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Hermann Hesse: The Classic Biography

Hermann Hesse: The Classic Biography

By Bernhard Zeller
Translated by Mark Hollebone

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is acknowledged as one of the major writers of the twentieth century, and his books remain international bestsellers. This biography, originally published in German soon after his death, was, when it appeared in the UK and USA in 1971, the first of its kind in English, and it draws on his own work and on the recollections of his family and friends - including such famous contemporaries as Thomas Mann and André Gide - revealing the close affinity between his personal experience and that expressed in his writing.

Bernhard Zeller describes Hesse's background and early life, his first marriage, his emigration to Switzerland in protest at German militarism, his Jungian psychoanalysis and his visit to India, which inspired his masterpieces Siddhartha and The Journey to the East.  His growing literary reputation coincided with his brief second marriage and continued through his peaceful later years in Montagnola spent with his third wife, Ninon, whom he married in 1931.

Hesse's importance was not fully recognized outside the German-speaking countries until after his death in 1962, but from that time - not least because his works resonated deeply with the countercultural mood of the 1960s - his books and ideas have spread throughout the world and have now been translated into seventy languages.

This biography - illustrated with photographs that were in Hesse's private collection - gives us a view from a time which pre-dates much of the hype surrounding his works in subsequent decades and remains, in consequence, a valuable documentary portrait.

170 Pages
Peter Owen Publishers
ISBN 9780720616163

$4.98 $4.98