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Steppenwolf (Wayne Translation)
     

Steppenwolf (Wayne Translation)

4.5 32
by Hermann Hesse
 

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This classic is a particular favorite of young adults confronting life's deepest questions. A potent combination of Eastern and Western insights into the human search for meaning, Thomas Wayne presents a contemporary take on Hesse's story in a joltingly fresh translation.

Steppenwolf was first published in German in 1927, but the issues it raises are

Overview

This classic is a particular favorite of young adults confronting life's deepest questions. A potent combination of Eastern and Western insights into the human search for meaning, Thomas Wayne presents a contemporary take on Hesse's story in a joltingly fresh translation.

Steppenwolf was first published in German in 1927, but the issues it raises are still relevant today. Perhaps the book is more important in our current cultural climate than ever before. In this story we watch as a solitary individual struggles to break free of the plans and patterns laid out for him by society, the expectations of others, and the soft confines of middle-class life.

The main character, Harry Haller, has all material wealth he needs, yet he finds no satisfaction. Having decided to commit suicide on his fiftieth birthday, he then meets Hermine. She shows him another life and, through her musician/friend Pablo and his Magic Theater, all the endless possible variations of his own life in the long journey to self-discovery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

While it's good for a titter to picture Peter Weller in full RoboCop gear reading Hesse's classic novel of intellectual absorption with the primeval, it is not entirely necessary for full appreciation of his reading. Weller, who has a Midwestern folksy personability, reads Hesse less as a work of great literature than a philosophical manual, meant to be studied for personal improvement. Hesse can be forbidding, even for the teenage readers who often discover literature through him, so Weller wisely renders his novel familiar, comfortable and friendly. Currently wrapping up a Ph.D. at UCLA in Italian Renaissance art history, Weller has clearly been taking lessons in sounding professorial-entirely apropos here. (Apr.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875867847
Publisher:
Algora Publishing
Publication date:
02/07/2010
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

The author, Hermann Hesse, is a poet and novelist known for his stark explorations of the individual's spiritual search and the striving for a life of virtue, justice and understanding within the restrictions of society. Several of Hesse's novels are centered on the protagonist's journey into the inner self, with a spiritual guide assists the hero in his quest for self-knowledge and shows the way beyond the world "deluded by money, number and time." He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.

Hesse was born in the German state of Württemberg. His father was born a Russian citizen in Weissenstein, Estonia; his mother spent her early years in Talatscheri, India. Both parents served as missionaries in India, and these diverse cultural currents infuse his writing with unusual flavor.

The translator Thomas Wayne is an English Professor at Edison College in Fort Myers, Florida. He has published two translations of Nietzsche's classics with Algora Publishing, as well as Hesse's much loved Steppenwolf. His approach in translating these iconoclastic German powerhouses is to return the juice the authors originally intended, the verve and dynamic energy. Basil Creighton's 1929 version (revised in 1963 by Joseph Mileck) is the best-known version in English; it skips words, smoothes out long, involved passages, unnecessarily "improves" the text - all things Thomas Wayne refuses to do. As with his already published translations of Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, Ecce Homo, and The Antichrist, he emphasizes a strict adherence and reverence for the literal - a Hesse for the 21st century, meaningful and faithful to the original.

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Steppenwolf 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steppenwolf tells the story of alienated intellectual Harry Haller and his mid-life crisis. Actually, to say that this book tells a story is a bit misleading. Steppenwolf is not the book for you if you are looking for a riveting, action filled plot and a literal, straightforward ending. Steppenwolf is riveting in an entirely different way. It provides a window into Harry's troubled soul. The physical world and its inhabitants take a backseat to Haller's rich, symbol-laden inner realms. Although written in the 1920's, Steppenwolf reached a height of popularity in the 1960's and 1970's. The little action that does take place in this book largely revolves around Harry's introduction to jazz club night life and his casual affair with a pretty young courtesan. The closing sequence, an intense, surrealistic immersion in the "Magic Theater" of Harry's mind, is popularly interpreted as a drug-induced hallucination. Due to these themes, Steppenwolf is sometimes touted as a vindication of free-love and drug culture. I believe that this is a somewhat limiting interpretation of the book. Hesse's writings chronicle his own development as a person. In his earlier novel Demian, one character observes "If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself." In Steppenwolf, Hesse portrays a man who must come to terms with those rejected parts of himself, particularly those he finds most shallow, sensual, and animalistic. The symbolism is heavily influenced by Hesse's experience with Jungian analysis, and having some familiarity with Jung's ideas greatly helps in understanding the odder portions of the novel. The Magic Theater sequence presents and recommends a ruthlessly honest self-examination, followed by an expansion of consciousness beyond the self. Such experiences are accessible to people in many forms of deep mediation and psychological therapies as well as through drugs. In a wonderful paradox, Hesse wrote frankly individualistic autobiographical fiction, yet hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have identified themselves strongly with Hesse's characters. Steppenwolf is not for everyone. Most people seem to have a strong positive or negative reaction to this kind of work. I found this a powerful, thought provoking read, and highly recommend it for introspective readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Only Hesse can make a reader tremble as he/she reads about himself; self projected images abound.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hesse has managed to bring out a beauty in misery. It's an excellent book, poetically writen, touching story, and a good challenge for the mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steppenwolf, a novel that is wriiten in a sophisticated way, slightly unusual for Hesse. I enjoyed the book althougth I held reservations due to reviews about a man who was stuck on war. After reading this book I saw a man who was longing for the childhood past, a boy who dreamed of the child kindled inside his heart. This book is a great read and I guarantee you will pick-up a vocab word or two.
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Best translation, by far.
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Bipolar More than 1 year ago
Steppenwolf defines the universal personal struggle of man with his duality of self, his spirit (or mind) and the flesh. This struggle often leads many to heightened despair and depression in a mediocre and ultimately meaningless and comical everyday life. What lays in the balance of the struggle is happiness in this absurd world. Hesse captures perfectly this self-conflict through his story and images of the Steppenwolf, Harry Heller, an individual caught between two worlds. When Harry meets Hermine, a lovely and inspiring woman(in someways an illusive part of his own ego), his life changes through her direction and actions upon his desperate and conflicted life. His life takes a final turn when he enters a place "For Madmen Only". Through his prose and poetry, Hesse provides a mystical and spiritualistic journey that reflects and defines every man's battle to find himself beyond the limits of his duality of his person. Anyone of of substance of intellect and spirit will identify and benefit from this novel. For some, especially those in heightened states of despair and disillusionment, will find the book a leveling agent or will take it as an elixir for heightening depression. Hesse illustrates and defines perfectly the state of personal conflict most find in themselves on there path through life and self discovery. Hesse explores the unifying principles of healthy personality.
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