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The Glass Bead Game (Penguin Modern…

The Glass Bead Game (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1943; edition 1972)

by Hermann Hesse

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5,21371855 (4.14)185
Title:The Glass Bead Game (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Hermann Hesse
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1972), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (1943)


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English (65)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (71)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
I was 20, I wanted to live in Castalia, I read a chapter every night, each one of almost exactly 20 pages, for 24 hours of steady effective digestion. I was somewhat disappointed by the absence of essence in the game itself, but could successfully ignore that disappointment. I did not really like the ending and told myself it was not the point.
I really enjoyed being a young man reading the "The Glass Bead Game".
And I did continue reading Hesse for years after this.
Who needs more? ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
Platonic mumbo jumbo
yet, sweet to the eye
and as it swings and swings and swings
the blind man(or woman) is king (or royalty)
in a land devoid of nature

My mind swirls with power
and as power is essentialist
I begin to fade into the background ( )
  PeterS111 | Dec 5, 2017 |
This book is full of ideas. The main part of the book is a biography of the main character Joseph Knecht. It is then followed by a dozen poems and three short stories, "the lives". These short stories at the end are definitely my favourite part of the novel. All that is lacking in terms of passion in the first part is present in these three short stories at the end, and they present all the same themes.

The Glass Bead Game itself, as far as I can tell, seems to be something like abstract mathematics. It seems to embody a symbolic representation of all knowledge and manipulation of those symbols. It’s a unifying design which shows the connections and the unity between all branches of knowledge and arts. Or it is like music as it is an aesthetic composition of individual symbols.

Castalian order is a highly formalised, monastic order where the mind and scholarly traditions are enshrined. It place’s importance on hierarchy, structure and tradition. It’s an almost platonic kind of communism with its dispassionate monasticism and elite caste. It lacks anything sensual, experiential and personal and so is incomplete.

Whether in the idea of the game itself, or in the relationship between Castalia and the outside world, Or in Joseph Knechts relationships with others like plinio Designori, this novel is steeped in Hegelian dialectics. Man’s spiritual journey and the idea of contemplation and psychological liberation, the individual and the hierarchy, and the values of tradition are some of the major themes dealt with in the novel. The importance of a teacher-student/master-apprentice relationship is also highlighted.

This was by no means an easy read and i took my time with it. But this is Hesse's masterpiece and is full of ideas. ( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi), Hermann Hesse, 1943, 1969

Social criticism viii-x excessive aestheticism
Identities of characters ix
Eastern mysticism xi
Glass Bead Game xi
HH’s continuing search for perfection xi
Failure of intellectuals xvi
What is the Glass Bead Game? 16, 141
Ideal xvi-xvii, 25f, 57, 82, 83, 108-9, 136
Knecht’s defection from Castalia, far from implying any repudiation of the spiritual ideal, simply calls for a new social consciousness of the social responsibility of the intellectual xvii
Castalia-future xviii, xii
Feuilleton-now viii, 18 (critique of our time), 19, 27, 34, 36, 79, 352 (2x)ff
Purpose/point xix, 9 responsible analysis and action of our times, “Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose very existence is neither demonstrable or probable.
Journey to the east xiv, 26, 38
Individuality 11, 12, 85, 369
Organ 15, 139, 180, 223
Music 16, 25, 26, 28ff, 39, 43, 50, 90, 106 (art) 119, 133, 261, 375, 409, 480
Castalia 16, 61-72, 93, 94, 101ff (questioning, growing weary), 141, 150, 172, 221, 237, 297, 331-2, 361 (truth)
CHRISTIANITY 28, 38, 40, 41, 43, 83! 115-6 (Pietism), 119, 121-2 (ultimate reality), 161- (Castalia, J. A. BENGEL), 173-4 (become Christian), 188, 237, 258, 377-8, 440, 489, 497, 507, 509-13
Education 35, 36, 122 (teacher role), 350, 362-3 (highest call)
JOSEPH KNECHT 49, 136, 264 (polarity)/267, 268,274, 405, 418
Life of the mind 53
Vocation 58-61
Dictionary 65
PLINIO (DESIGNORI) 92, 289 (worldling)
FERREMONTE 95, 163, 258 (normal esthete)
Real world aka primitive world, great world, natural life (109) 99
Meditation 104 (not fm)
Non-specialization 110, 135, 233-4
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS 119, 166, 233-4, 279, 469
Sexuality 112
The three lives 113-4
Eastern reference cf. 135
Philosophy 141, 167, 511-2, 545, 547
Debate 237, 268, 285, 361-truth
FRITZ TEGULARIUS (Nietzsche, no law greater than self, nihilist) 152, 198, 244, 269-72, 334
FATHER JACOBUS (religion) 161-3,
Five worlds vis-à-vis—secular (Plinio)—religious (Jacobus, ultimates/381)—aesthetic (culture-366/mind-473/soul, Castalia-358, Thomas, Ferremonte)—nihilism (Tegularius)—individual (Joseph)
History 168-70 (not fm), 277-8, 334, 351, 354-5, 365-6, 399
Community 169, 396, 480
Burden of responsibility 179, 231-note, 232, 242, 244, 377
Word nuances 186ff (social nuances), 250
Being well-liked 186
Friendship 195, 228-9, 300ff (grief), 302
Learning/teaching-debate 189, 190, 238-40, 287, 326, 336, 362, 398, 460
Everything always goes right 206
So many resonating details (miscellaneous, eg) 224, 225, 254
Listening 253, 490-1
Depression 266, 284
Resolution (of his concerns) 268, 274, 297-Plinio, 309-synthesis, 320
Leadership 274, 286
Deterioration of Castalia 275ff, 297
Aging 279-81, 315, 494, 503
Family 293
Pride 296
Being different 298 (the world)
Whitney 306, 309ff, 312, 315, 319, 327
Smiling at grief 310
Real world 311, 312
Ideal person 315-7 (cheerful!)
L 317
ALEXANDER 331, 379
Unfulfilled part 342, 385, 391, 399-400
Confrontation 352
Nations 359
Awakening 371-3, 378-higher power, 394
Transcendence 373, 374-stages, 397
Existential 380
Self! 385, 394-5, 396, 398, 437
Tradition 386 checking 387
Walking 406
Reading 413
Writing 415
Child training 419 (not fm)
Not talking 452
Awe 462
Passing on heritage 462-3, 469, 470-, 518
Second coming 464
Men of thought 465-6 spiritual versus sensual 479, 492, 514 (thinker)
Learn to read rather than control 468
God? Mind 469, 477
Giving up possibilities (as age) 471
Moon 475
Temptation 493, 495
Joylessness 493-4
Suicide 495-6, 518, 559
Leaving responsibilities 495-6
God (Him) 496, 502
Redeemer’s death 497, 509-13
Under authority 508
Evangelizing 510
Creation-fall 511
Longing for Christ’s presence 312-3
Sin 514
Preaching 514
Needy ministering to needy 517
Despair 518
YOGI/HOLY MAN impervious to physicality 523-4, 550
Feminine beauty 528 (Pravati, represents best of physical) 550
Pride 542
Maya 536-7, 543, 556
Value-selfishness 541, 544-
Duty/self-love, passion 548
Emotional passivity (deadness) 548, 551
Manliness 551 acceptance/stoic endurance
  keithhamblen | Jun 2, 2016 |
Interesting ideas:
- When studying history, the interesting parts are not the individual or societal heroics of any given time, but cultures and institutions that endure over the long term.
- The idea of a universal language of science & art is of course appealing.
- The examination of the role of academia in society.
- Awareness of historical context in steering organisations
- The role of academia in society and the amount of activism it should exhibit in political and social life.

I was pleased to see that it touches on the themes of transcendence and "cheerful serenity" as explored in Siddhartha.

In terms of historical context (World War 2), it's interesting to see the examination of the role of scientists & artists in times of war. ( )
  supremumlimit | May 30, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (84 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, Hermannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ausma, TineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bļodnieks, ĢirtsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clee, PaulCover artistsecondary 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
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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
First words
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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Book description
Haiku summary
First he learns the rules
Master gamester finds meaning
While losing marbles

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312278497, Paperback)

The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, The Glass Bead Game is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature

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).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:41 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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