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Steppenwolf (Modern Classics) Paperback – Jul 1969

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Paperback, Jul 1969
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (July 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140023321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140023329
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 776,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 July 2012
Format: Paperback
According to the copyright page, this Penguin edition uses the original 1929 translation, revised in 1963, which has long been showing its age and does Hesse no favours with the English-speaking reader. In particular, there are many anachronisms that make the book read more like a product of the late Victorian period than of the Jazz Age.

There is another, 2010 translation of Steppenwolf from Algora that claims to be more literal and more complete. However, it is also significantly more expensive. In response(?) Penguin have finally released (2012) their own new translation of Steppenwolf (Penguin Translated Texts)by David Horrocks that addresses all the faults of the older version, and the interested reader is directed to that version. Unfortunately, both versions use the same cover illustration, though they have different ISBNs.

Update: Penguin have now changed the cover illustration for this edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Donaldson on 21 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this a long time ago. The late 60s. I liked it so much, and it influenced my thinking so much, that I read pretty well all the other Hesse books I could find. So, I was surprised by how much less radical it seems these days. Anyway, a good book and worth reading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Room for a View VINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Based on the preface Harry Haller is a bookish man (not a wolf) who lives in a quiet bourgeois district, keeping himself to himself. According to Harry Haller's records he is something else: half man half wolf. The author's note (written 34 years later) describes the story of the Steppenwolf as "a disease." My view blends these three distinct elements so that my Harry Haller is a self-obsessed, narcissistic loner ("primitive and withdrawn way of life") who thinks he lives in the shadow of conventional bourgeois society. But he does not and his mask of misanthropy is unconvincing and unsustainable. And Harry knows this. Cue "For Madmen Only": man/wolf psychotic existential crisis, suicidal thoughts and profound isolation. At the start of the record Harry is clearly a lonely man and I felt sad for him. However once the "Treatise on the Steppenwolf" explains to Harry what his problem is "to find contentment in himself and his own life" followed by Harry's fantasy voyage of earthly pleasures (a quite surreal, often funny part of the story involving supernatural and magical events), ultimately leads to redemption or as Hesse said "to healing". I enjoyed this novel, even though I found sections a bit challenging, my best bits were Harry partying with the bohemian jazz club set and Harry's visits to the secret rooms.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By George Connor on 30 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Hamsun's "Mysteries" and this one.
Yes, there are great books, staggering works of literature, phenomenal story-telling and revealing pieces of art.
But, for me, no matter how many other great books I read I always come back to these two.
Both are an attempt to capture in ink, the impossible imbalance of emotion and blood.
Every reading is different and causes you to react differently depending upon the baggage you bring to the book.
You won't come across anything better than this. And there's only one other that is AS good.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By deadbeat VINE VOICE on 4 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Indeed, Steppenwolf is a book of horrifying truths. Upon finishing the book, I could not help but question everything I held dear. It forces the reader to look around, and recognise the hypocrisy inherent in, not just society, but every action we do. The book does not necessarily do this by undermining, it merely praises certain attributes as isolation, revulsion and rejection.
I would advise you strongly to read this book. It is one of Hesse's best, and like his others, takes the individual as its focus. For all its pessimism, it is an incredibly uplifting book, simpy because it will open your eyes.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Robert Marsland on 31 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the story of a lone cultured but at the same time bestial man (the steppenwolf) who roves the provincial city where he lodges. Hesse tries to find the light through the darkness and a way out for this unhappy and unnatural creature. This he finds through immersion in the sensual life and a fantasy landscape where anything happens. An attempt to unite the animal and the spiritual in man.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Stiltskin on 2 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
After seeing the positive reviews, I decided to give this book a read. I had high expectations and was somewhat let down. My first critique of the book is that there are no chapters or maybe it's just one long chapter. I know that has nothing to do with content, but it still affects the readers enjoyment of the story, no resting places. Although the story is intriguing, I found it quite repetitive, especially toward the middle. The underlying subject is --philosophically, psychologically attempting to teach one how to better get through life. I find that many of these types of books from the first half of the 1900's lack the great story telling techniques that we see in later fiction. For example, Notes From Underground by Dostoyevsky and Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Neitchke are both standouts for their philosophical stances. Both books, as is Steppenwolf, however, are not that interesting on the story level. So if you're looking for a good, well structured, well written story, this is not the choice for you. But if you're on the hunt for some interesting philosophical insights, then give Hesse a read. If you're looking for a book that has a great story and a great philosophical view, then I would suggest 'The Way of the Peaceful Warrior' by Millman.
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