Hermann Hesse

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Hesse, Hermann

(hĕr`män hĕs`ə), 1877–1962, German novelist and poet. A pacifist, he went to Switzerland at the outbreak of World War I and became (1923) a Swiss citizen. The spiritual loneliness of the artist and his estrangement from the modern world are recurring themes in Hesse's works. His novels, increasingly psychoanalytic and symbolic, include Peter Camenzind (1904, tr. 1961), Unterm Rad (1906, tr. Beneath the Wheel, 1968), Rosshalde (1914, tr. 1970), and Demian (1919, tr. 1923, 1958). One of his most famous and most complex novels, Steppenwolf (1927, tr. 1929, 1963), treats the dual nature of humanity. This theme is also pursued in Narziss und Goldmund (1930, tr. Death and the Lover, 1932; Narcissus and Goldmund, 1968).

Among his other works are Das Glasperlenspiel (1943, tr. The Glass Bead Game, 1970) and Siddhartha (1922, tr. 1951), a novella reflecting Hesse's interest in Asian mysticism. The gentle, lyric quality of Hesse's prose is shared by the wistful, lamenting verse of his Gedichte (1922, tr. Poems, 1970) and Trost der Nacht (1929). His essays are collected in Betrachtungen (1928) and Krieg und Frieden (1946, tr. If the War Goes on… , 1970). Hesse was awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Bibliography

See his Wandering (autobiographical notes, tr. 1972); studies by R. Rose (1965), T. Ziolowski (1965 and 1966), M. Boulby (1967), G. W. Field (1972), J. Mileck (1978), R. Freedman (1979), and E. L. Stelzig (1988).

Hesse, Hermann

 

Born July 2, 1877, in Calw, Württemberg; died Aug. 9, 1962, in Montagnola, Switzerland. German writer.

Hesse lived in Switzerland from 1912. He was a pacifist during World War I. After World War II, Hesse renounced fascism, calling for the consolidation of peace and attacking the rebirth of revanchism and militarism in West Germany.

In the novel Peter Camenzind (1904; Russian translation, 1910), Hesse portrays the bitter fate of an artist in a world where profit and success are the only ideals. The novel Demian (1919) and the novella Klein and Wagner (1920) reveal the influence of C. G. Jung’s depth psychology in their treatment of the individual’s self-realization. In the novel Steppenwolf (1927; Russian translation, 1977), the destructive forces of bourgeois civilization are overcome by means of art and humor. Hess summed up his moral reflections in the Utopian novel Magister Ludi (also published as The Glass Bead Game; 1943; Russian translation, 1969), concluding that a leading cultural figure must not remain aloof from reality, even when he does not accept it.

Hesse also wrote verse cycles, short stories, critical essays, and publicist articles on contemporary themes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1946.

WORKS

Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1–12. Frankfurt am Main, 1970.
Hermann Hesse und Romain Rolland: Briefe. Zürich, 1954.
Briefe, erweiterte Ausgabe. Frankfurt am Main, 1965.
Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann: Briefwechsel. Frankfurt am Main, 1968.
In Russian translation:
Monakh. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Okol’nyeputi: Rasskazy. Moscow, 1913.
Tropa mudrosti. Leningrad-Moscow, 1924.

REFERENCES

Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 5. Moscow, 1976. Pages 511–27.
Sedel’nik, V. D. German Gesse i shveitsarskaia literatura. Moscow, 1970.
Böttger, F. Hermann Hesse: Leben, Werk, Zeit. Berlin, 1974.
Bareiss, O. Hermann Hesse: Eine Bibliographie der Werke, vols. 1–2. Basel, 1962–64.

V. D. SEDEUNIK

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His world of vagabond ballad singers and the sheer spirituality of so much of it reminded this reviewer of the writings of Herman Hesse or Thomas Mann, reflecting perfectly a vanished time like yesterday's sea-light - a glimmering which darts about conti nually through these remarkable pages which can move you to tears.