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The Glass Bead Game (1943)

by Hermann Hesse

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,765811,233 (4.13)203
Set in the 23rd century, "The glass bead game" is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).… (more)

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» See also 203 mentions

English (72)  French (3)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
not my cup of tea ( )
  kakadoo202 | May 7, 2020 |
Para mi desgracia nada más empezar me pareció un tostón. Luego hay partes que molan mucho (obviamente, el juego de los abalorios que da título al libro se deja sin explicar, pues es imposible transcribir una reglas que permitan unir todo el conocimiento, científico y humanista). La vida del protagonista me dejó de interesar pronto y la apología humanista tampoco me convenció. Es como si todo me hubiera entrado torcido, no conseguí conectar con las intenciones del autor. ( )
  Remocpi | Apr 22, 2020 |
This novel is far more philosophical than most of my reading and I found it challenging to maintain my focus, struggling to really get to grips with its ideas. If the quest for a spiritual paradise is the ideal of humanism, Hesse makes the point through his account of the personal development of Joseph Knecht that such a paradise is doomed to collapse if it isolates itself from and fails to grapple with, the real world (whatever that is). He doesn't address the fact that this real world is a reflection of human nature and merely hints that it is human nature itself which dooms any such quest to failure.
Invited by Kiolkowski in his brief essay to laugh at the parody, the irony, I have to stop and ask myself, did I miss the joke? I got some of the play on names, but didn't find it that funny, I recognised the ironic tone around aestheticism and scholasticism(with the book title and the glass bead game itself, it is hard to overlook), not least in the pedantic complacent tone of the narrator. But it is so gentle that it slipped through my fingers whilst reading. For this reader at least, this is too close to a philosophy textbook to be fully appreciated as a novel. April 2020 ( )
  alanca | Apr 20, 2020 |
abandoned this shallow book.

Interesting to start with, then "Good boy does goody good'. Oh fuck off. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
The Audible version of this book has *terrible* narration. Returned the audiobook.
  CiaraCat | Jan 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
> LE JEU DES PERLES DE VERRE, de Hermann Hesse (Calmann-Lévy), n'est pas un roman d'anticipation, mais une exploration de la vie intérieure. Il n'est pas question de savoir si la possibilité, dans un avenir proche ou lointain, de l'établissement d'une province où tous les raffinements de la culture se seraient réfugiés en une sorte de monachisme laïc est purement utopique et si, en réaction contre l'effusion de bestialité et de sottise, le jeu sublime des "perles de verre" peut devenir le symbole du salut de l'esprit humain.
Une utopie contient toujours, même sur un fond de désenchantement, une bonne part d'optimisme ; il n'y en a aucun dans le roman de Hermann Hesse, et la tragédie de son héros, Joseph Valet (ce qui est la traduction du nom allemand du personnage : Knecht), ne nous laisse plus qu'un seul espoir : que toute chose soit illusion, maya, comme disent les hindous, et que l'action ait aussi peu d'importance que la non-action.
Il a paru durant les dix dernières années peu de livres aussi importants que celui-ci ; peu de livres capables de remuer aussi profondément l'inquiétude de tout homme d'aujourd'hui partagé entre la tentation de la sécurité intellectuelle, de la paix spirituelle qu'offre la province idéale de Castalie, à l'écart de tous les orages de la conscience et de la société, et la tentation de participer à la vie émouvante, impure, dangereuse, d'un monde où l'action n'est pas la soeur du rêve.

» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, HermannAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ausma, TineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bļodnieks, ĢirtsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houwink ten Cate, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaila, KaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinervo, ElviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winston, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winston, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ziolkowski, TheodoreForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Апт, Соломон Константин…Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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. . . For although in a certain sense and for light- minded persons non-existent things can be more easily and irresponsibly represented in words than existing things, for the serious and conscientious historian it is just the reverse. Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born. (From Joseph Knecht's holograph translation of Albertus Secundus tract. de cristall. spirit. ed. Clangor et Collof. lib. I, cap. 28).
dedicated to the Journeyers to the East
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It is our intention to preserve in these pages what scant biographical material we have been able to collect concerning Joseph Knecht, or Ludi Magister Josephus III, as he is called in the Archives of the Glass Bead Game.
But now for the first time I had heard the inner voice of the Game itself, its meaning. It had reached me and since that moment I have believed that our royal game is truly a lingua sacra, a sacred and divine language.
One who had experienced the ultimate meaning of the Game within himself would by that fact no longer be a player; he would no longer dwell in the delight in invention, construction and combination, since he would know altogether different joys and raptures. Because I think I have come close to the meaning of the Glass Bead Game, it will be better for me and for others if I do not make the Game my profession, but instead shift to music.
God sends us despair not to kill us; He sends it to us to awaken new life in us.
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Haiku summary
First he learns the rules
Master gamester finds meaning
While losing marbles

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