Essays in German and Comparative Literature

By Oskar Seidlin | Go to book overview

HERMANN HESSE: THE EXORCISM OF THE DEMON

The conferring of the literary Nobel Prize for 1946 upon Hermann Hesse has brought into the international limelight, however briefly, a figure whose features were unfamiliar to the literary world at large. It has also illuminated the perplexing fact that our notions of literary greatness and fame are both arbitrary and relative in that an author, whose merits and standing are solidly confirmed at home, may be found "obscure" by foreign literary critics. The question that was being asked somewhat mockingly "Who, after all, is Hermann Hesse?" must be disquieting to anybody familiar with contemporary German literature. And the fact that second and third rate German novelists and biographers gained easy admittance into our country, while only a few of Hesse's books were translated (and are now being gradually re-issued), sets one thinking about the strange selective process at work in the establishment of a world-literature. This phenomenon would lose its awkwardness if Hesse's talent, themes and problems were such as to appeal primarily to a narrowly defined home audience. But this is not the case. One cannot easily dismiss the fact that two such discerning and different writers as Franz Kafka and André Gide have counted Hesse among their favorites, that a true citizen of the world, Romain Rolland, has not only found him worthy of personal friendship but considered him one of his most interesting literary contemporaries. This, and the adoration which Hesse Demian (published anonymously in 1919) enjoyed among the élite of German youth who clasped this book as if it embodied a new Revelation emerging from the apocalypse of the World War, may justify a closer analysis of Hermann Hesse's literary work. This evaluation will not deal with the obvious ties connecting Hesse with the poets of German Romanticism; it will not focus upon the socio-political concerns as expressed in his pacifist manifestos published during the first World War. Rather it will concentrate on Hesse's ruthless and self-tormenting exposure of the condition humaine, his metaphysical anxiety, his struggle with the demon and yearning for redemption which make him both a "modern" in the truest sense of the word and an ally of those who, by self-dissection, have made us painfully aware of the fate of man under the Sign of the Crisis.

-203-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Essays in German and Comparative Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 256

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.