9780374107338 / 0374107335

Autobiographical Writings


Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux



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About the book:

Hermann Hesse 1877-1962 was a 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 , each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality In 1895 he began working in the bookshop in Tübingen which had a specialized collection in theology, philology and law. After the end of each day He pursued his own work further spending his Sundays with books. He studied theological writings, Goethe, Lessing, Schiller and Greek mythology. In 1896, his poem "Madonna" appeared in a Viennese periodical. By 1898, He had a respectable income that enabled financial independence. He concentrated on the German Romantics, including Brentano, Freiherr von Eichendorff, Hölderlin and Novalis. He released his first small volume of poetry, Romantic Songs, and a collection of prose entitled One Hour After Midnight. Both works were a business failure. In two years, only 54 of the 600 printed copies of Romantic Songs were sold, and One Hour After Midnight received only one printing and sold sluggishly. Nevertheless, the Leipzig publisher Eugen Diederichs was convinced of the literary quality of the work and, from the beginning, regarded the publications more as encouragement of a young author than as profitable business. From the autumn of 1899, Hesse worked in a distinguished antique book shop in Basel. Through family contacts, he stayed with the intellectual families of Basel. In this environment with rich stimuli for his pursuits, he further developed spiritually and artistically. At the same time, Basel offered the solitary Hesse many opportunities for withdrawal into a private life of artistic self-exploration, journeys and wanderings. In 1900, Hesse was exempted from compulsory military service due to an eye condition. This, along with nerve disorders and persistent headaches, affected him his entire life.

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