A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 14 December 2008

6 Facts About Hermann Hesse

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. HERMANN HESSE Wandering

6 facts about Hermann Hesse:

1. Both of his parents were Christian missionaries.

2. He had intense conflicts with authority figures such as his parents and teachers - which resulted in him being placed in special schools, even in a mental institution.

3. He worked in bookshops until the publication of his novel Peter Camenzind enabled him to lead an independent life as an author.

4. He was exempted from military service due to an eye condition. All his life he was afflicted with nervous disorders and headaches.

5. He underwent long periods of psychoanalysis following the death of his father, the sickness of his son and his wife's schizophrenia.

6. He knew Carl Jung personally.


Dominic Rivron said...

I'm finding these posts about HH very interesting. I think they'll probably get me to start reading him.

If I had to make a list of things I like about blogging, then having my attention drawn to things/writers/musicians/etc I haven't paid attention to in the past would be near (but not at) the top.

The Solitary Walker said...

I really wouldn't advise you to read Hesse now, Dominic - and if you do, I hold no responsibility!

'The Journey to the East' and 'Siddhartha' will urge you to pack your bags and head for India; and 'Narziss and Goldmund' will encourage you to cavort with every nubile maiden in every hay rick of every new village you may walk through. And 'Steppenwolf' will force you into a lonely, misanthropic existence of stale beer, dog ends and existentialist angst without a shadow of a doubt.

Have mercy on your friends and family and read Thomas Mann or Bertolt Brecht (Hesse's compatriots)instead - much more adult and mature writers!

Jay said...

I doubt it's coincidence that so many gifted and sensitive artists and writers also have personal problems, especially of the 'mental illness' type. It seems to me that, just as there is a fine line between genius and instability, so there is with deep thinkers and philosophers, too.

We can't have joy without sorrow, and maybe not great clarity of vision without empathy bordering on the painful, either.

Such gifts come at a price, do they not?

The Solitary Walker said...

All so true, Jay.

Just as there is a strong connection between artistic creation and mental illness (as documented so well by R.D.Laing in his books), there seems to be a similar relation between artists and addiction - think of Baudelaire and absinthe, De Quincey and opium, Dylan Thomas and booze. And there are thousands more examples. (There's a good book on this by Alethea Hayter called 'Opium and the Roamantic Imagination'.)

It does makes one feel quite ordinary!

The Solitary Walker said...

Also interesting of course how many screwed-up-but-artistic types have rabidly religious parents like Hesse. Jeanette Winterson is the first that comes to mind.

The Solitary Walker said...

Not that the wonderfully opinionated Jeanette is screwed up now, I hasten to add - or more screwed up than the rest of us!