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Narcissus and Goldmund: A Novel

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  26,275 ratings  ·  991 reviews
Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of a passionate yet uneasy friendship between two men of opposite character. Narcissus, an ascetic instructor at a cloister school, has devoted himself solely to scholarly and spiritual pursuits. One of his students is the sensual, restless Goldmund, who is immediately drawn to his teacher’s fierce intellect and sense of discipline. When ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1930)
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Erik Graff
May 15, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Rachel Nelson
Shelves: literature
At the time of reading, this was my favorite Hesse book and, indeed, it is probably his quintessential novel, the one to recommend for anyone wanting to check him out. I have given away copies of it for this purpose to several persons over the years.

Contrary to the description in Wikipedia, I read the novel from the perspective of Goldmund being lost and then found. Seduced by the snares of the world, he leaves the peace of the monastic life for a life of trial and error, ultimately, as an old m
Can I just say that I absolutely love Hermann Hesse. For me his words speak directly to my soul. I have never exclusively followed an author except Hesse. He is absolutely brilliant and his works are so nuanced to the point where they only mean anything to the reader unless they can relate in some profound way. I have now finished all of his major works and I must say "bravo".

All of his books are about the turmoil and duality of the human soul. He speaks my language. My next goal is to learn Ge
This is not a review. This is an expression of gratitude.

Enlightened does not begin to describe the feeling one gets when eyes see, mind is set in motion, and images are processed into thoughts that seed the way we look at everything. We SEE everything in a new light, at least for as long as we remember what is important, what makes a difference. The beginning of our true life. I suppose all we can ask of our mind is for a few moments of enlightenment at a time. And, to remember. Too much would
Lorenzo Berardi
When I was a child my parents used to punish me for my bad actions in their own way: I often had the prohibition of reading for a week.
Of course I wasn't so nerd at that time and together with reading there could be no tv, no bmx rides with friends, no late night awake and all sorts of "normal" don'ts.
But the worst one was definitely the "no reading week".

Later in my teenage years, I remember how my mum was very glad about my reading activity, but not particularly interested in influencing that
Marco Tamborrino
"Noi pensatori cerchiamo di avvicinarci a Dio staccando il mondo da lui. Tu ti avvicini a lui amando e ricreando la sua creazione. Sono entrambe opere umane e inadeguate, ma l'arte è più innocente."

Questo non è un libro che andrebbe letto a diciannove anni. Diciannove sono già troppi. Andrebbe letto prima, a quattordici o a quindici, quando il mondo lo si vede ancora in modo diverso. Io, da ragazzo, ci leggo qualcosa di diverso rispetto a quello che avrei potuto leggerci da ragazzino. O rispet
Goldmund could not fit into the Mariabronn Monastery anymore than a square peg could fit into a round hole and soon left the cloister for the vagrant life. By sleeping in the woods, killing Viktor the thief, meeting the plague, studying under Meister Niklaus and romancing with Lydia and Julie, Lene and Agnes, he explored the sensual life as an artist. When Agnes rejected the old man that he was, he returned to the monastery to meet his friend and mentor Narziss before leaving the world.

Calw, Ge
Philosophical? Definitely. Novel Entertainment? oh yes. What the author meant by this writing? Well, like any true art- that depends on the audience. I can go into all the philosophical existential yakkity yak that a lot of other people might get from Narcissus and Goldmund, but instead I'm gonna give you the nuts and bolts (ie pared down yakkity yak) of what I saw in it.

Goldmund is a born artist with a innate bent toward the agony and bliss of wanting to eat life- not just watch it parade on by
Patrick Gibson
If you have a penchant for poetic language, a love for new experiences, and a sensitivity to life's struggles, you will find hope and deep beauty in this story. I recommend finding a place of solitude and spiritual transcendence before delving into this as you will inevitably flip back to the beginning once finished and have to read it again.

“If I know what love is, it is because of you.

It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor
Branko Jovanovski
The book is spectacular and extremely thought provoking. Out of all, probably the following paragraph left the adequate impression.

“All existence seemed to be based on duality, on contrast. Either one was a man or one was a woman, either a wanderer or a sedentary burgher, either a thinking person or a feeling person – no one could breathe in at the same time as he breathed out, be a man as well as a woman, experience freedom as well as order, combine instinct and mind. One always had to pay for
David Sarkies
Jul 17, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosopher
Recommended to David by: My Book Club
Shelves: modernist
Intellect and Passion
17 July 2015

This is the first Hesse book that I have read and I must thank my book club for selecting it for the June book. I have to say that I wasn't really sure what to expect – the only other German author that I had read that happened to be a contemporary of Hesse was Gunter Grass and his play The Plebians Reherse the Uprising was much more political in scope. However, with books like Sidhartha sitting on my shelf, I probably shouldn't be to surprised that Hesse tends
I see this book as a meditation on the beauty and the power of Art. Any flaws that appear in the narrative therefore I find to be irrelevant. I think that I don't even experience Narcissus and Goldmund as a novel. It's more philosophical in nature, more a novel of ideas, more like reading a religious text than anything else, and that is the beauty of it... or at least that is what I have found in it.

I loved the contrast between the two main characters, Narcissus and Goldmund and the true friend
Shamefully, I only started reading this because I had a competition that took it as a subject. I was told I had to read this in order to compete. It was already on my reading list, I already loved Hesse, so I knew I was in for a treat.

Surprise surprise, the competition had no connection to the book whatsoever. The text in there was by Miller and in no way related to this.

Nonetheless, let's get back to the review.

It's one of my favorite books of 2013. About that - I will post a list of them an
Victor Hugo
Gostei de ler este livro do Hermann Hesse, pois para além de ter encontrado o estilo dele, que já tinha encontrado no «Siddhartha», encontrei conteúdos muito, muito interessantes, que têm a ver com a natureza humana - ou doutra coisa não se esperasse deste escritor.

Apesar de ter mencionado o «Siddartha», não pretendo de forma alguma comparar as obras, pois ambas distinguem-se pelas suas histórias.

Este «Narciso e Goldmundo» brilha por todos os lados; com momentos de uma longa caminhada, vida fora
Perhaps this book is interesting as an example of the dichotomization of body/mind, angel/whore, ascete/wayfarer. Put the dicktalk aside (which is no small task here) and you still have an enormous vine from which to swing back and forth from pole to pole. At best woman is subject here, at worst she so thoroughly blends into the background she's invisible. More than bleak considering this is a meditation on the roles of the artist and thinker (and never the twain shall meet mind you) in a modern ...more
Maryam Shahriari
نارتسیس و گلدموند
کتابی که اینقدر از خوندنش لذت بردم که واقعاً نمی دونم چطوری باید توضیحش بدم. شاید کتابی باشه که بد نباشه هرکسی بخوندش. شاید با خوندنش راه زندگی خیلی ها تغییر کنه. شاید با خیلی از شک و تردید های خودشون کنار بیان و بتونن جسارت تغییر و مواجه شدن با اون رو در خودشون ایجاد کنند...
نارتسیس و گلدموند کتابی بود که برای من همین نقش رو ایفا کرد. یه روزگاری با خوندن ماهی سیاه کوچولو و بعدتر انجمن شاعران مرده خط سرنوشتم تغییر کرد و جدی تر شد، و الان هم این کتاب باعث شد گلدموند درونم بیدار ب
David S.
Jul 08, 2008 David S. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: passionate people, artists, lusties.
Shelves: recommended
Great book, incredibly sad and so beautifully written. Really, the book could have been called Goldmund and his friend Narcissus. It focuses so much more on Goldmund's travels through the world and through many women (the book is a huge turn on). It's a journey of the senses and experience, and along the way he encounters death and is forced to examine the transitory nature of life, all life, forcing him to embrace it much more fully.

It's a quick and easy read I found, something surprisingly ca
I was disappointed by this book. I expected a thoughtful meditation on the appetites of a young man; instead, this is a travel story with a lot of sex. Nothing about either title character is explained in the literary sense: each of them just is, and events fit their personalities. Thus, Goldmund wanders around and gets laid a lot. This got old fast, and if it wasn't for the section that deals with the Black Death, I might have given up on the book.

I should have read this when I was younger - sa
This is one of those classic books that is very difficult to review and do it justice because there are so many ideas contained within the book. It is a coming-of-age story, a commentary on existential philosophy and a beautiful description of a life long friendship. Narcissus is a teacher’s assistant in the cloister of Mariabronn and fully intends to take his vows as a monk. Narcissus is a very talented scholar and it is evident that he will one day serve the church and even become the Abbot of ...more
Inspired by Narcissus and Goldmund (01/16/12):

The greatest thing about life is mystery. All the great things in life have mystery.

Life itself, love and romance, dreams, and purpose.

Mystery leads to discovery. Discovery leads to enlightenment. Discovery is empowering and gives purpose.

This is my meaning of life right now. To enjoy the mystery. To discover. To ebb and flow and think and grow. To love alive.

Some people are borne from their mothers, other from their fathers. People borne from their
رواية جميلة و عميقة أخرى من روائع هرمان هسه...
نرسيس أستاذ غولدموند و صديقه في الدير... نرسيس ينفذ لأعماق الروح و رأى أن تلميذه غولدموند ذا روح شاعر حرة و لا ينبغي أن يعيش حياة الرهبان مثله... و هكذا يحثه لينطلق و يبحث عن طريقه عبر الحياة، فينطلق و يعيش حياة متشرد فاسق منغمس بالمتع الدنيوية... بينما يتابع نرسيس في طريق الفكر المجرد و حياة الدير الصارمة...
ثم بعد سنوات طوال يلتقيان... على اختلاف طريقيهما و على اختلاف كل منهما ما يمثله يخلصان لنفس النتيجة تقريبا...
مع أن هسه رجح كفة غولدموند في النه
I may have read this over 40 years ago, but read this over Christmas before passing it on to my son.
Goldmund's search, his exploration of being in the world, survival and witnessing of horrors is as apropos to the human condition today as it was over a hundred years ago. I was particularly drawn by the description of emptiness he suffers after creating art . Both his statue of St. John and his big work at the cloister -- and the reflection about how what might have made him happy, working with M
One day, in the coffee corner,
met the artist and the thinker;
Over cappuccino started again,
the perennial debate, 'Who's greater?'

"Knowledge is life's sole goal,"
said the intellectual.
"Life but beauty darker than coal,"
argued the epicurean.

"O' My dearest friend,
your comprehension is a pity;
It's only with knowledge,
that one appreciates beauty."

"Beauty in itself is complete,
who needs knowledge to analyze;
And if you still do not get it,
I suggest, go fly a kite."

"Beauty is a mirage,
that withers with
Narcissus and Goldmund was recommended to me by a friend as a trade-off for him having read one of my favorite books, Shantaram. This book is deeply rooted in philosophical ideas and is ripe with symbolism and motifs. It's not a straightforward read (nor is it hard), but it is thought-provoking and will be a testament to your critical reading abilities. Remember the days back in AP English class when you had to analyze thematic elements in a novel? This is a good book to do that with.

It's been y
Arun Divakar
As i was reading the back cover of this book, an image took shape in my mind. It was of a table on which a coin was spinning, one could see the two faces of the coin : dualities, the opposites and other such thoughts. I thought the book to be among those lines speaking about two men of different ways of the world. I was surprised to find that contrary to the title and the beginning, the book is about one soul alone : Goldmund.

What begins in a cloister in Germany with the friendship of two men, w
I really enjoyed the narrator who read this on the audio book - his transformation of Goldmund's voice throughout the book was pure brilliance.

As for the book itself, hmmm . . .

Aside from the fact that I read this in a lousy state of depression, which might not have been too wise, I don't have much of a mind for philosophy. What Hesse has done is taken two philosophical extremes and personified them in his characters. I understood his meaning and purpose, but the characters just didn't speak to
Michael Pinson
This is a book I picked up and began to read several times. Finally after reading several other Hesse novels and craving more I seriously opened this book which after getting through a tedious groundlaying first chapter, I was swept up into the heartbreaking story of the two friends that met in a monastery during the medieval times. Narcissus, was destined to be a monk from the beginning, knowing as a very young man that he was resigned to live a monastic life filled with religion and ritual. Go ...more
هذه هي أولى تجاربي مع الأدب الألماني، وتحديداً هسّة أديب نوبل. الرواية قرأتها على مراحل، ورافقها أشياء جديدة ولطيفة عليّ، فعلى سبيل المثال هذه هي المرة الأولى على الإطلاق التي اقرأ بها بي دي إف. الرواية في المجمل تشكّل الصراع بين الروح الهائمة والتي تسعى دوماً إلى التجوال وسبر أغوار الفن، وكشف ماهية الخلق والإحاطة بالمعنى الإلهي للكون ويتمثّل ذلك في جولدموند، وعلى الجانب المقابل للصراع نقابل نارسيس، ذلك الذي يمثّل الجانب الفكري الذي يعتنق الفلسفة، وينظر إلى الكون من منطق تحليل كل شيء، والإيمان ب ...more
Another excellent work by Hesse. The duality of spirit and the contrast between the artistic and intellectual selves.
کتاب را از صفحه 120 به بعد نخواندم برای آنکه دقیقا می دانستم از این صفحه به بعد گلدموند به مانند سیذارتا پی کماله که نه! بلکه پی کماله ها می رود. می خواستم فصل آخر کتاب را بخوانم تا بفهمم هسه چطور گلدموند را به نارسیس می رساند و با سمبولیسم خاص خودش تطهیر می کند که آنقدر آکروبات ریدر اندروید بازی درآورد و ده ساعت طول می کشید اسکرول کردن که با توجه به مزخرف بودن خود کتاب هم دیگر بی خیال پایان بندی شدم.
و اما هسه! در تمام کارهای هسه بسیار شخصیت و منع های وجودی وی را دیده ام، کسی که به هر حال در یک
Justo Montibeller
Narciso y Goldmundo ha sido un libro difícil de calificar. Por una parte su prosa es hermosa y trata temas existenciales muy interesantes sobre el sentido de la vida, el arte, la muerte, el placer, la belleza, la religión, entre otros. Pero por otra parte, me costo trabajo tomarle algún cariño o identificarme con los personajes, ya que son personajes que se van a los extremos en cuanto a personalidad y estilo de vida, Narciso por lo espiritual y Goldmundo por lo mundano, aunque es en este último ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 12 16 Jun 28, 2015 09:10AM  
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Narcissus and Goldmund- opposites attrack 1 91 Sep 23, 2007 10:38PM  
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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 about Hermann Hesse...

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“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other's opposite and complement.” 641 likes
“Because the world is so full of death and horror, I try again and again to console my heart and pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell.” 257 likes
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