Demian (Hesse)

After spending a year reading too many high school essays about Siddhartha, I became quite shy about Hesse. He definitely seems to a kind of cult writer, with more on his mind than just telling a story, which is fine, especially since the two books that I’ve read of his are short. There are some interesting pieces at the beginning here about storytelling, and some memorable lines that should probably come pre-underlined, as I’m sure they will strike many a reader as Truth. Examples:

“[N]othing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself” (38).

&

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself” (97).

I would call this  more of a book to hand to particular students than to require of everyone. There’s a lot of prior Biblical knowledge required and it’s historically bound in a way that requires an understanding of Germany between the wars. Hesse saw what was coming (Hitler, WW2). His words are a useful reminder for all of us.

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