" I was born in Calw in the Black
Forest on July 2, 1877. My father, a Baltic German, came from Estonia; my mother
was the daughter of a Swabian and a French Swiss. My father's father was a
doctor, my mother's father a missionary and Indologist. My father, too, had been
a missionary in India for a short while, and my mother had spent several years
of her youth in India and had done missionary work there.
My childhood in Calw was interrupted by several years of living in Basle (1880 -
86). My family had been composed of different nationalities; to this was now
added the experience of growing up among two different peoples, in two countries
with their different dialects.
I spent most of my school years in boarding schools in Wuerttemberg and some
time in the theological seminary of the Monastery at Maulbronn. I was a good
learner, good at Latin though only fair at Greek, but I was not a very
manageable boy, and it was only with difficulty that I fitted into the framework
of a pietist education that aimed at subduing and breaking the individual
personality. From the age of twelve I wanted to be a poet, and since there was
no normal or official road, I had a hard time deciding what to do after leaving
school. I left the seminary and grammar school, became an apprentice to a
mechanic, and at the age of nineteen I worked in book and antique shops in Tübingen
and Basle. Late in 1899 a tiny volume of my poems appeared in print, followed by
other small publications that remained equally unnoticed, until in 1904 the
novel Peter Camenzind, written in Basle and set in Switzerland, had a quick
success. I gave up selling books, married a woman from Basle, the mother of my
sons, and moved to the country. At that time a rural life, far from the cities
and civilization, was my aim. Since then I have always lived in the country,
first, until 1912, in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance, later near Bern, and finally
in Montagnola near Lugano, where I am still living.
Soon after I settled in Switzerland in 1912, the First World War broke out, and
each year brought me more and more into conflict with German nationalism; ever
since my first shy protests against mass suggestion and violence I have been
exposed to continuous attacks and floods of abusive letters from Germany. The
hatred of the official Germany, culminating under Hitler, was compensated for by
the following I won among the young generation that thought in international and
pacifist terms, by the friendship of Romain Rolland, which lasted until his
death, as well as by the sympathy of men who thought like me even in countries
as remote as India and Japan. In Germany I have been acknowledged again since
the fall of Hitler, but my works, partly suppressed by the Nazis and partly
destroyed by the war; have not yet been republished there.
In 1923, I resigned German and acquired Swiss citizenship. After the dissolution
of my first marriage I lived alone for many years, then I married again.
Faithful friends have put a house in Montagnola at my disposal.
Until 1914 I loved to travel; I often went to Italy and once spent a few months
in India. Since then I have almost entirely abandoned traveling, and I have not
been outside of Switzerland for over ten years.
I survived the years of the Hitler regime and the Second World War through the
eleven years of work that I spent on the Glasperlenspiel (1943) [Magister Ludi],
a novel in two volumes. Since the completion of that long book, an eye disease
and increasing sicknesses of old age have prevented me from engaging in larger
Of the Western philosophers, I have been influenced most by 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. I have
always been on familiar and friendly terms with the fine arts, but my
relationship to music has been more intimate and fruitful. It is found in most
of my writings. My most characteristic books in my view are the poems (collected
edition, Zürich, 1942), the stories Knulp (1915 ), Demian (1919), Siddhartha
(1922), Der Steppenwolf (1927) [Steppenwolf], Narziss und Goldmund. (1930), Die
Morgenlandfahrt (1932) [The Journey to the East], and Das Glasperlenspiel (1943)
[Magister Ludi]. The volume Gedenkblätter (1937, enlarged ed. 1962)
[Reminiscences] contains a good many autobiographical things. My essays on
political topics have recently been published in Zürich under the title Krieg
und Frieden (1946)[War and Peace].
I ask you, gentlemen, to be contented with this very sketchy outline; the state
of my health does not permit me to be more comprehensive."
... Hermann Hesse was born into a family of Pietist missionairies and religious
in the Black Forest town of Calw, in the German state of Wüttenberg ...
Description: German poet and novelist,
who has depicted in his works the duality of spirit and nature, body versus...
Il lupo della steppa
Hermann Hesse: Il lupo della steppa Tre modi per leggere un racconto. ... La
di Hermann Hesse. ... Le opere più importanti di Hermann Hesse. ...
Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern! Einsam ist jeder Busch
und Stein, Kein Baum sieht den anderen, Jeder ...
Description: Einige Gedichte von Hermann
Willkommen bei Hermann-Hesse-Kolleg
Herzlich Willkommen auf der Homepage von. Deutsch lernen in Deutschland. ...
Anmerkungen und Anregungen bitte an das Hermann-Hesse-Kolleg.
Hermann Hesse - German Language
... Hesse book. Hermann Hesse (1877-1962). From your Guide for German Language.
my thirteenth year on, it was clear to me that I wanted to be a poet or ...
of Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse. I ... separately. From Nobel Lectures, Literature
1901-1967. Hermann Hesse died in 1962. ...
Description: Brief autobiographical
statement from his Nobel Lectures.
Community - Hermann Hesse
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