Remembering Writer, Hermann Hesse On His Birthday

“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.”-Hermann Hesse

I must’ve been around 12 when I read Siddhartha (first published 1922, I had the New Directions publication from 1951) for the first time. Probably read it after my mom and/or brother did, it was like that in my house…no matter the age, I read what they read. After that I read Steppenwolf, but don’t think I’ve read his other works. Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 and you can read his bio in his own words here.

Hermann Hesse was born July 2nd, 1877 in Germany. How coincidental of me discovering that it is his birthday today and that his maternal grandfather was an “indologist,” scholar in all things pertaining to India; remember, I mentioned my son is leaving soon to teach and live in India for 2 years!!!!!  I also learned a new word, “indologist!” Both Hesse’s parents did some missionary work in India as well.

“Throughout his life, Hermann Hesse was a seeker. This is reflected not only in his outstanding literary works, which in 1946 won him the Nobel Prize, but also in his resume. In his home town of Calw, where he was born on July 2, 1877, he spent his youth in the bosom of his family – formative years that found their way into many of his books. Maulbronn, Tübingen and Basel were among the other places Hesse lived. In 1904, he moved to an old farmhouse in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance to embark on a career as a freelance writer. In 1911, he made a journey to India, and moved to Switzerland a short time later, living first in Berne and later in Montagnola (Tessin), where he entered his most prolific period as a writer, and where he also died in 1962. The task of overcoming personal crises is one of the defining elements of Hesse’s work, though other issues such as religion and politics also feature prominently.”



14 thoughts on “Remembering Writer, Hermann Hesse On His Birthday

  1. Thank you for this. Hermann Hesse is without doubt my favourite novelist and when I was younger I was obsessed with him and his beautiful novels. When I was at school I was never much of a reader and the only books I ever read were ones that we had to read at school. At the age of 20 a friend of mine who was going away left a box full of books with me to look after and one day for whatever reason I took a book from the box and was captivated, that book was “Steppenwolf”.
    Indeed it would be true to say that it changed my life forever, firstly the book and it’s ideas and the wonderfully poetic prose but more importantly it led me into the world of literature. I went on to read most of Hesse’s novels but then on his recommendation went on to read the likes of Goethe, Novalis and Maeterlinck.
    Probably his greatest novel is also his simplest novel “Siddhartha” which I am amazed and impressed about the fact that you read it at the age of twelve.
    You’ve made my day start with a glorious glow, thank you.

  2. Dear ileneonwords,

    Many thanks for this excellent post. Hermann Hesse was surely one of the best writers, and my most favorite one. My favorites by Hermann Hesse include Siddhartha, Demian, Narcissus and Goldmund, Steppenwolf, Gertrud and The Glass Bead Game. I have posted many of HH’s insightful contemporary philosophy quotes (from these books) and yet keep on discovering new insightful quotes each time I read HH’s work.

    Thank you once again, most importantly for letting me join in celebrating Hermann Hesse’s 136th Birthday!


  3. Pingback: Happy 136th Birthday, Hermann Hesse. | Deo Optimo Maximo

  4. Hi Ilene, thanks so much for letting me know about this post, (You) and Hesse’s birthday today! I would have missed it all! Lovely post. And welcome to my blogroll! Cheers! ~v

  5. This is a wonderful post!! Thanks for reminding me …. Today is his birthday! He was a Cancer …. maybe that explains some of his wonderful insights! Re-blog!!

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