Read The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse Richard Winston Clara Winston Online


The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, 'The Glass Bead Game' is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature.Set in the 23rd century, 'The Glass Bead Game' is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the inteThe final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, 'The Glass Bead Game' is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature.Set in the 23rd century, 'The Glass Bead Game' is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game)....

Title : The Glass Bead Game
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ISBN : 9780140034387
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 519 Pages
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The Glass Bead Game Reviews

  • Ben Winch
    2019-02-03 12:39

    There’s a scene in Antonio Tabucchi’s Indian Nocturne in which the narrator meets an Indian intellectual who asks him, among other things, what he thinks of Hermann Hesse. The narrator, resenting the interruption and perhaps with a sense he is being mocked, heaps scorn on the German “spiritualist”, calling him sentimental and likening him to a sweet liqueur, and only later realises he hasn’t said what he thought of Hesse at all. In some way, these days, I suspect there’s a little of this narrator in many of us. Hesse – unlike Kafka or Beckett or Mann – is not an intellectual’s badge of honour. Frequently, I’ve approached one or another of his books again after a hiatus half-expecting that this time I will have grown out of him, but I never do. The Journey to the East has enthralled me since I first read it in my teens – and probably I understand only marginally more of it now than I did then. The “Treatise on the Steppenwolf” (unlike much of the rest of that most famous of his novels) I likewise revere. The early novella Knulp is a small masterpiece, touching and true. Demian has its moments, Siddhartha too (though again its fame is out of proportion to its content), and Klingsor’s Last Summer and many of the short stories and even Narziss and Goldmund if you’re on a roll and don’t want to stop. But looming over all of them, dwarfing them and pulling together most of what’s best in each of them is The Glass Bead Game, a book which, despite myself, and though I doubt I’ll be able to convey why without reading it again (a fourth time), I count among the five or so most transformative reading experiences in my lifetime. Like The Journey... or “The Treatise...”, the “General Introduction [to the Glass Bead Game] for the Layman” is Hesse at his finest – not so dissimilar to Borges in his essayistic tone and otherworldly humour, and throwing out mindbending concepts with casual aplomb. The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colours on his palette. All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual property – on all this immense body of intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ.In other words, an early glimpse of post-modernity, but telescoped into an imaginary future (after what Hesse dryly characterises as “The Age of the Feuilleton”) in which – for the purposes of players of the Glass Bead Game – artistic production has stopped or gone underground, and the highest cultural calling is to manipulate what has been left behind by former ages, to create – in a hyper-ritualised setting and for the benefit of worldwide audiences – these “games” that are part music, part mathematics, and use a futuristic brand of calligraphic characters to sample and integrate their component parts into a quasi-equation that can later be studied and reproduced. At the centre of this enterprise, the Magister Ludi – or master of the Glass Bead Game – is treated like a priest or deity by devotees of the game. But there is none of the rock- or movie-star “cult of personality” about these figures; not only are their identities kept secret except from a few close initiates, but their study in biographies or histories is discouraged. Certainly, what nowadays we understand by personality is something quite different from what the biographers and historians of earlier times meant by it. For them, [...] the essence of a personality seems to have been deviance, abnormality, uniqueness, in fact all too often the pathological. We moderns, on the other hand, do not even speak of major personalities until we encounter men who have gone beyond all original and idiosyncratic qualities to achieve the greatest possible integration into the generality, the greatest possible service to the suprapersonal.Nevertheless, The Glass Bead Game is, for the most part, a biography of one earnest if somewhat rebellious Magister, Joseph Knecht – a man whose early brilliance followed by his ultimate resignation is a touchstone for all who question the value of life behind the cloistered walls of Castalia, the “pedagogical province” in which his story takes place. What do we have here then, if not the old, “pathology”-based form of a biography? A kind of everyman story, the story of a type. But Hesse’s type – and I think this is beautiful in light of the leader of his former homeland when he wrote this – is a leader, the ideal leader, and the culmination of a search which runs throughout Hesse’s work. Joseph Knecht is a kind of holy man, but with none of the pomp or self-importance which, maybe, these days, that implies. “Knecht” in German means “servant”, and throughout his short life Knecht impresses us as just that, a servant both to those he governs and to some other voice – or “calling” – which comes to him from beyond. Like all of Hesse’s characters, Knecht exists to “find himself”, but unlike Harry Haller or Knulp or Emil Sinclair or even Siddhartha, he does not despair (at least not in these pages); like Leo, the leader-in-disguise of the Journeyers to the East, he remains tranquil and alert to his duties. Throughout the book Knecht’s own writings are quoted, and at the end of the “Introduction...”, in speaking of classical music, he writes the following:[...] always there may be heard in these works a defiance, a death-defying intrepidity, a gallantry, and a note of superhuman laughter, of immortal gay serenity. Let that same note also sound in our Glass Bead Games, and in our whole lives, acts, and sufferings.Earlier Knecht’s biographer had warned us:The poets told horrific fables about the forbidden, diabolic, heaven-offending keys, [...] the “music of decline”; no sooner were these wicked notes struck in the palace than the sky darkened, the walls trembled and collapsed, and kingdom and sovereign went to their doom.People fault Hesse for what they see as his sentimentality. Sometimes, I can see their point (as in the relationship of Harry Haller to his young prostitute friend in Steppenwolf, for example). But when he manages to rise above all the doubts and complaints of that lonely wolf of the steppes, there is actually something quietly heroic in Hesse’s stance. In Switzerland, in 1943, along with his friends Paul Klee and Hugo Ball of the Cabaret Voltaire, this man refuses absolutely to play the “heaven-offending keys”. Whatever he creates will partake only of that “superhuman laughter” and “death-defying intrepidity”, no matter what horrors his homeland can spew forth (and, as his writings on the war show, Hesse was far from ignorant of these). And so, on the surface, his may seem a fantasy for which the modern (or post-modern) world has little use: escapism, idealism, even (amid the destruction of Europe by guns and explosives) lyricism. But read more closely and it’s evident that the despairing, human Hesse is passionately present in almost every word of this. Yes, the characters in The Glass Bead Game – like Beckett’s characters, like Kafka’s – can seem more or less than human. No, there is no sexuality in their world (nor in Waiting For Godot, for that matter), and as if to foreground this lack Hesse writes his “Introduction...” entirely from a genderless “we” standpoint, which while not spelling it out seems to suggest (or has always suggested to me, anyway) that we are to treat these characters as beyond or outside of the ordinary realm of the sexual. (Why? Perhaps because, to a German in Europe in 1943, sexuality did not seem that crucial a topic.) Me, I’ve never demanded “realism” from fiction; in fact, I like writers who alert me to the fact that the beings they create are not human. Likewise, I don’t care in the least that the end section of the book – “Joseph Knecht’s Posthumous Writings” – is probably just a series of sketches done in warm-up for the task of creating Knecht. To me, at least one of these novellas (“The Father Confessor”) is easily among the best of Hesse’s works in its own right and never fails to have me in tears by the end of it. And even the poetry (poorly-suited to translation as it is) is illuminating in showing the genesis of the conception.If I haven’t said much about the substance of Knecht’s story, the truth is I don’t remember much of it, but for snatches of scenery (which Hesse describes so well) and a general feeling of the excitement of a young man following his calling. If you read for plot, this isn’t the book for you. But if you want to hear the wisdom of a wise, possibly heartbroken man determined, despite everything, not to hit the jarring notes of the diabolic keys but to sing with the laughing voice of an angel, this is it. I don’t care if that sounds sentimental. The world needs artists who are willing to speak calmly from the storm, and Hermann Hesse was one of them. I take my hat off to you, Herr Hesse. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your guidance.

  • BlackOxford
    2019-02-12 15:43

    The Lasting Effects of Young Reading: A Short MemoirI first read The Glass Bead Game almost 60 years ago. It changed my life. With just the right cues of romance, high-tech adventure, philosophical mystery, and heroism, the book invaded my adolescent mind, laid down roots and suggested a long term plan: I would one day be able to play the Game. And I succeeded, at least during a goodly portion of my adult life, when I wasn’t distracted by the trivialities of wealth, status, and religion. So I realised it was about time for me to revisit the ur-inspiration. A dangerous undertaking, I know, but perhaps the book could provide a sort of retrospective structure that I couldn’t consciously recall. Worth the risk then.The epigraph alone rekindles the fire that smoulders still in my unconscious: Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.I have experienced just this motivation with the force of compulsion. The task is both poetic and practical: to help people, particularly myself, to see what is hidden by what they already see, the things within and beyond what is apparently there. For a child of 13 or so, to have one’s inarticulate intuition - that there is more to life than its surface - confirmed is profoundly important.I viewed the “Order” and the fellowship of the game seriously and admired “... the maximum integration of the individual into the hierarchy of the educators and scholars... “ My first attempt involved a Carmelite monastery. The next a military career. Followed by a time in professional academia and subsequently an international consulting firm which is best described as a professional Protestant monastery. All these, and most choices that followed, had the intention of assimilation into one form or another of an organisation of united and mutually supportive minds. The professional context didn’t really matter. I had, it appears, a calling not dissimilar to that of the young Joseph Knecht, eventually the Magister Ludi, who had “the capacity for enthusiasm, subordination, reverence, worshipful service” necessary to persist in The Game. Even today I find myself a member of a Dominican academic community which is the same size and similar in atmosphere to that of Knecht’s school at Waldzell. Somewhat remarkably, I suppose, I have never been a joiner of clubs, or groups, or congregations, only those with some sort of monastic potential.Even the international firm to which I belonged, commercial as is was, had an ethos which could have been taken straight from The Game. It’s senior partners were among the most powerful and influential business leaders in the country. Yet the head of the firm said to me proudly one day at lunch “Nobody knows my name.” When he said this I immediately recalled Hesse’s lines: “The hierarchic organization cherishes the ideal of anonymity, and comes very close to the realization of that ideal.” Rarely did this assimilation ever feel oppressive or threatening to my individuality. As with The Game: “For us, a man is a hero and deserves special interest only if his nature and his education have rendered him able to let his individuality be almost perfectly absorbed in its hierarchic function without at the same time forfeiting the vigorous, fresh, admirable impetus which makes for the savor and worth of the individual.” In order to make the point, I had the habit of submitting an undated resignation on the day I started any job. Even that felt like a ritual of integration. I exercised it myself by “leaping,” to use Joseph Knecht’s term, whenever I felt The Game was being threatened.The idea of the rules of The Game, its language, and symbology undoubtedly provoked some sort of teen-age mysticism. But what most attracted me and still does is that The Game is “... a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture...” years later I would discover Wittgenstein and know that this is precisely what he must have meant in his term ‘language games.’ The downside from a career perspective, of course, is that narrow disciplinary constrains and professional mores became increasingly problematic. The world at large expects increasing specialisation with age. But for me intellectual maturity has always been a matter of expansion rather than refinement. This has made me less well-off than I might have been. But I am more than content. I also find that I retain some tendencies toward teen-age mysticism. Perhaps this is an accomplishment.It has been said that one is born either an Aristotelian or a Platonist. Empirically, it seems to me, there is some strength in this assertion. I am certainly in the camp of the latter and therefore fit right in to the Platonic bias of The Game, which Aristotelians would merely find just silly. It was Hesse who piqued my interest in philosophers like Nicholas of Cusa and Gottfried Leibniz. And through them into the idea of the ideal as a symbol of both purpose and the aesthetical. Unconsciously I suppose, I found myself associating with other Platonists and quasi-Platonists - West Churchman at Berkeley, Russell Ackoff and Tom Cowan at Penn, Oliver O’Donovan at Oxford. Around each of these was a sort of invisible college, the members of which unknowingly participated in many rounds of The Game. That many of them are dead or no longer in my daily life is neither regrettable nor sad since the Order continues to unite us.Hesse’s idea of the Age of the Feuilleton as a motivating social force for the development of The Game resonated in my young life with what I perceived as the random character of what people worried about - nuclear war, mortal sin, cures for acne - and what might actually matter. For Hesse, the daily newspaper was more about gossip than the factual information necessary for life. Hesse’s narrator has only disdain for this age of wasted freedom:Years later, I encountered William Gaddis’s Recognitions and had a spark of remembrance about Hesse’s witty critiques of celebrity and “intellectual privateers”, particularly among self-proclaimed artists, and most specifically writers. And many years still later, I am overwhelmed by Hesse’s prescience in anticipating the evil of unintelligent internet social media. Perhaps they will be exactly the catalyst necessary for the real creation of The Game!Mathematics and Music are the core disciplines of The Game. I can blame Hesse for implanting this as a seed in my psyche. It legitimised for me my interest in numbers (but certainly not the techniques of calculation insisted upon by my teachers) and classical music (of which none of my contemporaries had the slightest interest). Once again, it is unclear whether The Game provoked or merely articulated these interests. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because The Game is my personal symbol for both. Recently while reading Edward Rothstein’s Emblems of Mind, a book which critiques music in terms of mathematical aesthetics and vice versa, I had very clear flashbacks of my pleasant surprise at being able to adopt Hesse’s discovery as my own. I have occasionally abandoned either mathematics or music as one might lose one’s childhood religion. But they have always returned as the matrix of my own version of The Game.I could go on ad nauseam recounting the many other specific influences that ...The Glass Bead Game has had on my life. But this short reflection is enough to show me the profound depths to which we can be influenced by what we consume as literature in early life. I don’t know what lessons this might entail. Perhaps the reflection is only productive as a sort of therapy that makes conscious what has been hidden for decades from will and choice. Hesse suggests this might be his intent in the text where he describes The Game evolving as “a form of concentrated self-awareness for intellectuals.“ Having said that, there is nothing I would change about allowing The Game into my life.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-22 13:20

    “No permanence is ours; we are a waveThat flows to fit whatever form it finds” ― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead GameI remember reading Hesse's Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund right out of high school. There was something both disquieting and uniquely calming about these strange little books that Hesse wrote detailing his love and fascination with Eastern thought and philosophy. I figured this year I would read the Glass Bead Game (and later Steppenwolf). It is in many ways Hesse's subtle answer to the growing Fascism in his country. But, at its heart, it isn't an anti-Fascist book. He is aiming for more. He is thinking bigger.It is a book about harmony and the arts. The exploration of how music, mathematics, intellectualism and life can become transcendent and beautiful. The Glass Bead Game is a mysterious fill-in that allows it to be at once none and all of man's endeavors. It is a holy raga, a tactile masbaha, a literary syncretism, that captures the whole of man's achievements and is practiced by an elite few. Using the framework of the Game Hesse is able to look at the dynamic of all of man's achievements as being both beautiful, worthwhile, but also frivolous and fleeting. He looks at the tension between those who remove themselves from mankind's experiences with those who live IN the world. There is a pull and a reciprocity between these two groups. He is looking for those things that balance those groups and ultimately those things that cause these groups to separate.The book also explores the (mostly) Eastern ideas of meditation, surrender, loss and renewal. I found these ideas (obviously) beautiful and rewarding, but I'm still not sure if I really liked the structure of the book: Part 1 (pages 7-44): Introduction to GBG; Part 2 (Pages 45-427): Magister Ludi's story; Part 3 (428-445): Magister Ludi's poems; Part 4 (446-558): The Three Lives (other incarnations of Magister Ludi). I'm just not sure if the structure worked for me. It did well enough, but I loved and hated it too. Maybe that was Hesse's intention. The first part was a parody of those 'history of the saints' that appear so often and so frequently in all religious traditions. It was interesting, but just didn't mix well with the final parts of the novel. I did like having Knecht's (re)incarnations be outside of time. While Magister Ludi was set in the future, the other incarnations of Magister Ludi were more likely from the past. An interesting construct, but the weight of the last was too little for the heavy front. But these are frivolous issues. For the most part, I liked the book. It is incredible that in the face of WWII and Nazi Germany Hesse could write this. History and the inevitable burning push of evil must have seemed dark and heavy, but ultimately this book (written from 1931 to 1943) contains the germs of peace and tranquility. I think that peace comes from the idea of a spiritual retreat (a common theme) and surrender. Hesse wasn't saying to run from Evil, although he did himself leave Nazi Germany. But I think his book was communicating the ability to find peace through surrendering to one's own situation and place in the universe. The Glass Bead Game one day will disappear, but so too ONE DAY will fascism and evil, because all of man's creation is a game. So, surrender to the game and surrender to the universe.

  • Robin Tell-Drake
    2019-02-09 13:26

    A tremendous disappointment, especially given the shimmering praise the book garners on all sides. I realize I’m at odds with the world in judging this book harshly, and I realize there may yet be some dimension of brilliance here that I’m just not seeing, but grant me this, it’s not for lack of trying. No other novel have I ever laid down without a backward glance within a few dozen pages of the end, certain at last that the great payoff for my eight hundred pages of patience was never going to come. Here’s the big plot spoiler: nothing at all happens in this book. Not “nothing” in a loaded, John Cage way, just nothing, as when the author cannot deliver on his heady promises but publishes a book anyhow. I actually think it’s kind of important to call bullshit on all the approbation the book receives.The two fundamental failures in the book are its main character and its central device, the Game itself. Both failures are drearily total, and each is all the more of a letdown for the breathless, never-ending clamor of hype both within and without the book’s pages.The book starts right out with the declaration of Joseph Knecht’s pivotal importance, as the greatest player the Game has ever had, after whose career the history of the Game could never be the same. This is repeated ceaselessly throughout, in narrative asides. Meanwhile, we watch a pleasant, unassuming, talented young boy as he is handpicked by a professor, becomes a promising student whose great potential is remarked on by everyone he meets, and moves on to become a professor at a young age. He is indeed the youngest ever to become Magister Ludi, so at least that should earn him a mention in the history books. We are told, I think precisely once, that when he runs a game, it’s a good one. And then he gets old; along the way he meets some people and has some conversations. And then he dies in a swimming accident, and then we riffle through some of his personal papers until the book is over. Even his youthful writings, a strange little coda to his own life story, echo the pattern of fervent affirmation of the importance of a character—plainly himself in thin disguise, but now being described, just as fawningly, in his own voice—who goes on to do nothing much.If in fact Knecht ever does anything of greater historical importance than being generally agreeable and good at what he does, it is not told to us. His life is a dull blank, undeserving of a biography at all, especially when at least three other characters go by who might actually have made good reading. Consider the strangely beatified Music Master, whose unexpectedly mystical transcendence of humanity Knecht merely witnesses when it comes along late in the book; that might be worthy of history. Or Knecht’s boyhood rival, a fiery young student who leaves the academic world and is reunited with Knecht later on one of the protagonist’s vanishingly rare ventures outside his ivory tower; his relationship to the Game is complex and troubled, but this barely ruffles the surface of Knecht’s complacency. Or there is the Sinophile who draws Knecht into a dialogue with Chinese history and literature, who gets to deliver the book’s most interesting challenge: when Knecht seeks his assistance in bringing the symbology of the I Ching into the vocabulary of the Game (much easier, you’d think, than it would have been to encapsulate French poetry or organic chemistry, since the I Ching is already encoded in a set of symbols easily printed on beads), his new mentor smiles and says you can build a garden in the world, but good luck fitting the entire world inside your garden. What’s this? A character within the Glass Bead Game dismissing the Game itself as far lesser than some other symbol system? Here, now, we have the potential for a meaty examination of this Game thing, which we deserve after putting up with so much talk about it. But Knecht just shrugs and goes about his business, and there will be no exposition upon either system. Because the Game is the other aching nullity at the heart of the book; there’s nothing there.Hesse was inspired to write, beyond doubt, by the legitimately awesome notion of the Game. He imagines a symbol system within which all academic disciplines can be encoded, and can interact with each other, like a conversion chart for all fields of knowledge. Within this system, all concepts are encoded on beads, and it seems any of them can meaningfully combine with any other, such that wild new ideas emerge in the interplay. Here is the complex discourse wherein some kind of game, some competition or contest, can flourish, a game of all human learning, ranging like lightning from one discipline to another, referencing everything. Only a rarefied kind of academic could hope to understand such a game, let alone play it competitively. And the book is set within the cloistered academy where these super-scholars are trained.It’s a sweeping, fascinating idea. It’s enough, without adding much of anything else, to drive a really memorable short story. But Hesse wanted it to crown a towering edifice, worthy of the sense of weight and magnitude that was, in fact, only the subject of the idea rather than its dimensions. By which I mean: it was a vague little slip of an idea about something vast and weighty, rather than actually being a vast and weighty idea. But Hesse fooled himself, and in his excitement he determined to write a very long novel, and that was a mistake from which there could be no recovery. The fatal problem is that Hesse wilts instantly before the task of filling in any kind of detail about what the game was and how it worked. He hasn’t a clue. Inspired by his book, several people have gone on to design more or less playable games to match their impressions of the game he only alludes to—you can find them on the internet if you look around—but he never does. And the more ambient suspense the author generates by promising a brilliant reality, without ever showing even a flickering corner of it, the worse the bland filler starts to smell when it all gets stale. Mind you, I know it’s too much to ask for him to generate a practical game that lives up to his vision. But we don’t need him to do that. He need only sketch some part of it, fill in a detail here and a detail there that his characters can make part of their workaday conversations. He does need to do something, though, and it needs to pass muster as at least a tantalizing beginning of the thing itself. One example, perhaps, of a specific bead that represents something from the science of biology; what is written or drawn on the bead? What might be one instance of that bead’s being played in answer to a bead representing some architectural concept? That would be enough. He makes frequent mention of music—indeed the deification of music, common among writers, is so relentless here as to become a minor problem in its own right—but no sign of how it relates to any other field. Of course, a writer needs to be able to let the reader fill in empty spaces that the story only sketches with spare gestures. But the gestures need to be the beginning of something worthy.In the event, that one game—”composed” by Knecht during his tenure as Top Official in Gameland—gives us just enough detail to make clear, after most of the book has gone by, that what’s actually happening here is a solo show. Knecht has composed a complex exercise in advance, and now the other players are just acting it out, perhaps filling in some details at their own discretion but abiding by a predetermined structure. Our one glimpse of the practical nature of the game has all the fanfare of a whoopee cushion. The Game isn’t actually a game. Nobody's playing. There are no objectives. It’s some sort of abstruse, very quiet performance art.A long book full of portentious self-promotion but with nothing to say. An elaborately wrapped present with no gift inside. A big fat nothing. Not the nothing of the Buddhist, who longs for nothing and seeks it, but that of the Wizard of Oz—a nothing that noisily proclaims itself to be everything.

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-02-03 14:30

    Second IntroductionI saw that a Goodreader commented on another review that they felt this was a book for young people, which caught my attention with a jolt because I had barely finished thinking that this was plainly a book written by an old man. Which it was. These are in no way contradictory notions, they even sit together as one of the themes of the book: "meaningful and meaningless cycle of master and pupil, this courtship of wisdom by youth, of youth by wisdom, this endless, oscillating game was the symbol of Castalia" (p207) First IntroductionSince I have had a second introduction it follows that I ought to really have a first one. So here it is.Because we have a game in the title and playing this game is of some significance in the novel then that might be a place to start. Another review mentioned the possibility that the game was a form of pure mathematics, while reading it occurred to me that it was a way of talking about fiction. A game the reader and author play by themselves and that the author plays with the reader, not all games are equally amusing as one notices. That led to the conclusion that the game was another game - a McGuffin. A thing that serves to get Cary Grant from New York to the middle of a wheat field so somebody can try to machine gun him from an aeroplane because somebody else thought it might look good on celluloid. We simply have to accept it has no greater meaning than to be intrinsically meaningful to the characters even if no machine guns are involved (view spoiler)[ they are not, nor aeroplanes, but there is a car (hide spoiler)]. Or as one of the characters in one of the embedded stories might say "illusion, illusion!" paragraph about playfulnessWe're kind of warned from early on that this is going to be a playful kind of book. The author presents himself merely as the ever so humble editor of a biography written in the future of a fictional person. Then we get an introduction from the 'actual author' who denies the possibly of biography and tells us that we won't tell us about the game before telling us about the game, and who in passing mentions the absence of various sources, before leaping into the story in which the purported author seems to have omniscient knowledge of the imaginary subject of the story. Finally we get some poems and short stories which we understand have been written by the subject of this biography and which thematically stand in some relation to the main text. so, did I fall off my chair laughing ?No.Although I did laugh and once cry while reading the second of the short stories which is my favourite part of the whole book, apart from the ending of the main part of the text. Further I noted that since the books on their shelf were fairly well compressed that some the pages had a fraternal desire to stay together, and significantly, that I wasn't much troubled by this. should I read this book ?I don't much like shoulds, maybe you have read it, maybe you will read it, maybe you won't. To misquote Voltaire - when a rat on one of his Majesty's grain ships dies on the way from Egypt to Constantinople is the Sultan much troubled?I'm not sure when I first read this book, or why. Rereading I found it uncompelling, but also I had the strong suspicion that I had absorbed a fair amount of the book into myself as thirsty soil sucks in water the first time round, and that I had creatively misremembered bits of it, specifically the second of the short stories which in grossly modified form I had told as a rambling anecdote on several occasions (view spoiler)[ as you can imagine I am not in great demand as an after dinner speaker (hide spoiler)]. Perhaps this is no more than to say I was not in the right state of mind to have read this novel at this time, but reading this novel may well prompt or encourage such a way of thinking about the world(view spoiler)[ Confused? (hide spoiler)]. Third introduction, necessitated by the aboveJust as Sancho Panza taught that thee is a relationship between the story and the manner in which it is told so we might assume there is a relationship between how you start and how or indeed if you get to finish a tale. One of the themes in this novel is world history, the relationship between a plant and the soil it grows in. Ba! Maybe I first read this book when I was a student. When I was a student, I had no grey hairs, and also it seemed to me that people repeated the image of the ivory tower when talking about universities and the studious life, or maybe I was just more attuned to that kind of speech as the time, to my amusement as I wandered (view spoiler)[ and wondered, which may have been while some of them didn't last particularly long (hide spoiler)]through a variety of jobs and joblessness it struck me that each one was itself an ivory tower with its own God (not always Mammon) hierarchies and Priesthoods, sacred assumptions, peculiar idiocies, and character, admittedly one could regard professions like accountancy and the law as bridges between these towers, providing some helpful common concepts like illegality and bankruptcy, but these too were worlds of their own, journeying between worlds, as occasionally one has to, is like being an astronautI come in peace! Take me to your leader! Come, be welcome, drink of our corporate tea or coffee, accept one of our cheap biscuits as symbol of our contempt! Whoops I'm lost in reminiscences again. Anyway, from a certain perspective the entire landscape is covered in ivory towers (view spoiler)[ which explains why elephants are so rare these days (hide spoiler)].What I was going to say, before I interrupted myself, was that this novel was finished in 1943 and imagines an ideal Utopian society, naturally the other side of a utopian society is a dystopian one. And a place that calls itself Castalia, brings to mind Castile, the land of castles, and one has to wonder quite what do they want to lock themselves up away from? What threatens them, why are they so defensive? Indeed reading "Our Castilia is not supposed to be merely an elite; it ought above all to be a hierarchy, a structure in which every brick derives its meaning only from its place in the whole. There is no path leading out of this whole, & one who climbs higher & is assigned to greater & greater tasks does not acquire more freedom, only more & more responsibilities." (p81) I could imagine O'Brien from 1984 saying much the same kind of thing to one of his protégées - but then one of the themes of this book is the reconciliation and interrelationship of apparently contradictory elements!What I was going to say, before I interrupted myself, was that this novel is a German novel written in what might have been a German century. It is a kind of alternative for Germany, a continuation of Thomas Mann's vaunted unpoliticism at times when politics was pretty unavoidable. Empire, Socialism, War, Cultural upheaval, Fascism, More war (view spoiler)[ it strikes me that in a profound way Hesses'a achievement is charting a personal course that didn't sail through militarism, anti-Semitism and the far right, but then read in the context of this novel his life would be a necessary counterpoint to the dominant Zeitgeist (view spoiler)[ and for all I know he might have been nasty to the people who loved him, and stole sweets from small children(hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]. So what do you do, such was part of the soil that Hesse grew in, he knew Theodore Heuss who had been a follower of Max Weber (view spoiler)[ and this is a book about men and male relationships, fraternal, as well as master and apprentice (hide spoiler)] Hesse had been close to C.G.Jung, so there is psychology, the iChing, alchemy, God, spiritual growth (view spoiler)[ but no skirt chasing (hide spoiler)]. Both Weber and Jung deeply interested in "the east" as offering ways out of the steel cage of the sonderweg of the development of "the west" so this novel features yoga and meditation as well as everything else, Reincarnation might be a theme too. Hesse's utopia is an alternative Germany, federalism has led to a purely academic federal state, probably in the south-west and apparently subsidised by the rest of the Union. The novel plays with the relationships between the master and the apprentice, the teacher and the taught, the seduction or corruption of the young by the old as well as the reconciliation or alignment of apparently opposite elements. An old Imperialist may well have written that 'East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet'. Hesse is a bit more sensible and admits that once you have east, then you have to have west, and perhaps north and south too, that these things are separate, distinct and an inseparable whole all at the same time and that such a scheme can be carried across to analogous situations, which possibly can be represented in a Game which despite being the title of the book, is never explicitly described. The principal character experiences his Castalia directly, then formally has to address himself to it and argue for it consciously as a utopia, then has to experience it as dystopia, then has to go forth and inherit the earth:"The two tendencies or antipodes of his life, its Yin and Yang, were the conservative tendency towards loyalty, towards unstinting service of the hierarchy on the one hand, and on the other hand the tendency towards 'awakening', towards advancing, towards apprehending reality" (p257). The short stories in which the main character might be imagining other versions of himself, might be arguing that the reconciliation of opposites or the conflicting tugs we experience in life may not be resolvable in one life, but if one could or does live many lives then perhaps on average, they might even out, but one might need a certain set of skills to appreciate that in any one life in particular. Writing and reading novels might be one of those skills.This exists on the great, sprawling family tree of books, reading I felt there was something I thought that I could mention in a review with regards to Tolstoy, but I can't remember what, the dialogue in the second of the two short stories reminded me, particularly in the childlike nature of much sin, of the Grand Inquisitor inThe Brothers Karamazov - another novel that the author claims he didn't write with a supposedly limited narrator who has apparently omniscient knowledge. Conclusion (view spoiler)[ because if you introduce something then one has to conclude it too (hide spoiler)]But as I said, I didn't fall off my chair laughing.Notes from reading(view spoiler)[a war time novel. is the glass bead game a way of talking about writing the mid-20th century novel? incidentally, my respects to your Magister Ludi. What letters he writes...its again impossible to tell whether that is intended naively as bait...,or meant ironically, or simply springs from an irresistible impulse to playact, stylize and embellish. (p166) so the Abbott responds to the letter from the Thomas Mann character.Vita.Framing devise, distancing. Relationship between author and frames, how are we to think of the dialogues and details do we take these seriously or regard them as fictions with in a fiction? Introduction denial of value of biography. attempt at impossible?Knecht servant and knight. Joseph? father and not father? Reincarnation. Meditation as a substitute. Steppenwolf? Writing the same novel? tending towards the platonic novel? Utopia, dystopia.castlia - land of castles, retreat, security, strength - implied threat?Isolation and engagement. Music. Tradition and change.Interesting for different conceptions of time or differing timeframes in which characters operate. (hide spoiler)]

  • Stephen P
    2019-02-14 14:29

    This, his final novel makes it clear that all his works need to be read in their order as one edition leading up to his final life conclusion! A man caught within the depths of thought striving for something beyond his sight captures his heroic journey through his written words.A different voice from the Hesse of my college days. No longer redirecting my compass eastward toward a spirituality with a promise to enlarge consciousness. This is a firm clear voice that looks back to arrive at an understanding. His own truth. One ground and distilled from a life of thought. But the voice wavers at times as the story foretold has a waver of its own.Joseph Knecht is selected as a student of promise. As his achievements are recognized, much to his surprise and glee, he is selected to the highest consecration of the intellectually elite, Castalia. Supported by the government those enrolled or encumbered in Castalia have in some way sworn to dedicate themselves to maintaining its well ordered hierarchy. The hierarchy supplies Castalia with serenity, a static but comfortable stability, built to prevent any disordered flow of disruptive emotion while dedicated to a life of contemplation, research, study of any subject worthy of intellectual exploration.Is there any other of us who earlier in life didn’t wonder, can’t I just get paid for thinking? Reading? Come on, there must be somebody else. Do I see a hand raised?Joseph Knecht enjoyed learning for learnings sake. Due to this, his steadfastness, lack of any ambition where it came to a rise in status, was hauled upwards into the higher brackets of the hierarchy where his tasks were no longer oriented around his passionate love for teaching, teaching especially the young. As he left his friends behind in the world when he left for Castalia he now left his beloved profession. Of course he dedicated himself to his new duties, gradually rising to a position so lofty it can barely be discerned by the outside world, in its abstract ether; Magister Ludi. The Magister (Master) of the Glass Beads Game. The holy trinity exalted into blends of knowledge, philosophical thought, aesthetic creation, their intertwining, interweaving into the multitude of countless interstices. The games as drawn up in competition are archived. Abundant and frequently referred to, they are held with reverence. The Glass Bead games not only singles out the best players but insures the continous enlargement of consciousness, wisdom, knowledge. The world wonders, as the intellectual elite of Castalia expects, what good is pure intellectual pursuit for the sake of pure intellectual pursuit? Castlia is repulsed by the sordid life of the working class with their lack of curiosity, non-questioning obeisance to the trifles of meaningless conventions and dully repeated jokes; their ant-like drive to follow whoever is in front of them in the long endless moving line to avoid any flint of individuality lurking around dark corners in danger of being lit.Castalia readily points out, in the current twenty third century, it was properly born from the previous years of conflict and destruction evolving into a means of avoiding such an occurrence. Indeed there has not been.Knecht himself isn’t positive what the connection is or if there is one. He and his colleagues, in their monk-like quasi religious life, having sacrificed any iota left of individuality to the order, preserving the knowledge of what to do and how to behave in all circumstances, the comfort of effacing stability, also follow what they are told. However, with the stamp of elite buried in their brow they are held and hold themselves in a higher status.Do they contribute except for responses to papers written and studies summarized within their hallowed halls? The resounding answer within these halls is, of course we do. The pure pursuit of truth is always elevated to the highest. Besides, dealing with life in the world is a lower pursuit and one not worthy of following. Understanding that the world and its production enables Castalia to exist, does not alter their view. The world with its bustling jobs based on fear and ambition thinks the same of Castalia.And where is Knecht?Hesse’s skill as a novelist is shown in his ability to dramatize this rather than lecturing. The dramatization is furthered by attention to detail and the apt planting of narrative seeds barely recognized at first, then the enjoyment of its first lucid buds and flowerings thereafter.Ha! The more I write the more there is to be said in this glass bead game of my own that I have created and fallen into. Let it be said this was Hesse’s last novel and its ending is immense. It was an honor to be in The Glass Beads Game presence, in the presence of Hesse.

  • Chloe
    2019-02-10 08:44

    I feel that I must open this review by stating that I am an unabashed fanboy of Hermann Hesse. I read everything that he had ever written at a whirlwind pace several years ago and still return to my favorites, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha and Demian, on a rotating yearly basis. That said, I have often heard that The Glass Bead Game is the magnum opus of Hesse's career. The purest expression of the themes that he had highlighted in his other works. If one were to read only one book by Hesse it should be this one, I had been told. No offense to those earnest recommendations, but I could have gone a long time without reading this dull retread of every one of Hesse's other books.So many of the same character types and situations appear in these pages that I can't help but feel I'm reading a Cliff's Notes version of his oeuvre. The strangely passionate yet platonic love affair of minds between an elder scholar and an impetuous youth a la Narcissus & Goldmund? Check. The intense friendship between two geniuses; one sheltered and naive, the other worldly and brash like those in Demian? They're here too. A Westernized attempt to understand the mysticism and philosophical underpinnings of Eastern religions a la Siddhartha and Journey to the East? Oh yes, they too are here.This repetition in itself does not make The Glass Bead Game unappealing. Stretching these themes over some 400+ pages in Hesse's typically dense prose does. This isn't a bad book and might actually be a good one. But coming into it expecting something unique would be a mistake. This has all been written before, and far more engagingly.

  • أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
    2019-01-29 12:16

    هذا كتاب هيرمان هيسه الأشهر و الأكبر , كُتب على مدار تسع سنين , و يضمّ معظم أفكار هيرمن هيسه التي عُرف بها فيما بعد إنّها النزعة نحو الذات , و التأمّل و اليقين الموجود هناك في داخلك , وحدة الوجود , التي تقاوم ماديّة العالم و سببيّته الصلبة , الطبيعة تتكلّم معك و بك , و الكائنات كلّها كينونة متنافمة ضمن اللحن نفسِه .الموسيقى .. أرقّ ما يروي الإنسان و تنطق به الحقيقة إنّها الحقيقة الواحدة , التي تتراقص ضمنها سيرورة العالم بتبدّياته المختلفة ... و هنا عبقريّة الرواية و فكرتها المذهلة الحقيقة الواحدة لعبة الكريات الزجاجيّة , هي لعبة ابتكرتها الموسيقى , ثمّ عبّر بها الرياضيّون عن أنفسهم ثمّ الفيزيائيّون ثمّ نقّاد الأدب ... ثمّ العلوم كلّها كلّ المجالات و الحقول المختلفة ذات القوانين و البديهيّات و المنطق المختلف , تنسجم و تعبّر عن نفسِها في هذه اللعبة , لأنّ ثمّة قانوناً كليّة وراء الأشياء , يمكن أن يُعبّر به عنها جميعاً , و بالاحتمالات اللامتناهية لكلّ حقلٍ , و بتفاصيله و دقائقه , و لها مختصّون و مدارس و أساتذة و مسابقات , و يفد إليها المريدون من كلّ مكان , و يعتبر أهلُها أنّهم نخبةُ الأرض التي تحمل الحقيقة . و هي لعبةٌ تعتمد على التأمّل ... لتحفيز النفس على اكتشاف الحقيقة و اليقين في القلب .إنّها دين ...و يسبغ هيرمان هيسه على هذه اللعبة و روّادها صبغة واقعيّة مقنعة , فثمّة في المجتمع من يعتبرها مجرّد لهو رخيص , وثمّة من يعتبر المنشغلين بها مجموعة جهلة مخادعين , و ثمّة من يراهم سحرة , و ثمّة من يتعلّم منهم و يرسل أولاده ليصبحوا مميّزين إليهم .و لا يغفل هيرمان هيسه أن يرسل الكثير من الإشارات و النقد للواقع الاجتماعي السياسي في زمانه بلفتات و تلميحات ذكيّة .كما أنّ تحليل للموسيقى الغربيّة و المقارنة بينها ساهمت في رفع قيمة الرواية كثيراً لدى النخبة الأوروبيّة , ما قد لا نعير هاهتماماً كثيراً في الترحمة العربيّة .كما أنّ تحليله للنفس الإنسانيّة و تصويره للحالات الاستثنائيّة منها , و الكثير من الحكم المرتبطة بها و بالعلاقات بين البشر , و بالأخصّ - و هذه مهمّ و رئيسي- سايكولوجيا المنظومات الشموليّة المغلقة , التي تتبدّى معرفيّا هنا في مدرسة الكريات الزجاجيّة , هذا كلّه كان ذكيّاً طبعاً الرواية لا تخلو من أن تكون مملّة في كثير من الأحيان , و من قال إنّ كلّ فكرةٍ ذكيّة يجب أن تكون روايتها ممتعة ؟!

  • Owlseyes
    2019-02-05 09:38

    (Nice hat!)A good Tratactus on Society; on what distinguishes the normal ones from the elite ones.In Castalia, the Elite (or the Order) pursues the Games of the Mind and its cultivation. An elite member renounces material wealth....and embraces poverty to become a Mandarin of the Mind. That is what Joseph Knecht did.Ah! Castalia, they learn meditation (Hesse calls it, so appropriately, psychic hygiene)....and they're in the 23rd century.Students of the Order, most often, renounce marriage. They are quite familiar with the idea of reincarnation (*) and, annually, they have to elaborate a composition (called "A life") which narrates the author in three periods of time, say, for example in Imperial Rome...or in Periclean Athens ...or Austria in Mozart's time; it's up to each one. Language of that period is researched.----(*) I am pleased to got to know recently, that, since 2003, Buddhism has been part of the curriculum of public schools in Berlin; but now, private schools in other German states have been including the matter in their lessons;example:The Internationale Friedensschule (International Peace School) in Cologne.

  • John
    2019-02-02 15:31

    This is Hesse's epic novel that tells the story of Joseph Knecht, a boy who passes through the system of the Castalian Order to become the Glass Bead Game Magister. If the last sentence made any sense to you, chances are you have already read the book. Though once the book is read, that is about all it is about. The book is written by an unknown member of the Castalian Order who is retelling the story of Joseph Knecht. The Glass Bead Game is an intellectual game played encompassing all major areas of learning, though its origins lay in music theory. The Castalian Order is a monastic like society whose one goal is to learn. They produce no real products of worth outside of teachers for the outside society. Knecht, with his bright intellect and the guiding hand of the Music Master (a seemingly futuristic Buddhist), rises to become the Magister of this game and arguably the best that ever was. The book deals with ideas of spiritualism, elitism, intellectualism, and how best to deal with the problems of society. I recommend this book for fans of Bildungsromans, Hesse and those that have toyed with Buddhism. Though if you are a bit bored and wanna pick up a 800 page book to see what it is like, go for it!

  • Elena
    2019-02-05 07:31

    This is surely one of the most beautiful dreams depicted in literature. It is also a reminder that even the most beautiful dreams cannot feed our longing, which is ultimately for a reconciliation with the Real. The Glass Bead Game is an allegory of the relationship between symbol and reality, between life and the magic lantern of the mind.Hesse's Castalia is a utopia of mind, which is born of and supported at great expense by a society recently ravaged by a terrible war. It is an enclosed place in which this society has deposited for safe-keeping all the greatest values of the spirit in a hermetically-sealed harmony immune from the ravages of worldly change. Isolation from life is intended to safeguard Castalia's status as a radiant Ark that can secure the continued existence of these supreme values of human life, transporting them unharmed and untainted across the darkness of historic flux.“Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.” In Castalia's network of serene alleys, one finds a perfect reflection of the garden of symbols that is one's own mind. The goal of Castalia is to give concrete expression to the unity of the mind in all its manifold manifestations. Every province of the mind finds its concrete expression here, from the arts, to mathematics, to the contemplative disciplines, to the most recondite special sciences. One can feel fully at home in this environment. A cross between a Platonic academy and a Zen monastery, this is a place in which the entire structure of the mind finds its fullest expression by being concretized in actual institutions. Life here is placed entirely in the service of the mind. Here, life exists merely to fuel the progressive unfolding of mind's capacity for the ever-progressing elaboration of existence into form. The consummation of life, and Castalia's ultimate goal, is a supreme formalism that can encompass the essence of life, thereby containing it in a supreme super-structure. This formalism is expressed in the Glass Bead Game. It realizes Leibniz's dream of a universal language (or characteristica universalis), which, he thought, once attained, would bring us to the consummation of the philosophical quest: a universal science. The goal of the Game is to lead us to the great Terminus of all seeking, a universal system "capable of reproducing inthe Game the entire intellectual content of the universe.” “These rules, the sign language and grammar of the Game, constitute a kind of highly developed secret language drawing upon several sciences and arts, but especially mathematics and music (and/or musicology), and capable of expressing and establishing interrelationships between the content and conclusions of nearly all scholarly disciplines. The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colours on his palette.” Imagine having a universal language that can express the manifold content of all provinces of knowledge and experience according to a single unifying logic. This would make Chomsky's dream of a universal grammar pale in comparison. The Glass Bead Game is a language that can reduce to a single logico-grammatical plane a motif from classical Indian music and a mathematical formula, the structure of the future perfect tense and the biological structure of a rhizome, a cosmogonic myth and a logical proof. Hesse puts before us this dream of dreams, the possession of a language of thought that would give us the symbolic tools with which we could at last compare every possible datum of human experience, so that we could see what the myth and the logical proof can say to each other, and how the structure of a leaf is like a symphony and like a mathematical model. It is like Babel undone, the reduction of all universes of discourse to one meta-discourse, offering us a genuine basis for the comparison of all meanings accessible to the mind. The closest philosophic vision to Hesse's Castalia that I can think of is Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms, which similarly seeks to express the unity of human knowledge into a single philosophical language. It is, by the way, significant that music and meditation have such a prominent place in this scheme. Musical form reflects the Romantic side of cognitive form, and reflects Goethe's contribution:“Perfect music has its cause. It arises from equilibrium. Equilibrium arises from righteousness, and righteousness arises from the meaning of the cosmos. Therefore one can speak about music only with a man who has perceived the meaning of the cosmos.” Music reflects the level of a more immediate engagement with the world than does either mathematical or logical form. Hesse's universal language manages to bring even the seemingly formless domain of music into dialogue with the most formal of disciplines, like mathematics, and to reveal their relations as parts of a larger systematic whole. Music has to do with establishing a relationship with the world characterized by equilibrium. Music expresses the unity in difference that characterizes the realized mind. In this symbolic universe, Hesse tells us, music comes closest to disclosing the form of the real. And the emphasis on meditation expresses Hesse's effort to reconcile East and West, Plato and Buddha. He seems to have struggled his entire life to form a philosophical outlook that placed these two cultural traditions in dialogue, such that each could comment on the significance of the other. Meditation is the ground of intellection in his Castalia; it unlocks the true meaning of cognitive form. In this, Hesse shows a remarkable understanding of the nature of form: only through a meditative act can scholars here fully reveal the content of symbolic forms:“everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbols led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, holiness is forever being created.” Everything is all-meaningful, everything can be interpreted. This is a language that can express the entirety of our capacity for deriving meaning out of experience, and does so in such a way as to lead us to the central mystery: our “primal knowledge,” our latent and unrealized awareness of the “innermost heart of the world.”The one thing that in this luminous structure remains a bit of an outlier is, significantly, history. History is hard to integrate into this shimmering edifice of Castlian symbolic-play because it consistently gestures beyond this serene, unperturbed province to the larger, dark continent of life that it is part of. It keeps pointing to the connection between the two, and to Castalia's paradoxical need for that messy, trouble, war-torn world. It is significant that the work was conceived in the nightmarish period leading up to, and culminating in, World War 2 (the first attempt at publication being 1943). This is more than historical coincidence; Hesse's narrative continually gestures to this historic background, and to a fundamental escapist motive, as the source of Castalia. It turns out that this lotus could only bloom from the dark flux of historic muck. The horror of the war is, ironically, an integral part of the significance of the beautiful Game of symbols. Historical awareness is what ultimately awakens Knecht's ethical consciousness, sending him to turn his back on Castalia and return to the world to serve it. Through this sacrificial renunciation of his calling, Knecht the servant resembles Nietzsche's Zarathustra and the Buddha, both of whom had to leave the clear beauty of the heights in order to return to the uncaring world in order to offer it their unwanted service. His ultimate sacrifice for his one pupil at the end shows the last word of wisdom: wordless sacrifice in the service of life's inscrutable progress. For a long time I have puzzled over Hesse's choice to conclude this novel with three fictional autobiographies written by Knecht in his school days. They symbolize Knecht's attempt to project himself into different historical periods, to really enter into the life of mind as it transpired in other times. One can see the pedagogical point: until we, too, do the same, we do not understand ourselves. History holds the key to our story. It is by transporting ourselves into other times that we can really discern where we are, the shape of our horizons, through an act of comparison. But why these three lives... After ten years, I still don't have an answer. The most moving, to me, was the first, which is Knecht's attempt to transport himself into the mind of the earliest humans, as a rain maker. The rain maker represents the wisdom of primary, pre-symbolic (or minimally-symbolized and differentiated) experience. For him, there was no differentiation between self and world, nature and soul. Reality was perfectly contained in the totality of experience. “Everything was reality, was steeped in reality, full of it as bread dough is of yeast.” He represents the experiential ground of the unity of the whole edifice of mind:“He read the veinings of a leaf, the pattern on a mushroom cap, and divined mysteries, relations, futures, possibilities: the magic of symbols, the foreshadowing of numbers and writing, the reduction of infinitudes and multiplicities to simplicity, to system, to concept. For all these ways of comprehending the world through the mind no doubt lay within him, nameless, unnamed, but not inconceivable, not beyond the bounds of presentiment, still in the germ, but essential to his nature, part of him, growing organically within him. And if we were to go still further back beyond this Rainmaker and his time which to us seems so early and primitive, if we were to go several thousand years further back into the past, wherever we found man we would still find - this is our firm belief - the mind of man, that mind which has no beginning and always has contained everything that it later produces.” But the unity of the mind runs deeper still:“...the Master and the boy followed each other as if drawn along the wires of some mechanism, until soon it could no longer be discerned which was coming and which going, which following and which leading, the old or the young man. Now it seemed to be the young man who showed honour and obedience to the old man, to authority and dignity; now again it was apparently the old man who was required to follow, serve, worship the figure of youth, of beginning, of mirth. And as he watched this at once senseless and significant dream circle, the dreamer felt alternately identical with the old man and the boy, now revering and now revered, now leading, now obeying; and in the course of these pendulum shifts there came a moment in which he was both, was simultaneously Master and small pupil; or rather he stood above both, was the instigator, conceiver, operator, and onlooker of the cycle, this futile spinning race between age and youth.” This passage expresses, I think, the essence of the Upanishads, the intuition of the supreme identity of Atman, the deepest locus of unity, the source and goal of wisdom. The relationship between the boy and the master, their cyclical change of roles, and their ultimate identity, is Atman. Such recurring passages throughout the work give glimpses into a level of insight that is of no use to Castalian inquiry. They suggest that from the very beginnings of culture, this primal ground of insight was available to us, and that it remains with us unaltered even in the highly sophisticated intellectual culture of Castalia. This order of insight connects us to the deepest past and to the remotest future, being something no education can give (though it can perhaps take it away). Hesse, having learned from Eastern philosophy, is very sensitive to all the domains of wisdom that cannot possibly receive symbolic representation, even in the perfect formalism, the meta-language of the Game. What is the point of telling the story about the labyrinth of mind? For many years, I thought Knecht's leaving Castalia was anticlimactic. I couldn't get why he would leave, expecting, as he did, so little from the world. He had the promise of making his life a perfect unity in that reclusive world. He left that meaning and unity behind in order to commit himself to the dark flux of the world, and, in the end, to be destroyed by it. It seems his leaving is a jarring break in the unity of the work. We cannot follow him where he goes, or discern any meaning to his ultimate sacrifice. But now I think that IS Hesse's point: this is Hesse's movement from a purely theoretical, to a moral existence. And moral action often shows no overt consummation; often the sacrifice seems to have no discernible point. Perhaps it is with this meaningless act that Knecht finally grasped “the meaning.” “To stiffen into stone, to persevere!We long forever for the right to stay.But all that stays with us is fear,And we shall never rest upon our way.”

  • Becky
    2019-01-23 15:25

    I like Herman Hesse. I like Siddhartha, I remember liking Steppenwolf, I like huge sagas that probe the mind. I usuallylike weighty wordy novels where nothing in particular happens.I did not like the Glass Bead Game.I really did not like the Glass Bead Game.And I don’t understand how people did.First of all, I’ve gone through a lot of reviews. I was about fifty percent through the book, bored out of my mind, and I started reading reviews trying to get some motivation to finish this tome. I didn’t find ANY. First of all, everyone that gave it lots of stars either didn’t write a review, or wrote a review that’s literally a re-writing of the synopisis from Wikipedia. I’m not trying to insinuate that they didn’t really read it, or that they didn’t really understand it, or even that they are trying to seem cool by giving a Nobel winning book a good star rating--- I’m not insinuating that, but I have to wonder. I didn’t hardly find a single review that actually illuminated what that person actually enjoyed about the book. Most reviews were along the lines of “This story follows the life of Josef Knecht, who rose to become the youngest Master Ludi.” Or “This book talks about elitism, intellectualism, and touches on Buddhism.”Ok? But what did any of you THINK about that? I mean, I know WHAT the book is about, I want to know if you enjoyed the presentation of those arguments, the story, did you agree or disagree?There was nothing about that. So, at 50% through, I stopped reading. I have a rule, I usually give a book 100 pages to grab me, if it’s a long book I’ll give it 200. I gave this book more than a fair shake, I even looked for reasons to keep going, but I don’t think there are any.There is nothing in this book, that wasn’t a total rehash of every other book that Hesse wrote. So, here is my opinion- this is a dull drab affair in which nothing happens. I feel that there were some really interesting things that COULD have happened, or hell, even a treatise just on the ideals of the Glass Bead Game itself would’ve been more interesting. I love the idea that the GBG is a synthesis of the knowledge and culture of mankind throughout history. The Glass Bead Game is a design that is supposed to move this story forward, that is supposed to be the gravitational pull at the center of the book that all the words orbit around. Instead it’s nothing that’s nearly so forceful; it’s shrouded in mystery, but not the interesting-leaves-you-wondering-days-after-the-book kind, it’s the oh-you-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-actually-figure-it-out kind. That leaves Josef as the driving force of the book, but the only time he comes to life is when the actually interesting side-characters come back into the book, like the Master of Music. Josef is just a receptacle for the intervention of the other characters. So basically this book is like 800 pages of reading about someone with the personality of a garbage can and about some marbles that aren’t ever really described to you. Good luck. And, if you honestly DID, enjoy it, for the love of god tell me why, without summarizing the book. If I hear a good enough argument I’ll go back and finish it, but at this point, I have no faith that it gets any better, and I cannot force myself into it.Read Hesse’s other books, they are much more enjoyable. If you want something to touch your soul read Siddhartha.

  • Salma
    2019-02-15 15:33

    إضافة هذه القراءة العتيقة التي وجدتها عندي من عام 2006ربما لو أتيح لي إعادة قراءة الرواية الآن بعد أن زاد في روحي كم كبير من الكتب و السنوات لكنت نظرت إليها بعين أخرى، و ما كنت لأدري ما أقول عنها الآن بأية حال هي رواية تميل لتكون مسنة و حكيمة---على كل هذه القراءة على ما كنت قضيته فيها سابقا، و الله وحده العالم ما كنت لأقضي حاليا فيما لو قرأتها----لمن لعب بالكريات الزجاجية: تعال شاركني2006حاولت عدة مرات أن ألاعب هيرمان هسه بكرياته الزجاجية و لكني كنت أفشل في كل مرة...0إلى أن أتى اليوم الذي قررت فيه أن أعذب نفسي فأجبرتها على مواصلة قراءة الرواية (لعبة الكريات الزجاجية) و التي بلغت عدد صفحاتها (628)... مقاومة النعاس الغريب الذي ينتابني كلما فتحتها... و هكذا أنهيتها بعد مجاهدة دامت أياما طوالا لا أدري كم دامت لمللي...0الغريب أني أتحدث عن رواية من روايات هيرمان هسه العزيز بهذه الطريقة الممجوجة أنا التي لم تعشق مؤلفا أكثر منه... و لم تحرص على أن تقرأ الأعمال الكاملة لأي مؤلف إلاه...0و الأغرب ما يُقال عنها من أنها من أعظم الروايات التي كتبها... بل إنها حائزة على جائزة نوبل عام 1946لذلك و خلافا لعادتي من تبرئة ساحة ذائقتي حين لا أستسيغ كتابا و اتهام المؤلف فإني أتهمني بأني لم أفهمها تماما و لذلك لم تعجبني... أو لأكون أكثر دقة لم تعجبني أول خمسمئة صفحة منها ليس هناك من أحداث أقصها عليكم... فروايات هيرمان عادة تقوم على الأحداث الداخلية لبطلها...القصة بتبسيط ساذج تتحدث عن حياة يوزف كنشت و قد دخل في كستاليا و هي طائفة تعيش في عزلة عن العالم الخارجي و تكرس حياتها للعلم و المعرفة... ذات نسيج هرمي... و أعظم أشكالها العلمية تتجلى في لعبة الكريات الزجاجية... و هي لعبة تعيد الفنون إلى أصولها الرئيسية و تمزج ما بين الشعر و الفن و التاريخ و الموسيقى... لا تسألوني عن كيفية هذه اللعبة فهيرمان لم يخبرنا عن تفاصيلها... هي لعبة متخيلة على أية حال... فما هي ماهية اللعبة التي تحول الألف إلى باء مثلا!!! على أية حال يدخل يوزف هذه الطائفة و يدرس ثم ليصبح مدرسا ثم رئيسا للطائفة ثم ليعتزلها و يموت...0طبعا الرواية تحتاج إلى معرفة واسعة و إطلاع كبير على الآداب و خاصة الموسيقى و الشعر الرومانتيكي الأوربي و خصوصا الألمانية منها... إذ أنها تقوم على تحليلها و ربطها ببعضها... و لذلك لم تعجبني و لم أستشعر مدى الجهد الذي بذله هيرمان في كتابتها... لأني أصلا لا أعرف عن ماذا يتحدث...0ما يعجبني عادة في روايات هيرمان هو الصراع الذي يعيشه البطل تتنازعه رغبات جسده و توق روحه... هو البحث الدؤوب و الحائر عن المطلق و الكمال... عن السكينة و الصفاء... هو العزلة الروحية التي تكتنف كلماته... هو تلك الصوفية الغريبة...0إلا أن يوزف في هذه الرواية بدا ساكنا مطمئنا منذ البداية و حتى النهاية... و حتى في سني شبابه!!! مما جعلني أشعر أن هيرمان كتبها و قد تقدم في السن... بعد أن حاز على شيء من السكينة و الهدوء اللتين كانا يبحث عنهما في رواياته كلها...0المهم أن قصة حياة يوزف تنتهي عند الصفحة (483) و ما بعد ذلك هو الأعمال التي خلفها يوزف من أشعار و ثلاث قصص قصيرة(صانع المطر، كاهن الاعتراف،السيرة الهندية)... و كما ورد على لسان الراوي نفسه الذي يروي سيرة يوزف "بقيت من أعمال يوزف كنشت ثلاث من السير، سنوردها بنصها و نعتبرها بمثابة أثمن جزء من كتابنا كله" ص153و برأيي بالفعل هذه الأعمال هي أهم و أجمل من القصة ذاتها _رغم أن الكتاب كله هو الرواية_ و ربما لو اكتفى بها لكان كافيا بنظري... حسن قد أحببت هذا الجزء المتبقي من الرواية لدرجة أني وددت لو أعرف الألمانية لأقرأ أشعاره بلغتها و موسيقاها...0المخيف بهيرمان حقا هو بعض عباراته التي تحسه ينقلها من عالم آخر... و كأنه كان يشهد شيئا... و كأنه أدرك أخيرا... قد كشف الغطاء و لو لوهلة...0أدعكم مع بعض منها...0"كانت أيامه هي إصباحات لا يمكن تفريقها عن الأمسيات، أعياد لا يمكن تفويتها عن الأيام العادية، ساعات من الهمة لا يمكن تفريقها عن ساعات الفتور و الخور إلا قليلاً، كانت أيامه تنساب كسولة في تعب مشلول و فتور. و اعتقد الرجل أن ما به مصدره شيخوخة و حَزن. و قد حزن لأنه كان يتوقع أن تأتيه شيخوخته التدريجية من خبو نار غرائزه و انفعالاته بصفاء و يسر في حياته و أن تتقدم به خطوة نحو الإنسجام الذي يتوق إليه و إلى راحة النفس الناضجة التي تمناها، فلما بدت الشيخوخة على غير ما كان يرجو، و لم تأته إلا بهذا البوار المتعب الحزين المطبق، و بهذا الشعور بالتخمة المستعصية. كان يحس بالتخمة من كل شيء: مجرد الوجود، من التنفس، من نوم الليل، من الحياة في كهفه على حافة الوادي، من حلول المساء و من حلول الصباح... نعم، لقد اشتاق إلى نهاية، لقد حل به التعب، لقد زاد الأمر و فاض و أصبحت حياته بلا معنى و بلا قيمة، بل لقد أحس في بعض الأحيان يوسوس له أن يضع حدا لحياته و أن يعاقب نفسه و يأتي عليها... حتى كان لا يمسك غصن شجرة إلا و يختبر صلاحيته في تحمل جثته كمنتحر، و لا ينظر إلى صخرة مائلة في المنطقة إلا ليتبين ما إذا كانت تصلح ليهوي عليها إلى الموت. و لقد قاوم الغواية و وقف في وجهها و لم يضعف، و لكنه كان يعيش يومه في لهيب من كراهية الذات و الرغبة في الموت، و ثقلت عليه العيشة و أصبحت شيئا لا طاقة له على احتمالها" ص565-566 هذا المقطع قرأته بدهشة غريبة... أكان يعرفني يا ترى ... لكن لا أخفي أن أملي قد خاب بالشيخوخة المتأملة...0"كان دازا يعرف نصف ما تعنيه كلمة (مايا) و يخمن النصف الآخر... (مايا) كانت هي حياة دازا، و شباب دازا، و سعادة دازا الحلوة و بؤسه المرير... (مايا) كانت الحب و لذته، (مايا) كانت الحياة كلها. حياة دازا و حياة الناس أجمعين، و كل شيء كان في نظر هذا اليوجي الهرم (مايا)، كان شيئا يشبه عبث الطفولة، يشبه التمثيلية و المسرحية و الخيال، كان لا شيء في جلد مزركش، كان فقاعة صابون، كان شيئا يمكن أن يضحك الإنسان منه بمتعة ما و يحتقره في الوقت نفسه، و لا يأخذه مأخذ الجد بحال من الأحوال" ص607 يعني فيكم تقولو إنو (المايا ) هي الحياة الدنيا... مو هيك على أية حال هذا المقطع مأخوذ من (السيرة الهندية) و هي آخر ثلاثين صفحة... برأيي تعدل بل و تزيد على كل ما تقدمها من صفحات...0بإمكاني أن ألخص القول أن لعبة الكريات الزجاجية تعيد كل العلوم و الفنون و المعارف البشرية إلى أصولها الأساسية لتصل إلى نهاية و غاية واحدة... إلى الذي يصدر عنه كل شيء و إليه المنتهى...0و لذك كانت أعلى أشكال العلوم... و لا يتقنها إلا الكبار...0----أريد أن أنهي الكلام بأحد المقطوعات الموسيقية التي ذكرها في روايته هذه و قصيدةأما المقطوعة الموسيقية فهي هذه التوكاتة لباخجمال حد الفزع و الرهبةتتجاوز كل الكلامو قصيدة أخرى كان لي معها قصة بلهاء، حيث كنت قرأتها سابقا و قبل الرواية في مكان ما، و أخذت بلبي تماما إلى درجة أحسست فيها بخدر لذيذ في رأسي و كنت مستعدة أن أدفع حياتي مقابل أن يجيبني أحدهم أين أجد هذه المعرفة، حتى أني توسلت كالشحاذين لبعضهم علهم يخبروني:\لأكتشف بعد سنين أنه لا وجود لها إلا في الجنةعسى أن يكرمنا بفضلهحلمكنت ضيفا في دير بالجبل،و دخلت، عندما ذهب الجميع إلى الصلاة،قاعة للكتب. في بهجة نور المغربلمعت هادئة على الحائط بحروفعجيبة كعوب ألف مجلد من البرشمان.فتناولت ممتلئا شغفا بالعلم و سحراأول كتاب، كتجربة، و قرأت:"الخطوة الأخيرة إلى تربيع الدائرة"ففكرت سريعا أن آخذ هذا الكتاب معي!و كتابا آخر من الحجم الكبير مجلدا بالجلد المذهبعلى كعبه عنوان بالحروف الصغيرة:"كيف أكل آدم من الشجرة الأخرى"...من الشجرة الأخرى؟ من أية شجرة، شجرة الحياة؟و هكذا كان آدم خالداً؟ لم يكن من العبث إذن،على ما رأيت أني أتيت إلى هنا، و لمحتكتابا كبيرا كعبه و قطعه و حوافيهتشع في ظلال بألوان الطيف العديدة.كان عنوانه المرسوم باليد:"المعاني المقابلة للألوان و الأنغام،إثبات أن كل لون و انكساريقابله نوع من الأنغام يتبعه كإجابة له".لكم تلألأت لي مفعمة المعنىجوقات الألوان! و بدأت أحس،و كل لمسة لكتاب أكدت إحساسي:أن تلك مكتبة الفردوس.كل الأسئلة التي ألحت علي،و كل ضروب الظمأ التي حرقتني،لها هنا جواب، و كل جوع له خبزمن الفكر محفوظ هنا. لأنني كلما سألتمجلدا بنظرة سريعة، وجدت لكل مجلدعنوانا مكتوبا ينبئ بالكثير.كان لكل حاجة هنا شفاء، كانت هنا كل الثمار دانية القطف،كل الثمار التي يتمناها كل تلميذ،و التي يتلهف على الحصول عليها جريئا كل أستاذ.كان هناك المعنى، المعنى الأعمق الأصفى،لكل حكمة، و شعر و علم،كانت هناك القوة السحرية لكل سؤالو معها المفاتيح و المصطلحات، كانت هناكأرق روح الفكر محفوظة في كتب عظيمةسرية لم يسمع بها سامع.كانت هناكمفاتيح لكل نوعمن الأسئلة و الأسرارملكاً لمن تمنحها له منة الساعة السحرية.فوضعت و كانت يداي ترتعشان،على منضدة للقراءة أحد هذه المجلدات،و حللت رموز الكتابة المصورة السحرية،تماما كما يفعل الإنسان في الحلمكثيرا، ما لم يتعلمه أبدا، بسهولة اللعب و بنجاح.و بعد قليل كنت فرحانفي الطريق إلى أماكن فكرية ذات نجوم، داخلاً في الأبراج الفلكية،حيث تقابلت فيها كل ما رأتالأمم من وحي و من فكر متخذ صوراً،تراث خبرة عالية عمرها آلاف السنين،تقابلت منسجمة ارتباطات جديدة مجددة،يعتمد بعضها على بعضو يفر شابا من المعارف و الرموز و الابتداعات القديمةعلى الدوام سؤال جديد أسمى مما قبله.حتى أني و أنا أقرأ في دقائق أو ساعات،سرت مرة ثانية طريق الإنسانية كلها،و تلقيت من علومها القديمة و الحديثةكلها، في ذاتي معنها العميق.قرأت و رأيتأشكال الكتابة المصورةتنتظم اثنين اثنين، ثم ترجع،و تترتب لرقصة جماعية، ثم تتفرقو تنصب في تشكيلات جديدة،أشكال رمزية عديدة كررتها المرايا المتقابلة،تتخذ معاني جديدة لا تنتهي و لا تفرغ.و بينا أنا هكذا مبهور من المناظر،أبعد النظر عن الكتاب لإراحة العينين هنيهة،رأيت: أنني لم أكن هنا الضيف الوحيد.كان يقف في القاعة متجهاً إلى الكتب،رجل عجوز، ربما أمين المحفوظات،رأيته جادا، منهمكا في عمله،مشغولا عند الكتب، و لاح لي ذا أهمية،أهمية غريبة، أن أعرف نوع و معنىالعمل الكاد. فرأيت هذا الرجل الهرميتناول بيده المسنة الرقيقةكتابا، فقرأ ما كان على كعب الكتابمكتوبا، و نطق بفمه الشاحبالعنوان كأنه يتنسمه - عنواناً خلاباً،ضمان ساعات قراءة لذيذة!و مسحه رفيقا بإصبعه القادر على المسح،و كتب مبتسماً عنوانا جديداً، عنوانا آخر،عنوانا آخر مختلفا تماما، ثم راح يتجولو مد يده إلى كتاب آخر، تارة هنا، تارة هناك،فيمسح عنوانه، و يكتب عنوانا آخر.فنظرت إليه حيران وقتا طويلا و عدت.لما تمنع عقلي على الفهم،إلى الكتاب الذي قرأت فيهسطورا قليلة. لكني لم أجدسلاسل الصور التي نعمت بها لتوي،و انفصل عالم الرموز و لاح كأنهيفر مني، و لم أكن قد جلت به إلا قليلا،و كان يغص بمعنى العالم.ترنّح و دار و لاح كأن السحاب يغطيه،و ينساب بعيدا دون أن يخلف وراءه شيئاإلا بريقا رماديا على برشمان فارغ.و على كتفي أحسست يدافرفعت بصري، فإذا الشيخ المجد يقف بجانبيفنهضت. و تناولت مبتسماكتابي، فتملكتني رعدةمثل الارتعاش، و انزلق إصبعهكالاسفنج عليه. و على الجلد الفارغكتب عناوين جديدة، و أسئلة و وعودا جديدة،كتب أحدث انعكاسات لأقدم الأسئلةو ريشته تفصل الحروف تفصيلا.ثم أخذ معه صامتا الكتاب و الريشة... 0

  • Joe
    2019-01-25 13:44

    While Hesse's masterpiece has the same theme as Siddhartha, it's not the same short, simple work as that classic. Magister Ludi's inventive setting and method takes the basically unchanged storyline (gifted young man progressing, achieving, and finally discovering the true meaning of life), and creates a sort of historical biography of the protagonist. One of the fun aspects of this work is The Glass Bead Game: he introduces an idea of representing ideas, mathematics, literature -- all knowledge and philosophy -- as "glass beads," or symbols. The academic society he builds is dedicated to the art of arranging these symbols in a sort of game. Hesse doesn't go into depth here: he's simply uses this game as a device to show 1) an elite society dedicated to this game, and 2) a way to represent how devotion to studying a worthy cause is not in and of itself the meaning of life. One of my favorite elements is the section of poems and short stories that were written by the main character, and included in this "biography." The short poem "Stages" is an excellent summary of all Hesse’s works, and has become a sort of theme for my life.

  • Clark
    2019-02-10 11:17

    This book was a really incredible meditation on accomplishment, ambition, finding peace and the breach between intellectuals and reality. Hesse creates a reality in which an intellectual elite has created an entire society that lives above and beyond the rest of the world playing an incredibly esoteric game that seeks to connect all knowledge as a series of symbols. There were a number of things that struck me in this world. First of all, the connections to modern science, with its own increasingly abstracted symbology, are staggering. We are actually creating worlds that are removed from reality. Years of study are necessary to participate and understand what is going on in science and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, there is cause for concern that maybe we aren't doing a good job of bridging the divide between science and the layman. Over time this breach could become a real problem. Moreover, I see this breach as a logical extension of the increased specialization that virtually every career requires nowadays. How long before a large number of individual intellectual empires crop up? Will we stop being able to communicate altogether?I was also fascinated by Hesse's exploration of ambition/balance. I think he really fleshes this concept out in the posthumous writings of Joseph Knecht at the end of the book. At any rate, it's a problem I grapple with all the time. There is a huge desire to find meaning in life through accomplishment, but this desire only opens us up to greater strivings to find that elusive peace of mind. I think we should be ambitious, but I think it is important to strike a balance and find a way to be happy with what we have already accomplished and where we are in life.

  • عُلا
    2019-01-24 14:39

    الجمال.... آسر قلوب الكثيرين ومالك أحلام الحالمين ... وغايةٌ عزَّ الوصول اليها لدى العديد من الساعين ....لعبة هدفها التقاط ذلك النور وغايتها تقوية تلك الفقاعة البراقة وتغذيتها علَّها يوما تحتوي العالم في داخلها ... وهيهات لها ان تفعل....والأضواء تخطف أنظار الناظرين ... وكلٌ يرى النور في ناحية فيظن انه النور كله....وتأبى تلك الأضواء أن تكون شيئا وحده .... فتارة تُسمعُ ألحاناً وأخرى تُرى ألوانا ... وقد يطيش بها الهوى فتظهر معادلاتٍ وأرقاماً .... تعددت اليها المسالك.. واختلفت في وصفها الكلمات ....واللعبة أن تؤلف من تلك الأضواء نسيجاً... وان تشبك المعادلات لحناً .... وكلما ازددت براعة كلما كنت اقرب ل"الماجستر لودي" .....كرياتٌ براقة ... مسبوكة في قالبٍ بديع....************************************مثال تخيلي:مثلا الكرة الاولى...معادلة أولر تستحق عن جدارة لقب "ملكة جمال المعادلات"للأسباب التالية :1) الثابتين المستخدمين ضمنها كلاهما عدد غير منتهٍ.2) تحوي عدداً تخيلياً غير حقيقي.3) كلّ هذه المكونات تنسجم معاً لتعطينا صفراً.ما ذا لو تم ربطها بطريقة ما مع مقطوعة موسيقية لتكون كرة ثانية ...مع اقتباس معين لكاتب معين ككرة ثالثة... وليكن...“أيًّا كان سؤالك، كفَّ عن محاولة الإجابة على الفور من مخزون معلوماتك.دعْه يبقى بعض الوقت دون جواب.كفَّ عن محاولة "تسريع" شريط حياتك لتصل إلى مشهد الجواب.ثقْ في المشهد الحالي حيث "لا جواب بعد".أفسحْ للسؤال مجالاً للتنفس والاختمار.البثْ في مكانك الآن مسترخيًا... وانتظرْ...” ― ديمتري أفييرينوس!!!!! غريب !!! وعشوائي جداً .... ولكن الماجستر لودي كان يختار كرياته بحكمة ويعد لعبته قبل الموعد بأشهر ... ليصوغها امام الجمهور بخفة وفق رموز معتمدة... يتبعها تأمل من الحاضرين فلا يخرج أحدهم الا وقد لامس الأضواء مُصافحاً ومعانقاً ....********************************************كل ذلك ... وما وصل أحد !! لا العلماء ولا الشعراء .... العديد قاربو ولما يصلو ... العديد سارو وربما تاهو...... وقد لا يفارق الشك قلب الانسان لحظة....(( أوجدتموه )) . قالوا : نعم . قال : (( ذاك صريح الإيمان ))......وقد نفقد ما كنا نظن انه اصبح بين أيدينا وقد نلتقي بما قطعنا الأمل بوجوده يوماً .... ويتراءى الرضى بين تلك الأضواء علَّنا نتخذ منه درعاً للقلوب ..... وفي سير الامم وقصص السابقين عبرة للاحقين ... رغم انهم في كاستاليا قد اتخذوا موقفاً ينأى بهم عن التاريخ ولغطه............لكم تمنيت لو اني قرأته ورقياً .. ولعلني افعل مستقبلاً .... واعلم ان أسلوب هرمان الرصين قد يصيب العديدين بالملل .... ولكني تمنيت لو اني أقطِّر من تلك الكلمات عطرا او ترياقاً ليوزع للكثيرين .....

  • Matt
    2019-02-04 07:43

    The Glass Bead Game: Invented hundreds of years ago it combines all art and knowledge of Western culture, correlates and re-combines in infinitely combinations: world literature, sciences, fine arts, and, last but not least, music – according to fixed mathematical laws. People from far away travel to the province of Castalia to witness the annual multi-day festival of games. Castalia: The separate, secluded republic of scholars, artists, and glass bead players. The province supplies its elite talent from the best students of the outer world and teaches them to join the austere order, to devote their life and eventually become glass bead players. Josef Knecht is one of them, Knecht's life the subject of the story. He'll become Magister Ludi, the primary master of the game, the one who everyone looks up to.Hesse provides an uptopia here, but it's one that's bound to fail. The place, Castalia, is nothing but an ivory tower on feet of clay. The glass bead game, to me, is so far evolved and sophisticated as it is, that even the scholars and teachers cannot provide anything of real substance. Everything changes, but nothing is new. Glass bead players don't create, they merely ruminate. They pick and choose the best bits to fit them into their game. It's without purpose. Hesse foresees the downfall of occidental culture long before it happened and tells it through the eyes of his protagonist. Knecht finally breaks the cycle and does what no master of the game has done before. He learned the lesson and changed his job, but it's too late. Knecht's bequest is this: A poem. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • kaśyap
    2019-01-25 09:36

    This book is full of ideas. The main part of the book is a biography of the main character Joseph Knecht. It is then followed by a dozen poems and three short stories, "the lives". These short stories at the end are definitely my favourite part of the novel. All that is lacking in terms of passion in the first part is present in these three short stories at the end, and they present all the same themes.The Glass Bead Game itself, as far as I can tell, seems to be something like abstract mathematics. It seems to embody a symbolic representation of all knowledge and manipulation of those symbols. It’s a unifying design which shows the connections and the unity between all branches of knowledge and arts. Or it is like music as it is an aesthetic composition of individual symbols.Castalian order is a highly formalised, monastic order where the mind and scholarly traditions are enshrined. It place’s importance on hierarchy, structure and tradition. It’s an almost platonic kind of communism with its dispassionate monasticism and elite caste. It lacks anything sensual, experiential and personal and so is incomplete.Whether in the idea of the game itself, or in the relationship between Castalia and the outside world, Or in Joseph Knechts relationships with others like plinio Designori, this novel is steeped in Hegelian dialectics. Man’s spiritual journey and the idea of contemplation and psychological liberation, the individual and the hierarchy, and the values of tradition are some of the major themes dealt with in the novel. The importance of a teacher-student/master-apprentice relationship is also highlighted.This was by no means an easy read and i took my time with it. But this is Hesse's masterpiece and is full of ideas.

  • Junta
    2019-01-24 15:26

    Reading the blurb of this book, my first by Hesse, I was immediately fascinated and felt compelled to read it. I'd read some excerpt of his writing as a kid in my Japanese textbook at Saturday Japanese school, and the name Hermann Hesse (or ヘルマン・ヘッセ rather) had stayed in my memory for about as many years as the beads in the cute cover.Hesse's biography of Joseph Knecht was pleasant to read, though not moving. As Castalians, the elite of the elite in the country's intellectual world, most of the characters have given up worldly pleasures and devote their life to the Order and Game - a 'Life of the Mind'.I really wanted to love this book (the concept of the Game was grand), but in the end I felt that something was missing - perhaps I wanted more of the actual Game, perhaps the Castalian world was too refined and complete, while being so distant from the real world, and somehow, I enjoyed reading it but maybe it was too technical and dry.Out of the three short stories, included in Joseph Knecht's Posthumous Writings after the main, biographical section, I thought the latter two, The Father Confessor and The Indian Life were great pieces. These three short stories were Knecht's Lives, fictional autobiographies (coming out of a fictional biography!) that he wrote in his years of free study.Incidentally, there was a rather considerable amount of students who not only more or less believed in the idea of reincarnation, but also in the truth of their own fictional Lives. Thus the majority of these imaginary pre-existences were not merely stylistic exercises and historical studies, but also creations of wishful thinking and exalted self-portraits. The authors cast themselves as the characters they longed to become. They portrayed their dream and their ideal. Furthermore, from the pedagogic point of view the Lives were not a bad idea at all. They provided a legitimate channel for the creative urge of youth. Although serious, creative literary work had been frowned on for generations, and replaced partly by scholarship, partly by the Glass Bead Game, youth's artistic impulse had not been crushed. In these Lives, which were often elaborated into small novels, it found a permissible means of expression. What is more, while writing these Lives some of the authors took their first steps into the land of self-knowledge.Incidentally, the students frequently used their Lives for critical and revolutionary outbursts on the contemporary world and on Castalia. The teachers usually regarded such sallies with understanding benevolence. In addition, these Lives were extremely revealing to the teachers during those periods in which the students enjoyed maximum freedom and were subject to no close supervision. The compositions often provided astonishingly clear insight into the intellectual and moral state of the authors.(pp. 104-105)The three short stories are enjoyable even standing alone, but after reading Knecht's biography, they are much more meaningful. Some colours I thought the biography, and Joseph Knecht himself lacked or were not able to attain, the Lives brought them into the picture. One excerpt I liked from the other Life, The Rainmaker, is below:...A pupil of meager character but high intelligence or sparkling imagination invariably embarrasses the teacher. He is obliged to transmit to this pupil the knowledge and methodology he himself had inherited, and to prepare him for the life of the mind - and yet he cannot help feeling that his real and higher duty should be to protect the arts and sciences against the intrusion of young men who have nothing but talent. For the teacher is not supposed to serve the pupil; rather, both are servants of their culture. This is the reason teachers feel slightly repelled by certain glittering talents. A pupil of that type falsifies the whole meaning of pedagogy as service. All the help given to a pupil who can shine but cannot serve basically means doing harm to service and, in a way, a betrayal of culture...(p. 449)This is my first review on goodreads, and I owe Hesse for stimulating in me the relevant cacoethes scribendi. Two things I will take away from this book are a slightly increased interest in learning meditation, and a slightly increased interest in learning some Latin words so I can use them gleefully.March 29, 2015

  • Manny
    2019-02-02 13:18

    A friend of mine (a pure mathematician) says that the Glass Bead Game is obviously pure mathematics in a thinly disguised form. It's not exactly a slam-dunk, but I'm still surprised how few people there are who seem to believe this theory. You'd think it would at least be a respectable minority opinion.Turn it around: if the Game isn't pure mathematics, what is it? Just something he made up, that doesn't refer to any real intellectual discipline in particular, but is a hypothetical synthesis of all of them? Are there any other reasonable alternatives? Personally, I rather like the "pure mathematics" account.

  • Riku Sayuj
    2019-02-16 15:23

    a disappointment that demands reflection...

  • Paul
    2019-01-22 14:28

    I was disappointed when I re-read this book. I remembered it as very moving and very significant. Upon re-reading I found it tedious and preachy. Hesse is trying to write a new kind of novel, one based on ideas instead of conflict. He succeeds, but the end product is boring. I also was bothered by the assumption that the life of the mind was open only to men -- women are somehow not qualified to share the glorious world of ideas. Hrmph.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-01-20 10:44

    This is a truly unforgettable classic which incorporates science fiction, adventure, philosophy and futuristic elements all into one well-written story.

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-02-01 15:35

    The Glass Bead Game is Hesse's final work, and is supposed to lay out his ideas and philosophies more completely than anything previously. According to my foreword by Ziolkowski, this book represents a progression beyond both the simplistic, egocentric spiritualism of Siddhartha and the Nietzschean misanthropy of Steppenwolf. He also remarks on the book's form: a narration by a stodgy academic about the life of a luminary master. Like Carlsyle's 'Sartor Resartus', there is meant to be an ironic disconnect in what the narrator fails to recognize about the sublime reality of the situation, though Hesse doesn't descend into open absurdism like Teufelsdroeckh's tale.While Carlsyle is unpredictable and madcap, Hesse's narrative is low-key and repetitive. Much of this can be blamed on Hesse's dull narrator, though I was never sure how much. I spent most of the book trying in vain to discern what was meant to be serious philosophy and what was a sly rejection of Hesse's earlier beliefs.The most somber, sacred moments of Hesse's attempt to build a 'Secular Spirituality' often struck me as the least convincing. For example, the more glowingly he described the persona of a secular 'Saint', the more I felt he was describing the effects of a rather serious case of Alzheimer's.Each time he mentioned either the 'sense of peace' or 'childlike smile', they began to seem more sinister. He returned to them again and again, insistently, the sole signs of the character's wisdom, until I couldn't help but mistrust them.It would certainly be a biting satire on the Old Eastern Master who speaks few words, since those he does speak rarely seem to make sense. Usually the student blames their own ignorance, but if the old master is just doddering? The idea is a very cynical one, and quite amusing. Yet it is hard to reconcile this deep satire with the general tone of the work.Hesse doesn't build his ideas from the ground up, at least not that I could see. Much seemed to be assumed. Yet neither was there the revelatory, overawing voice of the poet-philosopher to nudge us from dry narrative to sudden insight. It felt like Lovecraft's old trick of describing how a horrible sight affected a character instead of describing the horror, itself.But it wouldn't do for me to go on any more about cynicism, insightful satire, and poet-philosophers without invoking Nietzsche. He plays a role in the text, literally: the protagonist's unstable, brilliant friend is a caricature of the influential philosopher, and perhaps unsurprisingly, I found his inclusion the most appealing part of the book.It was not merely the presentation of his philosophies, but the way Hesse spoke of him. The passages which describe him are some of the most evocative and heart-felt in the book, which is curious, because he is presented as quite flawed and muddled in thought, though still brilliant.Even when the protagonist scorns him or undermines his rhetoric, Hesse seems unable to truly overcome the force of Nietzsche. He praises his ability to pluck out one part of an argument, a single idea or thought, and with care and insight, cause you to realize for the first time how remarkable it is, or how foolish.Sadly, Hesse himself lacks this great ability, making his critiques less grand than his subject. Yet this, too, seems almost deliberate on Hesse's part.At one point, the protagonist listens as the Nietzsche stand-in goes on a rant about the pointlessness of history. This is representative of the general opinion of Hesse's utopian/dystopian vision of a kind of secular, academic spiritual society which has, to the protagonist's sorrow, lost touch with the world.But to put it in this character's mouth seems hardy appropriate. Certainly, there was a redefinition of the fluidity of history and of the people who made it up in the Hegelian tradition, but it was hardly the insular rejection of humanity put forth here. Nietzsche steeped himself in history, old masters, old thinkers, and ideas, such as the Dyonisian vs. Appolonian philosophies. Perhaps the character was simply convenient, though it undermines the work's own historical attempt to pit real philosophical ideas one against the other. Perhaps this was just another symptom of the detrimental effect Heidegger and Nietzsche's sister have had on how he is viewed today.After shaking his head in silent scorn for his friend's wordy speech, our protagonist goes on to give a similar speech, himself, at the end of the same chapter, about raising of a world of thoughts and ideas above the ugliness of the humanity; the speech even seems to ape in form and style his friend's earlier thoughts.Again, I felt unsure of Hesse's message. Either he again ridicules what he once might have praised, or fails to clearly present his philosophy, or is quibbling between two ways of leaving mankind behind for the sake of ideals without pointing out to us what is meant to separate them.Again I side with Nietzsche's stand-in, and I think, not merely because I am Nietzsche's man, but because I cannot find the point where Hesse has presented his side of the argument as anything except a farce.Likewise the ending of the book seems to make pointless satire of the 'Sacred Transgressive Event' of the hero, which I could appreciate, but if that is the case, then it certainly puts the rest of the book in an odd light.It is not difficult to read it as one of the most dry, sombre, heartfelt, absurdist tracts in literature, but the writings of the most fervent believers cannot always be easily be separated from the satires of the most clever cynics.Three short works complete the book, each a fiction-within-a-fiction attributed to our protagonist. Yet these, too, could either be the budding spirituality of a noble man, or signs of conceit from an ultimate fool.I found the early parts of the book painful to read, not merely because of the dullness of our narrator or the confusion I felt in trying to untangle Hesse's philosophies, but because it is, at it's core, the story of a fairly smart guy who is given everything on a silver platter by a series of wise men who recognize how special he is.It's not merely that this left us without much conflict, it was annoying reading about someone effortlessly achieving things that sound like they would be cool to do. There followed a brief, interesting period of conflicting political machinations, but that soon faded, leaving us with our protagonist's thoughts and inner turmoil.Or, rather, it left us with our narrator's apparent invention of those thoughts. Some of the book is presented as source material--speeches, letters--but most of it seems to be whatever Mr. Frame Story felt was going on at the time.This creates another layer of distance and complexity which compounds the difficulty of any attempt to figure out what, if anything, Hesse is getting at. The narrator constantly seems to think he knows exactly what all the characters were thinking at any point in time, down to their fears, childhood aspirations, and goals for the future. Either Hesse is taking vast liberties with the setup, or this guy is one of the most unreliable narrators we could be blessed with.So, I'm not really sure what Hesse's philosophy is, or even what the character's philosophies were, though I could say something about the narrator's. The whole thing felt like a very low-key farce to me, which would parallel other literature between the world wars. It is interesting as an analysis of the hardships facing academia in the face of the sort of widespread political changes, materialism, and conflict that marked the period leading up to WWII. A lot of cynicism there: the failure of governments, of order, academics, ideas, values. Perhaps it is a deep satire paralleling the inter-war concerns of 'Darkness at Noon' and 'It Can't Happen Here', but if so, it's one of the least impassioned satires I've ever read; not that it would be more impassioned if we consider it a spiritual tome.Or maybe Hesse is just dull, in earnest, and I don't remotely agree with him. That would accord with my memory of Siddhartha, which I found to be full of a rather short-sighted and egotistical personal philosophy centering on Blavatskianisms like the 'law of attraction', which still haunts the self-help section to this day.Let's say that I hope it's a bizarre satire, because I was unable to drag any other poignant message from it.

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
    2019-02-07 11:22

    This is Harry Potter without its female characters, its magic and magicians. Here we have Castalia, a "province" [more like the seminaries of today] where it population of masters and students devote themselves to studies, or to the "things of the mind". Outside of Castalia is the practical world [the world which most of us live in] devoted to knowledge not for its own sake, but knowledge to better the physical aspects of living.In Harry Potter, there's the battle between the good and bad magicians. Here, the struggle mostly happens between ideas and within oneself. Castalia is known for its Glass Bead Game. How this game is played, you'll never know even if you read the book a hundred times. It is similar to chess only because it involves thinking and the games can be recorded and admired. But it is so unlike chess because it takes so very long to finish [10 days to two weeks] and a game would involve meditation. The game is supposed to be a combination of music and other arts and sciences. The Magister Ludi ["Master of the Game"] heads Castalia [like the Vatican has a Pope].The main protagonist here is Joseph Knecht, a brilliant man who grew up and studied in Castalia and later bacame its Magister Ludi. I would like to spoil your fun of reading this by saying here that in the end Joseph Knecht resigned as Magister Ludi and then drowned. But before this, the book is a long constant debate of the relevance, importance, meaning of, on the one hand, Castalia [with its "things of the mind"] vis-a-vis [or in contrast with), the outside world, with its practical sciences, its politics, its wars.By the way, the author Hermann Hesse was born in 1877 and was brought up on a missionary household where it was assumed that he would study for the ministry. Then he had a religious crisis, left the seminary where he was staying, and attempted suicide.

  • T for Tongue-tied
    2019-02-11 11:30

    This is an excellent book, an intellectual treat for those who appreciate philosophical narratives, not necessarily full of action in a traditional understanding of the word. Here we are, in the future, mingling with scholars of an enormous academic institution, with no attempts being made to consider any possible technological or scientific developments. "The Glass Bead Game" feels a bit like a dream and when you read it, you can almost tell that Hesse was in fact a practitioner of meditation. The book requires more attention than "Steppenwolf" and some would probably insist that the plot should be taking a move in a much more definite direction. Instead, it is largely about seeing patterns and making connections between sometimes widely separated thoughts. It all reminds me at times of immersing one's mind into stretchy Internet where click of the mouse can take us as close to creativity as to insanity. The game itself is such a tantalising concept but, quite surprisingly, its intellectual brilliance never takes our eyes off the importance of what's of this earthly world rather than a spiritual one. And perhaps this is the book's biggest strength - its ability to tame the tension between the abstract of contemplative study and the ethos of authenticity of individual life:"There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in the ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught"

  • Cassandra Kay Silva
    2019-02-04 10:33

    Hmmmm. This book was ponderously interesting. A world is created but ever so lightly as to leave much to the readers imagination. The glass bead game (unless I missed something) never seems to be played in epic battle proportions as described in this book, its never openly laid out other than just the basic idea. There is no real description of the differences that make up the world outside of what the main character is experiencing. Does that make sense? Its like you get this massive narrative about this particular characters life that seems to have some sort of basic interesting plot line and yet the execution of that plot is so bizarre as to render it almost a side note. Its almost as if the plot isn't the point. Its the point behind the point. Get it? No its like uhhhhh. There is something else going on here. I think the author is trying to make statements about art and culture. He is makings statements about being on the outside of something you love and that is integrally part of yourself. Making a statement about manipulation? I don't honestly know. But the plot is obviously only hiding something and that much seems obvious, though it isn't "hit you in the face" obvious enough for the number of pages that went into the venture to actually discern if he is hiding one thing or many. I can see the relations to Siddhartha. I loved that and the ending with Ramma I thought was really well conceived although the entirety of the post humorous writings really threw me for a loop. I don't know it was like it had this epically amazing idea. The game itself is a beautiful and engaging idea, the world even is engaging but he focused nothing on it. Like I said it wasn't the point. The focus continually went back to the character. Perhaps "self" is the point? If someone felt like they really got this book I would love a discussion. Write me a message. The whole book felt like grasping to me. Maybe that was the point! Oh gosh, there are too many things this book could mean, maybe it is everything. Maybe this book contains the answers to the meaning of existence and I blew the exam.

  • hope mohammed
    2019-02-10 12:43

    من هو يوزف كنشت ؟ هو كما تقص الرواية حكايته اللودي ماستر للعبة الكريات الزجاجية وهي لعبة الفلاسفة والمفكرين في الزمن المستقبلي والتي اجتثت من سطحية صحافة التسلية رواية اسسها هرمان عن زمن متخيل لمدرسة تشبه مدرسة فيثاغورس واكادمية افلاطون ومقرها هنا كاستاليا لها مقرات في اماكن اخرى وفروع تابعة لها ، يترفع شخصييات هذه المجتمع بالاختلاط بالعالم الانساني البسيط ويدير كل سنة مهرجانا احتفالا بلعبة الكريات الزجاجية ، يتتبع القاريء في الصفحات شخصية اشهر استاذ للعبة الكريات من بدء نبوغه حتى ينخرط في صفوة السلك الكستالي ويتفرد بالمسؤلية وبطريقه حيث انه يتمتع بشخصية رصينة حكيمة وفي نفس الوقت كاريزما عالية تجذب اليه الناس وتحببهم فيه فيصبح سفيرا لكستاليا وينجح في تكوين رباط ودي بين الطائفة وطائفة البندكتين الدينية .الرواية برأيي على الرغم من حماسي الشديد لخوض عوالم هرمان بعد سدهارتا ، الا انني لازمني ملل شديد في بعض اجزائها ذكرني وضع يوزف و مراحل حياته وكان المجتمع الذي ينتمي اليه يحاول ان يكون يوتوبيا ما ذو حكمة شديدة التركز ومثالية متطرفة ذو تفرد جمالي قد لايتحمله الانسان الطبيعي ، القى هرمان في الرواية كما سدهارتا الكثير من فلسفته وحكمه لكنها جاءت في اماكن اشبه بمواعظ ممله مترفة التطلع للاعلى ، فيها يبدو كنشت رغم صغر سنه اشبه بعجوز مرت عليه التجارب تترا بلا انقطاع ، قد تبدو اماكن كمنشاة اللعبة الزجاجية حلم لبعض المثقفين والعلماء ورواد الموسيقى الا انها اجمل في الحلم على من يعشها واقعا وهذا رايي المتواضع وكقارئة احلم بمكان شبيه لايقاطعني فيه احد ولكنه يظل مجرد حلم لطيف.

  • Capsguy
    2019-01-19 11:38

    Could have been 200 pages less. On a similar note, I received an email from a Chinese friend of mine today who is in Australia for student exchange. This email reverberated many things in Hesse's Glass Bead Game. Here's an extract from the email to show you:.actually, since I was born, I have lived in the university I am studying now. My father also graduated from that school and now is a chemistry engineer . A wall will protect the university from outside world. In the university, there are hospitals, canteens, supermarkets, education from kindergarten to university. Most of teachers and their families will live in the campus, and I am a member of these children who lived in such a special places. In guangzhou, cantonese is mo popular, but in the campus, madarin is the main language.It is not impossible for us to just stay in the campus for all week. Education is the most important thing in our families. most of us want to get a phd and we will not pay much attention on the fashion things. Books play an important role in our childhood.So of all the nations to take up Hesse's model depicted in this novel, it appears as if this university in China at least has taken a relatively similar approach. Quite amazing.

  • Maria Iliuta
    2019-02-16 08:19

    This book has had a great impact on me. It's one of those few books that made me love it deeply yet at the same time despise it entirely. It might sound surprising, especially since this is an unanimously loved and admired book -- even awarded with the Nobel prize; it might also seem awfully arrogant of me to compare my beliefs to the wisdom of a man like Hesse. But I have to. And I found many principles and ideas in this book, some of them only subtle insinuations, that I completely disagree with. Yet I don't know how I feel about the book. Sometimes I tend to be seduced by it and admit that my thoughts are flawed and in need of a change. Other times, though, I build myself a whole case of arguments against Hesse and his mentality, mentality which appears to me next to absurd in those moments. There's no shade of gray in this, either one of these two reactions are full of passion and emotion, they're strong and extreme. And in the end, no matter which one I stick to, I can only admire Hesse and his Josef Knecht for awakening such powerful feelings in the depth of me. No one who reads this book and truly understands it can walk away unchanged.