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Steppenwolf (1927)

by Hermann Hesse

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,816160412 (4.03)231
Harry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine.… (more)
  1. 72
    Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse (PandorasRequiem)
  2. 40
    Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (GaryPatella)
    GaryPatella: The protagonist in Nausea has a very similar personality to the protagonist in Steppenwolf. Both books have that same gloomy feel to them.
  3. 41
    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (snipermatze, chwiggy)
  4. 30
    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (Smiler69)
  5. 10
    Herzog by Saul Bellow (roby72)
  6. 32
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (owen1218)
  7. 11
    Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Fight Club could be read as an updated rewriting of Steppenwolf, with Hermine replaced by Tyler Durden, and the dance hall transformed to the fight club. Maria becomes Marla, and the Magic Theater becomes Operation Mayhem.
  8. 11
    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (caflores)
  9. 11
    The Hothouse by Wolfgang Koeppen (Liondancer)
    Liondancer: Die Persönlichkeit des "Treibhaus"-Abgeordneten Keetenheuve erinnert mich sehr an den "Steppenwolf" Harry Haller.
  10. 00
    Abel Sánchez by Miguel de Unamuno (Neurasthenio)
  11. 16
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Smiler69)
  12. 28
    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (roby72)

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» See also 231 mentions

English (126)  Spanish (14)  German (6)  French (5)  Italian (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (158)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
My introduction to Hesse, which made books like Siddhartha and Demian suffer by comparison when I read them. This book held my interest from beginning to end. I've now inherited by father's copy, in German, that he bought and read as a teenager. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Hat mich damals ungemein beeindruckt. Wir waren mit der Schulklasse in Spanien, alle haben sich in der Sonne amüsiert, nur ich lag im Hotelzimmer und hab den Steppenwolf gelesen, boah was kam ich mir toll vor! Glaube kaum, dass mir Hesse heute noch so gefallen würde. Ich denke, den muss man als Teenager lesen, dann eröffnet er einem ganz neue Horizonte; später sieht man eher den Schwulst. Die Bewertung gilt für mein Ich vor 26 Jahren. ( )
  MrKillick-Read | Apr 4, 2021 |
"Nothing felt the least bit attractive; every thing had the smell of stale second-hand goods, of stale, lukewarm contentment."

A mess of thoughts.

Lone wolf in a city. Human in the streets. The bourgeois society.

Anguished. Tormented. Conflicted. Alienated. Scorned.

When the weight of existence was as heavy as the steps you take to move forward, why was there still a need to move forward?

Steppenwolf was not as much as finding a purpose but rather on the experience of knowing that life has no purpose. A pretty bleak and grim ensemble of emotions. A call and easy acceptance of death yet a fervent desire to master greatness through intellectual immortality; the inclusion and love of Goethe and Mozart; the hatred of Jazz music and technology. These were two identities of Harry clashing together, contradicting each other. But like most things, they did not fit into the binary. It was a reflection in the mirror only to be broken down into pieces to find hundreds of one's reflections. Who should you believe in? Everything was a part of you. ** "Pay at the door with your mind." The mind was indeed one of the most difficult foes but a friend for most of its illusions.

You were the predator of your own self.

What was absolutely resonating, overwhelming, was the feeling of homelessness despite life's stability in this novel. Although there was an undeniable depressive quality in Steppenwolf, which was largely impactful and gnawed at you (that reading it after Laing's The Lonely City gave me a relapse which I dreaded but thankfully was able to handle with relief), it ended in believing in our innermost potential; to be one with the 'Immortals'. Surprisingly, it reminded me of The Beatles' lyrics "Try to realize it's all within yourself, no one else can make you change. And to see you're really only very small and life flows on within you and without you." ( )
  lethalmauve | Jan 25, 2021 |
I read this book for the first time some 40 years ago in a Spanish translation. I didn't remember almost anything about it, except that it had made a great impression in my youth and that I had felt a great affinity for Harry Haller and his solitude. I bought this edition some ten years ago during one of my trips to Germany and it had been sitting on my shelves ever since. A few days ago I was rearranging some of my books and came across it, so I decided to finally read it again.

I had read "Knulp" in the original German before so I knew Hesse' prose was clear and to my level of fluency. This time around being older, the nihilism, the ennui and the Weltschmerz of Haller still leaves a profound impression, but this time I noticed that despite its darkness and the general perception about this novel being all about nihilism and suicide, in the end it's an affirmation of life and is misunderstood the same way that a lot of people misunderstand Nietzsche.

Harry's alienation from the world starts at an early age when conventional values are "beaten into him". His embrace of intellectual pursuits and high culture further alienates him from his inner wolf. The section where Hesse describes the duality of our civilized exterior and inner beast is brilliant. It's this inability to accept his duality, or more correctly the multiplicity of inner Harry's, that makes him fall into despair and contemplate suicide. Salvation comes from the acceptance of sensuality and "low culture" (jazz and dancing) and realizing, thanks to his conversation with Mozart during a drug induced hallucination, that he can have both.

On deeper level, Steppenwolf is an uncannily accurate description of the German soul during the 1920's and 30's. Behind the thin façade of high culture, intellectualism and deep romanticism lurks a murdering beast, ready to come out... and it did.

This is a short novel and definitely worth reading. ( )
  Westwest | Sep 4, 2020 |
Ironic, taut and wonderfully written; a book that I fittingly finished on April Fools day. One of the best pieces of literature I've ever had the pleasure to divert myself into.

A story that locks you in a machine of imagination and contorts itself wonderfully. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
'Wat me nu opviel bij herlezing na dertig jaar was die durf van Hesse om alle registers open te trekken. Niet alleen stilistisch en structureel, maar ook door de meerdere lagen die op literair, psychologisch, seksueel, geschiedkundig en filosofisch vlak elkaar aanvullen en soms met elkaar contrasteren.'

» Add other authors (129 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, HermannAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verstegen, PeterTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bļodniece, AlīdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bļodnieks, ĢirtsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradac, JaroslavIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Creighton, BasilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dekker, MauritsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horrocks, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnus, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manner, Eeva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manzanares, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pocar, ErvinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sorell, WalterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Попова, НедялкаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book contains the records left us by a man whom, according to the expression he often used himself, we called the Steppenwolf.
Ah, Harry, we have to stumble through so much dirt and humbug before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Harry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118289X, 0141045531, 0241951526, 0141192097

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