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

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

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4,498561,082 (4.14)160
Member:amerynth
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
Rating:**
Tags:read 2012, fiction, 1001 books, philosophy

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The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (1943)

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English (52)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
Hermann Hesse's vision of a future in which intellectuals in monastic communities devote themselves to a complex game loosely based on the Chinese alphabet is beguiling and spiritual but somewhat baffling. Highly recommended but it does demand some concentration. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 11, 2014 |
This novel of a distant future is presented as a scholarly work about the life of Joseph Knecht, a man who rose to distinction as the master (i.e. Magister Ludi) of the Glass Bead Game. The game itself is vaguely described but consists of extrapolating relationships between disparate bodies of knowledge (e.g. chemistry and music), played with enthusiasm for centuries and which brings (at least to the most erudite) a sort of insight into the human condition. This game is somewhat like a vision of the Internet - a bringing together and sharing of all knowledge, only more rigid and static.

It's a tedious read for its sustained lack of conflict if the novel's central questions don't grab you. Hermann Hesse explored the quest for perfect knowledge and being in his fiction, and this last novel is the culminating expression of that quest, but it results in a rather different conclusion than the insular view he previously espoused. In this instance the spotlight falls on determining whether such personal epiphany should be put in service to practical application. Does a man of knowledge bears any responsibility towards influencing the course of the world in which he is raised and has achieved insight? To put it still another way: must we remember our roots?

Others have pointed out that Hesse comes closest here to detailing how our inner and outer lives must ideally intersect, but still falls short. Is this failure or done on purpose? From a scene in the novel where one character admires another's work: "Each of these Games moved with such gravity and sincerity toward solution, only at the last to so nobly forgo the attempt at solution, that it was like a perfect elegy upon the transitoriness inherent in all beautiful things and the ultimate dubiety immanent in all soaring flights of the intellect."

Note, this novel is unusually structured; my edition, at least, features three short stories as appendices purportedly written by the central character during his student days. At the point they were mentioned I put the novel on pause and read them before continuing. Given the foreshadowing that resulted, I'd recommend that approach to other readers. ( )
1 vote Cecrow | Nov 10, 2014 |
This novel is about the human tendency to game reality and try to understand the consequences of the process in the World of David Hume's social truths. Read this book when young, spend some years trying to develop computer role-playing games and then reread. It will seem less dull, and you won't even forget the first reading.

This book was written in 1943 in Switzerland. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 6, 2014 |
A very intriguing work. In a distant future, an intelectually challenging game determines who will rule an order isolated from the vast majority of humanity. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
The Glass Bead Game is something like chess, but more intricate. Only scholars play it, isolated within the Castalia, an elite institution devoted to the mind. Hesse displays the conflicts between action and thought, the flesh and the intellect, and the need for synthesis.
1 vote keylawk | Dec 4, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (83 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
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Epigraph
. . . 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).
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.

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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:37 -0400)

(see all 5 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 3 descriptions

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