This will be the fifth year The Reading Life has participated in German Literature Month. This event is one of the reason it is great to be part of the international book blog community. Last year I was motivated to read world class literary works by writers like Thomas Mann, Hermann Broch, Stefan Zweig, Hermann Hesse as well as lesser know treasures. I learned a lot from the many very erudite posts by coparticipants and from those by our very generous hosts Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy's Literary Life. You will find excellent reading suggestions and planned events on their blog. To participate all you have to do is to post on any work originally written in German and put your link on the event blog.
My Readings For German Literature VI November 2016
1. The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
2. Royal Highness by Thomas Mann
3. A Small Circus by Hans Fallada
4. Rosshalde by Hermann Hesse
Long ago Hermann Hesse was one of the literary heroes of a worldwide wave of revulsion against crass materialistic society, culminating in what was popularity called "Counter Culture". Those who fancied themselves spiritually enlightened sought wisdom from Indian gurus, secret eastern cults, mind alerting drugs and such. Hermann Hesse's novels Stephenwolf and Shidhartra were required reading. There is about a forty or so hiatus in my reading of Hesse but I have returned to his work. I reread the two just mentioned works in 2014.I discovered a number of other works by Hesse have been translated into English in the last forty years. Last year for German Literature V I read Gertrude. I found this work a bit disappointing in that part of the ethos of the work seems to be only a conventionally beautiful woman could be interesting. This is not the thought pattern of an "enlightened" person. I also now saw the prevalence of "Orientalizing" in Hesse. But I still like him! I read his short novel Journey to the East and enjoyed it but you can see the craving for a guru,great leader figure and in the context of post WW I Germany this is a bit disconcerting.
Rosshalde centers on a famous and wealthy artist. He lives with his wife and son in an estate named Rosshalde. He and his wife have long ago lost their love for each other, they are bonded by their love of their only child, a son. The husband stays normally in a guest house. He knows his creativity is slowing being eaten away by his stilled life style but he cannot bring himself to leave his son and go to India as he wishes with all his heart. A good friend comes to visit and transforming events occur. As you read on, you will probably see what is coming to send him to India.
Rosshalde should be read after you have read his famous works. I acquired it on sale as an E book for $0.99, a fair price.