45 Facts About Hermann Hesse


Hermann Karl Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter.


Hermann Karl Hesse was born on 2 July 1877 in the Black Forest town of Calw in Wurttemberg, German Empire.


Hermann Hesse's grandparents served in India at a mission under the auspices of the Basel Mission, a Protestant Christian missionary society.


Hermann Hesse's father, Johannes Hermann Hesse, the son of a doctor, was born in 1847 in Weissenstein, Governorate of Estonia in the Russian Empire.


Johannes Hesse belonged to the Baltic German minority in the Russian-ruled Baltic region: thus his son Hermann was at birth a citizen of both the German Empire and the Russian Empire.


Hermann Hesse had five siblings, but two of them died in infancy.


In 1873, the Hermann Hesse family moved to Calw, where Johannes worked for the Calwer Verlagsverein, a publishing house specializing in theological texts and schoolbooks.


Marie's father, Hermann Gundert, managed the publishing house at the time, and Johannes Hesse succeeded him in 1893.


Hermann Hesse grew up in a Swabian Pietist household, with the Pietist tendency to insulate believers into small, deeply thoughtful groups.


Furthermore, Hermann Hesse described his father's Baltic German heritage as "an important and potent fact" of his developing identity.


From childhood, Hermann Hesse was headstrong and hard for his family to handle.


Hermann Hesse showed signs of serious depression as early as his first year at school.


All this instilled a sense in Hermann Hesse that he was a citizen of the world.


Young Hermann Hesse shared a love of music with his mother.


Hermann Hesse's mother wrote poetry, and his father was known for his use of language in both his sermons and the writing of religious tracts.


In 1881, when Hermann Hesse was four, the family moved to Basel, Switzerland, staying for six years and then returning to Calw.


In March 1892, Hermann Hesse showed his rebellious character, and, in one instance, he fled from the Seminary and was found in a field a day later.


Hermann Hesse began a journey through various institutions and schools and experienced intense conflicts with his parents.


On 17 October 1895, Hermann Hesse began working in the bookshop in Tubingen, which had a specialized collection in theology, philology, and law.


Hermann Hesse's tasks consisted of organizing, packing, and archiving the books.


Hermann Hesse studied theological writings and later Goethe, Lessing, Schiller, and Greek mythology.


In 1896, his poem "Madonna" appeared in a Viennese periodical and Hermann Hesse released his first small volume of poetry, Romantic Songs.


From late 1899, Hermann Hesse worked in a distinguished antique book shop in Basel.


In 1900, Hermann Hesse was exempted from compulsory military service due to an eye condition.


In 1901, Hermann Hesse undertook to fulfill a long-held dream and travelled for the first time to Italy.


Hermann Hesse had more opportunities to release poems and small literary texts to journals.


Hermann Hesse had to struggle through writing it, and he later would describe it as "a miscarriage".


At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Hermann Hesse registered himself as a volunteer with the Imperial army, saying that he could not sit inactively by a warm fireplace while other young authors were dying on the front.


Hermann Hesse was found unfit for combat duty, but was assigned to service involving the care of prisoners of war.


Hermann Hesse was forced to leave his military service and begin receiving psychotherapy.


Hermann Hesse's wife had a severe episode of psychosis, but, even after her recovery, Hesse saw no possible future with her.


In 1924, Hermann Hesse married the singer Ruth Wenger, the daughter of the Swiss writer Lisa Wenger and aunt of Meret Oppenheim.


In 1931, Hesse left the Casa Camuzzi and moved with Ninon to a larger house, near Montagnola, which was built for him to use for the rest of his life, by his friend and patron Hans C Bodmer.


Hermann Hesse observed the rise to power of Nazism in Germany with concern.


Hermann Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.


Hermann Hesse wrote ironic essays about his alienation from writing and spent much time pursuing his interest in watercolours.


Hermann Hesse occupied himself with the steady stream of letters he received as a result of the Nobel Prize and as a new generation of German readers explored his work.


In one essay, Hermann Hesse reflected wryly on his lifelong failure to acquire a talent for idleness and speculated that his average daily correspondence exceeded 150 pages.


Hermann Hesse died on 9 August 1962, aged 85, and was buried in the cemetery of Sant'Abbondio in Gentilino, where his friend and biographer Hugo Ball and another German personality, the conductor Bruno Walter, are buried.


The revival in popularity of Hermann Hesse's works has been credited to their association with some of the popular themes of the 1960s counterculture movement.


The "magic theatre" sequences in Steppenwolf were interpreted by some as drug-induced psychedelia although there is no evidence that Hermann Hesse ever took psychedelic drugs or recommended their use.


Hermann Hesse was especially popular among young readers, a tendency which continues today.


Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha is one of the most popular Western novels set in India.


One enduring monument to Hermann Hesse's lasting popularity in the United States is the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.


Since 1990, the Calw Hermann Hesse Prize has been awarded every two years alternately to a German-language literary journal and a translator of Hesse's work.