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Narziss and Goldmund [Kindle Edition]

Geoffrey Dunlop
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

Product Description


A novel that dramatises Nietzsche's conception of the Apollonian and the Dionysian. At the medieval monastery of Mariabronn, the restless Goldmund realises he isn't cut out for a cloistered life under the tutelage of his friend and mentor, the ascetic Narziss, and so begins a series of travels that see him work his way through most of the seven deadly sins before finding a psychic resolution of sorts in an apprenticeship to a master sculptor. Only by feeding his appetite for worldly experience does Goldmund finally find the courage to face death. --The Guardian 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read

His greatest novel --New York Times

One of his masterpieces . . . without doubt a great novel --Observer

His greatest novel --New York Times

One of his masterpieces . . . without doubt a great novel --Observer

His greatest novel --New York Times

One of his masterpieces . . . without doubt a great novel --Observer

About the Author

Counted among the leading thinkers of the twentieth century, HERMANN HESSE was born in 1877. Rebelling against a stern monastic education, he worked as a locksmith and a bookseller before embarking on a 65-year writing career. Having travelled as far as India, he settled in Switzerland in 1911 in opposition to German militarism. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1946, he died in 1963 aged eighty-five.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1395 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Fitts Press (16 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006TDSF7C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,559 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 3 Jun. 2007
I'll begin by saying that I haven't read any other of Hesse's books. After reading Narcissus and Goldmund, I can hardly wait. However, I find it hard to imagine how anything he has written could possibly surpass the singing, joyously spiritual prose that lies on every page of this effort. A book that positively resounds with the twin elements of ecstasy and grief, of life and death, of light and dark, it is the ultimate tribute to life and all its incredible avenues. Sprawling yet succinct, philosophical yet free spirited, it is, in two words, life affirming.

It is unusual for such a modestly sized book to tackle such large, important themes so effectively, and so excitingly. In Goldmund, we can all see ourselves, or can all see what we might be, if we had the gumption. He is one the best illustrated characters, best illustrated concepts, to ever grace our pages. His artistic and amorous wanderings are delightfully redolent of the very joy of being. A primitive, soulful vagabond, blessed with an artist's mind, and cursed with an artist's depression, he wheels through life, from woman to woman, from valley to valley, from light to dark. Narcissus, his mentor and the thinker, bookends the book in a pleasingly structural manner, his brooding intellectualism, and peaceful scholarly outlook providing the perfectly balanced contrast, to impetuous, free-spirited Goldmund.

A veritable mine of inspiration awaits the sensitive reader, in what is surely Hesse's crowning achievement. To read the poetic, fable-like prose is to gain insight like no other, to be inspired time and time again, to be uplifted and to be guided. It is a book to which doubtless you will return.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful 1 July 2003
By A Customer
This tale is essentially a diagnosis of human existence and the way individuals respond to it. Without death, says Hesse, life is either an impossibility or an absurdity. It is death that gives value to life and life that gives value to death and the shortness and brevity of life gives it both its absurd insignificance and its amazing importance. The genius of Hesse lies in his ability to capture both the horror and the beauty of life within the same novel: to conjure with the lyricism of a magician the hope out of hopelessness, the joy out of despair and the will to live out of the seeming absurdity of beings born to die and return to dust. Life is indeed meaningless but it is this very meaninglessness that gives life a meaning, as being aware of the finite and absurd nature of life we are, instead of being constrained by a pre-ordained “meaning”, forced to find value in our lives. Life is a series of (seeming) contrasts: sadness to happiness, life to death (the absence of life), masculine to feminine…etc, etc. This is the conception of existence that Narziss attempts to shun by withdrawing into the realm of the mind and Goldmund the world of non-rationalised passion. Both are attempts to escape the essential reality of existence. In this sense Narziss lives like an ascetic – fasting and learning to overcome and negate his sensual nature – and Goldmund the hedonist – sleeping with gipies, wandering roads and plagued towns – and allowing himself to be governed by his senses, seeking no overreaching logic for sheer, unmitigated pleasure and pain. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The journey of the soul 11 Nov. 2011
Taking the reader back to medieval Germany, Hesse's beautiful picaresque story renders the suffering and search for meaning of Goldmund, a young man who's aesthtical and wordly sensiblities prompted him to leave his education at Catholic monastery school under the influence of his devoted and wise teacher, Narcissus. Goldmund's wayward journey leads him to a series of extreme pleasures (mostly sexual) and unforgettable pains (hunger, guilt and plague). Once he comes across a carved wooden statue which spiritually alluded him to his long deceased mother, Goldmund discovers the wonders of creating and the power of art...

Hesse's contemplative prose flows assuredly with a glowing aptitude to conjure complicated feelings and images without betraying the fluidity of the storytelling. More than just another fine bildungsroman, "Narcissus and Goldmund" leaves us knowing the world and accepting its ceaseless vicissitude as it is and our place within it. For those of you who got hooked on the works of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Jung and wished to extend to a more creative literature, I recommend picking up this book for it's intensely emotional impact. As for the cinephiles I would compare the book to Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL and Tarkovsky's ANDERI RUBLEV, both of which share many similarities with this particular novel by Hesse. Read, feel, think and enjoy.
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By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER
If you don't know Hesse's work, please look at the last two paragraphs of this review. His writing is unusual and, regardless of whether you agree with my view of this particular book, it is worth knowing what to expect.

You could call me a fan of Hesse. I read The Prodigy, Journey to the East and Siddhartha as a young adult and put them high up my list of favourite books. I recently read his fairy tales and found them delightful. But I didn't enjoy Narcissus and Goldmund. I am delighted that other reviewers enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed other books by Hesse, and I won't say their glowing reviews are mistaken - but, although Narcissus and Goldmund is clever and well written, I found its message uninspiring and tediously laboured. I only finished it out of sense of loyalty.

Hesse's early novel, The Prodigy, is grounded in reality. The later Journey to the East and Siddhartha are elevated right out of reality into allegory and spirituality. It felt to me that Narcissus and Goldmund sits uncomfortably in between. It describes many events with realistic detail but it also makes enormous assumptions that are obviously not intended to be remotely realistic. I have no problem with that in principle but the mix of realism and unrealism didn't work for me and I think that is why I found it impossible to empathise with Goldmund as I had, for example, with Siddhartha and the eponymous Prodigy.

For those who don't know Hesse, please be aware that the book contains many sections devoid of dialogue or narrative events. It often feels like a summary or essay and even the narrative sections are more reflective than vivid, as though Hesse found them an interruption before returning to the real business of describing states of mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Published 9 days ago by NPE77
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
as expected
Published 2 months ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great novel
This novel must be one of best ever written. Essentially, it is about a wanderer who is compelled to express the artistic beauty within him, despite the often ugliness of the world... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Firdaus Vogt
5.0 out of 5 stars set in the context of love and knowledge between lifetime friends
Absoulte classic of the archetypal paradigm of the soul, set in the context of love and knowledge between lifetime friends.
Published 5 months ago by Ed
5.0 out of 5 stars cool
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Harish Lathia
5.0 out of 5 stars Two sides of the coin
Great book about two brothers leading opposite lives, but coming to the same end (?)
Written in Germany ('30-ies) where the tendencies of the upcoming WWII are seen, but only... Read more
Published 11 months ago by NicN
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Beautifully written - almost poetic, I found it a fascinating study into the spiritual versus the worldliness and good was attained in both
Published 21 months ago by Mary F.
1.0 out of 5 stars Not to my taste at all
I bought this book by mistake and tried to make the best of my error by reading it but soon gave up
Published 23 months ago by Chris Briggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldmund
One of the best books I have read. Other people say the same too! So much detail and keeps the reader engrossed.
Published 23 months ago by Diana Mann
5.0 out of 5 stars just read it...
I bought this book as a present for a friend because this is my favorite Hesse book after DEMIAN ...
Published 23 months ago by MR HAPPY
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