© J.Sobel and HHP 5/2/97
BACKGROUND, CHILDHOOD, AND YOUTH (1877-1895)
Hesse was born on July 2, 1877, in the town of Calw at the Northern edge of the Black Forest. His family background was an interesting mix of Pietism and scholarly achievements. Hesse's father, Johannes Hesse (1847-1916), was born a Russian citizen in Weissenstein, Estonia. It was here that Karl Hermann Hesse(1802-1896), Hesse's grandfather, had built a successful medical practice. Karl Hermann Hesse was not only district doctor, state councillor, and patriarch of pioneer Weissenstein, but was a colorful, jolly Pietist who was "fond of skating at fifty and continued to tend to his garden at eighty."
Hesse's mother, Marie Gundert(1842-1902), was born in Talatscheri, India, the daughter of the Pietist Missionary and Indologist, Hermann Gundert(1814-1892), whose family had its roots in Stuttgart. To these North and South German roots, Hesse's maternal grandmother, Julie Dubois (1809-1885), added a French-Swiss element.
Hermann Gundert was probably the most interesting and unusual of Hesse's immediate family. After more than twenty years as a missionary in India, Hermann returned to Europe and was assigned by the Basel Missionary Society to assist the director of its publishing house in Calw. Gundert was no ordinary Pietist missionary. Not only was he fluent in English, German, French, and Italian, but he was just as capable of preaching in Hindustani, Malajalam, and Bengali. He was almost as fluent in Kannada, Telugu, and Tamil, and was familiar with at least ten other languages.
Hermann Gundert was a scholar who devoted his time to Indological Studies, to a Malajalam translation of the Bible, a Malajalam grammar, and the completion of his Malajalam lexicon. His home, very much a special part of Hermann Hesse's memories, was a meeting place for scholars, theologians, and exotic visitors from the Orient.
Hesse's parents met when Johannes Hesse, then a Pietist missionary in Malabar, India had to return to Europe due to ill-health and settled in Calw to assist Hermann Gundert at the Calw Publishing House of the Basel Missionary Society. He met Marie Gundert, and a year later they were married. Both Johannes and Marie, besides being devoted Pietists, also had ambitious literary tastes and intellectual curiosity. Johannes eventually assumed the position of director at the Basel Mission Society in 1893, however his intellectual interests remained wide and varied, extending to Latin literature, Greek philosophies, and Oriental religions. Marie also pursued her literary interests, writing biographies of Bishop James Hannington and David Livingstone, and mastering four or five languages in between filling the duties of wife, mother, and daughter and attending endless prayer meetings.
Hesse's early childhood and youth was characterized by precociousness, enthusiasm, and rebelliousness. Until approximately 1893, Hesse's life was a series of transfers from school to school, due to "bad behavior" and intractability. As early as 1881, Hesse's parents were already starting to realize that they had no ordinary child. Johannes and Marie were doubtful as to whether they had the energy to bring up this unusually precocious child. They even considered at one point to send him away. Johannes wrote in 1893, "Humiliating though it would be to us, I am nevertheless seriously wondering if we should not put him into an institution or farm him out to strangers. We are too nervous and too weak for him ... He seems to have a gift for everything: he observes the moon and the clouds, improvises on the harmonium, makes quite amazing pencil and pen drawings, sings very ably when he has a mind to, and he is never at a loss for rhymes."
By 1886, however, when his family returned to Calw, Hesse had become quite manageable. Despite having little interest in school, Hesse effortlessly remained at the top of his class. Hesse attended Rector Otto Bauer's Latin School in Göppingen from 1890-1891 to prepare for the notorious Swabian state examination which was a prerequisite for attending the four exclusive protestant church schools of Württemberg. Hesse passed the examination and began his studies in Maulbronn in the fall. Although Hesse seemed fairly satisfied with his classes, the teachers, and the students, his stay at Maulbronn was brief and ended unhappily. Hesse ran away for twenty three hours, on March 7, 1892, and following this escapade began to suffer from headaches and insomnia. On May 7, he was withdrawn from Maulbronn and taken directly to Pastor Christoph Blumhardt of Bad Boll for a cure.
Hesse was content at Bad Boll until his unrequited love for Eugenie Kolb threw him into a depression. Hesse disappeared on June 20 after buying a revolver and leaving a suicide note. He reappeared the same day, depressed and defiant. Two days later he was sent to Pastor Gottlob Schall of nearby Stetten. After exemplary behavior in a school for mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed children, Hesse was allowed to return to Calw. At home he quickly became unmanageable again and was returned to Stetten shortly thereafter. Hesse's correspondences at this time reflect that his long restrained resentment and anger towards his parents was beginning to erupt. Hesse was deeply hurt by what he felt was parental rejection, and the fifteen year old Hesse began to rail against the establishment, his father, adult authority and religion.
Shortly thereafter, Hesse felt he was ready to resume his studies, this time at a secondary school in Cannstadt near Stuttgart. Once again, the cycle began. Hesse became frustrated with his studies, his headaches continued, and again Hesse flirted with suicide. Hesse began to frequent taverns, socialized with some questionable characters, smoked heavily, and began to incur debts. Hesse's parents finally allowed him to return home to Calw on October 18, 1893.
His formal education ended with his withdrawal from Cannstadt. Hesse subsequently spent his time in Calw gardening, assisting his father in the Calw Publishing House, and reading avidly in his grandfather's library. Hesse then became an apprentice machinist in the Perrot tower-clock factory in Calw and stayed there nearly a year doing grimy manual labor. The cycle of discontent and early rebelliousness seemed to temporarily subside when Hesse began an apprenticeship in the Heckenhauer bookshop in in the university town of Tübingen on October 17, 1895. Hesse's literary career was about to begin.
Hesse began his apprenticeship at the Heckenhauer Bookshop in Tübingen on October 17, 1895. While learning the publishing business, Hesse engaged himself with self-education, and to a degree, the many evening hours devoted to quiet thought and contemplation accorded deeper insight and clarity. Although Hesse on occasion attended social gatherings and went out with friends, overall the years in Tübingen were devoted to solitary activities. Hesse wrote at the time, "It's the work I do on my own that makes life worthwhile." Hesse spent much time reading alone, absorbing and forgetting himself in German Romantic literature, primarily Goethe who utterly captivated him.
During the Tübingen years Hesse increasingly became enveloped in an atmosphere of aestheticism, finding faith and comfort in the world of beauty, and specifically the world of poetry. Hesse strived to familiarize himself with the history of literature, and the world of romanticism, and aestheticism was of key importance. He read Brentano, Eichendorff, Schlegel, Schleiermacher, and one of his favorites, Novalis. This newfound faith in aestheticism formed the background of Hesse's first poems. It dominates in An Hour behind Midnight, as also in parts of Hermann Lauscher, and was finally beginning to fade away in Peter Camenzind.
Hesse's first collection of poems was Romantic Songs which appeared in 1899, although only a small edition was printed. Images of sadness, heaviness of spirit and loneliness dominate these poems as they reflect a man who felt an uneasiness in the world. However, even in this first publication of poems, Hesse demonstrated a precocious mastery of rhythm and a keen awareness of euphony.
Hesse's first prose collection was entitled, An Hour Behind Midnight, which was published in 1899 by Eugen Diederichs in Leipzig. As Hesse later suggested, the title, as well as the collection itself, "was the kingdom in which I lived, the dreamland of my working hours and days that lay mysteriously anywhere between time and space."
A RETREAT FROM AESTHETICISM: BASLE
Hesse chose to return to Basle after his apprenticeship in Tübingen. He was drawn to Basle in the sense that it was a cultural and historical center. Hesse arrived in 1899 with Nietzsche's works, whom he was particularly interested in at the time, as well as throughout his life. Hesse wrote, "Basle was for me above all things the town of Nietzsche, Jacob Burckhardt, and Arnold Böcklin."
In Basle, Hesse was introduced to a cultural and budding artistic center, as well as Basle's most influential families. In addition to doing his regular duties at the bookshop of Reich'sche Buchhandlung, Hesse became more social and frequently attended gatherings of many of Basle's prominent people. Through the exposure of Basle's beauty and fine art Hesse was beginning to move away from purely literary pursuits towards an appreciation of sensual and social pleasures. Whereas his years in Tübingen were primarily marked by aesthetism and solitariness his years in Basle allowed him to establish a more stable relationship with reality, and as a result his self-confidence and general well-being increased.
In 1901, in order to have more time for his writing, Hesse resigned his position in the Reich'schen Bookshop and joined the staff of Herr Wattenwyl's antiquarian bookshop. In the same year Hesse's third book was published. It was a collection of about 200 poems and it appeared in the New German Poets" series. Busse wrote in the foreword that in Hesse, contemporary literature's neo-Romanticism had found one of it's strongest and most striking talents with a unique style of his own. The book was dedicated to Hesse's mother, although she didn't live to witness its publication as she died on April 24 after a long and painful illness.
In 1903, a letter from the publisher Samuel Fischer arrived. Apparently, the publisher was impressed with Hesse's short collection, Hermann Lauscher (printed in 1901) and he requested to see some additional work. Hesse was working on a "small prose composition" at the time, which was to become Peter Camenzind, a book which was to bring Hesse immediate fame and marked the true beginning of his reputation as a great writer.Hesse endeavored in Peter Camenzind to teach people the joys of nature and the rewards of a rich relationship with nature. However, it was also important for Hesse to point out in this novel the importance of the individual and the dangers of melting into the collective.
In April, 1903, Hesse made a second trip to Italy. One of his companions was Maria Bernoulli, a woman from Basle who came from a prominent family renowned for its scholarly pursuits. They married in the summer of 1904, and due to royalties received from Peter Camenzind, Hesse was now able to give up his job and become a full-time writer. This was a major personal achievement for Hesse, who felt that he had finally won "his long and arduous battle with the world."
After the wedding, both Hesse and Maria decided that they wanted to "lead a simple, natural, unurban, unfashionable, and country life." After a fair amount of searching they finally discovered a simple farmhouse in the village of Gaienhofen on the Untersee. It was a simple life with a small amount of amenities. Yet at the time it was just what they wanted, a private abode amid beautiful nature. Although Hesse finally had a home that he could call his own, there were still times of uneasiness and fears of domestic comfortablity. Much of his feelings and thoughts during the Gaienhofen years can be found in Picture Book, which appeared in book form in 1926.
They lived in the old farmhouse for three years. Their first child, Bruno, was born there on December 9, 1905, and many of Hesse's stories and poems were written there. But they had to leave the house, and Hesse decided to buy a piece of land and build a home for himself. They found a remote spot which had an unobstructed view of the Untersee, and the house itself was larger with a garden which Hesse cultivated and oversaw attentively.
Hesse had many fellow writer friends whom he spent time with, and there grew a circle of friends, colleagues and aquaintances. However, Hesse's most successful friendships were with musicians and painters. Music and art were always things which Hesse loved, and it seemed that Hesse's friendships with musicians and artists afforded him with new perspectives, new insights, and perhaps some vicarious satisfaction as well. Through his friendships Hesse also came to write some text for a couple of operas.
Hesse's success and fame grew fast during the Gaienhofen years. In 1904 he was awarded the Bauernfeld prize, which brought him 1000 crowns. The Swabian Schiller Society elected him an associate member, and the first Hesse Society was formed. Peter Camenzind, critically acclaimed and often reprinted, was followed by The Prodigy, which took its place on the long list of novels about schooldays and youth that were then fashionable reading material. In addition, Hesse wrote a number of collections of short stories during this time, which usually appeared previously in journals.
Hesse's novel, Gertrude, first appeared in 1909 in Velhagen and Klasing's Monatsheften. Its reception was mixed, however it nevertheless had worth to Hesse who seemed to feel that the novel and main character was misunderstood. Wholly dependent upon his writing for a livlihood, Hesse was obliged to increase the quantity of his contributions to paper and journals. Hesse also wrote a considerable number of book reviews and articles on literature in general. Throughout his life, Hesse maintained a strong influence on the literary life of the times through his attentive and critical observation of contemporary literature which he communicated through reviews and articles.
Hesse's contribution to journals, his editorial and his work as a literary critic were not only influential on contemporary literature, but they were also very important to Hesse, who felt it a serious and important duty, done primarily for reasons of "conscience". Hesse selected literary coverage based on quality regardless of standing; younger and unknown poets were given their chance along with the established writers.
Hesse also assisted in the preparation of new editions of the poets, as well as the publication of anthologies. These projects started during the years immediately before the outbreak of war and continued in its importance throughout Hesse's life. The amount of work Hesse took on continued to increase, as well as the demand, which Hesse could not keep up with. The Gaienhofen way of life began to wear away at him, and Hesse became restless and exhausted. Two new children were also born, Heiner in 1909, and a third son, Martin, in 1911.
In an effort to gain some perspective and ,"discover what was happening", Hesse traveled with increasing frequency, and in 1911 set out for India. Hesse was drawn to India ever since he was a child. It was his mother's homeland, as well as where his father and grandfather had worked. It also carried a certain mystique, something he acquired from the atmosphere of his grandfather's house during his childhood. However, Hesse was later to comment that India did not afford the spiritual encounter that he had hoped for. Rather he realized that India and the East were representations of qualities that you had to locate within yourself.
On returning from India, Hesse realized that he could no longer go on in Gaienhofen. His marriage was in trouble and life had become one of habit and duty. Maria wanted the children to have Swiss nationality, so they finally decided on Berne in the former home of a friend who had recently died. Although critics were later to maintain that Hesse emigrated to Switzerland for political reasons, there was no foundation for this whatsoever.
WAR AND AWAKENING: BERNE
In September 1912, Hesse and his family moved to their new home in the Melchenbühlweg on the edge of Bern. This new house was made the scene of Hesse's next novel, Rosshalde, which was published in book form in 1913. It is "an allegorical novel in which the sickness and death of a lovable little boy represent the withering and death of a marriage." After twenty-six years Hesse felt that the book had stood the test of time, saying, "With this book I reached as high as I was ever to get in terms of literary ability."
By the time World War I broke out, Hesse had already lived in Switzerland for two years. Not wanting to escape his duties as a German citizen, Hesse went to the German Consulate in Berne and volunteered for military service. Hesse was turned down, but was later assigned to the Prisoners of War Welfare Organization.
Hesse, somewhat removed from the "war psychosis", appealed to his fellow man to return to spiritual values and the virtues of "justice, moderation, decency, and love". Hesse's call for peace was returned with alienation and hate. The German press called him a "traitor" and a "wretch", things which needless to say hurt Hesse very deeply.
From 1915 until the beginning of 1919, Hesse worked tirelessly for the Prisoners of War Welfare Organization. Its primary function was to provide German prisoners in France and in America, as well as those interned in Switzerland, with books and small libraries. Due to the exhausting work for the prisoners of war, the severe distress caused by the war itself, the dangerous illness of his youngest child, his father's death in 1916, and the crisis of his marriage, Hesse became very depressed and had to interrupt his prisoners' welfare work. Subsequently, Hesse underwent psychoanalysis in the Sonnmatt private clinic in Lucerne. There, with the help of Dr. J.B.Lang, a student of Jung's , Hesse was able to clear the blockage through a closer relationship with the subconscious mind.
These years came to be known as the "Sinclair period", this being the pseudonym under which Demian was published. Demian is the most important and significant of Hesse's books to come out of this great period of "upheaval, change, and fresh beginnings." Demian was a product of the psychoanalysis Hesse had underqone, and it opened the eyes of a new generation of readers, primarily the people of the twenties just returning home from the war.
THE MONTAGNOLA YEARS
By the time Demian was published Hesse already left his house in Berne, and was never to return again. During the latter part of 1918, Hesse's household had collapsed completely. Hesse's wife was in a mental institution, and there was no hope of their marriage being restored. After the exhaustion of the war, Hesse found it necessary to begin his life again, and with some introspection, begin afresh. Hesse settled on Montagnola, Switzerland in 1919, the place which was to become his permanent home. Finally self-reliant, Hesse discovered new urges to create and life seemed invigorating once again.
Hesse, inspired by the beautiful countryside surrounding Ticino, spent increasingly more time painting. Painting was an activity that Hesse intrinsically enjoyed, and his passion for painting influenced his writing, enriching his descriptive language.
In 1919, Hesse began co-established a new journal, Vivos Voco, whose main goal was to rebuild post-war Germany through a new focus on educating Germany's youth. Hesse co-edited the journal until 1922, yet continued to write reviews for it. While 1919 was a highpoint in Hesse's life, 1920 was, according to Hesse, one of the least productive years of his life. It was a period of introspection and relative inactivity.
Hesse began work on Siddhartha in 1919 and it was published in 1922. Hesse himself said the book was the fruit of "nearly twenty years of familiarity with the thought of India and China.' Siddhartha was a culmination of Hesse's immersion in Eastern philosophy and spirituality since his first exposure as a young boy in his grandfather's home.
Hesse's marriage was dissolved in the summer of 1923, and that same year he was granted Swiss citizenship. Hesse married again in January 1924 to Ruth Wenger, the daughter of the Swiss writer Lisa Wenger. However, his second marriage only lasted four years, dissolving in 1927.
Between the years of 1923 and 1927 Hesse spent time at Baden, a health resort, following medical advice. Hesse spent time relaxing, contemplating, and wrote a number of poems, journals, short stories, books, as well as notes on future novels. Hesse became increasingly preoccupied with examining polarities and the discrepancies not only within himself, but also between reality and ideals. Hesse also became disturbed by the oppression of technology and civilization and the selfsatisfied bourgeousie which seemed to epitomize these things. This renewed analysis of himself and his times is illustrated in Hesse's Steppenwolf, published in 1927, a novel which explored these imminent ideas.
In the spring of the same year, after suffering from serious physical exhaustion, Hesse started work on Narcissus and Goldmund, a book which presents a resolution to the tensions between spirit and eros. In Narcissus and Goldmund, polarities exist, but rather than the result being discord, there is an ultimate satisfation and respect in different ideals and alternate ways of life.
After having lived in his unheated "home in the steppe," a small apartment in the phantastic Casa Camuzzi in Montagnola (Ticino), Hesse moved to a house nearby that a friend built for him and his third wife, Ninon Dolbin-Ausländer, thereafter known as "Casa Rossa". The house was set on a scenic lot, hidden behind trees and shruberies, and with a view of both mountains and lake. Once again, Hesse was in an inspiringly beautiful place and back into the rhythm of nature.
Hesse enjoyed gardening and reading in his library, which was a true testament to world literature. In the fifteen years after the First World War, Hesse created new editions of literature that he considered important, always feeling compelled as Hesse was to expose people to the joys and importance of reading. In addition, Hesse also did a great deal of book reviewing throughout his life. Between 1920 and 1936, Hesse reviewed approximately a thousand books for over twenty different papers and journals.
On the eve of the Second World War, Hesse foresaw the political turmoil Germany was undergoing, and the subsequent war which was to ensue. However, unlike Hesse's active involvement in the First World War, which caused him great spiritual and physical exhaustion, Hesse for the most part was uninvolved in the Second World War, except to comment on its obvious barbarity. Once again, as an onlooker, all Hesse could do was look on Germany with horror and "deepest disgust", resigned to the inevitability of circumstances beyond his control.
Hesse reached the zenith of his creative endeavors with The Glass Bead Game, a novel that drew upon a lifetime of work and experience. In addition, Hesse also completed The Journey to the East in 1931, a novel which is closely tied with The Glass Bead Game in spiritual content and imagery. However, it was The Glass Bead Game which was his primary concern and work from 1931 to 1942. As early as 1935 he had described it in a letter as the ultimate goal of his life and work. The Glass Bead Game was completed on April 29, 1942, and was only permitted to be published in Switzerland.
Due to persistent demand, and despite his own unwillingness to do it, Hesse completed a collected edition of his poems. Die Gedichte (Poems), as the complete edition was called. It was published in 1942 by Fretz and Wasmuth. Poems included nearly every poem Hesse wrote: about 600 altogether, written over a period of about fifty years.
THE FINAL YEARS
Throughout his life, Hesse consistently received letters and visits from young people who turned to him for advice, information, and help, presented to him as though he were their private confessor. Conscious of their historical and literary value, Hesse bequeathed some of these letters to a library, and in 1951 published a selection from his own replies. These letters reflect the enormous influence that Hesse had on a small, yet very significant section of his public.
For the most part, Hesse's readers were responding in kind to the confessional aspect of Hesse's writing. There was a natural recognition of oneself in Hesse's writing, an understanding that many had never experienced so deeply and clearly before. Hesse wrote thousands of letters in response to this flood of mail, until his correspondence occupied "the greater part of his working day." Hesse rarely failed to answer a letter, and even on the day after his eighty-fifth birthday he was up by 7:30 a.m to start on his replies to that day's 900 congratulatory letters.
In 1946, Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Ill health prevented him from making the journey to Sweden to accept the prize in person, but in his speech of thanks he said: "I feel united to you all, but primarily through the fundamental notion that inspired the Nobel Foundation, the idea of the supranationality and internationality of the spirit and its duty to serve not war and destruction but peace and reconciliation."
Although Hesse's life was a series of "crises and new beginnings", his work and though show a great degree of consistent development. "I see Knulp, Demian, Siddhartha, Klingsor, Steppenwolf, and Goldmund as brothers of one another, each a variation of my central theme," he informed one of his readers in 1930. Twenty-four years later Hesse described this theme as the defense of the personality: "From Camenzind to Steppenwolf and Josef Knecht, they can all be interpreted as a defense(sometimes also as an SOS) of the personality, of the individual self."
Hesse was ill throughout the winter of 1961, and was unaware that for some time he had been suffering from leukemia. On his eighty-fifth birthday, Montagnola elected him an honorary citizen, an honor he was delighted to accept. On the evening of August 8, Hesse listened to a Mozart sonata, and his wife read aloud to him as she did every evening. The next morning Hesse died in his sleep of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was buried in the cemetery of S.Abbondio between Montagnola and Lugano in the afternoon of August 11. One of Hesse's last poems, "written on an April night" in the spring of l961, ends with these lines:
What you loved and what you strove for,
What you dreamed and what you lived through,
Do you know if it was joy or suffering?
G sharp and A flat, E flat or D sharp,
Are they distinguishable to the ear?
Zeller, Bernhard. Portrait of Hesse: An Illustrated Biography. New York: McGraw Hill Book Company,1963.
Mileck, Joseph. Hermann Hesse: Life and Art. University of California Press, 1978.
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1. "GOETHE": Hesse wrote, "Of all German writers, it is Goethe to whom I owe most, who occupies me most, claims my attention, encourages me, who forces me to emulation or opposition." Essay: "Homage to Goethe" (1946). (Back)
2. "AESTHETICISM": Hesse created for himself an aesthetic world picture, one in which he found faith in the world of beauty. As early as 1897 he said, "I have been convinced for a long while now that, for artists, aesthetics replaces morality.' (Back)
3. "BASLE" (Basel): Hesse told his parents in 1899, "I find myself wellplaced and living a full and exciting life between profession, private work, and social life. My inner life and literary plans have gradually acquired a degree of clarity and a sense of direction that make any incidental difficulties seem trifling. Though there are still things to worry about, I have never experienced a year so rich in thought, self-knowledge, decision, and achievement as the one that has just gone ... my chief concern after so much haste and disruption is to achieve a sense of youthfulness and well-being and to spring-clean and expose to the sunlight my somewhat fusty and distorted earlier existence. This I need more that I can say." (Back)
4. "NATURE": Regarding Peter Camenzind, Hesse said: "My intention, as is now known, was to familiarize modern man with the overflowing and silent life of nature. I wanted to teach him to listen to the earth's heartbeat, to participate in the life of nature, and not to overlook in the press of his own little destiny that we are not gods, not creatures of our own making, but children, parts of the earth and of the cosmic whole." (Back)
5. "WRITER": Hesse said: "A man is not at his best as a member of an association, a participant in a conspiracy, or a voice in a choir. Instead of community, camaraderie, and classification, he seeks the opposite; he does not want the path of the many, but obstinately only his own path; he does not want to run with the pack and adapt himself, but to reflect nature and world in his own soul, experiencing them in fresh images. He is not made for life in the collective but is a solitary king in a dream world of his own creation." (Back)
6. "REVIEWS": In a review written in 1922 for Vivos Vocos Hesse came out unequivocally against German anti-semitism. " A little bood called Verrat am Deutschtum by Wilhelm Michel (Verlag P.Steegemann, Hanover) gives me an opportunity to say something about one of the most ugly and foolish forms of nationalism demonstrated nowadays by some young Germans. I refer to the idiotic and pathological baiting of Jews indulged in by the swastika bards and their numerous, primarily student, followers. We have had antisemitism before and on that occasion it was silly, like all such movements, but it didn't do much harm. But the form of it with us now among misled German youth does a lot of harm, because it prevents these young people from seeing the world as it is and because disastrously it encourages the tendency to seek out a scapegoat on which to blame everything that goes wrong. Whether one loves the Jews or not, they are people, frequently much more clever, more active, and better men that their fanatical opponents. If they do wrong, then we can fight them just as we fight any other evil ... But to make a whole race the scapegoat for the evil in the world and for the thousand serious faults of the German people is such a vile exhibition of decadence that the damage it does outweights tenfold such damage as might ever have been done by the Jews themselves." (Back)
7. "CITIZENSHIP": Hence said, "When I saw during the post-war years how with one accord Germany was sabotaging the Republic, and that it had learned nothing from its previous mistakes, it became an easy matter for me to assume Swiss nationality, something I would not have been able to do during the war, in spit of my condemnation by the German Machtpolitik." 1945 in a letter to Bishop Wurm of Württemberg. (Back)
8. "STEPPENWOLF": The character, Harry Haller, tries to resolve the tension between himself and the outer world. "But his life is split in many ways, 'not just between two poles, instinct and spirit, or the saint and the libertine, but swings between thousands, countless, pairs of poles.'" (Back)
9. "WORLD LITERATURE": Hesse saw the study of world literature as a necessary way of giving life meaning, interpreting the past, and preparing oneself to meet the future without fear." In A Library of World Literature Hesse explained that study such as this means "familiarizing oneself gradually with the massive treasury of thoughts, experiences, symbols, fantasies, and utopian dreams that the past has bequeathed to us in the works of writers and thinkers of many nations. It is an endless journey ... its goal is not merely to read and know as much as possible but to acquire some inkling of the breadth and richness of what man has conceived and striven for by studying a personal selection of his greatest books." (Back)
10. "REVIEWED": When the Nationalist Socialist Party came to power in Germany, Hesse sought out "books that others dare not review: books by Jews or Catholics, or by writers who put forward a point of view at variance with the official line." (Back)
11. "WAR": Hesse refused to speak out in public against the fascist regime in Germany. "My intense emotional involvement in the war of 1914-1918 all but destroyed me, and in consequence I am now unshaken in my conviction that for myself I must reject any attempt to change the world by force. And neither could I support such an attempt, not even a socialist one, nor one that was apparently desirable and just. It is always the wrong people that get killed, and even if it were the right people I do not believe in the curative and expiatory properties of killing people; and though I can see the beginnings of a decision resulting from the possible culmination of party struggles in civil strife - the moral tension of the Either/Or - I shall continue to reject violence ..." (Back)
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