Read Gertrūda by Hermann Hesse Free Online
Book Title: Gertrūda|
Date of issue: 1998
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Hermann Hesse
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 586 KB
Edition: Alma littera
Read full description of the books Gertrūda:This one is on harmony. On concordance and discordance. This one passage, very early into the book, summarizes the theme best:
"Of all the conceptions of pure bliss that people and poets have dreamed of, listening to the harmony of the spheres always seemed to me the highest and most intense. That is where my dearest and brightest dreams have ranged - to hear for the duration of a heartbeat the universe and the totality of life in its mysterious, innate harmony. Alas, how is it that life can be so confusing and out of tune and false, how can there be lies, evil, envy and hate among people ... And how can I upbraid people and grow angry when I, myself, with all the good will in the world have been unable to make song and sweet music out of my life?"
The tragic story that begins following this passage revolves around this one conflict. Life promises purity and bliss - through music and through love for another. But human frailties, along with that one all powerful force called fate, debars them from experiencing it. Over and over again.
What is life but a constant reminder of this promise and its failure? Tragedy is inevitable.
But if that is so, why go on? What value is there in continuing to live?
Through a love triangle between three artists Hesse stresses on this and more. Music or no music, the discordance between inner and outer life, between self and society, between material and spiritual, and (with emphasis) between youth's potential and burden, that discordance is once again highlighted.
"Youth is a real swindle -- a swindle of the press and textbooks. 'The most wonderful time of one's life!' Old people always seem much more contented to me. Youth is the most difficult time of life. For example, suicide rarely occurs among old people."
"Young people have many pleasures and many sorrows, because they have only themselves to think of, so every wish and every notion assumes importance; every pleasure is tasted to the full but also every sorrow, and many who find that their wishes cannot be fulfilled, put an end immediately to their lives. That is being young. To most people, however, there comes a time when the situation changes, when they live more for others, not for any virtuous reasons, but quite naturally."
Overtly, this is a story of young people in love, unrequited love, and there is nothing extraordinary in that - art or craft wise, in what what is said or shown. What is worth praising though is the maturity with which Hesse handles progress of Kuhn's (Hesse's alter-ego's?) music career, for beside standing as a love story, it is a memoir of a promising artist.
I loved this novel for one specific reason: its two male personality archetypes. I want to believe that the male friendships in this novel and in Narcissus and Goldmund were inspired by his personal experiences - there is no way he could have written about them with such psychologically accuracy. I have closely known a person who confirms to one of the two archetypes, and well, to some extent, I confirm to the second. For years I have struggled to understand our friendship (for the lack of a better word) and our influence on each other, but through this novel and N&G, I get strong hints.
Despite giving it 5 stars, I would recommend this novel strictly to Hesse fans or those who do not mind love stories. Hesse called this novel a "miscarriage". He wasn't wrong. Except that he is.
P.S. As a love story, a GR reviewer said the book reminded him of Knut Hamsun's Victoria. Happy to learn that!!
P.P.S. Unaware of the Nietzsche-ian elements but apparently the book derives a lot from 'The Birth of Tragedy'. So, if that interests you, do read.
Read information about the authorHermann 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 came later. Hesse's first great novel, "Peter Camenzind", was received enthusiastically by young Germans desiring a different and more "natural" way of life at the time of great economic and technological progress in the country.
Throughout Germany, many schools are named after him. In 1964, the Calwer Hermann-Hesse-Preis was founded, which is awarded every two years, alternately to a German-language literary journal or to the translator of Hesse's work to a foreign language. There is also a Hermann Hesse prize associated with the city of Karlsruhe,Germany.
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