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Augustus / Der Dichter / Ein Mensch mit Namen Ziegler
Augustus / Der Dichter / Ein Mensch mit Namen Ziegler Author:Hermann Hesse The introduction by the book's editor Thomas E. Colby III is in English, but the text of the stories is entirely in German. — Although chiefly known as a novelist, Hesse is regarded by many as one of the modern masters of the shorter epic forms. He delights in the incredible and in the irrational and therefore he often turned to the Marchen a... more »s a form of expression.
Each of the three Marchen presented here contains a treatment of a problem which appears again and again in Hesse's writings. This is the problem of the gifted, often envied individual who, set apart or isolated from his fellow men by his "extra dimension," longs nonetheless for human contacts. Hesse elsewhere calls this type the "Outsider," a term which characterizes perfectly the heroes of the Marchen "Augustus" and Der Dichter."
Augustus is cut off from any real human contacts by the very charm which makes everyone fall in love with him on sight, a "gift" which proves as devastating as King Midas' golden touch. In "Der Dichter" is is Han Fook's poetic sensitivity and dedication to beauty that force him to give up his hope of friendship, home and garden. Neither of the heroes ever become a well-adjusted, "normal" person but both find a solution to their problem in serving the humanity they can never really join.
In "Ein Mensch mit Namen Ziegler" we are again in the presence of an "Outsider." This time it is not the hero but the narrator who has the role. Far from having an "extra dimension," Ziegler has so few that he scarcely qualifies as a "Mensch" at all. The picture which Hesse gives us of this unheroic hero is certainly a caricature; but in drawing it he remains faithful to his "Outsider's" solution.
The stories are followed by sets of discussion questions (in German) and a German-to-English vocabulary.« less