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Books on Tap: Hermann Hesse

January 9, 2011

As with Hesse, I am continually amazed at what I discover. For Hesse, life itself is discovery and in that journey it leads to one’s Self. This book is a series of astute essays on writer and artist, Hermann Hesse. As a lifelong student of Hesse, I enthusiastically endorse this book.

“Each one of artists, even if he has many self- doubts and thinks his talents and abilities are terribly minor, still has a purpose and a calling, and if he remains true to himself accomplishes something in his station that only he is capable of…. my dear son, both of us, you and I, are participating in a task that is as old as the world.”
– to his son, Bruno,

“In your writing….strive above all for truth, not for beauty. The latter will then come of itself.”
– to a young author, 1951

From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up-Winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize for Literature, Hesse is revered internationally by readers who share his views on pacifism, individuality, isolation, and spirituality. Influenced by Benedict de Spinoza, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as by Indian and Chinese philosophy, his writings covered a period of disenchantment with his native country (Germany) as well as his life during two World Wars. Essays here include discussions of Hesse’s personal life, writing style, themes, characters, philosophy, and influences. His novels Siddhartha, Narcissus and Goldmund, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, and Demian are analyzed as is some of his poetry. Similarities of Hesse’s writings with those of Andre Gide, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce are discussed in several essays. Excerpts of his poems are included in both German and English. This scholarly book will help advanced students of literature better understand the writer’s works.
Pat Bender, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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