Herman Hesse’s novel “Demian” details nothing less than a young man looking for the meaning of life – and it went on to inspire an entire generation scarred by the horrors of World War I. The novel remains as insightful today as it was a hundred years ago when it was first published. Philosophy, friendship, love and loss play a major role in “Demian”.
Hesse’s coming-of-age story was published just after the end of World War I. The misery of the war is clearly communicated in the novel, as is Hesse’s interest in Jungian psychoanalysis.
Hermann Hesse was born in Calw in 1877. His writings were blacklisted under the Nazi regime, and even after World War II, he failed to gain widespread recognition in Germany. Meanwhile, his writings rose in popularity in the United States in the 1960s, which eventually also made waves back in Germany as well. In 1946, fresh on the heels of the end of World War II, Hesse was given the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1955, he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. His bibliography includes more than two dozen publications, including the international bestsellers Steppenwolf, Siddharta, and Demian. Hesse died in 1962.
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