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); biographies by R. Freedman (1978), B. Zeller (2016), and G. Decker (2018); 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

References in periodicals archive ?
Hermann Hesse's Singapore Dream and Other Adventures is a time capsule of Southeast Asia in the early twentieth century, as well as an intimate diary in which can be found the creative seeds that would germinate in Hesse's later fiction, including his classic novel Siddhartha.
Highlights of the collection include Thomas Rohrkramer's historical contextualization of Lebensreform movements, Carstensen's essay on the journal Kunstwart, North's well-written and comprehensive essay on Kafka's relationship to Lebensreform in his personal life and his writings, Kathrin Geist's reading of Hermann Hesse's In den Felsen as a reflection on the impossibility of fully [re]uniting man and nature, and Schmid's essay on Davos as a site of debate and negotiation in both Mann's Zauberberg and the famous Cassirer-Heidegger debate.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the somewhat sleepy program was soprano Aga Mikolaj's marvelous performance of Richard Strauss's "Four Last Songs.'' Written in the last year of Strauss' life and conceived as a very intentional valediction, these settings of poems by Hermann Hesse and Josef von Eichendorff are filled with sumptuous, Straussian touches.
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In a remark that was perhaps less a naive belief in the power of literature to save humanity from its own catastrophes than a reflection on the unbridgeable distance between Walser's unique sensibility and the cultural climates that evolved during the rise of Nazi Germany and in the aftermath of the war, Hermann Hesse once claimed that "if poets like Robert Walser could be counted among our foremost intellects, there wouldn't be any war.
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