Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth (Heathen Edition)
May 01, 2021
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.42 inches | 0.52 pounds
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About the Author
Hermann Karl Hesse (2 July 1877 - 9 August 1962) was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Towards the end of his life, German (born Bavarian) composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949) set three of Hesse's poems to music in his song cycle Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra (composed 1948, first performed posthumously in 1950): Frühling (Spring), September, and Beim Schlafengehen (On Going to Sleep). In the 1950s, Hesse's popularity began to wane, while literature critics and intellectuals turned their attention to other subjects. In 1955, the sales of Hesse's books by his publisher Suhrkamp reached an all-time low. However, after Hesse's death in 1962, posthumously published writings, including letters and previously unknown pieces of prose, contributed to a new level of understanding and appreciation of his works. By the time of Hesse's death in 1962, his works were still relatively little read in the United States, despite his status as a Nobel laureate. A memorial published in The New York Times went so far as to claim that Hesse's works were largely inaccessible to American readers. The situation changed in the mid-1960s, when Hesse's works suddenly became bestsellers in the United States. The revival in popularity of Hesse's works has been credited to their association with some of the popular themes of the 1960s counterculture (or hippie) movement. In particular, the quest-for-enlightenment theme of Siddhartha, Journey to the East, and Narcissus and Goldmund resonated with those espousing counter-cultural ideals. The magic theatre sequences in Steppenwolf were interpreted by some as drug-induced psychedelia although there is no evidence that Hesse ever took psychedelic drugs or recommended their use. To a large part, the Hesse boom in the United States can be traced back to enthusiastic writings by two influential counter-culture figures: Colin Wilson and Timothy Leary. From the United States, the Hesse renaissance spread to other parts of the world and even back to Germany: more than 800,000 copies were sold in the German-speaking world from 1972 to 1973. In a space of just a few years, Hesse became the most widely read and translated European author of the 20th century. Hesse was especially popular among young readers, a tendency which continues today.