Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth is a Bildungsroman by Hermann Hesse, first published in 1919; a prologue was added in 1960. Demian was first published under the pseudonym "Emil Sinclair", the name of the narrator of the story, but Hesse was later revealed to be the author.
Emil Sinclair is a young boy raised in a bourgeois home, amidst what is described as a Scheinwelt, a play on words that means "world of light" as well as "world of illusion". Emil's entire existence can be summarized as a struggle between two worlds: the show world of illusion (related to the Hindu concept of maya) and the real world, the world of spiritual truth. In the course of the novel, accompanied and prompted by his mysterious classmate 'Max Demian', he detaches from and revolts against the superficial ideals of the world of appearances and eventually awakens into a realization of self.
©1919 Herman Hesse (P)2011 BN Publishing
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
Probably the best pre-Great War, gnostic, Jungian bildungsroman I've read/listened to this year. A good novel, just not a great one. I loved 'Siddhartha' and enjoyed 'Narcissus and Goldmund', but 'Demian' just didn't do it for me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I read it, but looking back, I could have probably skipped this one and not felt I missed something big or transformational. The narrator did a fine job, and this is one of those novels where it is best to listen to it while drifting off into that smokey state between wakefulness and sleep. Laying there, dreaming, counting birds escaping from eggs; hatching plans with the devil of my day residue.
I love books!
I first read most of the Hesse books some 40 years ago when i was in college and the army. I enjoyed them all then and Demian waas my favorite. I've read all my favorites again and this one is still the best for me. This book was written in 1919, 93 years ago, right after WWII which I believe Hesse fought in. The coming of age of Emil Sinclair has some very interseting aspects to it, if you're a thinker and think about life and where you fit in, you'll likely enjoy this tale.
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