PDF | On Jun 1, , John Wilson and others published The glass bead game. In , the novelist Hermann Hesse completed the novel which represents. Herman Hesse's Nobel Prize winning novel, The Glass Bead Game, may very well players of the glass bead game could not learn from one another until they . The Glass Bead Game, for which Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in , is the author's last and crowning achievement, the most imaginative and.
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CONTENTS. The Glass Bead Game: A General Introduction to Its History for the. Layman. The Life of Magister Ludi Joseph Knecht. 1 The Call. 2 Waldzell. a. b. e-book v / Notes at EOF Magister Ludi (The Glass Bead Game) Hermann Hesse Translated from the German Das Glasperlenspiel by Richard and Clard. The Glass Bead Game (German: Das Glasperlenspiel) is the last full-length novel of the German author Hermann Hesse. .. Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
Much of this can be blamed on Hesse's dull narrator, though I was never sure how much. But all that stays with us is fear, And we shall never rest upon our way. Another review mentioned the possibility that the game was a form of pure mathematics, while reading it occurred to me that it was a way of talking about fiction. As the novel progresses, Knecht begins to question his loyalty to the order, gradually coming to doubt that the intellectually gifted have a right to withdraw from life's big problems. The dramatization is furthered by attention to detail and the apt planting of narrative seeds barely recognized at first, then the enjoyment of its first lucid buds and flowerings thereafter.
View all 24 comments. Mar 22, Robin Tell-Drake rated it did not like it Shelves: A tremendous disappointment, especially given the shimmering praise the book garners on all sides. No other novel have I ever laid down without a backward glance within a few dozen pages of the end, certain at last that the great payoff for my eight hundred pages of patience was never going to A tremendous disappointment, especially given the shimmering praise the book garners on all sides.
No other novel have I ever laid down without a backward glance within a few dozen pages of the end, certain at last that the great payoff for my eight hundred pages of patience was never going to come. The two fundamental failures in the book are its main character and its central device, the Game itself. This is repeated ceaselessly throughout, in narrative asides.
Meanwhile, we watch a pleasant, unassuming, talented young boy as he is handpicked by a professor, becomes a promising student whose great potential is remarked on by everyone he meets, and moves on to become a professor at a young age. He is indeed the youngest ever to become Magister Ludi, so at least that should earn him a mention in the history books. And then he gets old; along the way he meets some people and has some conversations.
And then he dies in a swimming accident, and then we riffle through some of his personal papers until the book is over. Even his youthful writings, a strange little coda to his own life story, echo the pattern of fervent affirmation of the importance of a character—plainly himself in thin disguise, but now being described, just as fawningly, in his own voice—who goes on to do nothing much.
If in fact Knecht ever does anything of greater historical importance than being generally agreeable and good at what he does, it is not told to us. His life is a dull blank, undeserving of a biography at all, especially when at least three other characters go by who might actually have made good reading.
Consider the strangely beatified Music Master, whose unexpectedly mystical transcendence of humanity Knecht merely witnesses when it comes along late in the book; that might be worthy of history. A character within the Glass Bead Game dismissing the Game itself as far lesser than some other symbol system? Here, now, we have the potential for a meaty examination of this Game thing, which we deserve after putting up with so much talk about it.
But Knecht just shrugs and goes about his business, and there will be no exposition upon either system. Hesse was inspired to write, beyond doubt, by the legitimately awesome notion of the Game.
He imagines a symbol system within which all academic disciplines can be encoded, and can interact with each other, like a conversion chart for all fields of knowledge.
Within this system, all concepts are encoded on beads, and it seems any of them can meaningfully combine with any other, such that wild new ideas emerge in the interplay. Here is the complex discourse wherein some kind of game, some competition or contest, can flourish, a game of all human learning, ranging like lightning from one discipline to another, referencing everything. Only a rarefied kind of academic could hope to understand such a game, let alone play it competitively.
And the book is set within the cloistered academy where these super-scholars are trained. But Hesse wanted it to crown a towering edifice, worthy of the sense of weight and magnitude that was, in fact, only the subject of the idea rather than its dimensions. By which I mean: But Hesse fooled himself, and in his excitement he determined to write a very long novel, and that was a mistake from which there could be no recovery. The fatal problem is that Hesse wilts instantly before the task of filling in any kind of detail about what the game was and how it worked.
Inspired by his book, several people have gone on to design more or less playable games to match their impressions of the game he only alludes to—you can find them on the internet if you look around—but he never does. And the more ambient suspense the author generates by promising a brilliant reality, without ever showing even a flickering corner of it, the worse the bland filler starts to smell when it all gets stale.
He need only sketch some part of it, fill in a detail here and a detail there that his characters can make part of their workaday conversations. He does need to do something, though, and it needs to pass muster as at least a tantalizing beginning of the thing itself. One example, perhaps, of a specific bead that represents something from the science of biology; what is written or drawn on the bead?
That would be enough. He makes frequent mention of music—indeed the deification of music, common among writers, is so relentless here as to become a minor problem in its own right—but no sign of how it relates to any other field.
Of course, a writer needs to be able to let the reader fill in empty spaces that the story only sketches with spare gestures.
But the gestures need to be the beginning of something worthy. Knecht has composed a complex exercise in advance, and now the other players are just acting it out, perhaps filling in some details at their own discretion but abiding by a predetermined structure. Our one glimpse of the practical nature of the game has all the fanfare of a whoopee cushion. Nobody's playing. There are no objectives. A long book full of portentious self-promotion but with nothing to say. An elaborately wrapped present with no gift inside.
A big fat nothing. Not the nothing of the Buddhist, who longs for nothing and seeks it, but that of the Wizard of Oz—a nothing that noisily proclaims itself to be everything. View all 34 comments. Das Glasperlenspiel is the last full-length novel of the German author Hermann Hesse. It was begun in and published in Switzerland in after being rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse's anti-Fascist views. A few years later, in , Hesse went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In honoring him in its Award Ceremony Speech, the Swedish Academy said that the novel "occupies a speci In honoring him in its Award Ceremony Speech, the Swedish Academy said that the novel "occupies a special position" in Hesse's work.
Second Introduction I saw that a Goodreader commented on another review that they felt this was a book for young people, which caught my attention with a jolt because I had barely finished thinking that this was plainly a book written by an old man. Which it was. These are in no way contradictory notions, they even sit together as one of the themes of the book: So here it is. Because we have a game in the title and playing this game is of some significance in the novel then that might be a place to start.
Another review mentioned the possibility that the game was a form of pure mathematics, while reading it occurred to me that it was a way of talking about fiction. A game the reader and author play by themselves and that the author plays with the reader, not all games are equally amusing as one notices. That led to the conclusion that the game was another game - a McGuffin. A thing that serves to get Cary Grant from New York to the middle of a wheat field so somebody can try to machine gun him from an aeroplane because somebody else thought it might look good on celluloid.
We simply have to accept it has no greater meaning than to be intrinsically meaningful to the characters even if no machine guns are involved view spoiler [ they are not, nor aeroplanes, but there is a car hide spoiler ]. Or as one of the characters in one of the embedded stories might say "illusion, illusion!
The author presents himself merely as the ever so humble editor of a biography written in the future of a fictional person. Then we get an introduction from the 'actual author' who denies the possibly of biography and tells us that we won't tell us about the game before telling us about the game, and who in passing mentions the absence of various sources, before leaping into the story in which the purported author seems to have omniscient knowledge of the imaginary subject of the story.
Finally we get some poems and short stories which we understand have been written by the subject of this biography and which thematically stand in some relation to the main text. Although I did laugh and once cry while reading the second of the short stories which is my favourite part of the whole book, apart from the ending of the main part of the text.
Further I noted that since the books on their shelf were fairly well compressed that some the pages had a fraternal desire to stay together, and significantly, that I wasn't much troubled by this. I don't much like shoulds, maybe you have read it, maybe you will read it, maybe you won't. To misquote Voltaire - when a rat on one of his Majesty's grain ships dies on the way from Egypt to Constantinople is the Sultan much troubled?
I'm not sure when I first read this book, or why. Rereading I found it uncompelling, but also I had the strong suspicion that I had absorbed a fair amount of the book into myself as thirsty soil sucks in water the first time round, and that I had creatively misremembered bits of it, specifically the second of the short stories which in grossly modified form I had told as a rambling anecdote on several occasions view spoiler [ as you can imagine I am not in great demand as an after dinner speaker hide spoiler ].
Perhaps this is no more than to say I was not in the right state of mind to have read this novel at this time, but reading this novel may well prompt or encourage such a way of thinking about the world view spoiler [ Confused? Third introduction, necessitated by the above Just as Sancho Panza taught that thee is a relationship between the story and the manner in which it is told so we might assume there is a relationship between how you start and how or indeed if you get to finish a tale.
One of the themes in this novel is world history, the relationship between a plant and the soil it grows in. Maybe I first read this book when I was a student. When I was a student, I had no grey hairs, and also it seemed to me that people repeated the image of the ivory tower when talking about universities and the studious life, or maybe I was just more attuned to that kind of speech as the time, to my amusement as I wandered view spoiler [ and wondered, which may have been while some of them didn't last particularly long hide spoiler ] through a variety of jobs and joblessness it struck me that each one was itself an ivory tower with its own God not always Mammon hierarchies and Priesthoods, sacred assumptions, peculiar idiocies, and character, admittedly one could regard professions like accountancy and the law as bridges between these towers, providing some helpful common concepts like illegality and bankruptcy, but these too were worlds of their own, journeying between worlds, as occasionally one has to, is like being an astronaut I come in peace!
Take me to your leader! Come, be welcome, drink of our corporate tea or coffee, accept one of our cheap biscuits as symbol of our contempt! Whoops I'm lost in reminiscences again.
Anyway, from a certain perspective the entire landscape is covered in ivory towers view spoiler [ which explains why elephants are so rare these days hide spoiler ]. What I was going to say, before I interrupted myself, was that this novel was finished in and imagines an ideal Utopian society, naturally the other side of a utopian society is a dystopian one. And a place that calls itself Castalia, brings to mind Castile, the land of castles, and one has to wonder quite what do they want to lock themselves up away from?
What threatens them, why are they so defensive? Indeed reading "Our Castilia is not supposed to be merely an elite; it ought above all to be a hierarchy, a structure in which every brick derives its meaning only from its place in the whole.
What I was going to say, before I interrupted myself, was that this novel is a German novel written in what might have been a German century. It is a kind of alternative for Germany, a continuation of Thomas Mann's vaunted unpoliticism at times when politics was pretty unavoidable. Empire, Socialism, War, Cultural upheaval, Fascism, More war view spoiler [ it strikes me that in a profound way Hesses'a achievement is charting a personal course that didn't sail through militarism, anti-Semitism and the far right, but then read in the context of this novel his life would be a necessary counterpoint to the dominant Zeitgeist view spoiler [ and for all I know he might have been nasty to the people who loved him, and stole sweets from small children hide spoiler ] hide spoiler ].
So what do you do, such was part of the soil that Hesse grew in, he knew Theodore Heuss who had been a follower of Max Weber view spoiler [ and this is a book about men and male relationships, fraternal, as well as master and apprentice hide spoiler ] Hesse had been close to C.
Jung, so there is psychology, the iChing, alchemy, God, spiritual growth view spoiler [ but no skirt chasing hide spoiler ]. Both Weber and Jung deeply interested in "the east" as offering ways out of the steel cage of the sonderweg of the development of "the west" so this novel features yoga and meditation as well as everything else, Reincarnation might be a theme too.
Hesse's utopia is an alternative Germany, federalism has led to a purely academic federal state, probably in the south-west and apparently subsidised by the rest of the Union. The novel plays with the relationships between the master and the apprentice, the teacher and the taught, the seduction or corruption of the young by the old as well as the reconciliation or alignment of apparently opposite elements. An old Imperialist may well have written that 'East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet'.
Hesse is a bit more sensible and admits that once you have east, then you have to have west, and perhaps north and south too, that these things are separate, distinct and an inseparable whole all at the same time and that such a scheme can be carried across to analogous situations, which possibly can be represented in a Game which despite being the title of the book, is never explicitly described.
The principal character experiences his Castalia directly, then formally has to address himself to it and argue for it consciously as a utopia, then has to experience it as dystopia, then has to go forth and inherit the earth: The short stories in which the main character might be imagining other versions of himself, might be arguing that the reconciliation of opposites or the conflicting tugs we experience in life may not be resolvable in one life, but if one could or does live many lives then perhaps on average, they might even out, but one might need a certain set of skills to appreciate that in any one life in particular.
Writing and reading novels might be one of those skills. This exists on the great, sprawling family tree of books, reading I felt there was something I thought that I could mention in a review with regards to Tolstoy, but I can't remember what, the dialogue in the second of the two short stories reminded me, particularly in the childlike nature of much sin, of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov - another novel that the author claims he didn't write with a supposedly limited narrator who has apparently omniscient knowledge.
Conclusion view spoiler [ because if you introduce something then one has to conclude it too hide spoiler ] But as I said, I didn't fall off my chair laughing. Notes from reading view spoiler [ a war time novel. What letters he writes Framing devise, distancing. Relationship between author and frames, how are we to think of the dialogues and details do we take these seriously or regard them as fictions with in a fiction?
Introduction denial of value of biography. Knecht servant and knight. Meditation as a substitute. Writing the same novel? Utopia, dystopia. Isolation and engagement. Tradition and change. Interesting for different conceptions of time or differing timeframes in which characters operate. View all 15 comments. If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Hessian Fable: I suppose it depends on whether working through the difficulty brings you genuine insights into the human condition.
I'm ashamed to say I've only read one book on this list - Ulysses - and enjoyed it. Woolf is a bit daunting, but Mrs. Dallowa If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
Dalloway is superb. View all 4 comments. Jun 04, Becky rated it did not like it Shelves: I like Herman Hesse. I like Siddhartha, I remember liking Steppenwolf, I like huge sagas that probe the mind.
I usually like weighty wordy novels where nothing in particular happens. I did not like the Glass Bead Game. I really did not like the Glass Bead Game.
I was about fifty percent through the book, bored out of my mind, and I started reading reviews trying to get some motivation to finish this tome. I did I like Herman Hesse.
I mean, I know WHAT the book is about, I want to know if you enjoyed the presentation of those arguments, the story, did you agree or disagree? There was nothing about that. So, here is my opinion- this is a dull drab affair in which nothing happens.
I love the idea that the GBG is a synthesis of the knowledge and culture of mankind throughout history. The Glass Bead Game is a design that is supposed to move this story forward, that is supposed to be the gravitational pull at the center of the book that all the words orbit around. That leaves Josef as the driving force of the book, but the only time he comes to life is when the actually interesting side-characters come back into the book, like the Master of Music.
Josef is just a receptacle for the intervention of the other characters. Good luck. And, if you honestly DID, enjoy it, for the love of god tell me why, without summarizing the book. If you want something to touch your soul read Siddhartha. View all 23 comments. Sep 16, Floyd Livingston Your review though This booked showed me I can do anything. I dragged myself over rough terrain to finish this page crucible. Your point about him Your review though Your point about him having a personality of a garbage is so on point.
Like I said in my review The way he just died at the end literally made my throw down this damn book on the desk. I went back to re-read that damn chapter just to be sure I wasnt imagining that. Then I laughed. I was like, "Hess couldn't stand this book anymore that he really just killed Knecht off in a drowning accident in order to bring this bore to an end!
Did Hesse even know what the hell the Glass Bead Game was?! Mar 02, Chloe rated it it was ok Shelves: I feel that I must open this review by stating that I am an unabashed fanboy of Hermann Hesse. I read everything that he had ever written at a whirlwind pace several years ago and still return to my favorites, Steppenwolf , Siddhartha and Demian , on a rotating yearly basis. The purest expression of the themes that he had highlighted in his other works.
If one were to read only one book by Hesse it should I feel that I must open this review by stating that I am an unabashed fanboy of Hermann Hesse. If one were to read only one book by Hesse it should be this one, I had been told. No offense to those earnest recommendations, but I could have gone a long time without reading this dull retread of every one of Hesse's other books.
So many of the same character types and situations appear in these pages that I can't help but feel I'm reading a Cliff's Notes version of his oeuvre. The intense friendship between two geniuses; one sheltered and naive, the other worldly and brash like those in Demian? They're here too. A Westernized attempt to understand the mysticism and philosophical underpinnings of Eastern religions a la Siddhartha and Journey to the East? Oh yes, they too are here.
This repetition in itself does not make The Glass Bead Game unappealing. This isn't a bad book and might actually be a good one.
But coming into it expecting something unique would be a mistake. This has all been written before, and far more engagingly. View all 6 comments. Sep 08, Stephen P rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Those who see the battle of the mind as the worthiest battle of all. This, his final novel makes it clear that all his works need to be read in their order as one edition leading up to his final life conclusion! A man caught within the depths of thought striving for something beyond his sight captures his heroic journey through his written words.
A different voice from the Hesse of my college days. No longer redirecting my compass eastward toward a spirituality with a promise to enlarge consciousness. This is a firm clear voice that looks back to arrive at an unde This, his final novel makes it clear that all his works need to be read in their order as one edition leading up to his final life conclusion! This is a firm clear voice that looks back to arrive at an understanding.
His own truth. One ground and distilled from a life of thought. But the voice wavers at times as the story foretold has a waver of its own. Joseph Knecht is selected as a student of promise.
As his achievements are recognized, much to his surprise and glee, he is selected to the highest consecration of the intellectually elite, Castalia.
Supported by the government those enrolled or encumbered in Castalia have in some way sworn to dedicate themselves to maintaining its well ordered hierarchy. The hierarchy supplies Castalia with serenity, a static but comfortable stability, built to prevent any disordered flow of disruptive emotion while dedicated to a life of contemplation, research, study of any subject worthy of intellectual exploration. Come on, there must be somebody else. Do I see a hand raised? Joseph Knecht enjoyed learning for learnings sake.
Due to this, his steadfastness, lack of any ambition where it came to a rise in status, was hauled upwards into the higher brackets of the hierarchy where his tasks were no longer oriented around his passionate love for teaching, teaching especially the young.
As he left his friends behind in the world when he left for Castalia he now left his beloved profession. Of course he dedicated himself to his new duties, gradually rising to a position so lofty it can barely be discerned by the outside world, in its abstract ether; Magister Ludi. The holy trinity exalted into blends of knowledge, philosophical thought, aesthetic creation, their intertwining, interweaving into the multitude of countless interstices. The games as drawn up in competition are archived.
Abundant and frequently referred to, they are held with reverence. The Glass Bead games not only singles out the best players but insures the continous enlargement of consciousness, wisdom, knowledge. The world wonders, as the intellectual elite of Castalia expects, what good is pure intellectual pursuit for the sake of pure intellectual pursuit? Castlia is repulsed by the sordid life of the working class with their lack of curiosity, non-questioning obeisance to the trifles of meaningless conventions and dully repeated jokes; their ant-like drive to follow whoever is in front of them in the long endless moving line to avoid any flint of individuality lurking around dark corners in danger of being lit.
Castalia readily points out, in the current twenty third century, it was properly born from the previous years of conflict and destruction evolving into a means of avoiding such an occurrence. Indeed there has not been. He and his colleagues, in their monk-like quasi religious life, having sacrificed any iota left of individuality to the order, preserving the knowledge of what to do and how to behave in all circumstances, the comfort of effacing stability, also follow what they are told.
However, with the stamp of elite buried in their brow they are held and hold themselves in a higher status. Do they contribute except for responses to papers written and studies summarized within their hallowed halls? The resounding answer within these halls is, of course we do.
The pure pursuit of truth is always elevated to the highest. Besides, dealing with life in the world is a lower pursuit and one not worthy of following. Understanding that the world and its production enables Castalia to exist, does not alter their view. The world with its bustling jobs based on fear and ambition thinks the same of Castalia. And where is Knecht? The dramatization is furthered by attention to detail and the apt planting of narrative seeds barely recognized at first, then the enjoyment of its first lucid buds and flowerings thereafter.
The more I write the more there is to be said in this glass bead game of my own that I have created and fallen into. View all 12 comments. View 1 comment. Nov 22, Elena rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is surely one of the most beautiful dreams depicted in literature.
It is also a reminder that even the most beautiful dreams cannot feed our longing, which is ultimately for a reconciliation with the Real. The Glass Bead Game is an allegory of the relationship between symbol and reality, between life and the magic lantern of the mind. Hesse's Castalia is a utopia of mind, which is born of and supported at great expense by a society recently ravaged by a terrible war. It is an enclosed place This is surely one of the most beautiful dreams depicted in literature.
It is an enclosed place in which this society has deposited for safe-keeping all the greatest values of the spirit in a hermetically-sealed harmony immune from the ravages of worldly change.
Isolation from life is intended to safeguard Castalia's status as a radiant Ark that can secure the continued existence of these supreme values of human life, transporting them unharmed and untainted across the darkness of historic flux. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery. The goal of Castalia is to give concrete expression to the unity of the mind in all its manifold manifestations.
Every province of the mind finds its concrete expression here, from the arts, to mathematics, to the contemplative disciplines, to the most recondite special sciences. One can feel fully at home in this environment. A cross between a Platonic academy and a Zen monastery, this is a place in which the entire structure of the mind finds its fullest expression by being concretized in actual institutions.
Life here is placed entirely in the service of the mind. Here, life exists merely to fuel the progressive unfolding of mind's capacity for the ever-progressing elaboration of existence into form. The consummation of life, and Castalia's ultimate goal, is a supreme formalism that can encompass the essence of life, thereby containing it in a supreme super-structure.
This formalism is expressed in the Glass Bead Game. It realizes Leibniz's dream of a universal language or characteristica universalis , which, he thought, once attained, would bring us to the consummation of the philosophical quest: The goal of the Game is to lead us to the great Terminus of all seeking, a universal system "capable of reproducing in the Game the entire intellectual content of the universe. This would make Chomsky's dream of a universal grammar pale in comparison.
The Glass Bead Game is a language that can reduce to a single logico-grammatical plane a motif from classical Indian music and a mathematical formula, the structure of the future perfect tense and the biological structure of a rhizome, a cosmogonic myth and a logical proof.
Hesse puts before us this dream of dreams, the possession of a language of thought that would give us the symbolic tools with which we could at last compare every possible datum of human experience, so that we could see what the myth and the logical proof can say to each other, and how the structure of a leaf is like a symphony and like a mathematical model. It is like Babel undone, the reduction of all universes of discourse to one meta-discourse, offering us a genuine basis for the comparison of all meanings accessible to the mind.
The closest philosophic vision to Hesse's Castalia that I can think of is Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms, which similarly seeks to express the unity of human knowledge into a single philosophical language.
It is, by the way, significant that music and meditation have such a prominent place in this scheme. Musical form reflects the Romantic side of cognitive form, and reflects Goethe's contribution: It arises from equilibrium. Equilibrium arises from righteousness, and righteousness arises from the meaning of the cosmos.
Therefore one can speak about music only with a man who has perceived the meaning of the cosmos. Hesse's universal language manages to bring even the seemingly formless domain of music into dialogue with the most formal of disciplines, like mathematics, and to reveal their relations as parts of a larger systematic whole.
Music has to do with establishing a relationship with the world characterized by equilibrium. Music expresses the unity in difference that characterizes the realized mind. In this symbolic universe, Hesse tells us, music comes closest to disclosing the form of the real. And the emphasis on meditation expresses Hesse's effort to reconcile East and West, Plato and Buddha. He seems to have struggled his entire life to form a philosophical outlook that placed these two cultural traditions in dialogue, such that each could comment on the significance of the other.
Meditation is the ground of intellection in his Castalia; it unlocks the true meaning of cognitive form. In this, Hesse shows a remarkable understanding of the nature of form: Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, holiness is forever being created.
This is a language that can express the entirety of our capacity for deriving meaning out of experience, and does so in such a way as to lead us to the central mystery: History is hard to integrate into this shimmering edifice of Castlian symbolic-play because it consistently gestures beyond this serene, unperturbed province to the larger, dark continent of life that it is part of.
It keeps pointing to the connection between the two, and to Castalia's paradoxical need for that messy, trouble, war-torn world. It is significant that the work was conceived in the nightmarish period leading up to, and culminating in, World War 2 the first attempt at publication being This is more than historical coincidence; Hesse's narrative continually gestures to this historic background, and to a fundamental escapist motive, as the source of Castalia.
It turns out that this lotus could only bloom from the dark flux of historic muck. The horror of the war is, ironically, an integral part of the significance of the beautiful Game of symbols. Historical awareness is what ultimately awakens Knecht's ethical consciousness, sending him to turn his back on Castalia and return to the world to serve it. Through this sacrificial renunciation of his calling, Knecht the servant resembles Nietzsche's Zarathustra and the Buddha, both of whom had to leave the clear beauty of the heights in order to return to the uncaring world in order to offer it their unwanted service.
His ultimate sacrifice for his one pupil at the end shows the last word of wisdom: For a long time I have puzzled over Hesse's choice to conclude this novel with three fictional autobiographies written by Knecht in his school days.
They symbolize Knecht's attempt to project himself into different historical periods, to really enter into the life of mind as it transpired in other times. One can see the pedagogical point: History holds the key to our story. It is by transporting ourselves into other times that we can really discern where we are, the shape of our horizons, through an act of comparison. But why these three lives After ten years, I still don't have an answer. The most moving, to me, was the first, which is Knecht's attempt to transport himself into the mind of the earliest humans, as a rain maker.
The rain maker represents the wisdom of primary, pre-symbolic or minimally-symbolized and differentiated experience. For him, there was no differentiation between self and world, nature and soul. Reality was perfectly contained in the totality of experience. For all these ways of comprehending the world through the mind no doubt lay within him, nameless, unnamed, but not inconceivable, not beyond the bounds of presentiment, still in the germ, but essential to his nature, part of him, growing organically within him.
And if we were to go still further back beyond this Rainmaker and his time which to us seems so early and primitive, if we were to go several thousand years further back into the past, wherever we found man we would still find - this is our firm belief - the mind of man, that mind which has no beginning and always has contained everything that it later produces.
Now it seemed to be the young man who showed honour and obedience to the old man, to authority and dignity; now again it was apparently the old man who was required to follow, serve, worship the figure of youth, of beginning, of mirth.
And as he watched this at once senseless and significant dream circle, the dreamer felt alternately identical with the old man and the boy, now revering and now revered, now leading, now obeying; and in the course of these pendulum shifts there came a moment in which he was both, was simultaneously Master and small pupil; or rather he stood above both, was the instigator, conceiver, operator, and onlooker of the cycle, this futile spinning race between age and youth.
The relationship between the boy and the master, their cyclical change of roles, and their ultimate identity, is Atman. Such recurring passages throughout the work give glimpses into a level of insight that is of no use to Castalian inquiry. They suggest that from the very beginnings of culture, this primal ground of insight was available to us, and that it remains with us unaltered even in the highly sophisticated intellectual culture of Castalia.
This order of insight connects us to the deepest past and to the remotest future, being something no education can give though it can perhaps take it away. Hesse, having learned from Eastern philosophy, is very sensitive to all the domains of wisdom that cannot possibly receive symbolic representation, even in the perfect formalism, the meta-language of the Game.
What is the point of telling the story about the labyrinth of mind? For many years, I thought Knecht's leaving Castalia was anticlimactic. I couldn't get why he would leave, expecting, as he did, so little from the world. He had the promise of making his life a perfect unity in that reclusive world. He left that meaning and unity behind in order to commit himself to the dark flux of the world, and, in the end, to be destroyed by it. It seems his leaving is a jarring break in the unity of the work.
We cannot follow him where he goes, or discern any meaning to his ultimate sacrifice. But now I think that IS Hesse's point: And moral action often shows no overt consummation; often the sacrifice seems to have no discernible point. We long forever for the right to stay. But all that stays with us is fear, And we shall never rest upon our way. View all 14 comments. Sep 07, Owlseyes rated it really liked it Shelves: Nice hat! A good Tratactus on Society; on what distinguishes the normal ones from the elite ones.
An elite member renounces material wealth That is what Joseph Knecht did. Students of the Order, most often, renounce marriage Nice hat! Students of the Order, most often, renounce marriage. Language of that period is researched.
View all 8 comments. Aug 01, Syl Sabastian rated it it was amazing. My review is based not on the book itself, as it was read it so long ago, I don't remember details, which is somewhat remarkable, as I remember the effect of the book.
I was transformed into worlds of thought, deep thought, worlds where intent and meaning reigned. The book required a serious commitment from the reader of Attention and willingness-to-truth, a remarkable requirement, adding to the books magic.
A classic that li My review is based not on the book itself, as it was read it so long ago, I don't remember details, which is somewhat remarkable, as I remember the effect of the book. A classic that lived up to it billing. View 2 comments. Jul 23, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: If the last sentence made any sense to you, chances are you have already read the book. Though once the book is read, that is about all it is about. The book is written by an unknown member of the Castalian Order who is retelling the story of Joseph Knecht.
The Glass Bead Game is an intellectual game played encompassing all major are This is Hesse's epic novel that tells the story of Joseph Knecht, a boy who passes through the system of the Castalian Order to become the Glass Bead Game Magister.
The Glass Bead Game is an intellectual game played encompassing all major areas of learning, though its origins lay in music theory.
The Castalian Order is a monastic like society whose one goal is to learn. They produce no real products of worth outside of teachers for the outside society. Knecht, with his bright intellect and the guiding hand of the Music Master a seemingly futuristic Buddhist , rises to become the Magister of this game and arguably the best that ever was.
The book deals with ideas of spiritualism, elitism, intellectualism, and how best to deal with the problems of society. I recommend this book for fans of Bildungsromans, Hesse and those that have toyed with Buddhism. Though if you are a bit bored and wanna pick up a page book to see what it is like, go for it! View all 3 comments. View all 17 comments. O toliau — lengviau. Ne, ne. Veiksmas, kiek jo yra, vyksta XXIIa.
Visa kas skirta pasauliu, visi fiziniai malonumai, alkoholis, yra svetima Kastalijai. Knjiga spada u bildungs romane. Arhetipsko je jako bitno za Hesea. To je u stvari prikaz tri Knehtove reinkarnacije.
U prvoj je stavljen u pradavna paganska vremena matrijarhata, gde se pojavljuje pod imenom Kneht. Ovde dat prikaz nirvane u kojoj se mudrac nalazi, maja pojavni oblici stvarnosti koje mogu da stvore bogovi i sveci The Glass Bead Game: Invented hundreds of years ago it combines all art and knowledge of Western culture, correlates and re-combines in infinitely combinations: People from far away travel to the province of Castalia to witness the annual multi-day festival of games.
Das Glasperlenspiel is the last full-length novel of the German author Hermann Hesse. It was begun in and published in Switzerland in after being rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse's anti-Fascist views. In honoring him in its Award Ceremony Speech, the Swedish Academy said that the novel "occupies a special position" in Hesse's work. However, the title Magister Ludi is misleading, as it implies the book is a straightforward bildungsroman.
In reality, the book touches on many different genres, and the bulk of the story is on one level a parody of the biography genre. The Glass Bead Game takes place at an unspecified date centuries into the future. Hesse suggested that he imagined the book's narrator writing around the start of the 25th century. Castalia is home to an austere order of intellectuals with a twofold mission: The rules of the game are only alluded to—they are so sophisticated that they are not easy to imagine.
Playing the game well requires years of hard study of music, mathematics, and cultural history. The game is essentially an abstract synthesis of all arts and sciences. It proceeds by players making deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics. The novel is an example of a bildungsroman , following the life of a distinguished member of the Castalian Order, Joseph Knecht, whose surname means "servant" and is cognate with the English word knight.
The plot chronicles Knecht's education as a youth, his decision to join the order, his mastery of the Game, and his advancement in the order's hierarchy to eventually become Magister Ludi , the executive officer of the Castalian Order's game administrators.
The beginning of the novel introduces the Music Master, the resident of Castalia who recruits Knecht as a young student and who is to have the most long-lasting and profound effect on Knecht throughout his life. At one point, as the Music Master nears death in his home at Monteport, Knecht obliquely refers to the Master's "sainthood".
As a student, another meaningful friendship develops with Plinio Designori, a student from a politically influential family, who is studying in Castalia as a guest.
Knecht develops many of his personal views about what larger good Castalia can achieve through vigorous debates with Designori, who views Castalia as an " ivory tower " with little to no impact on the outside world. Although educated within Castalia, Knecht's path to "Magister Ludi" is atypical for the order, as he spends a significant portion of his time after graduation outside the boundaries of the province. His first such venture, to the Bamboo Grove, results in his learning Chinese and becoming something of a disciple to Elder Brother, a recluse who had given up living within Castalia.
Next, as part of an assignment to foster goodwill between the order and the Catholic Church , Knecht is sent on several "missions" to the Benedictine monastery of Mariafels, where he befriends the historian Father Jacobus — a relationship which also has profound personal impact for Knecht. As the novel progresses, Knecht begins to question his loyalty to the order, gradually coming to doubt that the intellectually gifted have a right to withdraw from life's big problems.
Knecht, too, comes to see Castalia as a kind of ivory tower, an ethereal and protected community, devoted to pure intellectual pursuits but oblivious to the problems posed by life outside its borders. This conclusion precipitates a personal crisis, and, according to his personal views regarding spiritual awakening, Knecht does the unthinkable: The heads of the order deny his request to leave, but Knecht departs Castalia anyway, initially taking a job as a tutor to his childhood friend Designori's energetic and strong-willed son, Tito.
Only a few days later, the story ends abruptly with Knecht drowning in a mountain lake while attempting to follow Tito on a swim for which Knecht was unfit. The fictional narrator leaves off before the final sections of the book, remarking that the end of the story is beyond the scope of his biography.
The concluding chapter, entitled "The Legend", is reportedly from a different biography. After this final chapter, several of Knecht's "posthumous" works are then presented. The first section contains Knecht's poetry from various periods of his life, followed by three short stories labeled "Three Lives". The stories are presented as exercises by Knecht imagining his life had he been born in another time and place.
The first story tells of a pagan rainmaker named Knecht who lived "many thousands of years ago, when women ruled ". The second story is based on the life of St Hilarion and tells of Josephus, an early Christian hermit who acquires a reputation for piety but is inwardly troubled by self-loathing and seeks a confessor, only to find that same penitent had been seeking him.
The final story concerns the life of Dasa, a prince wrongfully usurped by his half brother as heir to a kingdom and disguised as a cowherd to save his life.
While working with the herdsmen as a young boy, Dasa encounters a yogi in meditation in the forest. He wishes to experience the same tranquility as the yogi, but is unable to stay. He later leaves the herdsmen and marries a beautiful young woman, only to be cuckolded by his half brother now the Rajah. In a cold fury, he kills his half brother and finds himself once again in the forest with the old yogi, who, through an experience of an alternate life, guides him on the spiritual path and out of the world of illusion Maya.
The three lives, together with that as Magister Ludi, oscillate between extroversion rainmaker, Indian life — both get married and introversion father confessor, Magister Ludi while developing the four basic psychic functions of analytical psychology: Originally, Hesse intended several different lives of the same person as he is reincarnated. Two drafts of a fourth life were published in , the second version being recast in the first person and breaking off earlier.
This Knecht has been born some dozen years after the Treaty of Rijswijk in the time of Eberhard Ludwig , and in depicting the other characters Hesse draws heavily on actual biographies: