The schedule and guidelines for participation are on the event webpage. Just reading the posts of all the other participants is tremendously informative.
I am very happy to be once again participating in German Literature Month, hosted by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy's Literary Life. Events like this are one of the great things about being part of the international book blog community. I know there is a lot of work that goes into a month long event and I offer my thanks to Lizzy and Caroline.
I'm pretty sure Herman Hesse was the first author
from Germany I ever read, besides Grimm's Fairy Tales, way back in the long ago. Steppenwolf was the first novel by Hesse I read, Siddhartha" was the second. I went on to read a few more novels by Hesse.
Siddhartha was a near holy text in the so called "counter cultural years" of the 1960s. Rereading it now is a very different experience. Siddhartha was a book for youngish intellectuals seeking "eastern wisdom", things not taught in American and European academies. There were many guru like figure at the time, people were searching for a truth beyond materialism, outside of mainstream thought. People looked to the "mysteries of the east" for overarching philosophies. Now I see this as epitomizing Orientalism. I do not like guru figures and I distrust grand philosophical structures, other than for their artistic value.
Works like Shiddhartha, not meaning to at all, helped open the path in Germany for a philosophical creed allegedly based in part on "Ancient occult wisdom" as explicated to the believing masses by a guru, one designed to solve all problems.
The plot seems a bit clichéd now. Some of the philosophical reflections are interesting. Once I thought this was a great book, full of wisdom. In part I still felt that. I acknowledge I cannot really separate my reading of the book now from my memories of reading it long ago. I think about the lost reading life companions with whom I first shared this book. I am glad I reread it. Next I will read Hesse's Gertrude, a translated for the first time in 2013 novel.