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October Books 11) Steppenwolf

11) Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse

I woke this morning feeling very groggy, and gradually realised that I was not even going to make it late to the office; so managed to read this (recommended to me by communicator way way back) between naps. It's fundamentally a depressing German psychological-mystical novel, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to. I was very much drawn into the narrator's story of reconciling what he imagines to be the two sides of his own nature, and coming to terms with music, dancing and sex while remaining true to himself. The ending is a bit peculiar but that is in keeping with the tone of the rest. As I look back at my entries about Nobel prize-winners I see that I've ended quite a lot of them with the feeling that I might read more by that author, but this time I really mean it!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
I loved this back in college and worked my way through almost all of his novels, essays and stories. In a lot of them he displaces the split personality onto two characters - the Apollonysian and the Dionysian, if I recollect the spelling. But call it artistic unity not repetition, but maybe you need to space them. I'm saving The Glass Bead Game/Magister Ludi for the point when the unread pile is down, and have been for 18 years. Ouch.

He is, of course, a Nobel winner who has written science fiction.
Oct. 26th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Apollonian and Dionysian, apparently. Close. And very German, apparently.
Oct. 27th, 2007 10:16 am (UTC)
I read The Glass Bead Game, and liked it, but mostly for the style and mood of it, it didn't really tell me anything new. That may just be me though.
Oct. 27th, 2007 10:42 am (UTC)
New in general or new for Hesse? I would guess it's clunky as sf, but it is, what, 1940s? 1943. I really liked his stuff back in the day - and I always saw this as the culmination as it was mentioned in the Nobel citation.

But perhaps that was a long time ago, it was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead. And that was when I needed encouragement to get the unread pile back into double figures. Hah. I did the dame with The Devils (or is my copy actually The Possessed?)

Oct. 27th, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
Arg. "The same". Not "The dame". If if she is dead.
Oct. 28th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
It did seem to be the culmination of his thoughts - the problem was largely that those thoughts weren't terribly new to me. The style was very good, and I liked his world-building, but I guess I've just heard similar ideas from other places (quite possibly building on his work, of course).
Oct. 26th, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
I really like The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Hesse. If you read Sidhartha, be sure to read The Transposed Heads by Thomas Mann as well.

I took a course in Hesse and Mann at uni and it was very imteresting to say the least!

Oct. 26th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
How does it compare to the Boney M song?
Oct. 27th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
It's longer!
Oct. 28th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
manjushra says the next one you should read is "Narziss und Goldmund".
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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