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Pictor's Metamorphoses and Other Fantasies

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  493 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Selected and with an Introduction by Theodore Ziolkowski.

In the spring of 1922, several months after completing Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse wrote a fairy tale that was also a love story, inspired by the woman who was to become his second wife. That story, Pictor's Metamorphoses, is presented here along with a half century of Hesse's other short writings. Inspired by the Arab
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Picador (first published 1922)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hesse fans will enjoy these short stories, fables, and indeed, fantasies that non-Hesse fans will find either hard to understand or too whimsical to bother trying. The hardcover edition (maybe the paperback too?) includes the original transcript of Pictor's Metamorphoses as penned by Mr. Hesse when he was very young. It also includes some incredible art work created by the author.

I found the first story in the book (which is not the title story) interesting to read but obscure in its meaning. T
I was surprisingly non-plussed by most of these stories. Even the titular tale, Pictor's Metamorphoses seemed unremarkable. There are a few great bits in here, however. "Hannes" is the tale of a man who was always thought to be mentally handicapped and is therefore ridiculed to the point that he prefers the company of animals. Thus he retains his capacity to interact directly with the animate earth - not just with the sheep and cows he tends, but with the clouds, the rivers, the rocks. Not to gi ...more
Jason O'brien
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have really enjoyed some of Hesse’s novels, which lead me to “Pictor’s Metamorphoses and Other Fantasies”, although I am not big on short stories. Hesse’s style shines through each of the stories here but some pieces like “Lulu” are a bit arduous and may require a second reading.

Two of the nineteen stories in this collection left an indelible impression on me. “Bird” a story of a magical bird unique to a small town, and the challenges the townsfolk face when a bounty is placed on its head. And
Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter
On the surface this is a children's fairytale, under the surface it is a allegorical lesson for adults on how to life meaningfully and to it's full extent. It is an exquisite and beautifully conceived book. It starts with a facsimile of the original handwriting story illustrated in full colour and is followed by a selection of poems which are related to or have a connection with the deeper message of “Pictor's Metamorphoses“. It is rounded off with an informative epilogue by Volker Michels.
Nathan Brown
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read one of Hesse's works, it is a profound experience. Seriously, every single work of Hesse I have ever read has been either a spiritual awakening or a psyche shattering eye opener. I love the man, for his writings if for nothing else.
Don Gubler
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Uneven collection but some gems of historical Hesse.
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Piktor's Metamorphoses is a fairy tale written an illustrated by Herman Hesse. It's the sweetest story ever.
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it
A breezy collection of light fantasy stories from a typically heavy-handed spiritual explorer, most of these tales feel undercooked (most likely intentionally) compared to Hesse's other works. I agree with Hesse (and many others) on the cultural significance of fairy/folk tales, but it's hard to craft short versions of them that don't feel trivial.

The highlights are the quietly powerful Jesus-ish allegory "Hannes," "The Painter," "Bird" and "Two Children's Stories." I also strongly identified wi
Gertrude & Victoria
Inspired and influenced by classical German folktales, Hermann Hesse creates a world of child-like fantasy. Some of these stories borrow directly from these folk classics, which Hesse read much of as a child. Many of these stories are allegorical in nature and not easy to fully understand in one reading. However, each one has a moral of universal appeal to share.

One story that impresses is Hannes; it is a story of two brothers, born from different mothers. The younger leaves home in search of la
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was all set to prematurely give this one five stars after I finished "The Man of the Forests," but the later stories get pretty dense. Some just read like entries out of Hesse's journal. There's probably more to unpack than I realized on first read, but this time around, the short fables/parables of the first half made the book for me. Overall, worth the read. Some stories are witty (The Merman), some are poignant (Three Lindens), and most use really simple but vibrant imagery. The first one's ...more
Claudia Vesterager
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claudia by: myself
I think it was a beautiful story, and it made me think about life. It reminds of some of the other books I've read by Herman Hesse they also seem to be about the different "personalitys" or "souls" that a human contains and about thinking your life through at any age.

Piktor's Metamorphoses are a story written like a fairytale very beautiful written, and stil relevant.
Wonderful book!

I apoligize for any spelling or grammatical fails. ^.^
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hesse, fiction
This collection of incredible honest stories allow the reader to enter Hesse’s mind with such ease and depth that s/he will be surprised at the seminaries found between what is there and what is in the reader’s own mind, yet again emphasizing the ageless nature of Hesse’s ability to tell those stories that lurk in the world’s subconscious mind.
Adriana Scarpin
Livro que contem as ilustrações e o conto Transformações, vários poemas e um posfácio que conta parte da vida de Hesse, incluindo trechos de cartas, inclusive uma em que o próprio Hesse atesta a genialidade do Sr. Jung com quem ele se consultava bastante em tempos de escrever o Sidartha e esse conto dual sobre Piktor.
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hermanhesse
Its really interesting that after all his searching he finally comes to some of these answers. Its like watching the King Hobbit and the Creator of Caspian converse with one another. Its a new look for one of my favorites.
Cooper Renner
Aug 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Some of Hesse's novels are really fine, so I was fairly disappointed in this collection of mostly short works of fantasy or fairy tale. "King Yu", a kind of variation on "Boy who Cried Wolf", and "Bird"--both late works--are quite good, however.
Daniel Phoenix
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hesse is my favorite writer. And, although most of this dreamy production is over my head, I could still feel the love and wonder Hesse possessed in his mind and fingers!
David Melbie
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to David by: Joseph Campbell
Another author that was recommended to me by Joseph Campbell. Hesse is a wonderful storyteller. If you have never read Hesse you could start here.
Vusal Tagiyev
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
that was kind of a fable
Richard Crookes
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous in the true sense of the word. A book I return to again and again for refreshment.
Bob G
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good tales. Enjoyable quick read.
SJ Loria
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
For a better bang for your buck, go with the Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse. It features many more stories. This features a few good ones with typical Hesse themes.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Peter kamenzind .. is how i remember this book
Siddhartha immersed in art and country side paradise is kamenzind
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Some great. Some not so much.
Shardh Shah
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it
thought provoking and full of satire.
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Dec 22, 2007
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Mar 29, 2012
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Jun 19, 2017
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Jun 28, 2011
Ashley Soto
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Nov 27, 2014
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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
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“The world is going under, I thought, and this notion so little surprised me, it seemed as though I had been waiting a long time for just that to happen. But now, from amid the burning and collapsing city, I saw a boy come toward me. His hands were buried in his pockets and he hopped and skipped from one leg to another, resilient and light-hearted. Then he stopped and emitted an ingenious whistle -- our signal from grade school days, and the boy was my friend who had shot himself when he was a student. Immediately I too became, like him, a boy of twelve, and the burning city and the distant thunder and the blustering storm of howling voices from all corners of the world sounded wondrously exquisite to our newly awakened ears. Now everything was good, and the dark nightmare in which I had lived for so many despairing years was gone forever.” 3 likes
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