Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Glass Bead Game: Magister Ludi by…

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

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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,440531,105 (4.15)153
Title:The Glass Bead Game: Magister Ludi
Authors:Hermann Hesse
Other authors:Clara Winston (Translator), Richard Winston (Translator)
Info:Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1969), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 558 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:read 2012, fiction, 1001 books, philosophy

Work details

The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (1943)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 153 mentions

English (49)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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.
  keylawk | Dec 4, 2013 |
Fiction. Excellent book except for the very end which seemed a bit laboured. ( )
  questbird | Oct 7, 2013 |
I love Hesse, one of my favorite authors ever. Not only is the spirtualism/sensualism dichotomy (which forms the major theme of all of his works) one of the more interesting philosophical questions of mankind, but I can't think of any author who has continually revealed his own personal neuroses and self-doubts through their characters. This quality has always provoked a certain empathy, admiration, and even self-recognition when I read his books. As someone concerned with those important questions of life, I can identify with his characters, and, because his characters are so autobiographical, I feel like I can consequently identify with Hesse himself.

One of the more fascinating thought exercises related to Hesse is studying his works as attempts to reconcile these two aspects of life: the ethereal, divine and ecstatic with the corporeal, material and sensual. As brilliant as he was, he never figured out how to do it completely, which is what makes all of his novels ultimately unsatisfying. The interesting part, however, is that each successive novel comes closer to the answer, so that Demian feels by far the least developed, and while Hesse realizes "Nirvana" in Siddhartha, it never feels authentically earned. Steppenwolf feels altogether more on the right track before devolving into a psychedelic madhouse (perhaps precisely because he didn't know where next to take it?), and then Narcissus and Goldmund and The Journey to the East get even closer to the ultimate reconciliation while still falling short. The Glass Bead Game is by far the most developed of his novels and gets tantalizingly close to a "solution" for this problem, but it still leaves the reader vaguely grasping at the "how" of Hesse's prescription.

As obsessed as Hesse was with this issue, he was never able to solve it, and it leaves us with the suspicion that it is an insoluble problem, perhaps THE insoluble issue of humanity. His books are so enjoyable, though, precisely because nobody has ever taken up the question with such earnest seriousness. All of his books leave us unsatisfied, but upon further thought one concludes that they are unsatisfactory only because they so unerringly reflect the great human predicament: the paradox of the divine animal. **Full Disclosure: I can no longer remember concretely, but I suspect that I owe a lot of credit for this analysis to Colin Wilson, from his fantastic The Outsider.** ( )
  blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
This was my first Utopian novel and still one of my favorites... ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
. . . 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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

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

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
10 avail.
116 wanted
7 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.15)
1 10
1.5 1
2 31
2.5 11
3 102
3.5 56
4 237
4.5 49
5 338


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,698,927 books! | Top bar: Always visible