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About the Book


In the great tradition of the German Bildungsroman, Hermann Hesse's dramatic, existential story of Emil Sinclair's awakening to selfhood follows the protagonist-narrator from age ten through his university years, chronicling his development from childhood to maturity, from innocence to experience, from dependence to independence, from traditional middle-class comforts to an awareness of self and the infinite potential of the individual soul. Among his mentors is Max Demian--whom Sinclair first meets when he is ten--a young man who has the longest and most profound impact on Sinclair's life. Older than Sinclair, self-assured and possessed of knowledge and a personal magnetism beyond his years, Demian guides his younger friend toward a recognition of the constraints of convention and unquestioned tradition and opens his eyes to the power of the individual to shape his own life. Their relationship, which is interrupted over the years, culminates in Sinclair's acceptance as a university student into the inner circle of intellectuals and artists presided over by Demian and his sublimely attractive mother, Frau Eva. "Her gaze was fulfillment, her greeting a homecoming," Sinclair says of this remarkable woman.

Writing in the existential tradition of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky and drawing on the teachings of Carl Jung, and upon his own experiences as a child and adolescent, Hesse presents a compelling portrait of an individual who finds within himself the means to resolve anxiety and inner conflicts and to perceive in the turmoil of his world the promise of a new, enlightened order. Hesse's classic novel has transfixed generations of readers with its dynamic vision of individual and social transformation.

by Herman Hesse

  • Publication Date: June 2, 1999
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • ISBN-10: 0060931914
  • ISBN-13: 9780060931919