Book Review of Demian by Herman Hesse

A Book Review by Rob J. Blevins of www.cookingwithcrayons.com




Demian by Herman Hesse

     I couldn't put this down. Most importantly this book was written in 1919 in pre World War 1. In remembering his childhood, the author is examining the realms of good and evil, and within that he hits the age old art of building the character around his psyche and the questioning of moral principle. Since Hesse was thought to be undergoing psychoanalysis at the time of writing--there are many of the foundational qualities of psychology itself. Also, this was an important era in history because Friedrich Nietzsche had just begun decades prior to give account of the pride of nationalism in Germany and the devaluation of morals. Having Hesse as a successor to Beyond Good and Evil, it is refreshing to hear someone dealing with ethics in such a humanitarian and often sectarian light. It is a tale of the admiration of an eccentric friend by a dynamic character who happens to be the narrator,  and the people in this book are so loveable for their inquiries into ethics that it captivates: The selling point is that the book was written so long ago to be so prolific. This may have been the first time that someone so easily used language to build the scene of a true psyche around the characters in a work of literature. Just like so many movies in the 70s, 80s, and 90s began integrating the setting of the character psyche within the film, this book did that centuries ago.

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