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Hans Giebernath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only with more crushing assignments. When Hans befriends a rebellious young poet, he begins to imagine other possibilities outside the narrowly circumscribed world of the academy. Finally sent home after a nervous breakdown, Hans is revived by nature and romance, and vows never to return to the gray conformity of the academic system.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on Jan 22, 2013
ISBN: 9781466835047
List price: $9.99
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It is worth reading this alongside Hesse's collection of short stories gathered under the title 'Autobiographical Writings'. Hesse's real academic career was quite a train-wreck, and his recollection of the very short conversation he had with his rather severe Grandfather about it is priceless. On another note, I'm not sure I've ever read such a powerful description of life becoming (slipping into) death; all the more effective for the obliquity and the unexpectedness of the moment. What's more, with just a very few words Hesse captures that strange fleeting period preceding the arrival of news of a death. When I worked with traffic police years ago they would talk about how in the middle of the night they'd find themselves carrying but not yet delivering the news of a death, and the sense that for a little while someone still slept in their beds undisturbed; their loved ones, children, partners or parents both still alive and dead at the same time. This isn't perhaps Hesse's major work, but there is a beautiful light touch to the writing, a sense of restrained power in this story simply told. Recommended.read more
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The blurb on the book's back cover describes this work as the "touchstone" in Hesse's "lifelong examination of the conflict between self-affirmation and self-destruction." But the promotional blurb doesn't really do the book justice. It's also a touching and insightful tale of a young man's struggle to find his place in society. Most readers will undoubtedly find some twists in Hans Giebenrath's personal odyssey oddly familiar. The story moves along at a nice clip, introducing credible characters in situations that are as relevant today as they were a century ago.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've adored Hesse since I read "Narcissus and Goldmund." This semi-autobiographical book is supposed to give good insight into Hesse as an artist and is the key to understanding his subsequent works. As usual, I found it beautifully written and insightful, a wonder that he's fallen out of favor in the canon.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

It is worth reading this alongside Hesse's collection of short stories gathered under the title 'Autobiographical Writings'. Hesse's real academic career was quite a train-wreck, and his recollection of the very short conversation he had with his rather severe Grandfather about it is priceless. On another note, I'm not sure I've ever read such a powerful description of life becoming (slipping into) death; all the more effective for the obliquity and the unexpectedness of the moment. What's more, with just a very few words Hesse captures that strange fleeting period preceding the arrival of news of a death. When I worked with traffic police years ago they would talk about how in the middle of the night they'd find themselves carrying but not yet delivering the news of a death, and the sense that for a little while someone still slept in their beds undisturbed; their loved ones, children, partners or parents both still alive and dead at the same time. This isn't perhaps Hesse's major work, but there is a beautiful light touch to the writing, a sense of restrained power in this story simply told. Recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The blurb on the book's back cover describes this work as the "touchstone" in Hesse's "lifelong examination of the conflict between self-affirmation and self-destruction." But the promotional blurb doesn't really do the book justice. It's also a touching and insightful tale of a young man's struggle to find his place in society. Most readers will undoubtedly find some twists in Hans Giebenrath's personal odyssey oddly familiar. The story moves along at a nice clip, introducing credible characters in situations that are as relevant today as they were a century ago.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've adored Hesse since I read "Narcissus and Goldmund." This semi-autobiographical book is supposed to give good insight into Hesse as an artist and is the key to understanding his subsequent works. As usual, I found it beautifully written and insightful, a wonder that he's fallen out of favor in the canon.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Boring. Theme reminded me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I liked it a lot more.
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I loved reading this book. I completely disagree with many of the industrial methods STILL used today in our educational system and find that the methods can cause severe and unnecessary anxiety making the learning process a very unenjoyable experience. I have never read a story like this before.
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I had not heard of this book by Hesse, and I stumbled on this by accident. It is quite a brilliant book. You go along with the short life of the young hero, from the point where he is selected to go to the university, his friendship, his falling out with the "establishment"; his nervous breakdown and eventual death. The writing is very low key, and there are parts that I can sympathise and identify with. While the writing style is low key, I recognise the malaise that still afflicts us today, how the "system" can break you down unless you know how to play ir, or unless you rebel. Rebellion, however, is not normally encouraged..
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