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The Glass Bead Game

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  28,281 ratings  ·  1,277 reviews
The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, 'The Glass Bead Game' is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature.

Set in the 23rd century, 'The Glass Bead Game' is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the inte
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Paperback, 558 pages
Published November 20th 1987 by Picador (first published 1943)
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Kate Parr I would say if you're waiting for a big event, or grand set piece, that doesn't really happen. You're reading a biography, albeit a fictional one, and…moreI would say if you're waiting for a big event, or grand set piece, that doesn't really happen. You're reading a biography, albeit a fictional one, and it is more concerned with Joseph's relationship to the game, his understanding of it, and by extension his society. I found it a most peaceful and delightful book, but then a society who reveres learning and scholarly study is my idea of heaven! However, if after a hundred pages, the language and descriptions haven't grabbed you, then there's probably nothing that follows that will. Good luck!(less)
Fred Kohn I did see a blog about this when I was Googling one of the Latinized names in GBG. So yes, definitely others saw the connection. We also know that…moreI did see a blog about this when I was Googling one of the Latinized names in GBG. So yes, definitely others saw the connection. We also know that Hesse was fascinated with magic. Has Rowling read Hesse? An intriguing question(less)

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BlackOxford
The Lasting Effects of Young Reading: A Short Memoir

I first read The Glass Bead Game almost 60 years ago. It changed my life. With just the right cues of romance, high-tech adventure, philosophical mystery, and heroism, the book invaded my adolescent mind, laid down roots and suggested a long term plan: I would one day be able to play the Game. And I succeeded, at least during a goodly portion of my adult life, when I wasn’t distracted by the trivialities of wealth, status, and religion. So I re
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Ben Winch
There’s a scene in Antonio Tabucchi’s Indian Nocturne in which the narrator meets an Indian intellectual who asks him, among other things, what he thinks of Hermann Hesse. The narrator, resenting the interruption and perhaps with a sense he is being mocked, heaps scorn on the German “spiritualist”, calling him sentimental and likening him to a sweet liqueur, and only later realises he hasn’t said what he thought of Hesse at all. In some way, these days, I suspect there’s a little of this narrato ...more
Darwin8u
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“No permanence is ours; we are a wave
That flows to fit whatever form it finds”

― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

gbgbook

I remember reading Hesse's Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund right out of high school. There was something both disquieting and uniquely calming about these strange little books that Hesse wrote detailing his love and fascination with Eastern thought and philosophy. I figured this year I would read the Glass Bead Game (and later Steppenwolf). It is in many ways Hesse's subtle an
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Robin Tell-Drake
A tremendous disappointment, especially given the shimmering praise the book garners on all sides. I realize I’m at odds with the world in judging this book harshly, and I realize there may yet be some dimension of brilliance here that I’m just not seeing, but grant me this, it’s not for lack of trying. No other novel have I ever laid down without a backward glance within a few dozen pages of the end, certain at last that the great payoff for my eight hundred pages of patience was never going to ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
576. Das Glasperlenspiel = The Glass Bead Game, Herman Hesse
The Glass Bead Game (German: Das Glasperlenspiel) is the last full-length novel of the German author Hermann Hesse. It was begun in 1931 and published in Switzerland in 1943 after being rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse's anti-Fascist views. A few years later, in 1946, Hesse went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In honoring him in its Award Ceremony Speech, the Swedish Academy said that the novel "occupies a speci
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Jan-Maat
Second Introduction
I saw that a Goodreader commented on another review that they felt this was a book for young people, which caught my attention with a jolt because I had barely finished thinking that this was plainly a book written by an old man. Which it was. These are in no way contradictory notions, they even sit together as one of the themes of the book: "meaningful and meaningless cycle of master and pupil, this courtship of wisdom by youth, of youth by wisdom, this endless, oscillating g
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Manuel Antão
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2002
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.



Hessian Fable: "The Glass Bead Game" by Hermann Hesse



I read this in German a long time ago (2002-06-15).



I suppose it depends on whether working through the difficulty brings you genuine insights into the human condition. I'm ashamed to say I've only read one book on this list - Ulysses - and enjoyed it. I like modernism, and Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is one of my favourites. Woolf is a bit daunting, but Mrs. Dallowa
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Becky
I like Herman Hesse. I like Siddhartha, I remember liking Steppenwolf, I like huge sagas that probe the mind. I usually like weighty wordy novels where nothing in particular happens.

I did not like the Glass Bead Game.

I really did not like the Glass Bead Game.

And I don’t understand how people did.

First of all, I’ve gone through a lot of reviews. I was about fifty percent through the book, bored out of my mind, and I started reading reviews trying to get some motivation to finish this tome. I did
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Chloe
I feel that I must open this review by stating that I am an unabashed fanboy of Hermann Hesse. I read everything that he had ever written at a whirlwind pace several years ago and still return to my favorites, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha and Demian, on a rotating yearly basis. That said, I have often heard that The Glass Bead Game is the magnum opus of Hesse's career. The purest expression of the themes that he had highlighted in his other works. If one were to read only one book by Hesse it should ...more
Stephen P
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who see the battle of the mind as the worthiest battle of all
This, his final novel makes it clear that all his works need to be read in their order as one edition leading up to his final life conclusion! A man caught within the depths of thought striving for something beyond his sight captures his heroic journey through his written words.

A different voice from the Hesse of my college days. No longer redirecting my compass eastward toward a spirituality with a promise to enlarge consciousness. This is a firm clear voice that looks back to arrive at an unde
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أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
هذا كتاب هيرمان هيسه الأشهر و الأكبر , كُتب على مدار تسع سنين , و يضمّ معظم أفكار هيرمن هيسه التي عُرف بها فيما بعد
إنّها النزعة نحو الذات , و التأمّل و اليقين الموجود هناك في داخلك ,
وحدة الوجود , التي تقاوم ماديّة العالم و سببيّته الصلبة , الطبيعة تتكلّم معك و بك , و الكائنات كلّها كينونة متنافمة ضمن اللحن نفسِه .
الموسيقى .. أرقّ ما يروي الإنسان و تنطق به الحقيقة
إنّها الحقيقة الواحدة , التي تتراقص ضمنها سيرورة العالم بتبدّياته المختلفة ... و هنا عبقريّة الرواية و فكرتها المذهلة
الحقيقة الواحد
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Elena
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is surely one of the most beautiful dreams depicted in literature. It is also a reminder that even the most beautiful dreams cannot feed our longing, which is ultimately for a reconciliation with the Real. The Glass Bead Game is an allegory of the relationship between symbol and reality, between life and the magic lantern of the mind.

Hesse's Castalia is a utopia of mind, which is born of and supported at great expense by a society recently ravaged by a terrible war. It is an enclosed place
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Owlseyes on notre dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...

(Nice hat!)

A good Tratactus on Society; on what distinguishes the normal ones from the elite ones.

In Castalia, the Elite (or the Order) pursues the Games of the Mind and its cultivation. An elite member renounces material wealth....and embraces poverty to become a Mandarin of the Mind. That is what Joseph Knecht did.

Ah!...at Castalia, they learn meditation (Hesse calls it, so appropriately, psychic hygiene)....and they're in the 23rd century.



Students of the Order, most often, renounce marriage
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Syl Sabastian
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review is based not on the book itself, as it was read it so long ago, I don't remember details, which is somewhat remarkable, as I remember the effect of the book. transformative, profound revelationary, this is the best I can manage. I was transformed into worlds of thought, deep thought, worlds where intent and meaning reigned. The book required a serious commitment from the reader of Attention and willingness-to-truth, a remarkable requirement, adding to the books magic. A classic that li ...more
John
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, modern
This is Hesse's epic novel that tells the story of Joseph Knecht, a boy who passes through the system of the Castalian Order to become the Glass Bead Game Magister. If the last sentence made any sense to you, chances are you have already read the book. Though once the book is read, that is about all it is about. The book is written by an unknown member of the Castalian Order who is retelling the story of Joseph Knecht. The Glass Bead Game is an intellectual game played encompassing all major are ...more
Salma
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
إضافة هذه القراءة العتيقة التي وجدتها عندي من عام 2006
ربما لو أتيح لي إعادة قراءة الرواية الآن بعد أن زاد في روحي كم كبير من الكتب و السنوات لكنت نظرت إليها بعين أخرى، و ما كنت لأدري ما أقول عنها الآن
بأية حال هي رواية تميل لتكون مسنة و حكيمة
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على كل هذه القراءة على ما كنت قضيته فيها سابقا، و الله وحده العالم ما كنت لأقضي حاليا فيما لو قرأتها
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لمن لعب بالكريات الزجاجية: تعال شاركني
2006

حاولت عدة مرات أن ألاعب هيرمان هسه بكرياته الزجاجية و لكني كنت أفشل في كل مرة...0
إلى أن أتى اليوم الذي قررت ف
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Dar vieną puslapį
„Stiklo karoliukų žaidimas“ – tai knyga, kurią pavyko perskaityti iš antro karto. Pirmasis buvo prieš kokius gerus dešimt metų ir tai buvo pirmas kartas, kai numečiau knygą, nes nesupratau išvis kas ten vyksta ir kaip tai galima skaityti. Šį kartą nusprendžiau taip lengvai nepasiduoti, o kai visi pradėjo komentuoti, kad jiems nepavyko perskaityti... na tada pasakiau sau, kad privalau. Turiu pripažinti, kad sunkiausias knygoje pats pirmasis skyrelis. Jis tarsi filtras – reikia maksimalaus susikau ...more
Daniel Leverquin
Čitajući Igru staklenih perli setio sam se negativnih komentara i pregleda Heseovih romana koji su uglavnom opisivani kao gomila nerazumnih, pseudofilozofskih spisa. Takođe na pamet mi je pala i jedna sintagma iz teorije književnosti pod nazivom aktivno čitanje teksta, koja označava čitanje uz pomoć primarne i sekundarne literature tj. Izvora, i na taj način mogućnost da se pronikne dublje u njegovo značenje. Tako i sam ranije čitajući romane ovog pisca nisam do kraja shvatao poentu i niti koje ...more
Matt
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


The Glass Bead Game: Invented hundreds of years ago it combines all art and knowledge of Western culture, correlates and re-combines in infinitely combinations: world literature, sciences, fine arts, and, last but not least, music – according to fixed mathematical laws. People from far away travel to the province of Castalia to witness the annual multi-day festival of games. Castalia: The separate, secluded republic of scholars, artists, and glass bead players. The province supplies its elite ta
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Joe
Jul 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top10
While Hesse's masterpiece has the same theme as Siddhartha, it's not the same short, simple work as that classic. Magister Ludi's inventive setting and method takes the basically unchanged storyline (gifted young man progressing, achieving, and finally discovering the true meaning of life), and creates a sort of historical biography of the protagonist.

One of the fun aspects of this work is The Glass Bead Game: he introduces an idea of representing ideas, mathematics, literature -- all knowledge
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kaśyap
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites
This book is full of ideas. The main part of the book is a biography of the main character Joseph Knecht. It is then followed by a dozen poems and three short stories, "the lives". These short stories at the end are definitely my favourite part of the novel. All that is lacking in terms of passion in the first part is present in these three short stories at the end, and they present all the same themes.

The Glass Bead Game itself, as far as I can tell, seems to be something like abstract mathemat
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Clark
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a really incredible meditation on accomplishment, ambition, finding peace and the breach between intellectuals and reality. Hesse creates a reality in which an intellectual elite has created an entire society that lives above and beyond the rest of the world playing an incredibly esoteric game that seeks to connect all knowledge as a series of symbols. There were a number of things that struck me in this world. First of all, the connections to modern science, with its own increasin ...more
عُلا
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الجمال.... آسر قلوب الكثيرين ومالك أحلام الحالمين ... وغايةٌ عزَّ الوصول اليها لدى العديد من الساعين ....
لعبة هدفها التقاط ذلك النور وغايتها تقوية تلك الفقاعة البراقة وتغذيتها علَّها يوما تحتوي العالم في داخلها ... وهيهات لها ان تفعل....
والأضواء تخطف أنظار الناظرين ... وكلٌ يرى النور في ناحية فيظن انه النور كله....
description
وتأبى تلك الأضواء أن تكون شيئا وحده .... فتارة تُسمعُ ألحاناً وأخرى تُرى ألوانا ... وقد يطيش بها الهوى فتظهر معادلاتٍ وأرقاماً .... تعددت اليها المسالك.. واختلفت في وصفها الكلمات ....
و
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Manny
A friend of mine (a pure mathematician) says that the Glass Bead Game is obviously pure mathematics in a thinly disguised form. It's not exactly a slam-dunk, but I'm still surprised how few people there are who seem to believe this theory. You'd think it would at least be a respectable minority opinion.

Turn it around: if the Game isn't pure mathematics, what is it? Just something he made up, that doesn't refer to any real intellectual discipline in particular, but is a hypothetical synthesis of
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Rebecca McNutt
This is a truly unforgettable classic which incorporates science fiction, adventure, philosophy and futuristic elements all into one well-written story.
Junta
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of games/fellow chess players/musicians/self-proclaimed intellectuals/intellectuals
Shelves: german, translated, swiss
Reading the blurb of this book, my first by Hesse, I was immediately fascinated and felt compelled to read it. I'd read some excerpt of his writing as a kid in my Japanese textbook at Saturday Japanese school, and the name Hermann Hesse (or ヘルマン・ヘッセ rather) had stayed in my memory for about as many years as the beads in the cute cover.

Hesse's biography of Joseph Knecht was pleasant to read, though not moving. As Castalians, the elite of the elite in the country's intellectual world, most of the
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Sandra
Su Hesės stiklo karoliukais nesėkmingai bandžiau pažindintis paskutiniais mokyklos metais - pritrūkau kantrybės tada. Po penkiolikos metų su knyga susigyvenau visai kitaip - be noro bėgti puslapiais, ramiai, vis pamedituojant po įveikto skyriaus. Hesė kažką turi, ko kiti ne. Ta begalinė kūrinio ramybė lėtai besrūvanti į skaitytojo sąmonę paperka. Kai kuriais aspektais "Stiklo karoliukų žaidimas" priminė V. Mykolaičio-Putino "Altorių šešėly": pagrindinio herojaus drama ir vidų draskančiais išgyve ...more
Paul
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed when I re-read this book. I remembered it as very moving and very significant. Upon re-reading I found it tedious and preachy. Hesse is trying to write a new kind of novel, one based on ideas instead of conflict. He succeeds, but the end product is boring. I also was bothered by the assumption that the life of the mind was open only to men -- women are somehow not qualified to share the glorious world of ideas. Hrmph.
Riku Sayuj
a disappointment that demands reflection...
J.G. Keely
The Glass Bead Game is Hesse's final work, and is supposed to lay out his ideas and philosophies more completely than anything previously. According to my foreword by Ziolkowski, this book represents a progression beyond both the simplistic, egocentric spiritualism of Siddhartha and the Nietzschean misanthropy of Steppenwolf.

He also remarks on the book's form: a narration by a stodgy academic about the life of a luminary master. Like Carlsyle's 'Sartor Resartus', there is meant to be an ironic
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10,609 followers
Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize for 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 c
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“What you call passion is not a spiritual force, but friction between the soul and the outside world. Where passion dominates, that does not signify the presence of greater desire and ambition, but rather the misdirection of these qualities toward and isolated and false goal, with a consequent tension and sultriness in the atmosphere. Those who direct the maximum force of their desires toward the center, toward true being, toward perfection, seem quieter than the passionate souls because the flame of their fervor cannot always be seen. In argument, for example, they will not shout or wave their arms. But, I assure you, they are nevertheless, burning with subdued fires.” 131 likes
“No permanence is ours; we are a wave
That flows to fit whatever form it finds”
116 likes
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