Nine Quotes from Six Books by Hermann Hesse

“Before all, he is a novelist who used the novel to explore the problem: What should we do with our lives?” — Colin Wilson

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Public domain.

In 1970 when I left for college there were two authors who seemed to especially express that inner confusion and uncertainty about life that was my own inner world, Hermann Hesse and Kurt Vonnegut.

I’m not even sure who mentioned these authors to me. They just suddenly appeared, and at the time I sought out everything I could find that each had written up to that point. Vonnegut was still writing, of course, and would continue for many more decades. Little did I know then that I would one day interview him. Hesse was long passed, though even his life overlapped mine by ten years.

My first Hesse novella was Demian. I identified. This was followed by Steppenwolf, then Narcissus and Goldmund. Others followed. Siddhartha and Magister Ludi each made an impact, and Beneath the Wheel especially so.

Having taken a shine to the Wiki Quote catalog this past month, I thought it might be worthwhile to share selections from the page dedicated to this visionary Nobel Laureate. What follows are quotes from various novels, stories and poems.

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Public domain.

I wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?
— Demian

You must find your dream, then the way becomes easy. But there is no dream that lasts forever, each dream is followed by another, and one should not cling to any particular one.
— Demian

They knew a tremendous number of things — But was it worthwhile knowing all these things if they did not know the one important thing, the only important thing?
— Siddhartha

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.
— Siddhartha

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.
Siddhartha

It was my destiny to join in a great experience. Having had the good fortune to belong to the League, I was permitted to be a participant in unique journey.
— Journey to the East

The Glass Bead Game, formerly the specialized entertainment of mathematicians in one era, philologists or musicians in another era, now more and more cast its spell upon all true intellectuals.
— Magister Ludi

I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.
— Demian

Young people have many pleasures and many sorrows, because they only have themselves to think of, so every wish and every notion assume importance; every pleasure is tasted to the full, but also every sorrow, and many who find that their wishes cannot be fulfilled, immediately put an end to their lives.
— Gertrude

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An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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