Hermann Hesse: The glass bead game (2002, Picador USA) 4 stars

Best read of the year

5 stars

Second book into Hesse’s corpus and I’m noticing Hesse has quite the obsession with the balance between ascetic intellectualism and giving in to worldly desires/instincts and nature… I like it.

He picks up on his theme of self-actualisation and discovering ‘true’ love of the world again quite well—somehow his characters feel fresh despite all their developments essentially being through the same wanderer arc? The neuroticism of some of his characters—Tegularius in specific—is finely executed and is reminiscent of Dostoevsky’s ‘troubled’ archetype.

5/5 So good I might get into Indian philosophy and a bit of Nietzsche myself…

‘World history is a race with time, a scramble for profit, for power, for treasures. What counts is who has the strength, luck, or vulgarity not to miss his opportunity. The achievements of thought, of culture, of art are just the opposite. They are always an escape from the serfdom of time, man crawling out of the muck of his instincts and out of his sluggishness and climbing to a higher plane, to timelessness, liberation from time, divinity. They are utterly unhistorical and antihistorical.’