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A Companion to the Works of Hermann Hesse


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Today, forty years after Timothy Leary's suggestion that hippies read Hermann Hesse while "turning on," Hesse is once again receiving attention: faced with ubiquitous materialism, war, and ecological disaster, we discover that these problems have found universal expression in the works of this master storyteller. Hesse explores perennial themes, from the simple to the transcendental. Because he knows of the awkwardness of adolescence and the pressures exerted on us to conform, his books hold special appeal for young readers and are taught widely. Yet he is equally relevant for older readers, writing about the torment of a psyche in despair, or our fear of the unknown. All these experiences are explored from the perspective of the individual self, for Hesse the repository of the divine and the sole entity to which we are accountable. This volume of new essays sheds light on his major works, including Siddhartha, Der Steppenwolf, and Das Glasperlenspiel, as well as Rohalde, Klingsors letzter Sommer, Klein und Wagner, and the poetry. Another six essays explore Hesse's interest in psychoanalysis, music, and eastern philosophy, the development of his political views, the influence of his painting on his writing, and the relationship between Hesse and Goethe.

Contributors: Jefford Vahlbusch, Osman Durrani, Andreas Solbach, Ralph Freedman, Adrian Hsia, Stefan Höppner, Martin Swales, Frederick Lubich, Paul Bishop, Olaf Berwald, Kamakshi Murti, Marco Schickling, Volker Michels, Godela Weiss-Sussex, C. Immo Schneider, Hans-Joachim Hahn.

Ingo Cornils is Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Leeds, UK.


The contributions are based on a good knowledge of the earlier research and yet go beyond it . . . . This new and stimulating Companion can take its rightful place among the other Hesse companions that have arisen in recent years. ARBITRIUM

The composition of the volume provides a well-rounded picture of the author and his work and gains above all by virtue of the synthesis of well-known facts and completely new approaches and perspective. LITERATURKRITIK.DE

[T]he authors . . . represent the elite of 21st-century Hesse criticism...[T]his outstanding collection . . . treats all of Hesse's major works, his early work, his most popular work, and his minor works. Recommended. CHOICE

[O]utstandingly edited. . . . [T]he book does justice to Hesse's transcultural work . . . [It] asks questions, answers them, opens new perspectives, and emphasizes and newly formulates well-known positions: different opinions are allowed. Not only in terms of content but in terms of language this (English-language) volume opens itself to an international readership. MONATSHEFTE


First Published: 30 Nov 2009
13 Digit ISBN: 9781571133304
Pages: 446
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Camden House
Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Subject: German Literature
BIC Class: DSB

Details updated on 22 Sep 2014


  • 1  Introduction: From Outsider to Global Player -- Hermann Hesse in the Twenty-First Century
  • 2  Novel Ideas: Notes toward a New Reading of Hesse's Unterm Rad
  • 3  Rosshalde (1914): A Portrait of the Artist as a Husband and Father
  • 4  The Aesthetics of Ritual: Pollution, Magic, and Sentimentality in Hesse's Demian (1919)
  • 5  Klein und Wagner
  • 6  Klingsors letzter Sommer and the Transformation of Crisis
  • 7  Siddhartha
  • 8  Der Steppenwolf
  • 9  Hermann Hesse's Narziss und Goldmund: Medieval Imaginaries of (Post-)Modern Realities
  • 10  Beads of Glass, Shards of Culture, and the Art of Life: Hesse's Das Glasperlenspiel
  • 11  Hesse's Poetry
  • 12  "Ob die Weiber Menschen seyn?": Hesse, Women, and Homoeroticism
  • 13  Hermann Hesse's Politics
  • 14  Hermann Hesse and Psychoanalysis
  • 15  On the Relationship between Hesse's Painting and Writing: Wanderung, Klingsors letzter Sommer, Gedichte des Malers, and Piktors Verwandlungen
  • 16  Hermann Hesse and Music
  • 17  Hermann Hesse's Goethe

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