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on 11 February 2013
First time I have read Hesse....Will now try more....A very accessible book which is still very relevant today.....the message to me was, "Let your kids have a gap year"
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on 10 July 2015
The first thing you notice about these reviews of 'Steppenwolf' is that most of them are actually about another book, Hesse's 'Beneath The Wheel'. Amazon don't normally make such errors, but Hesse, with his disdain for technology, would probably have approved of this.

This edition is the 1963 revision of the original translation by Basil Creighton from 1929. It has come in for some criticism recently as newer translations have appeared, but, personally, I still think it has a lot to offer. I have read this version many times. I have also just read the latest translation, by David Horrocks, which is very good, and I would not wish to knock it; I am sure that it probably is a more accurate translation. Nevertheless, when I compared the two versions at various points, I did not notice any major improvements in the newer version, and I did think that some good things had been lost. Overall, I think I prefer the feel of this earlier version, which is the one I will choose next time I re-read 'Steppenwolf'.
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on 28 July 2012
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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on 29 May 2010
This is a must read for any School or College leader.

Hesse describes his experience as an entrant to Seminary, in particular he reflects on the death of one of his class mates who commits suicide in the woods as a consequence of not being able to cope with the narrow, institutional and fundamentalist pressures.

This is a catharsis for anyone who has studied in a closed religous entity, but should be a work of reflection for those creating or managing control structures in schools and other institutions.
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on 29 October 2013
found it heavy going and couldn't get into it. I know it's a book that is well known, but it's not for me
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on 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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on 3 November 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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on 4 March 2004
Argued by many to have influenced the counterculture of the 1960s, "Steppen Wolf" succeeds in captivating the reader with its philosophical informative stance, while entertaining with its inclusion into an immersing plot.
Similar in style to "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder, this is a book about philosophy using the plot of a novel to present its ideas, although with more maturity and depth than this comparison. The main narrator is the Steppen Wolf himself - a self-concious and depressed man cynical of the bourgeouis soceity in which he lives. Although a very distinct character, we are able to empathise with his experiences and the thoughts he has. We follow a great change in the Steppen Wolf as he is introduced to new relationships and a very different culture and way of life to that which he endures at the beginning of the novel. The reader is presented with an alternative method of thought, looking deeper into the obvious and ourselves.
Nothing more need be said of this classic except of its guarantee to captivate the reader and force upon them obvious questions perhaps never asked before - one of those books you find your mind drifting back to long after its back on the bookshelf.
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on 7 December 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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on 28 November 2009
As another reviewer warns at the end of their review of " THE PRODIGY ": If you have the book " THE PRODIGY", do not buy this one, as it is the same book under another title.
Not only is " BENEATH THE WHEEL " more evocative of the real subject of the book, although " THE PRODIGY " , is a relevant title as well, but also it is much nearer the German original of " UNTERM RAD ", therefore easier to connect the two.
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