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Der Steppenwolf [German] [Perfect Paperback]

Hermann Hesse
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Dec 1995
This is a complete and unabridged reading of Herman Hesse's modern classic - a haunting story of estrangement and redemption. Harry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine. With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Hesse's best-known and most autobiographical work, published in English in 1929, "Steppenwolf" continues to speak to our souls and marks it as a classic of modern literature. It is read by acclaimed US actor Peter Weller.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product details

  • Perfect Paperback
  • Publisher: Suhrkamp Verlag (31 Dec 1995)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 3518366750
  • ISBN-13: 978-3518366752
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort 3 Nov 2007
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Worth the effort, July 6, 2007

I read this book in 2001 when I first started making an effort to read and still remember the effect in had on me. I would read about 10 pages a night before having to put it down because in a lot of ways the story brought on a feeling of emptiness and depression similar to what the main character experienced in the story. Yet the story and the character Harry Haller made me think, look at myself and life which to me is one of the most valuable things a book, story or experience can provide a person. The story has a chance to stir your soul if you reflect on the main themes and question - what is life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! 7 Dec 2009
Wow. I've just finished this novel, and I'm writing my first ever book review as I was amazed by what I've just read. I'm a book fiend - I rip through a few books a week. I picked this up from a second-hand bookshop for a couple of pounds, principally because I liked the band Steppenwolf!

I realised quite quickly that I needed to slow down my usual breakneck reading pace and absorb myself totally in this book. It is rich with philosophical ideas and ideals, questions that which should be questioned, and is surprisingly relevant to modern life. The language is not as stilted as I find other `classic' works of fiction but still manages to cram a huge amount of philosophy and critique into it, while still keeping a readable fictional narrative. OK, it's not really a plot-driven book, but I don't really get on with those anyway.

I can see myself reading this again in the near future, and am already considering buying a copy for a couple of my more spiritual or questioning friends!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very promising but ultimately disappointing 6 May 2011
This book was translated by Basil Creighton and "updated" by Joseph Mileck. I have heard this author mentioned several times but I really had no idea what to expect from this, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is exactly the kind of story that I like, i.e., a story about an intellectual loner trying to come to grips with himself and the world he lives in. His "heroes" are the same as mine - the artistic geniuses and thinkers of the ages - like Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Goethe, Mozart, etc., and he is perpetually unhappy and self-critical. So this had all the potential to become one of my favourite books, but unfortunately it ended up falling well short of the mark. There are a couple of significant contradictions in the psychology of the main character that just don't fit, despite and actually because of his supposed dual nature (wolf and man). I didn't like the increasing fantastical element and I thought the ending was disappointing. The book reminded me a lot of The Freethinker by Harald Sortskaeg, but I thought the latter was much more insightful and much better done altogether. Steppenwolf is well-written and interesting, but it is lacking the proper focus and completeness to make it a great book. I have a feeling that I will read other books by this author now that I know what he is interested in, and I hope they will contain what this one is missing.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
193 of 198 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We all feel like steppenwolves at some point 12 Feb 2001
By Guillermo Maynez - Published on Amazon.com
This novel is supposedly the writings of Harry Haller, a lonely intellectual who feels isolated from the rest of the world. The story is the account of his existential transformation. Beyond the plot, it is an exploration, a painful one, on the hollowness, emptiness and meaninglessness of life. It talks about how lonely we really are, in the confusing and unexplainable world in which we live. It also talks about the desperation routine brings on, the fakeness of love, the necessity of death. But, in the final analysis, it also shows a probably undeserved love for life. This is not a simple "grunge" book: it's thoughtful philosophy expressed in a fine literary piece of work, which shows vividly some concepts that sometimes formal philosophy renders in abstract and obscure ways.
Harry Haller, the steppenwolf, will meet a simple woman who takes him into the life of the flesh and the simplicity of people. This is very important: Haller comes to realize, in an intuitive more than analytical way, how we all humans feel the same loneliness and confusion, but how most of us manage to live and somehow enjoy many aspects of being alive.
This is an intelligent, deep and moving novel. It is not always pleasant, but then again life is not always pleasant either. Steppenwolf is perhaps the novel in which Hesse best sums up many of the points made in his other novels, previous or subsequent. It is the round-up of a clear and interesting philosophy of life. No wonder people, especially young people, keep finding inspiration, advice and healing in his works. Maybe I shouldn't give it five stars, for it can't be compared with top-level literary masterpieces; but I think literature's importance is not only and not always stylistical. The content is important too, and at least for me, this is one of the most inspiring and memorable novels I've ever read.
86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've put off writing a review for this book.... 3 Jun 2000
By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA - Published on Amazon.com
....because it meant so very much to me during a dark time in my life. I never realized how much of what we learn to see in ourselves as odd, strange, unacceptable, mentally ill, or whatnot makes perfect poetic-daimonic sense to an underground but vital chunk of fellow human beings like Hermann Hesse.
What's the book about? About one man's journey into the hell of his own being, paralleled only by the hell of a world he finds no home in; words from Hesse's DEMIAN come to mind: "My story is not a pleasant one....It is a story of nonsense and chaos, madness and dreams--like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves."
It's been years since I first came across this remarkable novel of the archetypally lonely man aptly named the Steppenwolf, and yet I still recall so much of it, especially the Author's Note which Hesse wrote when he felt the book was being misunderstood: pointing out that Harry Haller's (Hermann Hesse's) sufferings were opposed by a "positive, serene, superpersonal and timeless world of faith," Hesse adds, "May everyone find in it what strikes a chord in him and is of some use to him! But I would be happy if many of them were to realize that the story of the Steppenwolf pictures a disease and crisis--but not one leading to death and destruction, on the contrary: to healing."
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peeling an onion (laugh, don't cry) 14 Jun 2002
By phoopabriba - Published on Amazon.com
Hesse is a genius -- go read his stuff! His writing is by no means light reading. Very deep and mysterious. This book, in particular -- magical and supernatural and profound. It was slow getting through the first third of the book, but after that I flew right threw it. The first part is a little boring -- but that's because the protagonist is boring at the beginning, and that's part of the point. (Don't give up!) The book then blossoms into a beautiful, vivid exploration of the senses and a visit to the strange and mysterious "magical theater" -- which contains some of the most beautiful and poignant scenes i've read in all of literature. Hesse has incredible insight into the complexity of mankind and has an amazing, profound wisdom of life and truth.
The book is basically about a man who is trapped in the personality he has created for himself, in the small, confined, grey world he has created, and how he learns to break free from those, to free himself from the restriction of the illusion of a singular soul, as each person is comprised of many souls. ("Man is an onion made up of a hundred integuments, a texture made up of many threads").
Harry experiences many strange encounters, including his visit to the "magial theater" in which he relives all the possibilities of love, engages in war, and meets Mozart, who, laughing ridiculously (I wouldn't have him depicted any other way), shares with Harry some of his Immortal wisdom, teaches him to laugh instead of taking himself so seriously.
Anyhow... go read this. You will never see the life the same way again.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Price of Admission: Your Mind 23 July 2001
By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA - Published on Amazon.com
I love this book, and I'm forever grateful to its author.
Hesse has said about Nietzsche that he was a man caught between two ages, suffering in deep aloneness a hundred years ago what thousands go through today. Hesse was such a man, of course. As the book's fictional bourgeois narrator says about Harry Haller:
...He called himself the Steppenwolf, and this too estranged and disturbed me a little. What an expression! However, custom did not only reconcile me to it, but soon I never thought of him by any other name; nor could I today hit on a better description of him. A wolf of the steppes that had lost its way and strayed into the towns and the life of the herd, a more striking image could not be found for his shy loneliness, his savagery, his restlessness, his homesickness, his homelessness....
He also has this to say, and for me this beautifully sums up the novel's impact:
And now we come to these records of Haller's, these partly diseased, partly beautiful, and thoughtful fantasies...I see them as a document of the times, for Haller's sickness of the soul, as I now know, is not the eccentricity of a single individual, but the sickness of the times themselves, the neurosis of that generation to which Haller belongs, a sickness, it seems, that by no means attacks the weak and worthless only but, rather, precisely those who are strongest in spirit and richest in gifts. These records...are an attempt to present the sickness itself in its actual manifestation. They mean, literally, a journey through hell, a sometimes fearful, sometimes courageous journey through the chaos of a world whose souls dwell in darkness, a journey undertaken with the determination to go through hell from one end to the other, to give battle to chaos, and to suffer torture to the full.
--And yet, and yet...Hesse later wrote a beautiful Author's Note in which he emphasized that to descend is not enough; to live in shadows and be eccentric and feel despair...no, that's not the novel's destiny and shouldn't be the reader's either. Here is the last piece of that Note which expresses Hesse's view of regarding the work as only doomful:
These readers, it seems to me, have recognized themselves in the Steppenwolf, identified themselves with him, suffered his griefs, and dreamed his dreams; but they have overlooked the fact that this book knows of and speaks about other things besides Harry Haller and his difficulties, about a second, higher, indestructible world beyond the Steppenwolf and his problematic life. The "Treatise" and all those spots in the book dealing with matters of the spirit, of the arts and the "immortal" men oppose the Steppenwolf's world of suffering with a positive, serene, superpersonal and timeless world of faith. This book, no doubt, tells of griefs and needs; still, it is not a book of a man despairing, but of a man believing.
Of course, I neither can nor intend to tell my readers how they ought to understand my tale. May everyone find in it what strikes a chord in him and is of some use to him! But I would be happy if many of them were to realize that the story of the Steppenwolf pictures a disease and crisis--but not one leading to death and destruction, on the contrary: to healing.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your life will change forever after you read this book 17 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
From Nobel Price Herman Hesse, Steppenwoolf is his masterwork. At the time of publishing, it became a cult book. Half a century later, this book remains a masterpiece and the central character is as current as it was then. It is the story of a man consumed by anguish, isolated, reclusive at odds with the world and its people.We do not know too much about him, except that in the chapter called "The treatise of the Steppenwoolf" Hesse presents a psychological description of depression,isolation, anguish and anger that has been unsurpassed by the masters of psychology.As the story unfolds, Harry meets a young woman that is a able to enjoy life. Through the interactions with her, harry learns to "smell the flowers", and through several surrealistic experiences, he recalls his past and evolves into a different person.This book is so simple to read and at the same time so profound and impacting that I recommend it as a must read. Better appreciated if you have some life experience. If you read it at coll
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