Narcissus and Goldmund

Narcissus and Goldmund

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Hesse's novel of two medieval men, one quietly content with his religion and monastic life, the other in fervent search of more worldly salvation. This conflict between flesh and spirit, between emotional and contemplative man, was a life study for Hesse. It is a theme that transcends all time.  

The Hesse Phenomenon “has turned into a vogue, the vogue into a torrent . . . He has appealed both  to . . . an underground and to an establishment . .  . and to the disenchanted young sharing his contempt for our industrial civilization.”The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553275865
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/1984
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 128,987
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Hermann Hesse was born in 1877 in Calw, Germany. He was the son and grandson of Protestant missionaries and was educated in religious schools until the age of thirteen, when he dropped out of school. At age eighteen he moved to Basel, Switzerland, to work as a bookseller and lived in Switzerland for most of his life. His early novels included Peter Camenzind (1904), Beneath the Wheel (1906), Gertrud (1910), and Rosshalde (1914). During this period Hesse married and had three sons. During World War I Hesse worked to supply German prisoners of war with reading materials and expressed his pacifist leanings in anti-war tracts and novels. Hesse's lifelong battles with depression drew him to study Freud during this period and, later, to undergo analysis with Jung. His first major literary success was the novel Demian (1919). When Hesse's first marriage ended, he moved to Montagnola, Switzerland, where he created his best-known works: Siddhartha (1922), Steppenwolf (1927), Narcissus and Goldmund (1930), Journey to the East (1932), and The Glass Bead Game (1943). Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. He died in 1962 at the age of eighty-five.

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Narcissus and Goldmund 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing tribute to life itself. As a student, and someone who is searching for his true path in life, I enjoyed this book greatly. The duality of life expressed in this book through the contrast of the rooted Narcissus from the worldly Goldmund is thought provoking, and the promise that this materpiece will force the reader to think is what makes it so complete. The thinker contrasted against the artist and order against chaos. Narcissus and Goldmund is a necessary read for anyone searching for themselves, young or old, this book is a must read.
TakeItOrLeaveIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
my favorite Hesse. a dynamic story between two young men one an explorer and one who stays home trying to find himself. wonderfully written.
sfisk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great book, time for me to re-read it I think
ctpress on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel reads like a fairy-tale, a mythic story, a parable, very poetic and similar in style as Siddhartha. It's a story about the differences between the mind and the heart, reason and passion, science and nature. Goldmund is a young man who becomes friends with his teacher Narcissus in a catholic monastery school. Narcissus is the theological thinker, all logic and intellect - and Goldmund is the artist, brimming with passion and emotion.Quite early in the novel Goldmund leaves the monastery and sets out to seek the pleasures of the world, he becomes a seducer, a womanizer, a murderer and he becomes a slave of his passions - a wanderer not able to find peace and rest in anything.But the friendship with Narcissus never leaves his mind....I guess I shouldn't reveal more of the story for those who want to read it. I have mixed feelings about this novel that has a very melancholic mood. I didn't get involved in it like Siddhartha. Both Narcissus and Goldmund lacks something to become whole characters as they seem more to represents an idea, a concept - Goldmund is in most part of the story unbearable egoistic and leaves a trail of broken hearts. He's not at all pleasant to spend so much time with. The novel is strong when Narcissus and Goldmund are together and they are interacting. When Goldmund is alone it lacks a nerve or interest for me. But the ending is powerful. Sad but true. The novel speaks to me about the importance of having a balance between mind and heart, reason and passion. Extreme in both direction leads to ruin. It's an eternal struggle mankind is involved in.
linda-irvine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting perspective at beginning on how females respond to violence.
GaryPatella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Decent book, but certainly not Hesse's best. But I guess when he wrote this he was satiated. And I was satiated when I read it. And Goldmund hooked up with women and was satiated. And made a statue and was satiated. And was satiated after pretty much everything he did.I am a fan of Hesse, but this one fell short. And if you haven't figured it out from my review, the word "satiated" is used WAY too much.
yogipoet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
so long ago now i can't remember much about it. went through a Hesse phase. i'd still recommend most of his work.
terena on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in Europe during the Black Plague, two friends try to survive and understand the meaning of life in two very different ways. One becomes a priest, the other a wanderer and sensualist. Both are profoundly affected by the death which surrounds them and both ask the question, "Does God exist?"
ikkyu2462 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Hesse's better novels - an exploration of art, scholarship and religion. Jungian in terms of light and shadow. Historical details are an added bonus.
WorldReader1111 More than 1 year ago
This one's a true classic, both literally and figuratively. I liked the writing well enough, though it is, in my opinion, far from exceptional. The simple, no-frills narrative manages to be grounded enough for easy reading, yet poignant enough to be engaging, with a welcome dose of humanity to round it all out. But, in a purely literary sense, 'Narcissus' isn't exactly a triumph of the written word; its essential story came off to me as somewhat flat and one-dimensional (and, at times, a bit juvenile for my tastes). However, with that said, the book remains functional as a novel, such that I was moderately entertained. As a metaphorical text, on the other hand, 'Narcissus' is much more substantial. Personally, I appreciated the book's many philosophical and spiritual overtones, which, though a touch misplaced, were no less valid (nor, in my opinion, truthful). More often than not, I found my personal beliefs and experiences to agree with the ideas and attitudes expressed by the author, as well as with the story's overarching metaphysical implications; several of the psychological and moral concepts were explicitly similar to those I had formed independently, on my own, sometimes using the very same terminology and symbolism, even. Thus, the book proved especially refreshing for me, with it echoing my own, individual thoughts and feelings despite my being completely unfamiliar with the author and his works (and, living in a different country and age no less). Such correlation does not constitute objective proof, of course; but then, correlation is correlation, for what it's worth. In any case, I drew sustenance from the read, in a way few books have accomplished. My sincere thanks goes out the author (posthumously) and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service. * * * Some notable quotes from 'Narcissus and Goldmund': "And I hope that you two young scholars may never lack superiors who are less intelligent than you; it is the best cure for pride." -- p.10 "But, as anywhere else in the world, the unwritten law defied the written one." -- p.20 "Don't you know that a wastrel's life may be one of the shortest roads to sainthood?" -- p.32 "Death and ecstasy were one. The mother of life could be called love or desire; she could also be called death, grave, or decay." -- p.170 "All true mysteries, it seemed to him, were just like this mysterious water; all true images of the soul were like this: they had no precise contour or shape: they could only be guessed at, a beautiful distant possibility that was veiled in many meanings." -- p.183 "How mysterious this life was, how deep and muddy its waters ran, yet how clear and noble what emerged from them." -- p.303
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book explores the duality of life on the boundry between life and death, light and dark, man and woman. Along with Goldmund on his journey the reader experiences the vast possability of life, the individual growth of a person and the invissible strings of fate that connect our lifes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books of all time.
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AJalota More than 1 year ago
Hesse does a great job with this book, as usual. He juxtaposes the two main characters, Narcissus and Goldmund, and poses some deep questions about life. I had to read this book for school; however, it is a really great book and I kept reading it to find out what would happen! It's extremely well written and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago