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Narcissus and Goldmund

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  28,440 Ratings  ·  1,077 Reviews
Narcissus and Goldmund tells the story of two medieval men whose characters are diametrically opposite: Narcissus, an ascetic monk firm in his religious commitment, and Goldmund, a romantic youth hungry for knowledge and worldly experience. First published in 1930, the novel remains a moving and pointed exploration of the conflict between the life of the spirit and the lif ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 1997 by The Noonday Press / Farrar, Straus Giroux (first published 1930)
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The Metamorphosis by Franz KafkaThe Man Without Qualities by Robert MusilSteppenwolf by Hermann HesseThe Trial by Franz KafkaFaust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Best German/Austrian Literature
24th out of 610 books — 743 voters
The Stranger by Albert CamusSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse1984 by George OrwellThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Philosophical Literature
53rd out of 696 books — 2,139 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Graff
May 15, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 17, 2013 Nefariousbig rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2013 Zeek rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 20, 2016 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O poveste emoţionantă despre prietenie, despre căutarea vocaţiei şi desluşirea sensului vieţii prin înţelegerea armoniei contrastelor.
Cu un limbaj de o delicateţe şi de o graţie desăvârşite, romanul devine fermecător încă de la primele pagini şi te vrăjeşte până la sfârşit prin naturaleţea şi cursivitatea lingvistică.
Spirit ludic şi rebel, tânărul novice Gură-de-Aur părăseşte mănăstirea în care a fost adus de tatăl sau, după ce tânărul sau mentor, prieten şi dascăl Narcis îi relevă, cu multă del
Nadi Ghaffari
بسیار عالی بود.به شدت با تمایلات و یلگی و رهایی گلدموند هم ذات پنداری میکردم.عاشق فهم والای نارتسیس شدم و به قول مختاری درک حضور دیگری.با تشکر بسیار ویژه از امانت دهنده ی جان: آهنگ!
Mar 14, 2016 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Η λογοτεχνική απόδοση του νιτσεϊκού δίπολου, της τραγικής ανθρώπινης φύσης που ισορροπεί ανάμεσα στο Απολλώνιο (σύμφωνα με το οποίο το άτομο ενεργεί με βάση του τον ορθολογισμό) και το Διονυσιακό (σύμφωνα με το οποίο η δράση του ατόμου βασίζεται στα συναισθήματα και τα ένστικτα) πρότυπο.
Sep 12, 2014 Leonard rated it really liked it
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
Patrick Gibson
Feb 24, 2010 Patrick Gibson rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 16, 2013 Branko Jovanovski rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 10, 2013 Ivana rated it it was amazing
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
Maryam Shahriari
Jan 07, 2010 Maryam Shahriari rated it it was amazing
Shelves: رمان
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
Nov 12, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
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
Victor Hugo
Mar 11, 2015 Victor Hugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emprestados
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
Apr 05, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Per una volta cercherò di essere brevissimo.

Il mio terzo Hesse conferma quello che penso di questo autore, ovvero il suo non essere all'altezza di altri scrittori (Mann, Camus, Sartre, giusto per citarne qualcuno cronologicamente vicino) nel proporci romanzi in cui letteratura e filosofia dovrebbero proseguire di pari passo. Le idee di Hesse possono pur essere interessanti e i suoi libri, come questo "Narciso e Boccadoro", avvincenti e incalzanti, ma è la struttura dei suoi romanzi che non regge
David S.
Jul 08, 2008 David S. rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2008 Daniel rated it it was ok
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
Narziss and Goldmund was originally published as Narziß und Goldmund in 1930. The translation I read was by Geoffrey Dunlop and was originally published in 1932 as Death and the Lover. The Penguin edition was first published in 1971.

I had a rocky ride reading this book; after about fifty pages I wanted to throw it to one side with contempt, I continued for a while then it annoyed me for another reason, but I continued, and by the time I finished it I was enjoying the story and found it difficul
Jan 17, 2012 Rich rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 23, 2009 Salma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2010 Kitty rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2015 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In order to describe Narcissus and Goldmund I would need to write an academic paper. It is one of those novels which is bursting with symbolism, philosophical ideas, religion , science and many other topics.

The book takes place during medieval times and centres on a monastery, where friar in training, Narcissus also teaches pupils. One day he meets Goldmund and they form a very close friendship. The two friends are polar opposites. Narcissus is austre, scientific and precise and Goldmund is care
Jul 20, 2015 Ahang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ترجيح مي دم با يكي راجع به ش صحبت كنم تا ريويو براش بنويسم.
Justo Montibeller
Apr 10, 2015 Justo Montibeller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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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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.” 708 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.” 296 likes
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