Hermann Hesse

(2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962 / Calw, Württemberg)

Hermann Hesse
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Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi), each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.


Family background

Hermann Hesse was born on 2 July 1877 in the Black Forest town of Calw in Württemberg, Germany. Both of Hesse's parents served in India at a mission under the auspices of the Basel Mission, a Protestant Christian missionary society. Hesse's mother, Marie Gundert, was born at such a mission in India in 1842. In ... more »

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  • ''To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning. It is a very serious task, young man, and possibly a tragic one.''
    Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. Father Jacobus, in The Glass Bead Game, ch. 4 (1943, trans. 1960).
  • You treat world history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but laws and formulas exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, sha...
    Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. Father Jacobus, in The Glass Bead Game, ch. 4 (1943, trans. 1960).
  • What I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood ...
    Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. "For Madmen Only," Steppenwolf (1927).
  • ''One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.''
    Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. Frau Eva, in Demian, ch. 5 (1960).
  • ''The call of death is a call of love. Death can be sweet if we answer it in the affirmative, if we accept it as one of the great eternal forms of life and transformation.''
    Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. Letter, 1950. "Montagnola," Hermann Hesse: A Pictorial Biography, ed. Volker Michels (1973).
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Comments about Hermann Hesse

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  • Gold Star - 68,481 Points Fabrizio Frosini (11/22/2015 4:41:00 PM)

    by Hesse, in Italian:

    ''Io ti chiesi''

    Io ti chiesi perché i tuoi occhi
    si soffermano nei miei
    come una casta stella del cielo
    in un oscuro flutto.
    Mi hai guardato a lungo
    come si saggia un bimbo con lo sguardo,
    mi hai detto poi, con gentilezza:
    ti voglio bene, perché sei tanto triste

    - Hermann Hesse

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Best Poem of Hermann Hesse

On A Journey

Don't be downcast, soon the night will come,
When we can see the cool moon laughing in secret
Over the faint countryside,
And we rest, hand in hand.

Don't be downcast, the time will soon come
When we can have rest. Our small crosses will stand
On the bright edge of the road together,
And rain fall, and snow fall,
And the winds come and go.

Translated by James Wright

Read the full of On A Journey

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