- HESSE, Hermann
- (1877-1962)German-born writer, a Swiss citizen from 1923. His long career culminated with the publication of his largest novel, Das Glasperlenspiel (1943; trans M. Savill as Magister Ludi 1949 US; preferredtrans Richard and Clara Winston as The Glass Bead Game 1969 US); it was largely as a result of this novel that HH was awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize for Literature. Set in a future land closely resembling Europe, it is a complex UTOPIA whose structure revolves around the eponymous game. For the inhabitants of the community of Castilia, under the guidance of Joseph Knecht, their Magister Ludi (or Master of Games), the undescribedaesthetic and intellectual disciplines of the game culminate in experiences that - by analogy with the music of J.S. Bach - serenely resolve the dissonances of the outside world. Knecht's biography constitutes the bulk of the novel, and his poems and essays are published in an appendix. Through these texts, which are suffused with allusions to and renderings of the world-transcending subtleties and graces of the Castilian mind-plays, Knecht's life has a sometimes exalting effect on thereader, though Knecht himself must eventually repudiate the game for a more humane vision of utopia.HH's great popularity in translation in the 1960s and 1970s derives more directly, however, from earlier and moreaccessible works, like Siddharta (1922; trans Hilda Rosner 1954 UK) and Der Steppenwolf (1927; trans Basil Creighton as Steppenwolf 1929 UK; transrev 1963), in which Jungian depth psychology, Indian mysticism and Weltschmerz are perhaps overpalatably combined; these and others of hisnovels can be read - unwisely - to emphasize any fantasy elements, for at their core they are meditations on transcendence.JCOther works: Demian (1919; trans W.J. Strachan 1958 UK); Die Morgenlandfahrt (1932; trans Hilda Rosner as The Journey to the East 1956 chap UK); Strange News from Another Star (coll trans 1972 US) and Pictor's Metamorphoses and Other Fantasies (coll trans Rika Lesser 1982 US), collecting his fantasies, some of which are sf.See also: ARTS.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.