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The Glass Bead Game: (Magister Ludi) A Novel

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  17,121 ratings  ·  796 reviews
The Glass Bead Game, for which Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, is the author’s last and crowning achievement, the most imaginative and prophetic of all his novels. Setting the story in the distant postapocalyptic future, Hesse tells of an elite cult of intellectuals who play an elaborate game that uses all the cultural and scientific knowledge of the Ages ...more
ebook, 576 pages
Published December 6th 2002 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1943)
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Ben Winch
There's a scene in Antonio Tabucchi's Indian Nocturne in which the narrator meets an Indian intellectual who asks him, among other things, what he thinks of Hermann Hesse. The narrator, resenting the interruption and perhaps with a sense he is being mocked, heaps scorn on the German 'spiritualist', calling him sentimental and likening him to some kind of sweet liqueur, and only after the conversation is over does he realise he has not said what he really thought of Hesse at all. In some way, the ...more
Robin Tell-Drake
A tremendous disappointment, especially given the shimmering praise the book garners on all sides. I realize I’m at odds with the world in judging this book harshly, and I realize there may yet be some dimension of brilliance here that I’m just not seeing, but grant me this, it’s not for lack of trying. 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 ...more
Darwin8u
“No permanence is ours; we are a wave
That flows to fit whatever form it finds”

― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

gbgbook

I remember reading Hesse's Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund right out of high school. There was something both disquieting and uniquely calming about these strange little books that Hesse wrote detailing his love and fascination with Eastern thought and philosophy. I figured this year I would read the Glass Bead Game (and later Steppenwolf). It is in many ways Hesse's subtle an
...more
أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
هذا كتاب هيرمان هيسه الأشهر و الأكبر , كُتب على مدار تسع سنين , و يضمّ معظم أفكار هيرمن هيسه التي عُرف بها فيما بعد
إنّها النزعة نحو الذات , و التأمّل و اليقين الموجود هناك في داخلك ,
وحدة الوجود , التي تقاوم ماديّة العالم و سببيّته الصلبة , الطبيعة تتكلّم معك و بك , و الكائنات كلّها كينونة متنافمة ضمن اللحن نفسِه .
الموسيقى .. أرقّ ما يروي الإنسان و تنطق به الحقيقة
إنّها الحقيقة الواحدة , التي تتراقص ضمنها سيرورة العالم بتبدّياته المختلفة ... و هنا عبقريّة الرواية و فكرتها المذهلة
الحقيقة الواحد
...more
John
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. 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 ...more
Chloe
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. That said, I have often heard that The Glass Bead Game is the magnum opus of Hesse's career. 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 ...more
Joe
While Hesse's masterpiece has the same theme as Siddhartha, it's not the same short, simple work as that classic. Magister Ludi's inventive setting and method takes the basically unchanged storyline (gifted young man progressing, achieving, and finally discovering the true meaning of life), and creates a sort of historical biography of the protagonist.

One of the fun aspects of this work is The Glass Bead Game: he introduces an idea of representing ideas, mathematics, literature -- all knowledge
...more
Salma
إضافة هذه القراءة العتيقة التي وجدتها عندي من عام 2006
ربما لو أتيح لي إعادة قراءة الرواية الآن بعد أن زاد في روحي كم كبير من الكتب و السنوات لكنت نظرت إليها بعين أخرى، و ما كنت لأدري ما أقول عنها الآن
بأية حال هي رواية تميل لتكون مسنة و حكيمة
---

على كل هذه القراءة على ما كنت قضيته فيها سابقا، و الله وحده العالم ما كنت لأقضي حاليا فيما لو قرأتها
----

لمن لعب بالكريات الزجاجية: تعال شاركني
2006

حاولت عدة مرات أن ألاعب هيرمان هسه بكرياته الزجاجية و لكني كنت أفشل في كل مرة...0
إلى أن أتى اليوم الذي قررت ف
...more
kaśyap
This book is full of ideas. The main part of the book is a biography of the main character Joseph Knecht. It is then followed by a dozen poems and three short stories, "the lives". These short stories at the end are definitely my favourite part of the novel. All that is lacking in terms of passion in the first part is present in these three short stories at the end, and they present all the same themes.

The Glass Bead Game itself, as far as I can tell, seems to be something like abstract mathemat
...more
عُلا
الجمال.... آسر قلوب الكثيرين ومالك أحلام الحالمين ... وغايةٌ عزَّ الوصول اليها لدى العديد من الساعين ....
لعبة هدفها التقاط ذلك النور وغايتها تقوية تلك الفقاعة البراقة وتغذيتها علَّها يوما تحتوي العالم في داخلها ... وهيهات لها ان تفعل....
والأضواء تخطف أنظار الناظرين ... وكلٌ يرى النور في ناحية فيظن انه النور كله....
description
وتأبى تلك الأضواء أن تكون شيئا وحده .... فتارة تُسمعُ ألحاناً وأخرى تُرى ألوانا ... وقد يطيش بها الهوى فتظهر معادلاتٍ وأرقاماً .... تعددت اليها المسالك.. واختلفت في وصفها الكلمات ....
و
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is Harry Potter without its female characters, its magic and magicians. Here we have Castalia, a "province" [more like the seminaries of today] where it population of masters and students devote themselves to studies, or to the "things of the mind". Outside of Castalia is the practical world [the world which most of us live in] devoted to knowledge not for its own sake, but knowledge to better the physical aspects of living.

In Harry Potter, there's the battle between the good and bad magici
...more
Becky
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.

And I don’t understand how people did.

First of all, I’ve gone through a lot of reviews. 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
...more
Clark
This book was a really incredible meditation on accomplishment, ambition, finding peace and the breach between intellectuals and reality. Hesse creates a reality in which an intellectual elite has created an entire society that lives above and beyond the rest of the world playing an incredibly esoteric game that seeks to connect all knowledge as a series of symbols. There were a number of things that struck me in this world. First of all, the connections to modern science, with its own increasin ...more
Rebecca McNutt
This is a truly unforgettable classic which incorporates science fiction, adventure, philosophy and futuristic elements all into one well-written story.
Riku Sayuj
a disappointment that demands reflection...
J.G. Keely
The Glass Bead Game is Hesse's final work, and is supposed to lay out his ideas and philosophies more completely than anything previously. According to my foreword by Ziolkowski, this book represents a progression beyond both the simplistic, egocentric spiritualism of Siddhartha and the Nietzschean misanthropy of Steppenwolf.

He also remarks on the book's form: a narration by a stodgy academic about the life of a luminary master. Like Carlsyle's 'Sartor Resartus', there is meant to be an ironic
...more
Patrick
I must admit that I am having a hell of a time digesting this one. I think I will get the negative stuff over with so I can move on to the the more positive aspects of this book. I am a big Hesse fan (esp. Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narcissus & Goldmund) and I really wanted to give this one four stars instead of three. What stopped me was how much of a slog it ended up being. I have no problem with long books (or movies for that matter) but there needs to be some sort of justification for ...more
Mary Elliott
Jun 27, 2015 Mary Elliott rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Florin Zamfirescu, Sandrina
Shelves: fine-dining
This book has had a great impact on me. It's one of those few books that made me love it deeply yet at the same time despise it entirely. It might sound surprising, especially since this is an unanimously loved and admired book -- even awarded with the Nobel prize; it might also seem awfully arrogant of me to compare my beliefs to the wisdom of a man like Hesse. But I have to. And I found many principles and ideas in this book, some of them only subtle insinuations, that I completely disagree wi ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Hmmmm. This book was ponderously interesting. A world is created but ever so lightly as to leave much to the readers imagination. The glass bead game (unless I missed something) never seems to be played in epic battle proportions as described in this book, its never openly laid out other than just the basic idea. There is no real description of the differences that make up the world outside of what the main character is experiencing. Does that make sense? Its like you get this massive narrative ...more
Capsguy
Could have been 200 pages less. On a similar note, I received an email from a Chinese friend of mine today who is in Australia for student exchange. This email reverberated many things in Hesse's Glass Bead Game. Here's an extract from the email to show you:


.actually, since I was born, I have lived in the university I am studying now. My father also graduated from that school and now is a chemistry engineer . A wall will protect the university from outside world. In the university, there are hos
...more
Owlseyes

A good Tratactus on Society; on what distinguishes the normal ones from the elite ones.


In Castalia, the Elite (or the Order) pursues the Games of the Mind and its cultivation.An elite member renounces material wealth....and embraces poverty to become a Mandarin of the Mind.That is what Joseph Knecht did.

Ah!...at Castalia, they learn meditation (Hesse calls it,so appropriately,psychic hygiene)....and they're in the 23rd century.

Students of the Order,most often, renounce marriage; they are quite f
...more
Paul
I was disappointed when I re-read this book. I remembered it as very moving and very significant. Upon re-reading I found it tedious and preachy. Hesse is trying to write a new kind of novel, one based on ideas instead of conflict. He succeeds, but the end product is boring. I also was bothered by the assumption that the life of the mind was open only to men -- women are somehow not qualified to share the glorious world of ideas. Hrmph.
Junta
Aug 11, 2015 Junta rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of games/fellow chess players/musicians/self-proclaimed intellectuals/intellectuals
Shelves: german, translated
Reading the blurb of this book, my first by Hesse, I was immediately fascinated and felt compelled to read it. I'd read some excerpt of his writing as a kid in my Japanese textbook at Saturday Japanese school, and the name Hermann Hesse (or ヘルマン・ヘッセ rather) had stayed in my memory for about as many years as the beads in the cute cover.

Hesse's biography of Joseph Knecht was pleasant to read, though not moving. As Castalians, the elite of the elite in the country's intellectual world, most of the
...more
Eric
The Glass Bead Game is the least of all of the works by Hesse that I have have read. Set next to many of his other works, particularly Narcissus and Goldmund, it is atrocious. Hermann Hesse is certainly monomaniacal in his contemplations of human nature but the GBG is entirely recycled material presented with all the finesse of an expository sledgehammer. Rarely does something transpire that it's not mentioned three or four times in consecutive paragraphs. (Don't believe it? How many times is th ...more
Ben
Jun 01, 2007 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in a leadership role, aspiring to a leadership role, or interested in symbols and abstraction
This is my all-time favorite book. It combines two key themes for me: First, the role of the leader as a servant and second the idea of intellectual game-playing as a way to make meaning. His explorations and elaborations of those themes are perfect. I've read and enjoyed other books by Hesse, and I like the way he tells stories that span a person's entire life without missing the small details along the way. I think this is his masterpiece.
Amr helmy
رواية جليلة مسنة حكيمةأشبه شئ في أناتها وتهاديها وطول نفس صاحبها بحديث أذكياء المسنين ممن حلب الدهر أشطره وتقلب في هذي الحياة ظهرا لبطن ولست هنا في مقام إثبات رأيي وما عن لي من خواطر وآراء أثناء قرائتها أو الإشارة إلى ما قدحت بذهني ونبهت بقلبي وأحيت من موات شعوري في غمرة الحياة وتحت وطأة عواديها فإن هذا يقتضيني ذهنا صافيا ونفسا جميعا وقلبا متنبها وكذاك يقتضيني وقتا طويلا لنقل كافة نقولاتي ما يعين على جلاء الأفكار التي عرضت لي وتلك النقولات كثيرة وطويلة طولا شديدا وتحتاج أيضا إلى تنسيق وترتيب لدم ...more
Nefariousbig
Someone made me read this a long time ago. I don't remember why, but I'm sure they had a good reason. It kinda made my head hurt, but in a good way? Hermann Hess introduced me to a game as confusing as life, and as sexist as Charlie Sheen.

Apparently, at some point in the distant future (not specified, but assumed), we (guys with nothing to do but sit around and play games and think) will sit around and play games all day and think about stuff that makes our head hurt. I didn't understand the ru
...more
Lona
(view spoiler) ...more
Richard
Sep 11, 2014 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: The Nobel Prize Committee, 1946
It has been so many years that I read this that I really should revisit it. I recall it as a very difficult book that required effort to trudge through many very slow sections in order to glean the fascinating underlying conceit.

There are huge portions of the book I barely recall, including the personal travails of the narrator and the culture of the boardinghouses for the children being raised to play the Game. What I recall best is the Game itself.

Agreeing with Wikipedia, I recall the Game as
...more
Manny
A friend of mine (a pure mathematician) says that the Glass Bead Game is obviously pure mathematics in a thinly disguised form. It's not exactly a slam-dunk, but I'm still surprised how few people there are who seem to believe this theory. You'd think it would at least be a respectable minority opinion.

Turn it around: if the Game isn't pure mathematics, what is it? Just something he made up, that doesn't refer to any real intellectual discipline in particular, but is a hypothetical synthesis of
...more
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Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi) which explore an individual's search for spirituality outside society.

In his time, Hesse was a popular and influential author in the German-speaking world; worldwide fame only ca
...more
More about Hermann Hesse...
Siddhartha Steppenwolf Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend Narcissus and Goldmund Beneath the Wheel

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“What you call passion is not a spiritual force, but friction between the soul and the outside world. Where passion dominates, that does not signify the presence of greater desire and ambition, but rather the misdirection of these qualities toward and isolated and false goal, with a consequent tension and sultriness in the atmosphere. Those who direct the maximum force of their desires toward the center, toward true being, toward perfection, seem quieter than the passionate souls because the flame of their fervor cannot always be seen. In argument, for example, they will not shout or wave their arms. But, I assure you, they are nevertheless, burning with subdued fires.” 94 likes
“No permanence is ours; we are a wave
That flows to fit whatever form it finds”
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