Autobiographical Writings Author:Hermann Hesse Edited, and with an introduction, by Theodore Ziolkowski. Translated by Denver Lindley. — The reader of Hesse's novels who turns to his autobiographical writings will be able to trace the tenuous line between fact and fiction that characterizes Hesse's entire body of work. In these pages we encounter once again Emil Sinclair, Siddhartha, Harry Ha... more »ller, Goldmund, and Joseph Knecht -- all in the persona of Hermann Hesse himself. The present volume includes twelve revealing pieces arranged so the Hesse narrates his own life in roughly chronological sequence.
The first three, dealing primarily with the portrait of the artist as a young man, suggest the experiences that underlie Demian, Beneath the Wheel, and the other novels of youth. In the next group, Hesse describes his journey to India, from which Siddhartha eventually emerged, as well as the trauma of the war years. The two central pieces, A Guest at the Spa and Journey to Nuremberg, recapitulate the process of maturing that turned the mountain recluse of Montagnola into the ironic witness of the twenties, who could write with such humourous detachment about the spiritual torments of the Steppenwolf. The later writings which move closer and closer to the reflective essay, render in a classically paradigmatic form an account of the highly ordered, virtually Castalian existence that assumed fictional shape in The Glass Bead Game.« less