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The Prodigy

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,470 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
In Hermann Hesse's Beneath the Wheel or The Prodigy, Hans Giebernath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Peter Owen Publishers (first published 1906)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Damien
Jul 03, 2007 Damien rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is not so much that it was a bad book, but it made me want to kill myself.
Thom Young
Jul 10, 2011 Thom Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're an educator, you need to read this book. It's unfortunate that today's education crushes the individual spirit and is more about bubbling scantrons. It's all about money by the testing companies, no wonder most americans are clueless about our nation's history. Years of watching reality television and American Gladiators I suppose. Hesse is the best writer ever in my opinion, just his use of description is amazing in itself. I love the ending of this book. It is sad and beautiful. Hess ...more
SJ Loria
Nov 29, 2009 SJ Loria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story showcases Hesse’s brilliant prose mixed with his thoughts on life, aging, and love. In a story centered around a bright, gifted, yet timid boy Hesse shows both sides of the spectrum, celebrating the pain and sorrow along with the joys and surprises of life. The boy’s tale is equally beautiful and tragic. He has extraordinary gifts that simply do not fit into the demanded “one narrow path” of life for small town German students at the time. Unfortunately, he is crushed beneath the whee ...more
Andy
Jul 23, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mid-term finals freaks
Shelves: kool-imports
Underrated brilliance from Hesse about an insanely hard-working student who finally cracks like an egg and has to slow down and appreciate the world around him, even if it kills him. This kind of tale gets pretty trite very easily, but Hesse's Germanic Zen outlook defines existence in a marvelous and offbeat light.
Seth
Sep 27, 2015 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An English translation of my review can be found below.

Dieser Roman erinnerte mich daran, was ich schon in meiner Jugend an Hermann Hesse so verlockend fand. Er war ein wunderbarer Schriftsteller! Seine präzisen Beschreibungen sowohl des Innenlebens des unglücklichen Klosterschülers Hans Giebenrath wie der widersprüchlichen Schönheit der physischen Umwelt, in der er zu Grunde ging, sind außerordentlich. Die wunderschöne Sprache des Romans übt eine fast magische Wirkung auf den Leser aus.

„Unterm
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Bennard
from The Book Hooligan

"For he was aware that in the academy he would have to be even more ambitious if he wanted to outstrip his new fellow students. Why did he want to surpass them actually? He didn't really know himself." - Narrator

I was raised believing that education and blind respect for authority are two of the most important things that I child should value. I studied for the sake of moving on to the next level of education with a good school. At that time, academic growth was more valued
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Henna
Oct 01, 2013 Henna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يك آموزگار ترجيح مي دهد كه تمامي دانش آموزان كلاسش بچه هاي كودن باشند ولي هيچ شاگرد نابغه اي بين آنان نباشد، و از حق نبايد گذشت كه حق با اوست، زيرا او موظف نيست كه بچه هاي غير طبيعي را آموزش بدهد بلكه موظف است لاتين دان، رياضيدان، و ابلهان درستكار و فرمانبردار به بار بياورد. حال كدام يك از دست ديگري رنج مي برد، آموزگار از دست شاگرد يا شاگرد از دست آموزگار كه خودكامه و شكنجه گري بزرگتر است ونيز كدام يك به سهم و به نوبه خود زندگي و روح روان آن ديگري را به تباهي مي كشاند و از بين مي برد، موضوعي است ...more
Afshar
Dec 15, 2014 Afshar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

چند سال قبل كه خودم دانش آموز دبيرستان بودم اين كتاب را امانت گرفتم ولي اون موقع نتوانستم بجز چند ورق چيزي بخوانم.
حتي فاجعه بزرگتر از اين ها هم بود فكر مي كردم اسم كتاب گرگ بيابان است.
چند روز قبل كه ياد طعم عجيب آن چند ورق افتادم بالاخره كتاب را خواندم.
بيشتر به اين فكر ميكردم كه اگر اين داستان را 10 سال قبل مي خواندم چه تاثيري روي زندگي ام مي گذاشت.
چون يك مقدار ناچيز انحراف در مسير در طول چندين سال بعد شايد كل مسير را عوض كند
هانس كودكي كه هنوز كودكي را خوب نچشيده،رداي بزرگان را به تنش كردند.
وي ن
...more
Esmeralda
Sep 23, 2009 Esmeralda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The writing is wonderful. The descriptions of a 1900s village, natural environment, and people are outstanding. Hans Giebenrath is a sympathetic protagonist. He is pushed into academia and does not develop emotional ties with people. It is a strange concept that parents, teachers, and clergy all get behind one person and make such demands. It is a bygone culture or asian style. It was a well paced nervous breakdown. The character got in touch with his own needs.

After that he glorifies physical l
...more
Abdullah
Nov 17, 2012 Abdullah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

خمسون صفحة تناول فيه هرمان هسه قصة الطفل الذي سرق قلادة التين المجفف و هرمان هسه كما هو الحال بالنسبة لكنوت هامسون كاتب يسبر أغوار النفس و يجلو ما يعتمل فيها و لولا الحياء لقلت أنه يكاد يرقى لمرتبة علماء النفس . فالطفل الذي سرق دون حاجة لم يعد في وسعه أن ينسى أو يغفر إذ يتمكن منه الخزي و يفضل الموت أو حتى قتل والده كيما يتخلص من عار السرقة و يمضي هرمان بخطوات الخطأ من البهجة ثم تأنيب الضمير مروراً بالريبة و الخوف . ليس ثمة الكثير من الأحداث ، هناك ذهن الطفل المتعب و أفكاره الخجلى و المتهورة على
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Erik Graff
May 11, 2011 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hesse fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
This is only Hesse's second novel and not his best. It is somewhat autobiographical and, like many of the author's novels, is a tale of a young man's disillusionment, rebellion and self-discovery. My notes on the book from the time of reading summarize it as follows: "Raised without a mother and crushed by the ordered, competitive, masculine world's expectations. The destruction of a young spirit."
Shaimaa Ali
Feb 10, 2015 Shaimaa Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هذه هى الرواية الثانية التى كتبها هيرمان هسة فى مطلع حياته بعد "بيتر كامنستد" وأستطيع تصنيفها الى أنها تنتمى الى المرحلة الرومانسية من كتاباته .. حيث ركز فى هذه المرحلة على الصراعات النفسية (خصوصاً للبطل المراهق) ، اتحاده بالطبيعة ، توقه الى الحرية والحياة ، غياب الطفولة و أحاسيس مشاعر المراهقة الأولى وخاصةً نحو الجنس الآخر ..

هذه المرحلة أيضاً تكاد تخلو من الحوارات الطويلة العميقة كما هو ملاحظ فى رواياته التالية: "ذئب السهوب"، " سدهارتا" ، "نارسيس و جولدمند " ، و "دميان" .. ولكن احتفظت بواحدة م
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Katie
Nov 03, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is Hesse's indictment of educational systems that value memorization and dissection over appreciation of beauty, that convey knowledge without provoking understanding. Students are working, working, working, but never getting anywhere worthwhile. In my favorite passage, student/poet Hermann Heilner articulates the failures of his highly respected and competitive school:

"We're reading Homer...as though the Odyssey were a cookbook. Two verses an hour and then the whole thing is masticate
...more
cashman_cool
Took me off guard since I anticipated a standard bildungsroman, but it adds more of a tragic flair to the genre. The book is really compact and paced just right, and it seems a bit more linguistically ornate than some of Hesse's other novels (no diss to Steppenwolf or anything, of course). I guess I was more impressed than I thought (especially with all the early descriptions of Heilner's poetic melancholy and rebelliousness, and damn that ending, damn) since this is one Hesse novel that no one ...more
Juraj
Jan 17, 2016 Juraj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JJ
Apr 18, 2015 JJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beneath the Wheel is Hesse's criticism of the education system of his contemporary times. In many respects, western education had not moved too far from what is described in this novel of the very early 1900s, and eastern education seems to have, if anything, moved closer to the model described in Hesse's novel.

Beneath the Wheel is beyond any doubt a depressing read - and this stands somewhat in contrast to his first successful novel Peter Camenzind, which although containing a rejection of comp
...more
Erjon 7
Feb 28, 2015 Erjon 7 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a young boy seeking a false ideal.His motivation of being the first of the school in study fade away and he find himself with a life of no content and point.
It's so simple as a book and short but interesting and humanistic enough.I give it a 4 star!
Abu Hasan
رواية خفيفة وعميقة في الوقت نفسه
أقرؤها للمرة الثانية بعدما قرأتها لأول مرة منذ ما يقارب الثلاث عشرة سنة...
هرمان هسه قادر على تصوير التفاصيل النفسية بسلاسة ودقة ودون تعقيد أو فلسلفة
ملاحظة: ترجمة الكتاب جيدة
Jerome Peterson
Dec 27, 2013 Jerome Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
December 27, 2013
Beneath The Wheel
By Hermann Hesse

‘Hans Giebernath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only with more crushing assignments. When Hans befriends a rebellious young poet, he begins to imagine other possibilities outside
...more
Michael Bohli
Oct 15, 2015 Michael Bohli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Wie gewohnt bei Hesse, ist auch das Frühwerk "Unterm Rad" eine düstere und depressive Geschichte. Der Autor nimmt hier das Bildungssystem unter die Lupe und zeigt auf, wie wir unsere Jugend mit Leistungsforderungen in den Abgrund treiben. Obwohl der Roman 1906 geschrieben wurde, könnte er auch in der heutigen Zeit spielen.

Hesse schreibt flüssig und simpel, erreicht mit seinen Worte und Beschreibungen immer perfekt die gewünschte Stimmung. Man leidet mit Hans und am Ende des Buches ist man nieder
...more
Mounir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick Gibson
I am from the ‘sturm und drang’ school of life. I can only read a Hesse novel with Mahler playing in the background. The more angst, the better. Give me irrational anguish, sorrow, torment.
In college, I carried Hesse novels under my arm the way super-Christians carry their Bibles like five day pads. Agony and gloom where never far. And I was of the opinion Hans Giebenrath was my autobiography. Contemporaries were raging against the system screamed copies of ‘Catcher in the Rye,’ while I opted f
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Malcolm
Jan 15, 2008 Malcolm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers,
For those not familiar with the works of Hermann Hesse, you might do no better than starting off with this book – easily read in a day this book sets out themes to be pursued further in other works by the author.

Essentially, Beneath the Wheel is the story of a brilliant child, Hans Giebenrath, who finds himself ground and crushed by the expectations of the adults and an educational system that thinks that if an ounce of Homer is good, then a pound will be all the better – even during ones sum
...more
Emma
May 22, 2009 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hermann Hesse ist einer meiner Lieblingsautoren, bisher habe ich "Demian" und "Unterm Rad" von ihm gelesen. Mich fasziniert, wie real er schreibt und einen in diese Zeit zurückversetzen kann. Leider verstehe ich nicht alles, z.B. werden manche Sachen kurz angesprochen und dann nie wieder erwähnt. Dann wundert man sich warum es nicht mehr weitergeht.
Eine kurze Zusammenfassung, worum es in dem Buch eigentlich geht:

Hans ist ein ausgezeichneter Schüler und sich dessen auch bewusst. Um das Landexamen
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Kane S.
Apr 28, 2012 Kane S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Hesse novels, penned in 1906 and drawing heavily on his childhood experiences, is Beneath the Wheel. It concerns a young man in a small German town named Hans Giebenrath who is selected to enter an elite academic seminary. Driven by various members of his small village who want to be uplifted vicariously by his success, he wears himself out worrying and studying when he should be on vacation. He has a breakdown at the academy and is expelled with a nervous condition to immense ...more
Διόνυσος Ψευδάνωρ
Beneath the Wheel did not have the same kind of effect on me that the first book of Hermann Hesse's that I read had on me, and by quite a great deal. Of course, this is an early book, so I take that into consideration. For me, it goes to illustrate just how great Hesse became as he matured into the profound writer that he did. In this less complex work, he depicts the basic tragedy of a boy who has been placed—as his title indicates—beneath the wheel. That wheel is the great weight placed on Han ...more
Peri Kitapları
Apr 19, 2015 Peri Kitapları rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sınavlara ,at yarışına hazırlanır gibi hazırladığımız küçük çocukların ruhsal , bedensel ihtiyaçlarının, oyun oynama ve eğlenme ihtiyaçlarının da var olduğunu , biz büyüklere hatırlatan kitap...
John Harder
Feb 24, 2012 John Harder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hesse is able to tell a profound story in the most simple manner while using the most simple language – though there always seems to be something unsaid -- rather it is left for the inference of the reader. This manner of prose is particularly appropriate as it can be juxtaposed to the “unnatural” rote learning of German educational system. Our hero, Hans, is a brilliant and sensitive young man, who is pushed through the system. Ultimately Hans recognizes the advantages of the non academic life… ...more
Mohamed Karaly
من الكتب اللى بتتناول المراهقة و العلاقة بين الصديقين الذكرين و الخجل المصاحب ليها ، الموضوع اللى بحنّله دايما و ليه تأثير على أعصابى
هايلنر ، صديق هانز، هو اللى حطّمه . لو هانز كان قاوم الرغبة الملحة و التافهة للتقرب لهايلنر فى البداية ، مصيره مكانش هيبقى كده
الرواية مهياش نقد لنظام التربية ، زى ما الكاتب أقنع نفسه و الناس ، قد ماهى لعب مع الخقيقة القاهرة التى لا سبيل لتغييرها ، وهى الحقيقة المتعلقة بإرهاق العلاقات البشرية و هرمونات المراهقة . وده الجزء اللى عبقرية الكاتب كانت متشبثة بيه باستحيا
...more
Isa-janis
Apr 19, 2015 Isa-janis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy interesante y extremadamente bien escrito.
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/lit/ Revival of ...: Beneath the Wheel by Herman Hesse 1 35 May 25, 2012 12:33PM  
  • Der Untertan
  • Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe
  • Götz von Berlichingen
  • Jugend ohne Gott
  • Gantenbein
  • Die schwarze Spinne
  • Heldenplatz
  • Die Strudlhofstiege oder Melzer und die Tiefe der Jahre
  • The Hothouse
  • Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen
  • Draußen vor der Tür
  • Das siebte Kreuz
  • Doktor Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen und andere Satiren
  • Der Verdacht
  • Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte
  • Schloß Gripsholm
  • Wilhelm Tell
  • Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns
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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...

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“Teachers dread nothing so much as unusual characteristics in precocious boys during the initial stages of their adolescence. A certain streak of genius makes an ominous impression on them, for there exists a deep gulf between genius and the teaching profession. Anyone with a touch of genius seems to his teachers a freak from the very first. As far as teachers are concerned, they define young geniuses as those who are bad, disrespectful, smoke at fourteen, fall in love at fifteen, can be found at sixteen hanging out in bars, read forbidden books, write scandalous essays, occasionally stare down a teacher in class, are marked in the attendance book as rebels, and are budding candidates for room-arrest. A schoolmaster will prefer to have a couple of dumbheads in his class than a single genius, and if you regard it objectively, he is of course right. His task is not to produce extravagant intellects but good Latinists, arithmeticians and sober decent folk. The question of who suffers more acutely at the other's hands - the teacher at the boy's, or vice versa - who is more of a tyrant, more of a tormentor, and who profanes parts of the other's soul, student or teacher, is something you cannot examine without remembering your own youth in anger and shame. yet that s not what concerns us here. We have the consolation that among true geniuses the wounds almost always heal. As their personalities develop, they create their art in spite of school. Once dead, and enveloped by the comfortable nimbus of remoteness, they are paraded by the schoolmasters before other generations of students as showpieces and noble examples. Thus teh struggle between rule and spirit repeats itself year after year from school to school. The authorities go to infinite pains to nip the few profound or more valuable intellects in the bud. And time and again the ones who are detested by their teachers are frequently punished, the runaways and those expelled, are the ones who afterwards add to society's treasure. But some - and who knows how many? - waste away quiet obstinacy and finally go under.” 33 likes
“A soul that is ruined in the bud will frequently return to the springtime of its beginning and its promise-filled childhood, as though it could discover new hopes there and retie the broken threads of life. The shoots grow rapidly and eagerly, but it is only a sham life that will never be a genuine tree.” 20 likes
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