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The Glass Bead Game: Magister Ludi by…

The Glass Bead Game: Magister Ludi (original 1943; edition 1969)

by Hermann Hesse, Richard Winston (Translator), Clara Winston (Translator)

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4,76466982 (4.14)179
Title:The Glass Bead Game: Magister Ludi
Authors:Hermann Hesse
Other authors:Richard Winston (Translator), Clara Winston (Translator)
Info:Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1969), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 558 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:read 2012, fiction, 1001 books, philosophy

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The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (1943)


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English (61)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
"The Glass Bead Game" is so full of thoughts. I first loved it for it's freemasonic ideas, the scholarly touch, the way a world was created in my mind. Later for the impressingly drawn picture of an interaction between system and individual. Towards the end of Knechts life for the calm, relaxing, maze-like structure of the book, seeing it as a glass bead game itself. The final, indian story left the next remarkable impression on me– after all that contemplation, Maya seems so much more painful than ever before. The longing for solitude and pure awareness seemed to become my own.
My mind went all this way with the protagonist, the biographer and the system of Castalia – this book leaves me a bit richer in paths of thinking, or so I hope. ( )
  kthxy | May 6, 2016 |
Intellectual quest.Very interesting. ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
The Glass Bead Game takes place at an unspecified date, centuries into the future. Hesse suggested that he imagined the book's narrator writing around the start of the 25th century[1]. The setting is a fictional province of central Europe called Castalia, reserved by political decision for the life of the mind; technology and economic life are kept to a strict minimum. Castalia is home to an austere order of intellectuals with a twofold mission: to run boarding schools for boys (the novel is thus a detailed exploration of education and the life of the mind), and to nurture and play the Glass Bead Game.

The novel follows the life of a distinguished member of the order, Joseph Knecht (the surname translates as "servant" or "farm hand" but can also mean "vassal" or "knight"), as narrated by a fictional historian of the order. Hence the novel is an example of a Bildungsroman. The text, written in a scholarly biographical style, chronicles the precocious protagonist's decision to join the order, his mastery of the Game, and his advancing in the order's hierarchy, eventually being given the title Magister Ludi, reserved for the Game's finest player.[2]

However, Knecht's loyalty to the order is brought into question as he gradually comes to doubt whether the intellectually gifted have a right to withdraw from life's big problems. Knecht comes to see Castalia as a kind of ivory tower, an ethereal protected community, devoted to pure intellectual pursuits, but oblivious to the problems posed by life outside its borders. This conclusion precipitates a personal crisis, and accordingly, Knecht does the unthinkable: he resigns as Magister Ludi and asks to leave the order, ostensibly to become of value and service, in some way, to the larger culture. The heads of the order deny his request to leave, but Knecht departs Castalia anyway, initially taking a job as a tutor to his childhood friend's son. Only a few days later, he drowns in a mountain lake while attempting a swim for which he was not fit. The story ends abruptly.

The narrator breaks off before the final sections of the book, remarking that the end of the story is beyond the scope of his biography. The concluding chapter, entitled "The Legend", is reportedly from a different biography. After this final chapter, several of Knecht's "posthumous" works are then presented. The first section contains Knecht's poetry from various periods of his life. Then three short stories follow. The first tells of an ancient pagan named Knecht; the second of Josephus, an early Christian hermit; and the final story covers the life of Dasa, an Indian prince who grows up as a cowherd. All three stories cover the lives of spiritual seekers who learn the mystic traditions of their respective eras from sagacious teachers. Originally, Hesse intended several different lives of the same person as he is reincarnated[3]. Instead, he focused on a story set in the future and placed the three shorter stories, "authored" by Knecht in The Glass Bead Game at the end of the novel.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Hippie heaven. Or how I found another way to calculate life (and love). ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (82 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, Hermannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ausma, TineTranslatorsecondary 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)

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