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Hermann Hesse

»A breach into the darkness of time!« - Letters 1916 - 1923

Edited by Volker Michels
Hermann Hesse
Foto: Hermann Hesse
© Gret Widmann

Hermann Hesse, born 1877 in Calw/Württemberg as the son of a Baltic German missionary and the daughter of a Württembergian indologist, died in August 1962 in Montagnola near Lugano, Italy. In 1946, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and 1955 the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (Peace Prize of the German Book Trade). After an apprenticeship to become a bookseller, he began to work as a freelance author in 1904. He is one of the most famous German authors of the 20th century.

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About

Possibly no other time span saw so many changes in the life of the poet than the years between 1916 and 1923. Even though Hermann Hesse had already left the Germany of the last Emperor for good in 1912, he was still a citizen of this country at war and had to expect his draft to the front at any time. He escaped this fate by the founding of a relief centre for German prisoners of war in Bern and providing them with good books, but in order to do so, he had so sacrifice his poetic production almost entirely up until 1919.

These letters illustrate the way in which he managed to master the resulting crises by the aid of psychoanalysis, a pseudonym for his exhortations for international reconciliation, the explosive creation of Demian and his first attempts at painting. At the same time, they show the failure of his first marriage as a consequence thereof, as well as the fresh start in Ticino as an Expressionist painter and author of the dramatic Klingsor-novellas and Siddhartha, the Indian legend with which he overcame his eurocentrism.

Other publications

»Ich bin ein Mensch des Werdens und der Wandlungen«/»I’m a person of becoming and of change« (2016)

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»Aus dem Traurigen etwas Schönes machen«/»To make something beautiful out of the sad« (2013)

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»Ich gehorche nicht und werde nicht gehorchen!«/»I am not and will not be obedient!« (2012)

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