With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Steppenwolf, Hesse' best-known and most autobiographical work, originally published in English in 1929, continues to speak to our souls as a classic of modern literature.
©1927 S. Fischer Verlag A. G., Berlin. Renewal copyright ©1955 Hermann Hesse. English translation copyright B© 1929 Henry Holt and Company. Renewal copyright ©1957 Hermann Hesse. Revised translation copyright © 1963 Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. Author's note copyright ©1961 Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt Am Main; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
There is this bourgeoisie period in every man's life. This midpoint between birth and death where man is trapped alone. Unable to exist in hot or cold of the absolutes he tries to find his way between the extremes in the comfortable center. Fearing life and death, he just exists ... barely. This is not a novel for the young. Just like it is better to save King Lear for late in one's life, it is better to save Steppenwolf for those crisis years of the midlife.
Hesse's novels seem to flirt between the edge of memoir, scripture, prose poem and Eastern philosophy tract. This isn't a book you want to read in a hot bath with scotch in one hand and a razor blade in the other. You will either spill your drink or spill your blood or lose every printed word, the hot water erasing pages and pickling your fingers, toes and time.
There are parts of me that get super irritated by Hesse and parts of me that absolutely love him. It depends, I guess, on what part of me is dominating at the time, which of my selves is dislocated and which is demanding the most.
Somedays, I wonder if I had my druthers I'd be a shepherd and write poetry on rocks. Unfortunately, I am a bourgeoisie bitch cloaking myself in cashmere and not a mangy wolf from the steppes.
I love books!
Back in the 70's when I was in college and the army Herman Hesse had a surge of popularity that was deemed comin of age stories. Back then I read most of his books. I decided to listen to Steppenwolf to see if anything changed, if I had a diferenct perspective. I don't know that I have the answer, Hesse wrote a forward to this book 30 years or so after he wrote it mentioning how the young enjoyed his writing. But he wrote Steppenwolf when he was around 50 and he said that it was as much about finding peace of mind, your placein life than anything. He mentions that each reader gets somthing diffeerent from the story and any author wants his readers to relate to their stories in whatever way workds for them. This is a book for thinkers, I'm one, if you're one you may enjoy this tale.
This is one of the most profound books I've have ever listened to. The reader was alright, but the book itself was fascinating. My favorite part, unlike the last reviewer, was the Steppenwolf treatise. It describes an entire subspecies of mankind, and it is one that I identify with completely. Hooowl!!!
In the beginning of the book the author noted that people didn't take away from the book what he truly intended for them to take away. I think what he really intended them to take from the book, was the old adage that if you see the Buddha kill him. However, that saying may not have been around when Hesse wrote this book. Another way to look at it would be that in order to reach Buddhists or Hindu enlightenment through meditation or whatever, you must kill your own personality and sever your attachment to self. It is possible that given the society that Hesse lived and wrote in he could not come out and directly say this so he cloaked it in Steppenwolf and Sidhartha. Of course, it is also possible my proposal is not at all what he wanted a reader to take from this book and I am completely wrong and self-delusional, but after listening to the book this is my guess and anyone is free to listen and propose a different hypothesis about Hesse's intention. So please feel free.
Once again, this is profound literature. Really great stuff.
I believed from the prologue that I was probably the sort of person that Hesse had intended for an audience to this book. When you enter a writer's world... that is to say, the world of a good writer, you are taken away from your own world to experience joys and sorrows of the author's creation. Hesse's world quickly became my own, but Hesse took me a step further. When I was reading the Steppenwolf, I believed that I was the Steppenwolf. Harry Haller was me and I was him.
Haller begins as a sick and sorrowful man, a brilliant man and I became him as I found myself trudging through his life. When Holler, and thus myself, came out the other side of the story, we were healed, healthier and a better people for having made the journey. For me, reading this was less of an accomplishment and more of an apotheosis... a transcendence. I wish I could thank Hesse myself for creating this wonderful little masterpiece.
I could listen to Peter Weller narrate the phone book. Here he narrates one of the classics of European literature and it is so good. So so so good.
Weller's delivery of this potent work is spot on in every way. This novel is a favorite of mine, but I will be looking into other audio books Weller narrates on the strength of this performance.
This once very popular work by the German Nobelist Hesse is deep, complex and fascinating. And, while short, readable and not terribly dense, it is not a page turner. It is a highly philosophical work that emerges from the narrative consciousness of a man in painful search for meaning outside the normal structures of the comfortable middle class. I listen to it when I have an energy that isn't satisfied by thrillers.
No, but Peter Weller did an amazing job bringing Haller to life.
Hesse captures what it means to live, and if read (or listened to) properly, offers a hopeful warning for the young, while also presenting a means of communal acceptance for those who have lived much of their years already.
Not the magic theater--it was too "beat you over the head with moralizing symbolism"--although, I would never suggest it isn't a necessary component of the piece. I liked the bar scene where Haller went to avoid his apartment in an attempt to forestall his suicide.
A film could never do the book justice.
After reading Hesse's Siddhartha, I expected a good deal of musings on life. However, where Siddhartha presents ideas in a simplistic archetypal fashion, Steppenwolf has nuance and depth. Excellent, raw emotional exposure.
Steppenwolf is, indeed, taught too early in school; a slightly more mature perspective enhanced this reader's enjoyment of the tale.
The cinical perspective at the heart of this story is dry to the marrow ironic perfection.
Peter Weller possesses the perfect voice for the re/telling of this story. His performance is suberb.
If you aren't laughing, you should stop listening.
This classic is an absolute must read/listen, even if you have read it in school - especially if you have read it in school; it is far more enjoyable from an adult perspective.
I've answered this now-cliche question to my satisfaction in a couple ways, but nothing beats a great example, and this is one of them. I can see where it's not for everyone at every time, but I was so glad I stuck it out (the beginning was a little slow in parts). And I don't believe it could have been read any more perfectly. Please put me on the list of people who want to be notified when any audiobooks with Peter Weller as Narrator are released. Thank you!
A fantastic, moving book. A timeless tale and the best I've listened to so far. Great narration too. A+
Very interesting for it's time, not quite sure what kind of drugs this guy was on writing this but the fantasy world he create towards the end of the novel was beautifully morbid.
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