Exploring The Waste Land - Show supplementary text

Blick ins Chaos
The Brothers Karamazov, or The Decline of Europe
Hermann Hesse

English translations in notes windowHesse's original German
ENGLISH translationIn NOTES frame
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Source of German text:

Hesse, Hermann.  Eine Literaturgeschichte in Rezensionen und Aufsätzen.  Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main.  1975 (Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 252)

Source of translated text:

My Belief by Hermann Hesse.

Edited, and with an introduction, by Theodore Ziolkowski. Translated by Denver Lindley.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
19 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003

Library of Congress catalog card number: 72-84782
ISBN 0-374-21666-5
Published simultaneously in Canada by Doubleday Canada Ltd., Toronto

From the dust jacket:

It is a fact of literary history that T.S. Eliot attempted to spread the reputation of Hesse's book of essays "Blick ins Chaos" (In Sight of Chaos) by citing it in his notes on "The Waste Land." Yet Eliot's effort obviously failed, for fifty years later Hesse the essayist is still unknown in English.

My Belief fills a conspicuous gap by presenting in a single volume all of Hesse's most important essays. The three categories in which his considerable body of essayistic writings can be loosely arranged--literary criticism, personal credo, criticism of society--are all represented, from the tentative notes entitled "At Year's End" (1904) to the letter "Joseph Knecht to Carlo Ferromonte" (1961). It should be understood, however, that the lines separating these three rough categories are far from definite; for Hesse, the realms of life and art are so closely intertwined that any discourse beginning in one leads inevitably to the other.

In the essays of the twenties and thirties, Hesse is overtly concerned with opposition to the accepted state of the world and with expressing his rebellion against conventional values. But in his late essays--virtually the only form he practiced for the last twenty years of his life--we find few concessions to popular concerns of the moment. At peace with himself, Hesse writes only for those readers who wish to join him on his own terrain. These contemplations often begin as an idyl of childhood or a reverie in a garden, but soon stray to such compelling issues as the quest for personal identity, moral responsibility, and the search for unity in a world that has become fragmented.

In these writings we are directly exposed to the beliefs concerning life and art that underlie Hesse's major fictions-a body of work that has recently seized the imagination of a new generation of readers.

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