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Beneath the Wheel (1906)

by Hermann Hesse

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,535324,545 (3.82)38
The Prodigy, originally dating from 1905, is Hermann Hesses's bitter indictment of conventional education. It is the story of Hans Giebenrath, the brilliant young son of provincial bourgeouis in southern Germany who becomes the first boy from his town to pass into a prestigious Protestant theological college. His spirit, however, is systematically broken by his parents and teachers; over anxious about his success, they forget to consider his health and happiness. Subsiding into a fatal apathy, he is taken home for medical reasons. Here he falls in love, becomes an engineer's apprentice, learns to drink alcohol, and eventually dies by drowning. Out of his attitude to the treatment that he perceived was common within the German schooling system at the turn of the century, Hesse developed his own deeply personal views on the value of Eastern education in developing the self.… (more)
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» See also 38 mentions

English (26)  Spanish (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Zu den wichtigsten Frühwerken Hermann Hesses gehört sein Schulroman Unterm Rad über das Schicksal eines begabten Kindes, das am Erwartungsdruck seines Vaters und der Umwelt zerbricht. Hesse hat darin viel von dem verarbeitet, was er selbst erleben mußte. So glaubten seine Erzieher, den 14jährigen in einer Heilanstalt für Schwachsinnige und Epileptische unterbringen zu müssen. Es war der Leidensdruck dieser frühen Erfahrungen, der ihn zum Schriftsteller gemacht hat und dem auch seine späteren Werke ihre Brisanz und zeitlose Aktualität verdanken. Wie kein anderes Werk des Dichters hat dieses Buch eine genau dokumentierbare Vorgeschichte, die hier erstmals in allen überlieferten Lebenszeugnissen vorgestellt wird und ein authentisches Bild der Pädagogik vom Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts entwirft.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
Novela relativamente corta de Hesse, autor de mi adolescencia tardía. Ésta en concreto me llegó mucho. Narra la historia de un estudiante introvertido y brillante que llegado a un punto debe decidir qué hacer con su vida, cuando la vida le desborda. Es una mezcla del arquetipo "coming of age" y de un montón de opiniones del autor sobre la vida. Aunque la leí hace más de veinte años aún recuerdo sensaciones que tuve al leerla, pero no sé si una relectura las volvería a provocar. ( )
  Remocpi | Apr 22, 2020 |
Theme: a bright boy (Hans Giebenrath) is crushed by a combination of his pride, other's expectations, and an educational system
Type: philosophical soul novel
Value: 1
Age: hs
Interest: "2"
Objectionable: some swearing, playing around
Synopsis/Noteworthy: good picture of soul without God
shoemaker Flaig 11, 12, 45, 47, 54
  keithhamblen | Jun 24, 2016 |
Young Hans Giebenrath is a gifted child. When the state tests show him to have the second highest score in the country, he earns entrance to a monastery school and becomes the pride of his small farm town. It also earns him a short vacation, which he plans to spend fishing and walking in the beautiful forests. But each day finds his time being taken up by different tutors who wish him to study so he’ll be ahead of the other students when classes begin. Soon all the hours of his day are used up and his leisure is gone.

At the highly regimented school, he has trouble fitting in. He is no longer special like he was in his village. He lacks social skills, so when one of the students, a flamboyant poet, befriends him, he finds himself giddily obsessed and his studies suffer. Eventually he has a breakdown and falls so far behind he is sent home. This is a permanent banishment; no student sent home ever comes back. Suddenly, for the first time, he is at loose ends; there are no lessons to learn, books to read, or tests to prepare for. For the first time, he actually has choices. Can Hans learn to live happily without a highly structured life?

While this book was written in 1906, I see the same thing still happening to gifted kids today (and regular kids whose parents want them to be gifted); they are given so many classes and structured activities that they have no time for play, socialization, or imagination. While most survive it okay, I can’t believe it’s the best way to raise a child. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Jun 6, 2016 |
Why do I End up reading books where the main character is a young man, going mad or dying in the end? ( )
  Kindnist85 | May 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (65 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, HermannAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brice, SilvijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coutinho, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coutinho, M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, HerbCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lendvai-Dircksen, ErnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roloff, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strachan, W.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Herr Joseph Giebenrath, agent and dealer, had no special merits or peculiarities to distinguish him from his fellow citizens.
Herr Joseph Giebenrath, Zwischenhändler und Agent, zeichnete sich durch keinerlei Vorzüge oder Eigenheiten vor seinen Mitbürgern aus.
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The teachers apparently regarded a dead student very differently from a living one.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Prodigy, originally dating from 1905, is Hermann Hesses's bitter indictment of conventional education. It is the story of Hans Giebenrath, the brilliant young son of provincial bourgeouis in southern Germany who becomes the first boy from his town to pass into a prestigious Protestant theological college. His spirit, however, is systematically broken by his parents and teachers; over anxious about his success, they forget to consider his health and happiness. Subsiding into a fatal apathy, he is taken home for medical reasons. Here he falls in love, becomes an engineer's apprentice, learns to drink alcohol, and eventually dies by drowning. Out of his attitude to the treatment that he perceived was common within the German schooling system at the turn of the century, Hesse developed his own deeply personal views on the value of Eastern education in developing the self.

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Constitutes an attack on educational systems that foster intellect, purposefulness, and ambition to the detriment of emotion, instinct, and soul.
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