Katie's Reviews > The Glass Bead Game

The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
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Sep 28, 11

Read in September, 2011

This may be my favorite Hesse book. Hesse sculpts a world that I've always wished to live in: An academic institution, or rather monastery, that instills in the student a love of beauty and truth (rather reminiscent of St. John's). A place where intellectual rigor is aimed at the classics texts but tempered through meditation excercises. Hesse also warns against the danger of such a place, as if to say that it represents only one half of man's soul. And so we are always drawn to the messiness of the world, even while resting in the equanimity of Order. Hesse explores this tension so beautifully, through the Hero, Knecht. I love and admire Knecht; his personality, his struggle and his decision to bridge the two worlds of his inner soul by leaving the orderly Castalia to venture into the World as a teacher. The three "lives" at the end of the psuedo-biography of Knecht are wonderful short stories. Although they can be read as self-contained, they also continue Knecht's story, which in a way, makes him immortal or perhaps show him to be a prototype. They circle around the main themes of the story proper and shows Knecht's struggle as representative of how dichotomy is fundamental to our humanity--it both accounts for who we are and provides the means or impetus to heal, to transcend, to become more whole.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

What a wonderful review Katie. My thoughts entirely!

Katie Thank you so much!

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