Cover image for Understanding Hermann Hesse : the man, his myth, his metaphor
Understanding Hermann Hesse : the man, his myth, his metaphor
Tusken, Lewis W., 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Columbia, S.C. : University of South Carolina Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xiv, 253 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Biography : beginnings and forebodings -- Peter Camenzind : an idyll pursued -- Beneath the wheel : burning memories -- Gaienhofen and Bern : idylls and realities -- Rosshalde : an idyll ends -- World War I : the awakening -- Demian : rebirth -- Siddhartha : the vision -- Der Steppenwolf : immortal reminders -- Narcissus and Goldmund : the artist creator -- Journey to the East : the law of service -- The glass bead game : the game of life -- Conclusion : the artist's legacy.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PT2617.E85 Z952 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this introduction to the work of Hermann Hesse, winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize in literature, Lewis W. Tusken surveys the life and literary significance of a writer whose popularity has blossomed several times since he came to prominence, notably in America during the Vietnam War. Written for the new generation of students and general readers now discovering the novelist, Understanding Hermann Hesse unravels the stylistic mysteries that traditionally have complicated interpretation of the noted German writer. Tusken clarifies the web of structural patterns that distinguish the Hesse canon; he also reveals the timelessness of the writer's thematic concerns and the timeliness - given the religious experimentation of the current age - of his spiritual quest.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Tusken opens with a chronology of Hesse's life and a long biographical chapter that takes the reader from Hesse's birth in 1877 to the publication of his first major novel, Peter Camenzind (1904). Then follow individual chapters on Beneath the Wheel, Robhalde, Demian, Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Narcissus and Goldmund, Journey to the East, and The Glass Bead Game. The author intersperses two additional short chapters on Hesse's life between 1904 and the end of WW I. Tusken's Jungian interpretation looks at Hesse's works as autobiographical fiction focusing on the protagonist's suffering and development necessary for his individuation and self-realization. Though Hesse's work interests scholars in part because it is controversial, Tusken ignores other possibilities of reading Hesse (especially Hesse's use of Nietzschean ideas and the apparent ambivalent attitude to Nazism in his work, due largely to its symbolic character). Tuskin also omits the fact that Hesse was published in the Third Reich and refrained from public criticism of National Socialism while living in Switzerland and benefiting from the sale of his books in Germany. Despite his omission of these facts, Tusken's scrutiny offers much to the reader, for autobiographical Jungian fiction is what Hesse intended, and every reader should know how an author prefers to be read. All academic collections. R. C. Conard; University of Dayton