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Narcissus and Goldmund

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  48,655 ratings  ·  2,168 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, Hesse's novel remains a moving and pointed exploration of the conflict between the life of the spirit and the ...more
Capa comum, 320 pages
Published 1997 by The Noonday Press / Farrar, Straus Giroux (first published 1930)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  48,655 ratings  ·  2,168 reviews

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Erik Graff
Oct 03, 2008 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Narziß und Goldmund = Death and the Lover = Narcissus and Goldmund, Hermann Hesse

Narcissus and Goldmund is a novel written by the German–Swiss author Hermann Hesse which was first published in 1930. At its publication, Narcissus and Goldmund was considered Hesse's literary triumph; chronologically, it follows Steppenwolf.

Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of a young man, Goldmund, who wanders aimlessly throughout Medieval Germany after leaving a Catholic monastery school in search of what coul
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Narcissus and Goldmund, as I look back on it now in my old age - far from my youthful love for it - is one of Hesse’s near-misses. Close, but no cigar, as they used to say at the Fair. This novel could have been perfect.

But no - it misses the boat. At least to someone like me who’s a tiny bit older and wiser...


To find that out, let’s go back to the medieval era, in which this book is set...

There once was an ‘almost-Narcissus’ back then. His name was Desiderius Erasmus.

A Catholic and Monki
Steven Godin
Narcissus and Goldmund tells the narrative of two men (although Goldmund gets a bigger chunk of the story), each seeking a higher fulfillment in his own way. The novel chronicles the life of an aimless wanderer breaking free, and one strongly binded to faith living in the Mariabronn monastery. The novel is both a journey and an awakening that takes the reader over the course of many decades. Living in a hidden cloister in medieval Germany, Narcissus is a most learned and pious young acolyte purs ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libri-classici
... Artist, Smartist
We fear death, we shudder at life's instability, we grieve to see the flowers wilt..., and the leaves fall, and in our hearts we know that we, too, are transitory and will soon disappear. When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something last longer than we do.
Probably the most vivid contrast I've read between, on one hand, the beauty of the skin, visual ar
Brett C
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, tragedy
I enjoyed Hermann Hesse's novel of two medieval German men. The story centers on two friends: Narcissus and Goldmund. The two meet and become friends early in the cloister. Narcissus matures and finds his path in the cloister, takes his vows, and devotes to a monastic life. Goldmund, earthly and taken hold of by the beauty of women, leaves the cloister to undertake an endless search for worldly salvation. Narcissus is the teacher, the pious, and the man of God; Goldmund is the lover, the artist, ...more
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 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
Katy Kennedy
This was truly a magical reading experience for me. It came out of nowhere -- I'd never heard of this particular title before, despite my bibliophilic tendencies, and I had always avoided reading Hesse out of some nonsense premonition that I wouldn't enjoy his writing style. I was so wrong about that last part.

A dear friend loaned this book to me while I was hospitalized last spring. The hideous front cover was held on by a thread, and didn't even make it to the finish line. The pages were brown
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
Video Review
This is one of my all-time favourites, it's a full-bodied novel. Somehow I forgot to write a written review for this one, so these are my lasting impressions.

This is a coming-of-age, or more perfectly put "Bildungsroman", adventure story, one that I think is particularly important for male readers. Narcissus & Goldmund is a story that exhaustively contrasts the dichotomous lifestyles of two men raised religiously as Christian monks: the artist and thinker. While they oppose each othe
Dave Schaafsma
I reread a few Hesse novels in the past year or so, but for some reason skipped this one, also published as Death and the Lover, in 1930, that many considered to be his literary triumph. Hesse was less respected by the literary establishment than his fellow German countryman Thomas Mann, but he was way more of an international sensation, especially in the romantic sixties, when I and many of my friends read him. I was talking to a student who is reading James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as ...more
Apr 03, 2012 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
Patrick Gibson
Feb 24, 2010 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
Χαρά Ζ.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Narcissus and Goldmund

I love Hesse. I really do.
It's summer already, and every summer everything feels lighter.
The book is great. Hesse is great.
Every single summer is also great, and i swear, when reading Hesse, i am happy.
I am working too much, and also having way too much fun. I feel relieved. Happy.
And i love Hesse. To pieces.
I hope you are all well.
Apr 05, 2010 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
Branko Jovanovski
Jan 15, 2013 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
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 rationalist.
"Life but beauty darker than coal,"
argued the empiricist.

"O' My dearest friend,
your comprehension comes as a pity;
It's only with knowledge,
that one truly appreciates beauty."

"Beauty in itself is complete,
who needs knowledge to analyze?
And if you still can't get it,
I suggest, go fly a kite."

"Beauty is a mirage,
that wi
Ivana Books Are Magic
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written philosophical novel, that like most of Hesse’s work explores the theme of individual search for self-realization, was a genuine pleasure to read as well as to reflect on later on. It is one of those books that stays with you. I read it ages ago, but I can remember it without making any mental effort whatsoever. It stayed in my heart and in my mind. The language used is fairly simple, but beautiful nevertheless and powerful in the messages it delivers. The story is quite ...more
Czarny Pies
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Feminists looking for evidence that men are jerks.
In this novel, Herman Hesse presents Nietzsche's thesis from the Birth of Tragedy that man has an Apollonian and Dionysian side to his nature. Women in contrast are purely sexual.

Do not waste your time with this novel if you have not read the Birth of Tragedy. Women should avoid this book unless they take a pleasure in getting angry with male chauvinists.
May 02, 2011 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
Regina Andreassen
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

A beautiful book. One to remember and keep close to you. I highly recommend it.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Baffling and disappointing. The story seemed to be setting up beautifully for nothing but pure gold early on. The problems emerge when the reader senses the majority of the story's weight is squarely placed on the shoulders of a protagonist who is woefully misguided in virtually all of his views and interactions with others. Goldmund can do no wrong. He is great at everything. Everyone loves him. He is a wanderer (self-inflicted, no one forced him onto the aimless road to nowhere) who is acutely ...more
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
robin friedman
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rereading Narcissus and Goldmund

This past Fourth Of July, I tried to think of an American book which expressed something of our country in a fresh way. I settled on Kerouac's "On The Road", a book I have read several times and reviewed some time ago. A wonderfully kind and intelligent friend praised the choice and suggested parallels between Kerouac's book and my reading of it and Herman Hesse's 1930 novel, "Narcissus and Goldmund". Since reading Hesse in my college years of fifty years ago I ha
David Sarkies
Jul 07, 2015 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
Jovana Autumn
You know the feeling when you come to your professor and ask for a book recommendation that would be similar to The Red and the Black, and he gives you a recommendation and you end up getting disappointed and question their reading taste?

I wouldn’t wish this upon any fellow reader.

“Men of dreams, the lovers and the poets, are better in most things than the men of my sort; the men of intellect. You take your being from your mothers. You live to the full: it is given you to love with your who
Jan 11, 2008 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
Apr 09, 2013 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
Viv JM
Narcissus and Goldmund is my third pick for German Literature Month, hosted by Lizzie and Caroline .

I first read “Narziss and Goldmund”, as my Penguin Classics paperback was called, 25 years ago at the ripe old age of 15. At the time, I thought it was the most profound and wonderful book I had ever read. I have been meaning to re-visit it for some time, so when I saw that there was an audiobook version available (narrated by the sublime Simon Vance, no less!) I decided that now was the time. I a
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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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