic work that's stood the test of time, much more than the sum of it's parts.Recommended read for intellectuals.

1-0 out of 5 stars ZZZZZZZ.....
Can I rate it zero stars?Definitely not a "page turner!"

Having read Siddhartha some years ago and as I recall enjoying it, I thought I would like this book.

However, I am plodding through and keep hoping it will get better, pick up, become interesting.It has so many shortcomings I don't know where to begin but to summarize I will use a sentence from a 5-star review "Absent from Castalia are action, creativity, originality, and experiment" substituting "the book" for "Castalia." Where is the action?the creativity?originality?(one person says the main theme is the giving up of self to reach enlightenment - what's original about that?it's Buddhism in a nutshell!)

Hesse uses (overuses) "big" words in a way that makes it seem we are to be impressed.I reminds me of someone I went to high school with who would write a paper and then go to the Thesaurus to find as many big word substitutes as possible, even though it made the paper awkward and pretentious.

Another person who gave a low rating of this book hit upon one thing that I find to be not only a shortcoming but downright offensive - that is the fact that women are totally out of Hesse's thinking.

I find it ludicrous that the book is supposed to be set in the 23rd century - so far nothing gives any feeling of its being futuristic!One of the ways that it completely lacks any creativity.In fact, much of the book feels ancient.

The plot (?) is weak, the characters uninteresting, the writing cumbersome, arcane and esoteric (in the most negative sense of the word).There is no poetic or descriptive language.Hesse alludes to what "the game" is but never fleshes out the idea or gives any real description.It's all very vague, ambiguous, and unconvincing!Again a lack of creativity.

In spite of the fact that I am an intelligent person who enjoys philosophical thinking and writing as well as poetry, so far this book is nothing but a dull struggle.I'm determined to finish it - and maybe, just maybe I'll change my mind.Perhaps I should try (as one reviewer suggests) reading it backwards! ... Read more


11. Siddhartha (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 176 Pages (2002-12-31)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.10
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0142437182
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Siddhartha is perhaps the most important and compelling moral allegory our troubled century has produced. Integrating Eastern and Western spiritual traditions with psychoanalysis and philosophy, this strangely simple tale, written with a deep and moving empathy for humanity, has touched the lives of millions since its original publication in 1922.

Translated by Joachim Neugroschel
Introduction by Ralph Freedman ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

1-0 out of 5 stars Book Not Received
I would love to provide a review, but a month later and I still do not have the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars love it everytime
I've crossed paths with this book in so many places, from college, to an overseas youth hostel, to a friend's bookshelf... Each time I was drawn to read it again, remembering only that the time I'd read it before I was touched and somehow changed for the better. The wisdom in these pages is refreshing and pertinent no matter where you are in your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars I now have a better understanding of Eastern Thought
I have always had a fascination with religion and philosophy and have studied western thought extensively, but have only scratched the surface of eastern thought.I have been working my way through a variety of literature and decided to give Siddhartha a try.I realized that it was written by a westerner, but knew it had good reviews by many easterners.

I initially expected this novel to be a fictionalized retelling of the Buddha story, since Siddhartha is one of the names of the Buddha.But it turns out that this is a story of a contemporary of the Buddha that meets him and his story actually follows many of the elements of the Buddha's life.

This is an allegorical tale that packs a lot of meaning into a fairly short novel.The introduction by Freedman was helpful in showing many of the hidden meanings that I wasn't aware of.I also thought the translation was very easy for me to follow and understand.

Overall, I gained many insights from reading this book.There were several character traits highlighted that I don't think are discussed in our society enough.When he talked of his ability to think, fast, and wait; I though of how important these characteristics are.In our society, thinking is highly valued, but fasting and waiting are almost totally neglected at this point.I think of these as self control and patience.There were several other gems in this book that caused me to think and reflect.

As a westerner, there were some thought processes that I didn't agree with.I don't believe in extreme asceticism.I believe in learning self control, but not to the extent where you are totally focused on yourself.I believe that the true path to peace and happiness is losing oneself in the service of others.The best method to do that is by raising a family and participating in your community.Having said that, I believe that this book did bring out several profound truths for me.I highly recommend this short book.

5-0 out of 5 stars moving
I loved the book, moved me to my core and lifted my spirit. If you liked the Alchemist you'll love this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment in Less Than 150 Pages
Like many people, I first read Siddhartha in high school as a part of my study of Buddhism and Hinduism. It wasn't until this second reading that the book made an impression on me. Siddhartha is a young man who spends his life looking for the way to Nirvana. He begins in the forest, living a life of a samana, a wandering ascetic, begging for food and spending his days in meditation. His eventual meeting with the Buddha has an unexpected effect on him: he realizes that teachers cannot really teach him anything. Therefore, it is up to him to find his own way to salvation.

The book is short, and is made up of two parts, before the Buddha, and after the Buddha. Each chapter has a very particular meaning, and the plot is very well contained within. This adds to the story and gives it the feeling of a sacred text. Although most of the minor characters are not well-developed, it is very clear that their very existence is only to help Siddhartha on his journey. Otherwise, they are not important. Each character has something to give Siddhartha, and each adds to his understanding of the world and of himself.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in Eastern religions and philosophies, or to anyone who is themselves a spiritual pilgrim. It is very similar to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist in its plot and feeling. It's also easy for even a reader who is not familiar with religious doctrines or language - Hesse does a beautiful job of making the spiritual and philosophical content very clear and easy to understand. However, this does not mean that it has been "dumbed down" in any way. In fact, the writing is intelligent and evocative, and the story is wholly engrossing. ... Read more


12. Rosshalde
by Hermann Hesse, Ralph Manheim
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-07-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.69
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312422296
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Rosshalde is the classic story of a man torn between obligations to his family and his longing for a spiritual fulfillment that can only be found outside the confines of conventional society.

Johann Veraguth, a wealthy, successful artist, is estranged from his wife and stifled by the unhappy union. Veraguth’s love for his young son and his fear of drifting rootlessly keep him bound within the walls of his opulent estate, Rosshalde. Yet, when he is shaken by an unexpected tragedy, Veraguth finally finds the courage to leave the desolate safety of Rosshalde and travels to India to discover himself anew.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great Hesse Novel
Great book from Herman Hesse, I am a huge fan of his work, and may be biased, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I usually do with his work.Highly Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hesse: A master of poetic prose
My dad has been singing the praises of Rosshalde for decades now. I finally took some time to sit down and read it; I am glad I did. A very short novella, I was able to leisurely read Rosshalde in three days. Hesse's poetic prose very much reminds me of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work (one of my all time favorites). Another reviewer described the book as much like "reading a painting." I would agree with that assessment wholeheartedly. It is full of passion, heartbreak, resignation, questioning...all wrapped delicately in intricate prose and beautiful imagery...much like a painting.
True, if it is action you are looking for, this is not the place to find it. This is a "rainy Sunday" read. It is nothing if not melancholy...it details the life of a man, Veraguth, who is a very successful painter, but lives a lonely, desolate life. Though married with children, the familial relationships are strained and wanting. It is a tale of both binding obligation and freedom.
On another interesting note...if you happen to be interested in Queer Theory, this is a great story in which to engage it. The homosocial relationship between Veraguth and his lifelong friend, Burkhardt, is worth a deeper look.
Any way you slice it, this novella was expertly written, and clearly crafted with love and personal connectedness on Hesse's part. True lovers of classic literature would be wise to add this book to their shelves.

4-0 out of 5 stars classic Herman Hesse
Having read most of Herman Hesse's other novels including Demian, Siddhartha, and Magister Ludi, I have become a huge fan of Hesse's style. When reading Herman Hesse I expect a tragic protagonist but each one has a unique quest and special quality. Rosshalde is the story of a man whose life has taken some complicated turns, leaving him in a somewhat awkward situation. The story revolves around the relationship between Johann Veraguth and his son Pierre and the characteristics of each that both pull them together and drive them apart. I will not spoil the ending but expect another Hesse "esque" conclusion.

3-0 out of 5 stars Silent Door
Hermann Hesse's "Rosshalde" is a slow tale that meanders through the moods and thoughts of its main character Johann Veraguth.Although written in 1914, it was not translated into English until Ralph Manheim's 1970 version was published.The number of characters in the piece is small.Veraguth's family, his wife Adele, his sons Albert and Pierre and the butler Robert are the major ones with the doctor and his friend Otto Burkhardt being the others.There is another silent character which is the glorious paintings that are so meticulously described that they seem real, as if hanging on a gallery wall.In 1914, divorce had a different social status than the common occurrence of modern divorce.Perhaps this is why the book seems to start as it ends.We are interested in what the painter's life in India will hold and the paintings it will inspire.Instead, Hesse takes 200 pages and then closes the book like a silent door.In the end, "Rosshalde" impresses as the prelude to a book that never quite arrived.It is of note in the light of the author's other accomplishments, but hardly a masterpiece in its own right.Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars His best early novel!
In my opinion, this novel (which was based on Hesse's first divorce) is not only one of my favorite Hesse novels but also my top favorite out of all of his early novels.The majority of his pre-'Demian' books are good but just not very complex or memorable.This one, which I read in one day, is the tops.It's a beautiful novel about the painter Johann Veraguth, who is spending what he thinks will be an uneventful Summer at his beautiful estate Rosshalde, when his estranged wife Adele and their older son Albert (whom he loathes) show up.Veraguth had been looking forward to spending Summer catching up with an old friend of his, who has just returned from India and is now gently pressuring Veraguth to return there with him.The one light left in his life after all of these conflicting forces converge on Rosshalde is his precious younger son Pierre, who was conceived and born during a brief reconciliation between Veraguth and Adele, when Albert was very sick about six years ago.Veraguth had been all ready to leave with his friend, but he does not want to abandon Pierre, leaving him with Adele, whom he doesn't like or trust, or the stuck-up Albert.Adele goes so low as to repeatedly use Pierre as emotional blackmail, saying Veraguth will never see his favorite child ever again if he goes off to India.

One day Pierre gets very violently ill, and his illness takes up much of the rest of the book.There's less time for his estranged parents to be constantly fighting once they're taking care of this delirious little boy around the clock.A few times Pierre appears to be improving, but never for very long.This condition is so serious it eventually leads Adele to completely change her tune and declare that if Pierre recovers, Veraguth can take him with him to India and have permanent custody of him.The ending of the book is quite beautiful, poignant, and bittersweet, and full of the hope of begining again.The final line also reminds me very much of the last line of the Chekhov story 'Lady with Lapdog.' ... Read more


13. Pictor's Metamorphoses: And Other Fantasies
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 240 Pages (2003-12-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312422644
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
In the spring of 1922, several months after completing Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse wrote a fairy tale that was also a love story, inspired by the woman who was to become his second wife. That story, Pictor’s Metamorphoses, is the centerpiece of this anthology of Hesse’s luminous short fiction. Based on The Arabian Nights and the work of the Brothers Grimm, the nineteen stories collected here represent a half century of Hesse's short writings. They display the full range of Hesse’s lifetime fascination with fantasy--as dream, fairy tale, satire, or allegory.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Hesse hits again with short stories
Hesse has scored with this collection of fine short stories written over a span of fifty years.He explores various forms and aspects of fantasy with his classic style.The result is short metaphoric pieces that engage for a while and let the reader go.I was fully engaged and enjoyed almost every one.Highly recommended if you are a Hesse fan, which I am of forty years.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books of short stories.
I love the the title story. It is filled with wisdom and laid out in such rich detail. He actually wrote these stories over a number of years and I liked seeing how time affected him in each one.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific introduction to Hesse
Hesse was an inveterate story writer and this collection is an excellent introduction to his work.Most of these tales are only a few pages long and even the longest can be completed in one sitting.They also span his entire career and give the reader a great overview of the author's style.

I recommend especially the title story, "Pictor's Metamorphoses":here a youth named Pictor wanders into a garden and finds a magic carbuncle which transforms him into a tree.But he realizes that his life his incomplete, and remains unhappy until a girl wanders into the same garden...

5-0 out of 5 stars MAGIC
this book has followed me throughout my life, and has never been topped by another. He was, and is, the author closest to my heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shows The Vast Range Of Writing Styles Of Hesse
This is a really good book. From the dreams he has as a young boy to the times after the war. A good book to read in between books. Most of the stories are short but there are some long ones too. ... Read more


14. Journey to the East (Cathedral Classics)
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 82 Pages (2010-08-31)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$5.64
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1907523200
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Hermann Hesse was born in Calw in the Black Forest on July 2, 1877, and from an early age was obsessed with the mystery of existence and humanity's place in the Universe.The Journey to the East is Hesse's tale of inner pilgrimage, an allegory on human desire for enlightenment and the long road that must be traveled to that ultimate goal.Using remarkably clear and accessible language, the book brings together the experience and conclusions of many years of spiritual struggle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Journey to Enlightenment

The narrator, HH, joins the league and joins pilgrims as they make the journey to the east, each pilgrim travelling for their own reasons and searches for truth. Amongst them are a host of real and fictional characters from Plato to Don Quixote.
When the servant Leo leaves their group, the pilgrims begin to argue and bicker and the journey disolves.
There is so muchto this short 60 odd page novel. It is -like all Hesses books- extreamly readable, and the reader feels he is receiving personal messages of enlightenment from Hesse, such is the potency and range.
The idea of searching for truth, that with all our collective knowledge we can never really reach true enlightenment comes accross well-all the league are either real or fictional beacons.
Hesse always feared misinterpretation of his work, and loads of hippie cults grew up around his novels, but there is something deeply personal in his work that makes the reader reflect. A great little book and way to get into Hermann Hesse!

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this Hesse Classic Along with Kundera's Book of Laughing and Forgetting
Hesse's Journey to the East - to my mind - is a thematic twin of Kundera's Book of Laughing and Forgetting.For me, it is a treatise on memory. Post-modern in its recursive self-referencing, it is also an epistemological manifesto as to what can be known.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D., author of "Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time" (New Harbinger, 2008)
www.eatingthemoment.com
[...]

5-0 out of 5 stars The Tao of Hesse
Hermann Hesse wrote some of the most important novels and essays of the twentieth century. His primary literary work (part materialist protest, part spiritual quest) spanned almost half a century (1899-1943) and culminated in the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. He lived through the pain of World Wars I & II and looked outside Europe for alternative philosophies. He became a Swiss citizen in 1923 and lived in exile from his native Germany, in part because of his anti-war views. The problems that troubled Hesse then are still with us, and he is more popular today than he was in his own lifetime.

"Journey to the East," published in 1932 is the 'short version' of his spiritual philosophy ("The Glass Bead Game" is the long version). Both books draw deeply from Hesse's fascination with Indian philosophy. Both are immersed in the search for alternatives. "Journey to the East" is the geographical and spiritual journey taken by one man (League Brother H) with a group of like-minded, journeyers sometime after World War I. H says:

"It was my destiny to join in a great experience. Having had the good fortune to belong to the League, I was permitted to be a participant in a unique journey. What wonder it had at the time!"

The nature of the journey, its purpose, and even its outcome is a mystery -- Hesse's parable of spareness, about how we make choices and how we might live. The servant, Leo, says to H. early in the novel:

"The law of service. He who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long."

"The Journey to the East" - like all of Hesse's work - offers another way to think about our lives and live(!) in a world ever-maddened by wars, greed, and inattention. The journey is the Tao of Hesse, one might say, a novel part parable.

5-0 out of 5 stars ranks with the world's greatest spiritual literature
The Journey to the East is a novel; a kind of dictionary of most of Hesse's greatest interests (Romantic literature, Christianity, Eastern Religions, psychology, chivalry and the literature based on the Paladins); but most of all it is an affirmation of the need to live a life of spiritual depth, creativity and imagination.It is also important to remember that the original German title refers to the "Morgenland," the Land of the Morning that was E.T.A. Hoffmann's name for fairyland.The Journey to the East is an attempt to present a worldview that mirrors Novalis' ideal of a poetic reality, a mirroring of his famous statement: "Die Welt muss romantisiert werden."

5-0 out of 5 stars A cause for introspection
An idealist goes off in search of enlightenment, roams his searching fruitlessly, and in his failure, finally looks in the correct direction.

Read it cover to cover.Put it down for a day.Read it again.

If you can do this, and not reflect on your own goals, purpose, and understanding of your life, you should probably stick with TV.The story is engaging, and an uncomplicated person might feel the end is a let down.But the book isn't really entertainment, so much as a catalyst for reflection.As such, it is brilliantly successful.Read it, sleep on it, and reread it.It won't tell you where to go, but it might offer some insight on how to figure that out for yourself.

E. M. Van Court ... Read more


15. The Hesse/Mann Letters
by Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann
Paperback: 232 Pages (2005-07-12)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.71
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0974261556
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
The letters present two great XX century Nobel Prize writers grieving for the ruined world. In the 1930s and 1940s, they rail against the stupidity of war and the cowardice of diplomats, against the social savagery of the Nazis, against the blind forces of abstraction and nationalism. They brood about the fate of Germany and of Europe after the last shots have been fired.They have lived through a time of extraordinary horror and yet they have not surrendered to despair or nihilism. Reading the letters, the reader will feel like some privileged guest in a special room, sitting off to the side somewhere, listening while these men talk. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars From the new Introduction by Pete Hamill. (Posted by the publisher)
...the best of the letters present us with two fundamentally decent, sophisticated men grieving for the ruined world. In the 1930s and 1940s, they rail against the stupidity of war and the cowardice of diplomats, against the social savagery of the Nazis, against the blind forces of abstraction and nationalism. They brood about the fate of Germany and of Europe after the last shots have been fired.They have lived through a time of extraordinary horror and yet they have not surrendered to despair or nihilism. Reading the letters, I feel like some privileged guest in a special room, sitting off to the side somewhere, listening while these men talk. A fire burns in a fireplace. Through the windows I can see snow falling against a dark sky. We are in the country of exile. Neither man has given up hope. Art will prevail, they insist. Civilization will prevail. Music will drive off the explosive rumble of artillery. Life will defeat death. Listen to them: they are speaking truth. Nothing else matters. ... Read more


16. Demian
by Hermann Hesse
 Hardcover: 116 Pages (2010-09-16)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$12.85
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1607962764
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
One of the great writers of the twentieth century tells the dramatic story of a young man's awakening to selfhood. "An Existentialist intensity and a depth of understanding rare in contemporary fiction."Saturday Review ... Read more

Customer Reviews (124)

1-0 out of 5 stars Sketchy publisher
My wife is teaching this novel in German and ordered this so I could read it in English. There are some problems with this edition. The publisher, BN Publishing, does not list a city or location of publication. An internet search for BN publishing and a visit to their website reveals no information about who they are. They publish all kinds of works, mostly nonfiction. This edition of Demian has no introduction, and the translator is not identified. This and the lack of a publisher location make the edition useless for academic work because it can not be properly referenced. I can't say this with certainty, but I suspect the publisher is reprinting a translation for which the copyright has expired and is not crediting the translator. We sent the book back and are planning to purchase the Dover German-English edition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read!
Demian is Hesse's semi-autobiographical writing. This is the story of the man who wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from his true self.
Sinclair wanted to be true himself and lived according to his heart's prompting; Damian helped him to realize his own path.
With Damian's help, Sinclair realized that ordinary people's way of life is easy, but his way of life is difficult. However, he felt that we should live our own lives according to heart's desire. And he realized that the most important thing in life is individuality.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Hesse's Best Books
To understand Demian, one has to understand the origin of the writing of the book.Hesse derived its motif from the discoveries of the great Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung.Herman Hesse was an analysand of Dr. Jung in 1921.With the exception of Pistorius, a friend of the young hero Sinclair, all the other characters are archetypal personifications - andthe story is about what Dr. Jung termed "individuation" - the way to one's true and higher self.That is why it has a numinous power.All the archetypal findings of Jung are here:the shadow, the self, the anima.It's like Dr. Jung's teachings coming alive.

The one weak part of the book for me are the meetings of Sinclair and Pistorius (I think of him as an ego figure).I just find this friendship rather tedious to read about; it kind of sinks the book in the middle, but as Sinclair moves on, the book's power returns.

There was a great controversy among Jung and his fellow analyst friends as to whether the book could be considered plagarism.Many thought in the affirmative and there was quite an uproar and a lot of anger about this in Zurich.However, as a Dutch Jungian analyst commented at a lecture at the Jung Institute in Los Angeles, "You have to consider the element of inspiration - that can't be plagarized.It can only arise from deep within the author."And so it did!So that was considered to be the other side of the story.

In the book, Max Demian, a rather elusive friend of Sinclair's, who also acts as his protector and guide, is symbolic of the self.His mother, another numinous figure, is symbolic of the anima of Sinclair (the female archetype within the male psyche).And at the book's end we come to find that Max Demian lives inside Sinclair, and will do so eternally.

Without reading at least a primer on the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung, this book is not fully understandable.Jung's findings are its origin, its foundation and its motif.It took a genius like Hermann Hesse to turn them into art.

One paragraph is often quoted from the book:"I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self.Why was that so very difficult?"

2-0 out of 5 stars Ugh...
Wow. I first have to start off with how deeply disappointed I am with this novel. I had such high expectations based on what my friends had told me about it, since they had to read it for their English class, and even as I was halfway through it, was hoping it would get better. It didn't. This book is horribly depressing, confusing and pretentious. I was very, very disgusted with the book! It felt like I had jumped into a pool of unbelievable depression. I can't grasp on the idea that someone, in this case Sinclair, can just cut himself off from all humanity and brush them all as worthless beings who are on a pointless path of life. How could he even make such a claim without even making an effort to connect with people? At some point towards the end of the book, he finally begins to realize that the world is actually not as bad as he initially saw it, and realizes how happy it makes him. To me, it seemed like he was purposefully making his life a miserable horror. Locking himself away, isolating himself from all people and life experiences, having no real relationships with anyone but himself. WTF? That's supposed to make him happy? To be all alone and have this pretentious feeling of superiority over everyone else?

Also, I couldn't grasp this whole concept of "a mark," or special distinction between Sinclair and the rest of humanity who didn't have "Cain's mark." Like, wtf? It reminded me of some silly concept that would come up in a fictional good vs. evil fantasy story or something. The religious/moral/philosophical theme was so self-aggrandized like it was beyond anyone else but Sinclair, Demian and the rest of their special, select few. Ugh, how pretentious and unappealing. This book made no effort to connect to me personally, or the reader in general. In fact, it felt like it was telling the reader, "Hey, we're better than you and we're more enlightened than you. Go on with your silly social and human behaviors of having fun, having relationships with other people, and being happy. We know better and what's right." Just, no.

Simply, I had a lot of issues with this book. Every time I thought the book would be heading on a path of redemption for me, it quickly descended back to its gloomy, pathetic, depressing crap. Not at all what I was expecting from this novel. I don't recommend anyone to read this. Usually a book has at least SOME kind of benefit for me after reading it, but this one, shockingly, is one of the very few books that I've ever read that gained me nothing. The only thing I remotely liked was the ending, when I finally got some sort of closure or feeling of understanding. Overall, don't read this book. You'd be better off finding something else.

5-0 out of 5 stars very profound and amazing--who would be born must first destroy a world.
The mysterious process of humanity,-- breaking out of the realm of simple, good and evil conformity and entering into the realm of inner self--is so wonderfully described through the equally mysterious characters and Jungian symbols and metaphors.I guess that there can be different, perhaps more specific or narrower applications, such as the coming of age type, but I personally didn't interpret this book as such.I wish there were more books like this because this is an antithesis of contemporary popular, one dimensional fictions that people waste their time reading these days and think they are good literature. I read Siddharta many years ago, but this book ignited new interest in his writings, and I am sure I will enjoy them as well. ... Read more


17. Stories of Five Decades
by Hermann Hesse
 Hardcover: Pages (1998-01)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$27.95
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Asin: 089190669X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Collection
This selection of 23 stories (20 available in English for the first time) offers a spectrum of Hesse's writing from 1899 to 1948 that could be matched only by an edition of his poetry, since in no other form -- novel, essay, autobiographical reflection -- did he span so many years. Here, within the covers of a single volume, the reader can trace Hesse's development from the aestheticism of his youth through the realism and surrealism of the next decades to the classicism of his old age. And the reader who knows Hesse mainly through his major novels of the twenties and thirties will be surprised to encounter him in a variety of new incarnations. Yet the greatest surprise is to see how faithful he remained to his essential self from first to last. Even as he tests and discards literary modes, he consistently rejects external "reality" for the sake of an inner world created by imagination.

This obsession with expressing his own consciousness is paralleled by criticism of the world he is fleeing from. In the earliest stories, such critiques amount to an attempt to epater le bourgeois. Later, in stories like "The Homecoming," the malice and corruption of society are forcefully unmasked. In the parable "Harry, the Steppenwolf" (1928), Hesse even ridicules the attitude we recognize today as "radical chic."

But all his stories, as Hesse himself realized, are concerned primarily with his own secret dreams, his own bitter anguish. Stories of Five Decades, arranged in chronological order, is a rewarding display of the full range of this storytelling as it blossomed over a lifetime. ... Read more


18. Peter Camenzind: A Novel
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 201 Pages (2003-12-01)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.43
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0312422636
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Peter Camenzind, a young man from a Swiss mountain village, leaves his home and eagerly takes to the road in search of new experience. Traveling through Italy and France, Camenzind is increasingly disillusioned by the suffering he discovers around him; after failed romances and a tragic friendship, his idealism fades into crushing hopelessness. He finds peace again only when he cares for Boppi, an invalid who renews Camenzind’s love for humanity and inspires him once again to find joy in the smallest details of every life.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Hesse lays his Foundations

Peter Camenzind, a farmers son in a remote village, gains a scholarship that eventually leads him to university in Zurich. Whilst his true love is for nature, he feels compelled to pursue the intellectual. He drowns his social inabilities in drink.He idealizes women and finds only unhappiness.He is an unsatisfied writer, but redeems himself and finds an Assisian love for all things after befriending the cripple Boppi.He then returns home in contentment....
Hesse's first novel reads so easily and packs so much of the fabric of his future great works into 180 odd pages. His ideal that man, of all the creatures on earth, needs to marry philosophy and art with nature to achieve happiness; our journey from the egoism and vanities of our youth-where we view ourselves as vital and important-even God like- and the frustrations that brings, to an acceptance of merely being a part of a beautiful nature. How we follow the biblical blueprint of leaving paradise only to spend our lives searching for it and reaching it only at the end.
Hesse influenced me a lot as a teenager and coming back to him-and his first novel-rekindled the self awareness and ideas he invoked and reminded how great ideas can be written in accessable stories and language.
Hesse has written greater books (or went on from here to write them!) but this is a great starting point that has all of the main ingredients of Hesse.

4-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the place to start?
Those who want to only invest their time in an author's choicest works would probably skip ahead, in Hesse's case, to Demian, Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Magister Ludi. Those are titles I read years ago, and though their impressions are no longer fresh, I remember them as masterpieces. If you are a serious Hesse admirer, you will lose nothing by reading Peter Caminzind, and will gain added perspective on his later works through this expression of his early development as writer and metaphysician. Written when the author was 27, this was his first novel. This is a very easy book to read, but is by no means a shallow one. It is a book of great strengths but also, I think, some serious weaknesses. If this were the only book Hesse had written, I would still consider him a great writer. Because the style and clarity of the book make for such ease of reading, it is essential to take some time with its descriptions of nature, which are very poetic and beautiful. I think the imagery conjured up by Hesse's prose is as effective, or even more so, as formal poetry which has the same intent. This is a book which truly pays homage to nature and seeks to elicit the same appreciation for it that the author feels. This notion that there is a need for us to feel a love of nature - mountains, meadows, clouds, streams, lakes, weather - is a major theme of the book, every bit as pronounced as the coming-of-age theme. The insistence is there that we experience this love in a deep spiritual way, not through mere sentimentality. This need to experience a profound relationship to nature is tied closely to the protagonist's search for his own spiritual identity. He senses that his need to express love is incomplete, and as he progresses through his youth and young adulthood, he comes to realize he must extend this love to people. His upbringing in an isolated mountain village has instilled in him traits which are the very opposite of gregariousness and empathy for fellow man. The novel is the chronicle of the struggles and torments Camenzind suffers in evolving toward a state of mind where he can shed his aloofness, disdain, and mistrust of humanity. One thing that helps him to forge a link to mankind is his secret desire to compose a great poetic work which will show the rest of humanity how to love nature as he does. In the novel this remains a future prospect , but he does begin to reach out for love and friendship by abandoning the intellectual society he had frequented, and seeking a more common human bond. He finds this through taking care of real human needs for others. There are many passages in the book which I find moving, beautiful, and profound, and which caused me to pause in my reading to reflect on them before moving on. But the main weakness which I see in this novel is that it is so internalized, that sometimes the states of mind it describes seem to be rather arbitrary and based more on subjective moods than causes the reader can relate to. The hero describes many episodes of melancholy, feelings of failure and defeat, and revulsion for humanity. Then he experiences feelings of rebirth, renewal of interests and energy, and hope. It seems we are seeing the workings of a mind which dwells too much in itself and which is too ruled by its own limitations of perception. Thus, I think there is a lack of clarity as to why some of his changes in attitude take place, other than that he just became sick and tired of being sick and tired. And I thought the condition of the hero at the close of the novel did not seem to represent a major level of illumination, but was still a provisional, though higher plateau of existence. This would be a natural consequence of being the work of a still very young author, and it is actually admirable that Hesse did not try to overreach himself with unrealistic accomplishments for his protagonist. It is a remarkable first novel and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys literary works which feature the quest for self-knowledge.

5-0 out of 5 stars Find leitmotive of Hess from this early work
Peter Camenzind is the earliest fictional work of Great Hermann Hesse who has been always one of my favirite authors. I have read Hesse works in reverse choronological order. In comparison to his later works such as Magister Ludi, the plot and prose style are unrefined ,yet they are unadulterated as well as contains leitmotives that Hesse recurs consistently in his later works.

The story is very simple and follows a typical pattern of Bildungsroman, e.i a youth finds his purpose of life and identity through a vissitude of life. In case of Peter, it's quite a journey .Story begins with quintesential Hessian phrase ""In the beginning was the myth. God, in his search for self-expression, invested the souls of Hindus, Greeks, and Germans with poetic shapes and continues to invest each child's soul with poetry every day".

Peter left his alphine hometown for searching for the world with an aspiration to become a poet. He meets Richard and shares intense friendship with him ,while hopelessly fell for a woman who teaches first pain of unrequited love. After the tragic death of Richard and a series of unrequited love as well as his journey to Italy, Peter a bit by bit understands the meaing life andnature of love. Each episode clearly shows different aspects of love and when it comes to his devotion to Boppi , it shows to where Hesse's love finally directed. Throughout this book, spritual crisis and overcoming that very crisis not only widens Peter's view on life and but also encourages him to find the ultimate meaning of life which poem is only a medium of representation. I am especially moved by Peter's devotion for Boppi that is not originated from mere pity but Peter's love for humanity.
There are distinctive influence of Plato, Schopenhauer , and Nietzche's philosophies whichslowly supplanted by Indian and Chinese philosophy in his later works.
this is perhaps only novel that makes you experience all vissitude of life within a couple hours of reading.It's worth reading and you won't regret.

5-0 out of 5 stars beautiful work
Hesse never fails in aesthetics in his language.Especially after reading modern American novels, whose language is filled with profanity and vulgarity, Hesse's works are like fresh mountain water.This book doesn't fail you either in that respect.It is simple, very easy to read, nothing heavy, yet it has enough depth to satisfy your intellectual spiritual needs.It came to me like a relief especially after reading Faulkner's Light in August.

Although the plot is simple, his quest for love and growth is so sincere, so pure and fresh, which really is the power of this novel, and that power captivates the reader's heart.
The protagonist Peter Carmenzind is naive and touchy and single-minded youth, destined to spend his life as a wanderer/bachelor.He doen't quite fit in the society/community in which he was born and raised, nor in the society in which he seeks refuge in the future.He finds love and friendship in one person at a time (he is not a wide and shallow socialite), but he loses each of them one by one, and he goes through turmoil each time, and falls into heavy drinking.Gradually he regains strength and finds true love and devotion to humanity.
What is so compelling is that each time he finds someone to love, whether it be romantic love or friendship, he devotes himself single-mindedly, and loves that person with his whole heart.That's why he's so devastated when he loses love.
His devotion to the cripple Boppi is particularly moving.This kind of love is rarely written about in novels these days.

The beginning part is sort of slow, with the descriptions of landscapes, general characteristics of the village and its people, but Hesse's poetic language makes it so musical and pleasant.One hardly cares if the story ever moves forward or not.HIs love of nature and life, which is the core of his language, is well established in this work.

It is a work that Hesse had written when he was young, and one can tell that, but it is still a great work.The protagonist is growing after each crisis, and the reader will grow with him.One of my professors said that Hesse is probably the only writer that would make you feel good after reading, and I have to agree with him 100%.You will meet young, promising, uncontaminated Hesse in this book, which will make you feel really good.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sweet but largely unmemorable first work
Like most of Hesse's pre-'Demian' novels, this too is rather simplistic and forgettable, even without being compared to the greatnesses which were to come.His early novels are sweet, touching, sincere, and thoughtful, but the plots still aren't as complex or mature as those in his later glories.We follow Swiss mountain boy Peter Camenzind through his youth and early manhood, through his delight and joy in life in his native hamlet, including his first unrequited love, to his idealistic and happy sojourn in Italy with his dear friend Richard (where he once again falls victim to unrequited love), to dissipation in France and yet a third unhappy unrequited love, to a truly touching friendship with an older crippled hunchback named Boppi, and finally back to his native village to care for his aging father and to continue pursuing his dreams of being a journalist and a writer.It's an extremely autobiographical novel, though because it's a first novel, the plot is incredibly simplistic and not very complex or mature; just following the life and loves of a simple Swiss mountain boy.Probably the most memorable part of the book for me, apart from Peter's friendship with Boppi, is when Frau Camenzind dies in the night while Peter is sitting on the bed without even waking his father up to tell him his own wife is dying.When Herr Camenzind wakes up and finds out what has happened, he is furious that Peter didn't call a priest to administer Last Rites, though father and son aren't on the outs for long and soon they're going out drinking together.(The other most memorable part is the classic opening line, "In the beginning was the myth.")The events are interesting and well-described, just not as well-developed or multifaceted as they would be in Hesse's later masterpieces. ... Read more


19. If the war goes on: Reflections on war and politics
by Hermann Hesse
Mass Market Paperback: 164 Pages (1976)

Isbn: 0553029045
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars fast delivery, no surprises
The description of the condition of the book was dead on and got my satisfaction. A great purchase and a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hesse's "The European" - key 20th century essay
I don't know the "Amazon.com Customer" who wrote the 1998 review of Hesse's small book of essays _If the War Goes On_. What I do know is more than 30 YEARS after reading the same essay, "THE EUROPEAN", I'm obliged to continue recommending it to people everywhere. Hesse was European and German yet a pacifist. He also was a person with a healthy self-criticism for the population to which he belonged. In pre-Hitlerian Europe (specifically Germany) he must have suffered for his ideas and feelings far from the Teutonic/Euro ordinary. Yet he had enough courage to claim and share what he perceived. "The European" is a lesson for our times. Get this book. Share this essay.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superbly translated essays and letters
This volume covers the period from September 1914 to 1948, and consists of essays and other writings on war and Hesse's reactions to it.I was surprised how what he said resonated with me--filled with opposition to German militarism and detestion of the Nazi horror.I was again reminded of Hesse's greatness, and I don't see how the language of the translation could be better.I was greatly moved by the proof that there were good Germans who cringed in pain as they watched the slide to Hitlerian madness.There are 25 separate pieces and I am glad I own this book, so I can refer to them again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars For Hesse Fans and Pacifists Too
What is it like to be a famous German novelist living in Switzerland during World War II?Innumerable Germans at their wits' end would write Hermann Hesse hoping that somehow he could help them.In this collection of short pieces, Hesse shows that the best way he knew to achieve peace was to use his pen.

It is worth getting your hands on this book just in order to read "The European," which reminds us that philosophy must above all be practical.

5-0 out of 5 stars "If the War Goes On" still has me thinking after 20 years...
Hermann Hesse's "If the War Goes On" is different from many of his other books because rather than fiction, it is a book of short essays.The one which still stands out in my mind after 20-plus years is entitled, "The European".The book is worth reading.Hesse was, if I recall correctly, a pacificist whose nationality happened to be German, at a time when war was going on in Europe.The title of the book seems to reflect both the external political cirumstances of the time in which he was writing, but also, and perhaps mainly, conditions of conflict inside people.It is evident from biographies of Hesse that he struggled alot and documented this in his writing.It's time for me to re-read this incredible book. ... Read more


20. Siddhartha (Modern Library Classics)
by Hermann Hesse
Paperback: 160 Pages (2007-12-04)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$6.40
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0812974786
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life -- the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.


From the Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

2-0 out of 5 stars This Translation is Garbage
One symptom of the Myth of Progress is the belief that any new translation is automatically better than an older one. Publishers thrive thanks to this myth, enabling them to come out with a "new" translation every five years or five minutes, as circumstances permit. This Bernofsky translation, utterly unnecessary, exists thanks to that myth and to the publisher's greed, and should be avoided.

Why should it be avoided?Is it at least as good as the existing Rosner translation?No.

Pedants will tell you that the Rosner translation is full of "errors". This is because they don't know what a translation is supposed to accomplish. A pedantic review over on the better Rosner translation's page claims that Rosner makes a mistake in the first sentence: instead of "sallow wood" it should read "forest of sal trees". The review neglects to realize that "sallow", besides meaning yellow or jaundiced, can also refer to a type of tree.

But even taken as an error -- it is a minor thing compared to the nauseating, misfiring sentences produced in Bernofksy's version. A translation should match the pace and the tenor of the original. Bernosky's English instead is frequently a morass.Rosner's translation has a clear rhythm and a comprehensible meaning like the original.Bernofsky almost always opts for the figurative and the weak, while Rosner goes for the direct -- like the original.Take one case from the German:

"Sonne bräunte seine lichten Schultern am Flußufer [...]"

Rosner has: "The sun browned his slender shoulders on the riverbank [...]"

Bernofsky has instead: "Sunlight darkened his fair shoulders on the riverbank [...]"

Ever had the sun "darken" your shoulders?How about brown or tan."Darken"?

The same charge -- that a translation is "full of errors" -- is levelled at all the best translations, translations that succeed at conveying the original's overall effect.Bly's "Hunger", Kaufmann's Nietzsche, etc. are all accused of having "errors" that are always pedantic and minor.It is because they are *too* good.And publishers want a reason to publish new editions, and academics want to get lost in the minutiae, so these new translations come out that are full of "nuance" -- only when a non-native speaker is comparing it to the original and doing ad hoc translating.

This translation, for being water that seems to just drip through the fingers, makes me want to go back and evaluate her translations of Walser.

5-0 out of 5 stars brilliant and beautiful
i've only read one other translation before reading this one.this one appears to be smoother.as for the story, it is wonderful, somewhat bittersweet, far different than originally expected, but, magnificent nevertheless.it doesn't take long to read and you won't get distracted by errors.as it is already a classic, it is difficult for me to do anything but highly recommend it.this is a book that is most appealing to individuals who wish to assume a spiritual path, who have an interest in eastern philosophies.it contains no material inappropriate for teens.i give it a solid "A", i don't think, if you're like me, you'll want to lay this aside once you have picked it up!

4-0 out of 5 stars Siddhartha
When I first received Siddhartha I thought it was going to be an easy read considering the small amount of pages and simplistic title. Though this is true when I read it I realized just how good a book it was. I think that Siddhartha's path on his search for Nirvana was very interesting and I was drawn into this book. The way Siddhartha's many challenges, human desires, and obstacles that prevented him from reaching his inner peace are presented made me excited to read more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ahhhh... so THIS is the one to get
The book itself is a treasure, I can't add to any of the kudos it's received, but till now I've only been able to appreciate it in the original German (which is pretty simple and doesn't require a PhD in Germanic Studies to decode). The two English translations I have are simply a shame, with as much heart and poetry as the average daily newspaper column. This one, however, judging by the first chapter generously provided above, looks very promising, it drew me in right away and certainly makes me want to order the book, which I'll do as soon as I post this review :-)

So, now I'm wondering why neither this version nor the Hilda Rosner I've seen mentioned are the major translations of the book. Why does the bland version with 496 reviews, and no named translator come up at the top of the list when you search the title here? Very strange...

Translating is an ART, and not everyone who is bilingual can do it well. A good translation can be more difficult to achieve than writing a book from scratch. And, like I said, this one seems to project the voice of the original.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Adventure
This book came highly recommended from several sources, so I decided to give it a try. I think I would have liked it more had I not been expecting so much from Hesse. Overall, this is a rather simple tale with the essence of this book living in the details. Since it is such a quick read, I nevertheless would recommend it, especially if it falls outside of your literary tastes, for the simple fact that it may widen your world view. I definitely learned something about other cultures and for that Siddhartha was worth every minute. ... Read more


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