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Thoughts to reflect on: Hermann Hesse

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The Steppenwolf

Called "the last romanticist", Hermann Hesse (2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962 ) made a major impact on 20th-century western literature and culture. Hesse inspired authors like Thomas Mann, Sam Shepard, Colin Wilson, and Timothy Leary, the composer Richard Strauss, the musician Carlos Santana and many more. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize, of which he wasn't really enthusiastic, though. His works reflect upon the nature of the self, the search for meaning and authenticity, the complicated relation between the individual and the others, and the enigmatic nature of collective archetypes and unconsciousness. The German-Swiss writer was a true traveler in the universe inside us. A few people in the history of literature possessed such eloquence and abilities to represent so genuinely the depth of the inner world, emotions, and dreams of their characters. Hesse's studies of Eastern knowledge became a significant inspiration and theme in his novels, some of which are considered as the most refined and "true translations" of Eastern wisdom into the terms of Western culture. There was something of a cult of Hermann Hesse's "Magical theater" of the self. Rock bands, artists, and writers, part of the 60's counter-culture partly embraced his visionary and imaginative narratives, evidently without his approval or identification with any of them. Hermann Hesse has lived, especially in his late ages, a peculiarly secluded life. Notoriously, in front of his door in Switzerland, there was a sign saying "No Visitors".

Probably his most-known books are Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game. All of them enacting the psychological inner dramaturgy of the individual. Hermann Hesse's stories embody the timeless existential journey of one towards his destiny and mission in this world. He became one of the finest voices of the human condition, soul, and personality.

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