The Glass Bead Game

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5 stars (2 reviews)

The Glass Bead Game (German: Das Glasperlenspiel, pronounced [das ˈɡlaːspɛʁlənˌʃpiːl] (listen)) is the last full-length novel by the German author Hermann Hesse. It was begun in 1931 in Switzerland, where it was published in 1943 after being rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse's anti-Fascist views."The Glass Bead Game" is a literal translation of the German title, but the book has also been published under the title Magister Ludi, Latin for "Master of the Game", an honorific title awarded to the book's central character. "Magister Ludi" can also be seen as a pun: magister is a Latin word meaning "teacher", while ludus can be translated as either "game" or "school". But the title Magister Ludi is somewhat misleading, as it implies the book is a straightforward bildungsroman, when, in reality, the book touches on many different genres, and the bulk of the story is on one level a parody …

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Best read of the year

5 stars

Second book into Hesse’s corpus and I’m noticing Hesse has quite the obsession with the balance between ascetic intellectualism and giving in to worldly desires/instincts and nature… I like it.

He picks up on his theme of self-actualisation and discovering ‘true’ love of the world again quite well—somehow his characters feel fresh despite all their developments essentially being through the same wanderer arc? The neuroticism of some of his characters—Tegularius in specific—is finely executed and is reminiscent of Dostoevsky’s ‘troubled’ archetype.

5/5 So good I might get into Indian philosophy and a bit of Nietzsche myself…

‘World history is a race with time, a scramble for profit, for power, for treasures. What counts is who has the strength, luck, or vulgarity not to miss his opportunity. The achievements of thought, of culture, of art are just the opposite. They are always an escape from the serfdom of time, man …

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