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Klingsor's Last Summer Paperback – 21 Jan 1989

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin; 1st edition (21 Jan. 1989)
  • ISBN-10: 0586086102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586086100
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've nearly managed to read all his books now. This one is another that should not dissapoint. I took so much from it that it gets 5 stars

3 Stories included in this version.

Childs Heart - An amazingly perceptive story from the perspective of a child. Showing the huge turmoil he goes through for doing something (wont spoil it) that as an adult you learn to disregard as "just something that kids do". But as so well shown here by hesse - it is not something to brush off so lightly.
For the child (person) it is a huge thing! This story showed me how the natural unhindered morality of a child is in fact very strong and far superior to that of most misguided, even well intentioned adults. And as is often the case with hesse, the child reminded me of myself. I think this would be the case for anyone reading the book. I'm sure we all did what this kid did.

Klein and Wagner - The second story is again very good. I wont give the story away. But showing that in the end all our miseries, confusion and uncontentedness (is that a word?) are caused by not letting go. Letting go of endless analysis, desires, expectations etc. All misery in life is created by yourself. Amazing honesty in this story.

Klingsors last summer - The 3rd story, in strange contradiction to the other reviewer is actually my least favourite. But his comments about it are spot on. I wont add to them.

I find it difficult not to give Hesse 5 stars for everything he does. In every character I feel recognition. And In every book a wealth of truth.

This however is not his best by a mile in my opinion. Narcisus and Goldmund, Siddhartha, Journey to the east, Steppenwolf, Strange news from another star, glass bead game are all better in my opinion.
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Format: Hardcover
KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER (translated 1970) is a collection of three novelettes that Hermann Hesse, a Nobel Prize winning author, published in 1920. The stories, which were very competently translated from German into English by Richard and Clara Winston, are A CHILD'S HEART (34 pages), KLEIN AND WAGNER (84 pages), and KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER (59 pages).

Shortly before writing and publishing these stories, which are partly based on his own life-experiences, Hesse (a German pacifist) suffered the horrors of World War I and moved to Switzerland in 1919. He had studied Freud's works and undergone psychoanalysis with Carl Jung to try to resolve his feelings about his personal problems, which included the breakup of his marriage.

Psychological problems are central to all three of these stories, and in the first two of them the main characters virtually "re-invent" psychoanalysis in their efforts examine their subconscious in order to come to terms with their impulses to do bad things and their deep feelings of anxiety and guilt. Readers familiar with Hesse's novel DEMIAN (1919) will recall the similar psychological material in that book.

A CHILD'S HEART is narrated in the first person by a man who is reminiscing about his feelings of guilt and his impulses to steal things and tell lies when he was a young boy. The story deals with the boy's agonies and fears, which are resolved partly by luck and partly by the kindness of his father. I found it not entirely successful, especially when the boy's attempts to psychoanalyze himself were being presented. In my judgment this story, the shortest in this collection, could well have been shortened by perhaps one-third its present length.
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Format: Paperback
Having read all Hesse's books in my youth, I've been rediscovering them recently. I loved Knulp, a lesser known masterpiece, and moved on via Rosshalde - almost equally brilliant - to this, which I don't feel is in the same class. The actual style is as polished and fine as ever, but little happens in these stories. Most are examinations of states of mind, in the first that of a child who has stolen something from his father and undergoes agonies of guilt, in the second a formerly respectable citizen who has absconded with a fortune as an act of rebellion, and in the final, least satisfactory one, a painter in his final months.

Hesse fans may well revel in the rich language, but I couldn't recommend this to a newcomer, and after rediscovering a couple of classics it came as something of a disapointment
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Format: Paperback
This book contains three stories - all are pretty memorable but the last one which is also the title of the compendium steals the glory. Klingsor is a painter living in Italy, whose days on earth he feels are coming to an end. He revels in this late flush of life, distilling all that he has learned into his last brilliantly coloured works. He consorts with friends and women, drinks and eats everything in and we see his last struggles with his art and decaying death. star-gazing for those that are seeking enlightenment
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More of Hesse�s beautiful spirituality 4 July 2001
By Diego Echecopar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Not one review of this book! Incredible, you don't know what you're missing if you have not read this author. This is not one of the most recognized works of the Nobel prize author (my personal favorite), but it has everything of what made their other novels so remarkable: the beautiful and deep description of his characters' thoughts and emotions.
This edition contains three stories: "Child's soul", "Klein and Wagner" and "Klinsor's last summer" The first one succeeds in showing how intense a child's feelings can be, the happiness and sadness that can be reached while being so young, how a small mistake can trigger the biggest of fears... Klein and Wagner, for me the best one of this book. And "Klingsor's last summer" the story of an artist who is dying, while reading this you become Klingsor...I wonder how could Hesse succeed to such degree in portraying thoughts and feelings, no other existentialist author I've read so far reached this complexity.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a story by story run-through of the collection 26 July 2003
By myshiak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
CHILD'S SOUL: Hesse is largely an autobiographical author. Even when events in his novels or stories took place in the distant past or in the fantastically created future, he wrote about what he had lived through. His renowned novel "Demian" is very much autobiographical. The story "Child's Soul" may be the only thing ever written by Hesse, which is more autobiographical than "Demian". The narrating person in "Child's Soul" does not have a mental equilibrium. He can not draw a line between good and evil, between love and destruction; his mental state is characterized by fear. Nonetheless, he only sees the "chaos" and takes its existence into consideration. His future fate is unknown, but there we see a sparkle of hope that he will gain a foot-hold and achieve the state of mental equilibrium. PS: the term "chaos" was used by Hesse himself in one of his articles. [Rating: 5/5]

KLEIN AND WAGNER: An uxoricide and a filicide escapes from Germany to Italy to find peace for his tormented soul. He finds there death, however. Unlike the narrating person in the story described above, here we know for sure that Klein self-destructs. This story, especially, is laden with philosophical passages. Here (and in the story described bellow, as well) we see how Hesse uses associations; "klein" is the German adjective that stands for "small" and Wagner is not only the name of another uxoricide and filicide, but also that of a famous composer, whose music is tied in Klein's imagination with eroticism of his youth. [Rating: 5/5]

KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER: a story of a dying painter, who, as we know from the preface, is only forty-two years old. In this case, the name Klingsor comes from one epic poem that dates back to the seventh century. In that poem Klingsor was a magician, which suggest some sort of kinship between the art and the magic. This particular story is somewhat ambiguously written, even Klingsor's death remains ambiguous. One can not say with a certainty whether Klingsor committed a suicide, even though the whole mood of this story is imbued with ideas of life's frailty and death's imminence. This ambiguous narration (which Hesse employed in many of his works) does capture the atmosphere in which Klingsor spent his last days (and perhaps most of his life), but it bears a mark of abstractness. [Rating: 4/5]
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Triptych 12 April 2003
By Brian Wallace (Co-author of It's Not Your Hair) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
fascinating, luscious stories filled with spiritual and debaucherous intrigues of the most unexpected sorts.
Hesse waves tales infused with rich mythological imagery and interesting turns around every corner.
Three stories that run the gamut from romanticism to melancholy.
Always a mystery and forever a joy.
4.0 out of 5 stars A COLLECTION OF THREE NOVELETTES, ONE OF THEM A REAL FORGOTTEN MASTERPIECE 15 Aug. 2015
By David R. Eastwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER (translated 1970) is a collection of three novelettes that Hermann Hesse, a Nobel Prize winning author, published in 1920. The stories, which were very competently translated from German into English by Richard and Clara Winston, are A CHILD'S HEART (34 pages), KLEIN AND WAGNER (84 pages), and KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER (59 pages).

Shortly before writing and publishing these stories, which are partly based on his own life-experiences, Hesse (a German pacifist) suffered the horrors of World War I and moved to Switzerland in 1919. He had studied Freud's works and undergone psychoanalysis with Carl Jung to try to resolve his feelings about his personal problems, which included the breakup of his marriage.

Psychological problems are central to all three of these stories, and in the first two of them the main characters virtually "re-invent" psychoanalysis in their efforts examine their subconscious in order to come to terms with their impulses to do bad things and their deep feelings of anxiety and guilt. Readers familiar with Hesse's novel DEMIAN (1919) will recall the similar psychological material in that book.

A CHILD'S HEART is narrated in the first person by a man who is reminiscing about his feelings of guilt and his impulses to steal things and tell lies when he was a young boy. The story deals with the boy's agonies and fears, which are resolved partly by luck and partly by the kindness of his father. I found it not entirely successful, especially when the boy's attempts to psychoanalyze himself were being presented. In my judgment this story, the shortest in this collection, could well have been shortened by perhaps one-third its present length.

Some of the details about the boy and his schoolmates were recycled later by Hesse in a much better story titled "The Interrupted Class" (1948). A far better story about a young boy psychoanalyzing himself is Wilbur Daniel Steele's "The Body of the Crime" (1931).

KLEIN AND WAGNER, which is told in five chapters, deals with the problems of an embezzler named Klein as he flees from Germany with a new identity, abandoning his wife and children. Much more plausibly than the young boy in A CHILD'S HEART, Klein gropes through his subconscious, partly via his dreams, trying to rid himself of disturbing homicidal impulses. In my judgment, this story is rather repetitious and has an ending which, while "solving" Klein's problem, is not very satisfying to most readers.

By far the best story in this collection is the final one, KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER, which is told in ten short chapters. Klingsor is an expressionist painter--almost Van Gogh-like with a Gauguin-like friend AND a Hesse-like friend, who writes poems. Dozens of long, wonderfully written passages present Klingsor's "painter's eye view" of the world in an interesting and very plausible manner. Again and again, as Klingsor goes from place to place during the days of this story, we get his impressions of colors that he sees and his thoughts about how these could be modified or transformed with his paints and composed into works of art. Cutting across these passages, we have Klingsor's physical ailments (including deteriorating vision and serious alcoholism) and psychological problems (he is constantly preoccupied with thousands of changes around him and especially with the mortality of his friends and himself).

This story has, despite Klingsor's death--which is announced in the title itself--a very happy ending: Klingsor created and completed his masterpiece before dying. It also ends with a tiny unsolvable mystery: how did Klingsor die? This may trouble some readers but may not bother others in the least. Perhaps a "clue" is the fact that Klingsor repeatedly calls himself Li Po; perhaps those who know how that Chinese poet happily died are meant to guess how Klingsor died ... perhaps or perhaps not.

I would rate KLINGSOR'S LAST SUMMER higher than two novels that have dealt with expressionist painters: Maugham's MOON AND SIXPENCE (1919), very loosely based on Gauguin's life, and Irving Stone's LUST FOR LIFE (1977), a fictional account of the life of Van Gogh. A short story by Warner Law titled "The Man Who Fooled the World" (1968; EDGAR Award 1969), about a painter who forged paintings like Gauguin's (and fooled Maugham), is far less serious but is almost as cleverly written as Hesse's story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 23 May 2016
By Yuliya Sergeyeva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book in great condition
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