German literature

German authors
  • Angelus Silesius
  • Heinrich Böll
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Karl Georg Büchner
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Günter Grass
  • Brothers Grimm
  • Hans von Grimmelshausen
  • Peter Handke
  • Gerhart Hauptmann
  • Heinrich Heine
  • Heinrich der Glïchezäre
  • Johann Gottfried von Herder
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann
  • Friedrich Hölderlin
  • Uwe Johnson
  • Siegfried Lenz
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  • Thomas Mann
  • Robert Musil
  • Novalis
  • Jean Paul Richter
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling
  • Friedrich von Schiller
  • Arthur Schnitzler
  • Georg Trakl
  • Frank Wedekind
  • Christa Wolf

Hermann Hesse, 1877-1962

A German-Swiss novelist and poet, Hesse won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. His irrational and mystical ideas anticipated European vanguard.

Hesse was born in Calw, a small German town, son of a missionary. Joining a seminary, he intended to follow in his father's footsteps, but later gave up is theological studies to work firstly as a mechanic and later as a bookseller. This stage of rebelliousness against formal educations was reflected in his novel Beneath the Wheel (1906). His work as a bookseller allowed him to work as a freelance journalist, a job that provided him with the inspiration for his first novel Peter Camenzind (1904).

The First World War forced pacifist Hesse to move to Montagnola, Switzerland.The hopelessness brought about by the war, added to a series of personal misfortunes led him in search of universal spirituality, which also formed the main theme of his following writings.

Demian (1919) was strongly influenced by the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and awoke the interest of European intellectuals. Since then, his novels began taking on a more symbolic turn, influenced by psychoanalysis. In Journey to the East (1932) he explores the mystic qualities of the human experience in Jungian terms; Siddhartha (1922), where his interest for Oriental mysticism is portrayed, is based on the life of young Buddha; and in his master piece, The Steppe Wolf (1927), the double nature of the artist-hero symbolizes the separation between individuality and conventions, just as it does in his later novel Narziss and Goldmund (1930).