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Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  83,921 ratings  ·  4,903 reviews
Wie alle Hauptwerke Hermann Hesses hat auch der Demian, den der damals 40jährige Autor mitten im Ersten Weltkrieg schrieb, eine ebenso ungewöhnliche wie spannende Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte. Daß dieses im Herbst 1917 vollendete Buch erst im Juni 1919, ein halbes Jahr nach Kriegsende, veröffentlicht wurde, lag an der Unbekanntheit des Verfassers. Denn Hesse hatte d ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published January 1st 1974 by Suhrkamp Verlag (first published 1919)
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Maha☆ I felt this as well, whenever he talked about or described Demian, there was always something that convinced me the story would take that approach tow…moreI felt this as well, whenever he talked about or described Demian, there was always something that convinced me the story would take that approach towards the end. after I finished tho, it seemed more like just a small aspect of Sinclaire's spiritual and intellectual growth. Some people might disagree and say it's only because Demian isn't really a regular person and they both possess the mark which brings them together in a very peculiar relationship. Demian also works as one of the mentors that Sinclair encounter (Eve & Pistorius), and therefore there is admiration for him in some sort. I personally like to think that it's a mix of everything together, there is no particular major plot theme. Instead, it's all kinds of experiences and growth that Sinclair has to go through.(less)
Megan Definitely. I'm 15 and reading this really helped me understand myself better (which I know is a struggle when you're a teen) and develop my own perso…moreDefinitely. I'm 15 and reading this really helped me understand myself better (which I know is a struggle when you're a teen) and develop my own personality. It's themes can be mature but reading it as a teen almost made me feel like I had just had an epiphany about life, like I knew something that other kids my age didn't. Not so much in a superior way, but like I had just figured out this little secret ahead of time and was waiting for all the other kids to catch up. Basically what I'm trying to say is (I ramble) that this book, I feel, is almost meant to be read at such a confusing age. (less)

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Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Hermann Hesse's Demian influenced me more than just about any book although I haven't read the novel in twenty years. Through my late teens and early twenties I searched out every Hesse book I could find, including the rarities, journals, letters, etc., going as far as to ferret out European editions in a Berlin bookstore on a solo trip as much influenced by Hesse as cheap airfare. My initial college experiences (three institutions in six semesters) ended badly. I became depressed and, although ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Demian: Die Geschichte einer Jugend = Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth, Hermann Hesse

ّFirst Publication date 1919. Emil Sinclair is a young boy who was raised in a middle class home, amidst what is described as a illusory world.

Sinclair's entire existence can be summarized as a struggle between two worlds: the show world of illusion (related to the Hindu concept of maya) and the real world, the world of spiritual truth.

In the course of the novel, Sinclair is caught between good and

I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?

This quote stands alone on the very first page of the novel, and it tells you all you need to know.

I loved this book. I want to make you love it. I sit here at this keyboard and try to write, yet after reading this exquisite novel, everything I have to say sounds trite. I type. I delete. Type some more. Delete. Nothing I say is adequate.

I feel like I live inside Hermann Hess
Sean Barrs
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the philosophically minded
“I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.”

Demian is a sad and lonely read; it is a thoroughly depressing exploration of the human soul and the adolescent mind.

The book portrays a general sense of detachment and dispossession with reality and the rest of the world. Emil Sincliar is different. We all are, in our own way; though Emil is separate to everyone else in his solitude. He doesn’t quite belong with othe
i am so glad i give authors three books to make me love them. this was hesse's last chance to woo me, and he really almost got a five-star valentine from me, but we will call it a four and a half - must be a little coy, after all. this is a book that i would love to go back in time and give myself upon graduating from high school. i would love to know whether it would have made me more or less insufferable than i am now. because i could see it going either way, at seventeen. i could see myself t ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The things I do for BTS...

Joking, this was one of the few books that really had an impact on my way of thinking. It talked about religion, belief and growth in a very profound way, as if Hesse wasn't really writing but more conversing directly with my mind.

Sinclair and Demian, though being very peculiar and surreal characters, were one the mirror of the other, surrounded by a plot heavy with symbolism and magical elements.

The idea of the two worlds, one so close to the other that you could esily
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
"But every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of every consideration."

It's quite timely that I read this one so soon after reading Zweig's tale ( Burning Secret ) about a
Dave Schaafsma
“Man knows how much powder it takes to kill a man, but doesn’t know how to be happy.”—Demian

Update, 7/3/19: I reread this with a small group of students reading Growing Up novels. We have read so far James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Jeffery Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides and now this. All three I realize deal with the struggle between spirituality and sensuality for young people "coming-of-age."

Original review, edited a little, 8/6/18:

Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Yo
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stela by: Carmen Irimia
I will try not to be (too) emotional and write an “objective” review, even though Hermann Hesse’s Demian moved me beyond words and explanations. Maybe because its serene tone and unaggressive intellectualism have a mesmerizing quality, or maybe because, just like Siddhartha some years later, it does not try to challenge or convince you. Or maybe because of the open-minded way in which it sees the world, it tells its story, it reveals its truth. And last but not least, maybe because of the beaut ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classics, philosophy, allegory
Shelves: classics
“The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God's name is Abraxas.”

For a book full of philoshophical meanings, Demian was quite understandable. The author did a great job to present his character's thinking and feelings, and even the transition from a boy to a man. Okay, so Demian is a book about growing up, finding oneself and one's place and role in the society. The young boy of the book combines only
Trevor (I no longer get notified of comments)
I had to explain this book to someone the other day and what I thought was the best way of doing that was to say that it is a bit like Holden Caulfield had read Nietzsche, rather than being interested in cocktails.

I’ve often thought that there was something very ‘young man’ about Nietzsche’s philosophy – or many interpretations of it. You know, the superman who knows and who wants to make the world bend to his will as a grand statement of art.

It is also hard to know if the main character is th
Susan Budd
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hermann Hesse’s Demian has been my favorite book in the world since the day I first read it in my teens. I had recently discovered Siddhartha, whether by chance or fate, and I wanted more of Hesse’s books. Demian was simply the first one I found on the used paperback table at the Strand. More chance. Or fate.

I cannot describe the effect it had on me because at the time I did not fully understand it—neither the book nor the feeling the book inspired. But I knew I had the mark. Reading Demian was
May 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Ugh. I forced myself to finish this short book and, in the end, felt it wasn't worth the trouble. I picked it up because I loved Siddhartha so much (though it's been years since I read it and now I wonder if it it will hold up). I found Demian terribly melodramatic and over-wrought and I could never really begin to care much about Sinclair and all his angst-ridden inner turmoil. There were a few interesting and lovely passages -- only a couple of times did I feel a thrill of poetry in the langua ...more
Nutshell: dude goes to school, grover-dills around town with various people, and finally goes off to war, either WWI or a predicted WWII.

Along the way, some amusing readings of biblical events, delivered by Demian, the obscure object of desire in the story, regarding Golgotha (51) and Cain (23-24), the latter of which notes that "the first element of the story, its actual beginning, is the mark." The "Mark of Cain" is a metaphor that stays with the narrator the entire story, though it's not obv
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Herman Hesse’ classic 1919 bildungsroman about a young boy who, with the aid of a mysterious friend, and over the course of years comes to a self-realization and a kind of spiritual enlightenment is the kind of book fans of Hesse have enjoyed for generations.

On a good day I am able to walk across the room without dragging my knuckles and so Hesse’ ubiquitous themes of Jungian duality and psychoanalytical philosophy can be approached and appreciated. Actually, Demian may be more approachable than
Χαρά Ζ.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this on a whim, i've read steppenwolf last year and even though i believe it's a great book, i somehow felt distant to it. But with this one Hesse gave to me all the things that i was hoping for. Deep, beautiful and tender. The story is equal to the writing the the writing to the story, everything about this book feels amazing. It's summer and i am busy and too lazy to write a proper review, but i loved it and please give it a try.
Be well folks and have a great August <3
Steven Godin
Of the four Hesse novels I have now read, I have to say Demian, to the exasperation of those that think it's a work of genius turned out to be a book that I didn't think was that great, and it's for sure my least favourite Hesse. When I think of Steppenwolf I think wow. I simply can't say the same for this. For one thing, I'm not the biggest admirer of the coming of age novel, and for another, I can't stand reading about boarding schools, I just don't like them, the thought of them, in any way a ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oppa-picks
So Hesse has the ability to capture your attention with an extremely captivating, interesting and promising start only to manage to lose you somewhere in the middle and as for the ending he'll either leave you mesmerized or disappointed I suppose...

The thing is that I couldn't relate after a certain point and trust me I had every kind intention to love this book since I loved Steppenwolf, but Demian was nothing like it. Neither in regards to the prose nor the theme or context.
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: format-print
This book made such a progress in my brain, that at the moment I finished it, I literally threw it in the ground and couldn't speak for half an hour. It made me think of things I have never thought before. Amazing. :D ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
There is something quite infuriating at the center of Hesse's "Demian"... & I bet the root of it is the repression of homosexuality. "Demian" is, in its simplest form, THE coming out story. All the imagery and the Biblical allegories all point toward the protagonist's big secret: he's is irresistibly gay. He is in hell trying to get to the point (the climax at the end is over-powerfully dull)--the reader must withstand true bicurious leanings and vanilla homoeroticism. The whole God-should-perso ...more
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: .. lucky people are who are so inclined to constantly be searching as are the characters in this book! How much they discover, how many emotions they feel, how incredibly inspiring they are. I loved this book because I love passionate people.
Eli Sarah
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So brilliantly written It became one of my favorite books of all time.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
I was reading this book and it read exactly as if written by Jung. Now, keep in mind, I was aware of some sort of a connection between Hesse and Jung, so this may have been cheating. But research showed that the period of writing of Demian greatly coincided with a period in which Hesse became extremely close with Dr. Josef Bernhard Lang, a disciple of Jung. So there you have it. Why does it read like Jung wrote it? Because they are his ideas. And he may as well have written it.
Jul 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Video Review
These are some of my more personal views which I cut from of my Youtube review script.

Demian is a twisted book. It feels occult, it has a scene with fire worship, and talks of an alternative version to the Christian God, Abraxas, seen as heretically Pagan even by the early Christian Church.

While Hesse’s writing supports Pagan and Gnostic teachings, I think it shouldn’t be seen as Hesse’s intention: Hesse is just advocating for an alternative. Hesse is more spiritual than heretical, m
John Farebrother
This is a fantastic book. I was given it as a present by a girlfriend many years ago, and I love it. I have read it several times over the years, and hopefully will do again. In the book the legendary Hesse applies all his mystical and fantastic story-telling skills to the subject of WWI, the Great War. Not to the action itself, as does All Quiet on the Western Front, but to the generation that bore the brunt of the cataclysm in the trenches and battlefields. Like Le Grand Meaulnes, it is an att ...more
Who is Max Demian? Is he deranged? Is he a God? An apostle? Maybe he is the rushing spirit that arrives in a person's life around puberty, swiping away the fears and doubts of childhood and helping the person in question to grow and progress. Or simply misguiding them towards doubtful paths.

Had I read it ten years ago, I would have connected with Demian. Something that didn't happen now. It's one of those books that I would seek to hold on to back then, while now, detached as I was, I found it i
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Demian.. What a beautiful book!!!

...“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us”...
Matthew Ted
'All I wanted was to try and realise whatever was in me. Why was that so difficult?'

Demian is an odd one. It is about a boy named Emil Sinclair, who is caught between these two 'worlds', the world of his family and the world of 'danger and mystery'.

In essence it's like any novel where the protagonist meets a new and fantastic person, like Gatsby, or like Dean Moriarty in 'On the Road' or like Tyler Durden in 'Fight Club'. Demian is that character here: the philosophical, intelligent and bold De
I just completed the most incredible book I have ever read. At least right now, only minutes after finished pouring myself into its words for the past two days (in which I read it front to back), that is what I think... That this is the most special, enlightening, beautiful, peaceful, entrancing...almost holy books I have ever, ever read. Right now I feel this odd understanding and contentment in my stomach, heart, and mind. It might sound cheesy, but everything about this book was perfect. I re ...more
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Sala comune dei S...: Frasi memorabili 1 2 Mar 07, 2021 11:05AM  
Sala comune dei S...: Data di scadenza per Demian 4 4 Jan 30, 2021 03:02AM  
BTS Blood Sweat and Tears 2 89 Apr 04, 2020 09:24AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please correct page count 2 24 Jul 21, 2017 03:35PM  
ARMY Bookclub: Demian 3 99 Apr 06, 2017 05:09PM  
مجتمع البوكتيوبرز...: مناقشة كتاب شهر مارس 2 47 Apr 01, 2017 12:30PM  

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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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