Talk:Hermann Hesse

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old talk[edit]

The passage about the (supposed) view of Hesse and Sidharta in Asian cultures seems speculative and out of place in an encyclopedia article. I'll remove it unless anyone cares to defend it. --Liss 13:47, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

there is much more information in the hebrew site. i just finished writing it though it is not edited yet(6 am now im tired) so if you have some one who knows hebrew - translate it... you can contact me there - YMIBleeding good night

Developed a sterile conservatism in later life (In Glasperlenspiel, all music after Johann Sebastian Bach is denounced as superficial and bad, Ludwig van Beethoven being an extreme example of bad taste, his best supposedly the 24 variations over a theme by Diabelli, etc., etc.

I tried to fix that sentence, and removed some of the content ("his best supposedly the 24 variations over a theme by Diabelli"), since I wasn't sure what it was referring to. Skagedal 16:47, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)It refers to the Beethoven¨s Diabelli Variations, one of his greatests piano works. The theme by Diabelli is trivial.....

The 'sterile' adjective should be deleted, or at least *much* better explained. The view labeled as conservative is by a character, not necessarily it is Hesse's; and if so, it can be defended.

--- This is simply unsourced. I have a copy of Glasperlenspiel in my hand, and I see no reference to Hesse's supposed comment on Beethoven/Bach. That seems to be a gross simplification of his views on music, and an inaccurate one at that. If I don't see any comments arguing why it shouldn't be removed, I'm going to go ahead and cut that one out.

In Steppenwolf he seems to suggest that all music after Mozart went bad, with Beethoven a borderline case ... (talk) 14:31, 6 April 2010 (UTC) 25 Sep 2005 --[User:Anon.]

-- LeandroGFCDutra 22:18, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

footnote problem[edit]

the citiation to "O Friends, Not These Tones" is not correct. It points to the text of the lyrics to a Beethoven symphony? --[User:Anon.] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:36, 20 July 2008 (UTC) Yes, the introductory words by Beethoven to Schiller´s Ode to joy, in the final of his Choral Symphony (1824) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:34, 11 August 2008 (UTC)


there is a collection of hesse's poetry entitled 'crisis'. the version i once owned had both the original german and the english translations. since i don't know the publication date, i have not amended the article. AoF

Yes, something on his poetry (and Strauss's "Four Last Songs"?) would be great. —JerryFriedman 00:02, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I've added some collections (poetry, short stories and essays) and some of the alternate English titles. I also removed the reference to Steppenwolf (band) – it's not really relevant here as it is mentioned on the Steppenwolf page. --Bruce1ee (Talk) 07:18, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Bibliographic citation added[edit]

As suggested by AoF, Crisis: Pages from a Diary has been added to the Hesse bibliography. The original German title is Krisis: Ein Stück Tagebuch. The bibliographic information comes from the reference work Contemporary Authors and the 1975 English language edition published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. There are a number of Hesse titles that are unique English language collections such as Wandering and Hours in the Garden. May these also be added? Donw714 19:49, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Yes, add them – but perhaps the bibliography now needs to be split up into (say) Novels and Collections. --Bruce1ee (Talk) 06:13, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Splitting up the bibliography into sections sounds like a good idea. Perhaps after a few additional citations, how it might be best split up may become apparent. Thanks. Donw714 18:13, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

External link added[edit]

An external link to the Hermann Hesse page has been added. This page is an authoritative source, in English and German, with current and archived articles on Hesse, as well as monthly features of the author's work. Donw714 18:13, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Bibliographic item added[edit]

A new item has been added to the bibliography, Wandering (Wanderung: Aufzeichnungen) from 1920. The citation was taken from the item itself, which I have in hand. Don 18:04, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Hesse's influences[edit]

It would be interesting to expand the information on Hesse's influences. I added a note about Novalis (see Talk:Novalis#Influence_on_Hesse, but I am sure there is much more that can be added in this area. --Euchrid9 15:29, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

In his autobiography at the, he writes that his influences were: "Plato, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche as well as the historian Jacob Burckhardt. But they did not influence me as much as Indian and, later, Chinese philosophy". Perhaps you could add that. [1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:28, 13 July 2007 UTC
Thanks for that. I've added this info to the infobox. Perhaps it could be expanded on in the body of the article? --Bruce1ee 06:50, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


For some reason the word Chesse appears several times instead of Hesse. I don't know if this is some sort of weird typo, transliteration error, vandalism, or what. I corrected some but a find/replace function would be better (which cannot be done through my browser, and I did not want to copy/and paste the whole article into an editor and then back because then formatting would be lost.) V-pizz 23:15, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for that. It was vandalism by on 4 October. I did find a few more "Chesse" which I corrected. --Bruce1ee 06:34, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Was Hesse a Rosicrucianist?[edit]

I've reverted the edit by on 4 June 2007 claiming that Hesse was a Rosicrucianist. Hesse alluded to Rosicrucianism in Journey to the East and The Glass Bead Game but that doesn't necessary mean he was a Rosicrucianist. I did a quick Google but found no reference to support this claim. If someone can provide a source I'd be happy to put the statement back. --Bruce1ee 04:58, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Not sure if he was a Rosicrucian; he does appear in several Masonic lists in Europe (e.g. United Grand Lodges of Serbia). He does appear to have ties to one or more Hermetic Societies. ( Iconoclast.Horizon (talk) 18:39, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 16:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Re-examining the List of Works[edit]

I'm wondering whether we ought not re-examine the content of the selected writings section (at the end of the article).

Many, even most, of the items here sited are quite minor. Hesse's oeuvre contains hundreds of items of similar standing, some little more than 'doodlings' in his diary. New material of this calibre is added continually as public appetite for Hesse remains strong.

In his later life especially, Hesse was practically compulsive about recording ephemeral impressions. Little of this is of publishable quality. Instead we find personal reflection, often reflecting poorly (and unfairly!) on the author. For instance, there are long complaints about the aches of growing old as well as curmudgeonly rants at the younger generation. I can only think that Hesse would be shocked to know these items were being stack side by side with his major novels on the world's bookshelves.

Luckily, I think the list is still free of references to the worst of the published material. Nevertheless, it does include some questionable items. At best these can be considered early sketches for some novel or story that never reached publishable quality; at worse, they are private reflections. The question remains: Where to draw the line?

Another vexing issue is how to organise the list. There are many items published (in German) which have never yet appeared in English translations. Sometimes the ones that do appear are translated under variant titles (e.g. The Glass Bead Game/Magister Ludi). More problematic, the content is often reorganised and presented in overlapping volumes. This is why you'll list items presented with German titles. If we wanted to embark on a complete listing, this issue would become more problematic.

My suggestion would be to limit the list of works to Hesse's major novels, with mention being made to Hesse's activity as poet, essayist and diarist. What are your opinions?

--Philopedia 04:13, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

I tend to agree with you, but my one concern is what to do with those articles of his "lesser" works that have already been written, like The Complete Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse, Strange News from Another Star, Poems and My Belief: Essays on Life and Art? If they are omitted here they could become orphaned and deleted. An alternative approach would be to create a separate article listing and categorising all of Hesse's works, say Hermann Hesse bibliography (see H. G. Wells bibliography), but as you say, trying to compile a complete list is in itself problematic. A look at how his works have been listed on the German article could help. --Bruce1ee 07:38, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Good point! Your suggestion would definitely be an improvement, especially if we were to name the list Incomplete (or, Partial) Hermann Hesse bibliography.
Another idea that also retains the pointers would be to keep the bibliography on the HH page, but to segment it into categories, say: Major Novels, Minor Novels; Poetry and other Writing. (My guess is we will find it fairly easy to reach agreement on the major/minor categorisation).
Let me know which sounds better to you, and I will make the changes. Cheers!
--Philopedia 09:16, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
Seeing that the bibliography would be incomplete, I think your second idea would be better, namely to keep the bibliography on the HH page and split it into categories. --Bruce1ee 09:43, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

The problem raised in this section has been publicly aired for 2 months now, giving adequate time form interested parties to express views. Based on the above remarks I felt encourage to make the changes. Some notes:
  • I deviated somewhat from Brucelee's suggestion (to maintain a full list and just separate into more and less important writings). That would seem to beg the question of completeness (the list could easily be made 10 times as long!) and, imho is a too pusillanimous action in any case. BLs idea still finds resonance though in the retention of a link to a fuller index. There is still a citation for the most important works as well.
  • I've removed the double German/English reference. Hesse readers who like to read German will already be familiar the correspondences. For the others, inclusion of German titles is likely to have an alienating effect; making Hesse seem unnecessarily unapproachable.
  • I've also removed the links tied to year of publication, as this was irrelevant ballast imho.
A valid criticism of this approach is that it still leaves previously written articles on some of Hesse's minor works orphaned and presumably at risk of removal. In my opinion, we need not hold a wake for those articles if such were to happen. However, I understand that some contributors may not wish to dispose of any existing WP articles. If BL or other contributor feels this way, I hope he will create a single new article, titled something like "Selected minor oeuvres of Hermann Hesse" with a single link at the based of the selected work table, and use it as a receptacle for all such articles.
The people who commented made well reasoned remarks. I've tried hard to conscientiously implements the ideas. I hope it meets approval!
--Philopedia 02:34, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I think what you've done is fine. It is a selected list, and if readers wants a more complete list they can refer to the German article. Keeping in mind though that the German article doesn't list Hesse's works published in English, which might be what the reader is looking for.
Regarding the "lesser" works mentioned above and now omitted from the list: I don't feel too strongly about it, and they are still listed in the "Works by Hermann Hesse" template at the bottom of the page. (Does this template also need to be reviewed?) --Bruce1ee 06:29, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I've removed the template as being redundant. (Good that you pointed that out!) I see your point about the differing applicability of the German list. Please go ahead with the creation of the Partial list of HH's minor works page, if that seems appropriate to you. Kind thanks for your remarks. --Philopedia 13:08, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

One Hour behind Midnight?[edit]

Is this a joke? Its a word for word translation (obviously using a dictionary). The only hit on the Internet for this is some obscure article at the University of California. All other hits agree with "One Hour after Midnight". TinyMark 14:53, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

It's "One Hour After Midnight". User:Parvulus changed "After" to "Behind", which I reverted. --Bruce1ee 15:15, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Warhol Painting[edit]

I have repeatedly run into this painting of Hermann Hesse by Andy Warhol, and I've never really known the background on it. I was hoping it would be here on wikipedia, but alas! Anyone have any info? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Sentence correct?[edit]

"The work has been translated into most of the Indian languages." Aren't there a huge number of them? What reference shows they've been translated into most of them? Piano non troppo (talk) 09:53, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

I've tagged that statement with "citation needed". --Bruce1eetalk 05:22, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Very Odd Punctuation[edit]

I've changed a little of the punctuation so the article makes more sense. Spanglej (talk) 22:43, 2 April 2009 (UTC).

Youth and Family background[edit]

I read Hesse in German and English and do not believe that an artcle on Hesse in English would be identical to an article for a German reader: most English-speaking readers of Hesse are not versed in German literature. This differene in background is essential to any assessment of the writer. There is also a distinct difference between the assessment of the life of the young man Hesse for a reader in England and a reader in the USA (at least west of Boston.) Cross-cultural understanding is not assimilation - let alone mere translation. The young German reader preparing to enter University is in a situation very unlike that of the young American in,say, Minneapolis. The contract with a young reader in France is even greater: the life of a young Hesse in France would be that of a "vie ratee". It is worth remembering that the North American reader is not facing "A Levels".

The opening pages of Magister Ludi should be a sufficient reminder that a society that is strongly hierarchical views a biography somewhat differently from ones whose social strata are less obvious - as in America west of Boston or Canada both east and west of Toronto's "Rosedale".

The intended wiki neutrality is not likley achieved or even well-served by translation. Translation is of course useful for fact-checking.

Brodsky for the Saint Petersburg reader is not Brodsky for the Boston reader. This is not relativism, but rather respect and regard for context. It is most often seen at work in the choice of an author to write an "introduction" to a work of literature in translation.

Please note that I also read daily in French and Russian and lesss often in Spanish. I struggle in Italian, Japanese and Polish.

An assessment of Hesse for Hindu readers would be as different as an assessment for Iranian readers.

In the case of my native Canada, two English-language writers whose articles would not bear translation well would be Robertson Davies and Margaret Atwood. Similar issues arise even within the French language for Quebec poets who chose to live their adult lives in Paris. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grshiplett (talkcontribs) 17:23, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think anyone is arguing against that. A detailed translation of an article in the author's native language wikipedia is a great start and outline. No one has been keeping it in sync-step with the german wikipedia... (John User:Jwy talk) 18:01, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Narziss and Goldmund/Companionship[edit]

I don't follow the point about companionship here - companionship in his new marriage being reflected in Narziss and Goldmund. There is quite a lot of shagging in Narziss and Goldmund. That's one reason it is so popular with German teenagers. (talk) 14:35, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Hermann Hesse in popular culture[edit]

I suggest we cut the "Hermann Hesse in popular culture" section. It is mostly a list of media inspired by Hesse's works. Every famous artist has hundreds of people who are inspired by their work. The list is not comprehensive or notable, in my view. WP:TRIV says "Trivia sections should be avoided." Any objections? Thanks Spanglej (talk) 04:03, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Herman Hesse as Russian[edit]

According to the article Hesse was born Russian and German, as his father was a Russian Citizen. I have added this to the lede and info box. Please explain here if you think it should not be so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

This is badly worded. At least in Australian English, "German born" means "born in German", and not "born with German citizenship". Perhaps better would be "born in Germany to a Russian father, and [I assume] German mother"? --naught101 (talk) 23:10, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
There are Germans in Russia, and there used to be more of them, especially in what was then Russia but is now the states of the Balticum. Hence "born to a Russian father" is misleading, even more so than "born to an Estonian father". Born to a Baltic German father, it is. - I wonder btw. that this made him a German citizen at all. Baltic Germans, sure, could probably without complications migrate to Germany and accept a citizenship, but I'd have suppose that as far as citizenship goes, they were Russians only, and upon accepting a German citizenship, they might have lost the Russian one. And a marrying woman lost whatever was her own citizenship and acquired her husband's.-- (talk) 11:07, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
By birth, Hesse was not a citizen of the German Empire but held Russian citizenship only as both is parents did not hold German citizenship at that time. Hesse's great-grandfather was born from German parents in the German town of Lübeck but emigrated to what is Estonia nowadays where he became a Rusian subject. They were ethnic Germans but legally Russians. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:45:4905:A16B:34EF:14F9:E3C6:A41 (talk) 20:01, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Gods and devils are in us[edit]

Croatian writer Giancarlo Kravar: "All the gods and devils that have ever existed are in us," said Herman Hesse and added: "All of them are in us as a possibility, as desire, as outputs." (talk) 11:00, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Support for war[edit]

'To be torn out of a dull, capitalistic peace was good for many Germans. It seems to me that a true artist would find greater value in a nation of men who have faced death and who know the immediacy and freshness of camplife' (talk) 16:06, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Popularity in America[edit]

The "Influence" section does not mention popularity of Hesse with American youth in the 1930s or 1940s. I have long understood that Hesse was popular, at least with a segment of American youth, in the 1930s or 1940s. Basil Creighton translated Steppenwolf into English in 1929, for example, which would have made Hesse available. Also, Bernhard Zeller, in his Hermann Hesse: An Illustrated Biography, gives a list of English translations of Hesse. These include (in addition to Steppenwolf): Gertrude, translated in 1915 by A. G. Lewisohn as Gertrude and I; Demian translated by N. H. Priday in 1923; and Narziss und Goldmund, translated by Geoffrey Dunlop in 1932 as Death and the Lover; Gdw1948 (talk) 20:28, 24 April 2020 (UTC)