Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

BENEATH THE WHEEL. by Hermann. Hesse

BENEATH THE WHEEL. (original 1906; edition 1968)

by Hermann. Hesse

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,038253,278 (3.83)32
Authors:Hermann. Hesse
Info:Farrar, Straus & Giroux (1968), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 187 pages
Collections:Your library, Own but unread
Tags:Bildungsroman, novel, German, translation, education, 20th century

Work details

Beneath the Wheel by Hermann Hesse (1906)


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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 32 mentions

English (22)  French (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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 |
Beneath the Wheel is the story of Hans Giebenrath, a talented boy sent to an elite seminary in Maulbronn. However his education is focused on increasing his knowledge and neglects his development as a person. He befriends Hermann Heilner, who is less hard-working than he and more liberal; the friendship is a relief for Hans. In the end, Heilner is expelled from the seminary and Giebenrath is sent home after his performance decreases when he shows symptoms of mental illness.

Back home, he finds coping with his situation difficult, as he has lost most of his childhood to scholastic study, and thus never had time to form lasting personal relationships with anyone in his village. He is apprenticed as a blacksmith and seems to enjoy the work; concrete, as opposed to the abstraction of scholarly work. At story's end, Hans Giebenrath drowns after a pub crawl with his new workmates.

Beneath the Wheel is one of Hesse's first novels and severely criticises education that focuses only on students' academic performance. In that respect, the novel is typical of Hesse. There are biographical elements in the story, as he attended and was expelled from the seminary
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
In Beneath the Wheel, Hesse creates a portrait of a life brought to devastation by the negative effects of institutionalized learning. The apex of this devastation is beautifully rendered with the rich imagery anchored in nature and melancholy that is typical of his writing. Though a good novel, it falls short of Hesse's best work. Themes that merely incubate here are executed with far greater depth in Narcissus and Goldmund, as well as in The Glass Bead Game. Having read those works, this novel provided good context for Hesse's development as a storyteller. ( )
  poetontheone | Jan 10, 2013 |
It is worth reading this alongside Hesse's collection of short stories gathered under the title 'Autobiographical Writings'. Hesse's real academic career was quite a train-wreck, and his recollection of the very short conversation he had with his rather severe Grandfather about it is priceless. On another note, I'm not sure I've ever read such a powerful description of life becoming (slipping into) death; all the more effective for the obliquity and the unexpectedness of the moment. What's more, with just a very few words Hesse captures that strange fleeting period preceding the arrival of news of a death. When I worked with traffic police years ago they would talk about how in the middle of the night they'd find themselves carrying but not yet delivering the news of a death, and the sense that for a little while someone still slept in their beds undisturbed; their loved ones, children, partners or parents both still alive and dead at the same time. This isn't perhaps Hesse's major work, but there is a beautiful light touch to the writing, a sense of restrained power in this story simply told. Recommended. ( )
  nandadevi | Aug 22, 2012 |
I had not heard of this book by Hesse, and I stumbled on this by accident. It is quite a brilliant book. You go along with the short life of the young hero, from the point where he is selected to go to the university, his friendship, his falling out with the "establishment"; his nervous breakdown and eventual death. The writing is very low key, and there are parts that I can sympathise and identify with.
While the writing style is low key, I recognise the malaise that still afflicts us today, how the "system" can break you down unless you know how to play ir, or unless you rebel.
Rebellion, however, is not normally encouraged.. ( )
  RajivC | Jul 1, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hermann Hesseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coutinho, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coutinho, M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, HerbCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roloff, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strachan, W.J.Translatorsecondary 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
First words
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.
The teachers apparently regarded a dead student very differently from a living one.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031242230X, Paperback)

Hans Giebernath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only with more crushing assignments. When Hans befriends a rebellious young poet, he begins to imagine other possibilities outside the narrowly circumscribed world of the academy. Finally sent home after a nervous breakdown, Hans is revived by nature and romance, and vows never to return to the gray conformity of the academic system.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Herman Hesse's spiritual biography, 'Beneath the Wheel,' is a touchstone in the Nobel Prize-winning author's lifelong examination of the conflict between self-affirmation and self-destruction. Based on his own experience, his second novel attacks an educational system that fosters intellect and ambition at the expense of emotion, soul and instinct. 'Beneath the Wheel' tells with compassion and tenderness a story that is true for our own age, with all the poetic and lyrical qualities that have made Hesse an outstanding literary figure of the twentieth century. It is the key to all his later works." *** "A gifted German boy hounded by years of pressure and guilt from his schoolmasters and pastor receives a long-overdue taste of freedom, loses interest in his studies, and finds his life spiraling out of control, faced with an 'average' future."… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
7 avail.
13 wanted
10 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
1.5 2
2 23
2.5 3
3 93
3.5 44
4 144
4.5 19
5 91

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,964,677 books! | Top bar: Always visible