Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse (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.


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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Hermann Hesse; Thomas Wayne.
Algora, 2010
Classic Cult Fiction: A Companion to Popular Cult Literature
Thomas Reed Whissen.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of "Demian" begins on p. 74, discussion of "Siddhartha" begins on p. 207 and discussion of "Steppenwolf" begins on p. 230
Poststructuralism, Politics, and Education
Michael Peters.
Bergin & Garvey, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Cybernetics, Cyberspace, and the University: Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game and the Dream of a Universal Language"
Dostoevski and the Human Condition after a Century
Alexej Ugrinsky; Frank S. Lambasa; Valija K. Ozolins.
Greenwood Press, 1986
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Rebirth and the Cognitive Dream: From Dostoevski to Hermann Hesse and C. G. Jung"
The Prometheus Syndrome
Bettina L. Knapp.
Whitston, 1979
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Hermann Hesse: Demian and Steppenwolf: From Inflation to Alienation (1877-1962)"
The Germanic Mosaic: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Society
Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay.
Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 30 "Homosexual Identity (Misin)Formation in Hesse's Demian"
The Radical Appeal of Hermann Hesse's Alternative Community
Wilde, Lawrence.
Utopian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1999
The Significance of the Epiphany in der Steppenwolf
Fickert, Kurt J.
International Fiction Review, Vol. 29, No. 1-2, January 2002
Essays in German and Comparative Literature
Oskar Seidlin.
University of North Carolina Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Hermann Hesse: The Exorcism of the Demon" begins on p. 203
After Innocence: Visions of the Fall in Modern Literature
Terry Otten.
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Demian by Hermann Hesse" begins on p. 96
Memories of the Moderns
Harry Levin.
New Directions, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Travelling Companions: Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann" begins on p. 73
German Men of Letters
Alex Natan.
Oswald Wolff, vol.2, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "Hermann Hesse" begins on p. 249
Writers and Philosophers: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Influences on Literature
Edmund J. Thomas; Eugene G. Miller.
Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Hesse, Hermann" begins on p. 88
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