Steppenwolf (Hermann Hesse)

  • 18 Aug 13:26
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Steppenwolf (orig. German Der Steppenwolf) is the tenth novel by German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse. Originally published in Germany in 1927, it was first translated into English in 1929. Combining autobiographical and psychoanalytic elements, the novel was named after the lonesome wolf of the steppes. The story in large part reflects a profound crisis in Hesse's spiritual world in the 1920s while memorably portraying the protagonist's split between his humanity, and his wolf-like aggression and homelessness. The novel became an international success, although Hesse would later claim that the book was largely misunderstood.

In 1924 Hermann Hesse remarried wedding singer Ruth Wenger. After several weeks, however, he left Basel, only returning near the end of the year. Upon his return he rented a separate apartment, adding to his isolation. After a short trip to Germany with Wenger, Hesse stopped seeing her almost completely. The resulting feeling of isolation and inability to make lasting contact with the outside world, led to increasing despair and thoughts of suicide.

Hesse began writing Steppenwolf in Basel, and finished it in Zürich. In 1926, a precursor to the book, a collection...


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