Demian, Hermann Hesse
Michel Polac presents Hermann Hesse's Demian, a novel that he read in a sanatorium at age twenty. Demian is an introductory novel where the hero learns how to confront his inner chaos to find himself and accomplish his destiny.
Hermann Hesse was born in 1877 in Calw (Germany) and died in 1962 in Montagnola, in Switzerland. Born to a family of missionaries, he entered the seminary but left shortly afterwards. Solitary and depressed, he worked in small publishing houses: he read frequently and started to write - poems and prose texts. From 1904 on, he earned a living from his writing, got married, and published Beneath the Wheel (1906) and Gertrude (1910). Unhappy with his relationship, he travelled to Ceylan and Indonesia in 1911, which influenced his future work.
During the war, Hesse published an article in a newspaper, requesting that German intellectuals not take part in nationalist disputes. This was a turning point: strongly criticised by the intelligentsia and confronted with serious family problems, Hesse began psychiatric treatment and became close with Carl Jung. Under his influence, he wrote Demian (1917), the story of a young man who sets off to learn about himself. After the war, he definitely settled in Switzerland and remarried. He published Siddharta in 1922, and Steppenwolf in 1927. During the 1930s, he took a stand against the Nazi regime, and started working on the significant The Glass Bead Game book.
In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Having become a model for German youth, thanks to his refusal of Nazism and the importance of his work, which was marked by spirituality and the search for one's self, he spent his remaining days at Montagnola, but no longer wrote novels. Today, Hermann Hesse remains one of the world's most read authors.