Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf

Synopsis

Thomas Wayne presents a fresh new translation of this classic that is a particular favorite of young adults confronting life's deepest questions and equally liberating for readers facing a mid-life crisis. Basil Creighton's 1929 version (revised in 1963 by Joseph Mileck) is the best-known version in English; it skips words, smoothes out long, involved passages, unnecessarily "improves" the text ndash; all things Thomas Wayne refuses to do. As with his already published translations of Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, Ecce Homo, and The Antichrist, he emphasizes a strict adherence and reverence for the literal ndash; a Hesse for the 21st century, meaningful and faithful to the original.

Excerpt

Hermann Hesse’s work Steppenwolf was first published in German in 1927, but what it contains is still relevant today. Perhaps it is more important in our current cultural climate than ever before. It is the story of the lone individual, lost in the ironic good fortune and security of bourgeois banality and cultural conformity. The central character, Harry Haller, has all the insight, all the leisure, all the material goods he needs, yet he is not at peace with his life. His physical ailments are but symptoms of his true crisis, that of a lost soul, that of a life without meaning, that of a human without a love of humanity.

Haller, like many of us, is torn in two by his love of comfort and safety, on the one hand, and his deeper drive for a more authentically creative existence on the other. His tragic situation is born out of his inability to translate his blessings into love. Before his magical journey of discovery begins, he is nearly consumed by an almost suicidal paralysis in the face of that added dimension of existence which would bring it spiritual meaning.

Make no mistake, Steppenwolf is not a light read. Yet the escape it provides from the pabulum of today’s entertainment is a welcome reminder of that “something more” to be found in human experience. We do not all suffer from the same issues that Harry does, over-intellectualization and self-exile from society. But many of us feel a similar need to explore life’s depths in the midst of a culture . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.