Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf

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Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf

Post by koan »

Most people know Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. My favourite Hesse novel is The Glass Bead Game. Narcissus and Goldmund should be mentioned as outstanding as well.

Hesse isn't a cheerful chap. He has a certain disdain for authority, especially those that have authority over youths. He may not be cheerful but he does have a wonderful dark sense of humour that can grow on you if you don't like it instantly.

I had a recent conversation about Steppenwolf, my least favourite of his novels, and came to the realization of why it makes me uncomfortable. The part that really annoys me is the references to the character of Pablo as a sort of guru. I strongly disagree. I see this whole novel as written by a man in crisis and finding a way to claw his way back out to where he can see straight again. He was writing about his failed marriages to two women who ended up in mental institutions. His second wife was much younger than him and he started going all party animal trying to learn a new lifestyle that ultimately didn't suit him. Pablo was the drug dealing pimp who seems really cool to people who are either drunk, stoned or partly insane. Take him out of that crowd and his philosophy would be laughably weak.

Anyone else dislike Steppenwolf?

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