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Demian by Hermann Hesse

Demian (original 1919; edition 2007)

by Hermann Hesse

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5,29460835 (3.91)1 / 63
Authors:Hermann Hesse
Info:Suhrkamp Verlag KG (2007), Paperback, 154 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:freiheit, unabhängigkeit, abhängigkeit, religion, deutsche literatur, deutschsprachige literatur, leben, sinn des lebens, spiritualität

Work details

Demian by Hermann Hesse (Author) (1919)


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English (49)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  Czech (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All (60)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The bird struggles out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wants to be born must destroy a world. The bird is flying to god. The name of the god is called Abraxas.

This book is intensely interesting and so amazing, and I find it hard to believe this is one of Hesse's earliest novels. I don't know what author at that time would wish to start their career with something as controversial as I imagine this would've been. I found it in a dollar box outside a bookstore, an yellowed and slightly scuffed copy, reeking of "read into my mysteries, darling, you won't be disappointed." It's an exceptionally quick read, and definitely worth the time. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
tremendo, lo he vuelto a leer más de una vez, es increíble. ( )
  jahierba | Dec 5, 2016 |
'my friend and leader'
By sally tarbox on April 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this in a few days, but felt I absolutely needed to re-read it, preferably with an accompanying book of notes on the work, in order to fully grasp all Hesse's ideas.
Spoiler Alert (although this isn't a plot driven book and I don't think it matters)
It starts off with our lead character, Emil Sinclair, on the brink of adolescence, and increasingly aware of the two worlds he inhabits: home, which is clean, pure, moral; and the outside world full of violence, lust and depravity. He finds himself in thrall to a local bully, but is saved one day by the strange and rather mystical older boy Max Demian...
Their subsequent conversations introduce bizarre themes: that the 'mark of Cain', mentioned in the Bible, was something fine; that God 'embraces the Devil in himself'...All this time, Emil is growing up; he meets Pistorius, an organist, with whom he also has deep conversations:
'We consist of the whole existence of the world, each one of us, and just as our body bears in it the various stages of our evolution back to the fish and further back still, we have in our soul everything that has ever existed in the human mind. All the gods and devils whether among the Greeks, Chinese or Zulus are all within us, existing as possibilities, wishes, outlets. If the human race dwindled to one single, half-developed child...this child would rediscover the entire course of evolution, would be able to produce gods, devils, paradise...the whole of the Old and New Testament, everything.'
As the book went on, I became increasingly doubtful that Demian actually existed but was in fact a Christ-like figure in Emil's subconscious (but maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick totally!) Also that Demian's mother, Frau Eva, whom Emil comes to so love, is in fact God (although Emil's almost romantic love for her confused me on that.)
Not an easy or fun read exactly, very challenging, some bits were VERY heavy (although interspersed with perfectly readable bits.)Glad I read it: any feedback on the themes from more knowledgable readers much appreciated! ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
Review: Demian by Hermann Hesse.

This book is an interesting coming of age book. I can see why there were different opinions about the story. I think the writing was good and the development of the characters was good but I guess some people thought that a boy, “coming of age” in this book wasn’t believable. I like the way Hesse portrayed Emil Sinclair as a confused ten-year-old boy who wasn’t really sure of himself or others around him. Max Demian acting the part of the older boy who knew and acknowledge his strong points with confidence also fit his character but he was also mysterious. Many young boys (not all) go through a physiological period of deliverance when around their peers. They want to be accepted but yet they hesitate when processing some of the infallible action around them.

I thought Sinclair’s character was normal for a boy his age even when he was fixated on his dreams; his visions of a half man half women face, his drawing of this person, and his fascination with the bird breaking out of its shell. I think things started to get strange after his first meeting with Demian.

The story started when Sinclair was being blackmailed by another young boy at school who was a bully. Then Demian was introduced as a new student and took an interest is Sinclair and frightens the bully away. Demian was a mature, intelligent and egotistic about himself. After some time passes Sinclair finds himself frightened by some of Demian’s implications, but is also mesmerized by the older boy’s demeanor that his thoughts about Demian occupies his mind even when the two of them are apart for long stretches of time.

Unfortunately, Hesse’s “coming of age” theme ends about half way through the book and Demian descends into the realm of a different kind of person and the story takes a new twist where Sinclair meets a church organ player and they have some weird conversations about Nihilism and how superior they are. This conversation continues when Sinclair meets a classmate who is having some sort of an existential crisis. Why the story took this path I don’t know but after that Sinclair meets back up with Demian again and the same conversations follows. Then near the end Demian’s back for the final scenario as a Lieutenant in the service and declares to Sinclair that the world is at war and that he must follow through to the end….
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Certainly the best war book that is not about war at all. ( )
  Kindnist85 | May 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, HermannAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hesse, Hermannmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bang, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lebeck, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mann, ThomasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roloff, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strachan, Walter JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?
First words
I cannot tell my story without reaching a long way back. If it were possible I would reach back farther still - into the very first years of my childhood, and beyond them into distant ancestral past.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Onvergetelijk is de elektriserende schok die 'Demian' na de Eerste Wereldoorlog teweegbracht. Het is een verhaal dat met griezelige nauwkeurigheid de zenuw van die tijd trof en de gehele jeugd in dankbare verrukking meesleepte. - Thomas Mann Nog steeds schijnt deze analyse van de puberteit betrouwbaar. Het gebruik van mystieke tekens en symbolen blijkt bij Hermann Hesse meer dan alleen maar een literair spelletje. 'Demian' is nog altijd een ontwikkelingsroman van de beste soort. De psychische crisisverschijnselen, de overgang van de ene bewustzijnstoestand naar de andere, het is alles uitstekend aangevoeld en verwerkt. 'Demian' is ook bepaald meer dan het verhaal van de jonge Emil Sinclair. Het is hét verhaal van een jeugd gebleven, ook nu nog, na meer dan vijftig jaar. - Martin Mooij in Het Parool In al zijn schijnbare eenvoud is 'Demian' meeslepend geschreven. Het is een variant op het thema, dat Hesse steeds weer bezighoudt: de ontplooiing van een eenling, die eigenlijk in de ogen van 'de mensen' een zonderling is, juist omdat hij anders is dan zij. Dit thema speelt in 'Siddhartha' en in 'De steppewolf'. In vergelijking met laatstgenoemd werk is 'Demian' van eenzelfde constant hoog niveau, als kunstwerk een eenheid, terwijl 'De steppewolf' ongelijker van kwaliteit is, maar enige geniale, niet te overtreffen uitschieters vertoont. - Anne Brandenburg in Haarlems Dagblad
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060931914, Paperback)

In Demian, one of the great writers of the twentieth century tells the dramatic story of young, docile Emil Sinclair's descent--led by precocious shoolmate Max Demian--into a secret and dangerous world of petty crime and revolt against convention and eventual awakening to selfhood.

"The electrifying influence exercised on a whole generation just after the First World War by Demian...is unforgettable. With uncanny accuracy this poetic work struck the nerve of the times and called forth grateful rapture from a whole youthful generation who believed that an interpreter of their innermost life had risen from their own midst."
-- From the Introduction by Thomas Mann

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A friend's mother, war, and newly discoverd self-respect draw a young man toward his psychological awakening

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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