Narcissus and Goldmund

312 pages

Published Jan. 5, 1971 by Bantam Books.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

First published in 1930, Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of two diametrically opposite men: one, an ascetic monk firm in his religious commitment, and the other, a romantic youth hungry for worldly experience. Hesse was a great writer in precisely the modern sense: complex, subtle, allusive: alive to the importance of play. Narcissus and Goldmund is his very best. What makes this short book so limitlessly vast is the body-and-soul-shaking debate that runs through it, which it has the honesty and courage not to resolve: between the flesh and spirit, art and scientific or religious speculation, action and contemplation.

38 editions

Review of 'Narcissus and Goldmund' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

Pretty good book exploring the differences/similarities between rationalism and creativity. I enjoyed the conversations between the two title characters explaining their points of view both at the beginning and the end of the story. It was also fun to see how similar Goldmund's ideas matched my own during my early 20s. I also enjoyed Narcissus's explanations of how a thinker applies their use of logic towards daily life. Goldmund is really a dirtbag and uses people for his own gains, however I felt I couldn't dislike his character. Overall it was a great read and possibly some of Hesse's best written prose.

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3 stars
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5 stars


  • Teacher-student relationships -- Germany -- Fiction.