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Hermann Hesse

»›Great Times‹ Leave Behind Great Piles of Rubble« - Letters 1940-1946

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

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

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About

This volume comprising more than 500 letters sets in few months after the begin of World War II. These letters depict in many dramatic episodes the extent to which Hermann Hesse and his German publisher Peter Suhrkamp were affected by the repressions of the Nazi regime. At least equally as gripping are Hesse’s replies to numerous German correspondents who described their fates vividly to the poet, who had been living in Switzerland since 1912, and asked him for advice and help.

As early as 1931, Hesse had begun to conceive of an alternative world to the ideology of Nazi Germany with The Glass Bead Game. Writing the novel, however, took eleven years as the process was constantly interrupted by Hesse’s commitment to helping refugees and emigrants.

Informed by thousands of letters from readers, Hesse’s letters are not only an inexhaustible source on the contemporary and cultural history of those years, they also show how that which makes us human can be practiced even under inhumane circumstances.

Praise

»As a writer of letters, Hermann Hesse takes a unique rank in German literary history.« Heimo Schwilk, DIE WELT

Other publications

Magie der Farben/The Magic of Colours (2019)

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Russia (Text); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Japan (Iwanami Shoten), Croatia (Zagrebacka Naklada)

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

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»Eine Bresche ins Dunkel der Zeit!«/»A breach into the darkness of time!« (2015)

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Bäume/Trees (2014)

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Italy (Ugo Guanda), Korea (Changbi), Japan (Asahi), Turkey (Kolektif)

»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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Schmetterlinge/Butterflies (2011)

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Korea (Moonye)

Das Glasperlenspiel/The Glass Bead Game (1943)

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Narziß und Goldmund/Narcissus and Goldmund (1930)

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Knulp/Knulp (1915)

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Roßhalde/Rosshalde (1914)

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Peter Camenzind/Peter Camenzind (1904)

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