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The Journey to the East Paperback – February 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312421680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312421687
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The story is really an inconsequential element of this dissertation. The author's membership in an organization called The League has been rescinded and he is seeking reentry. A loss of faith and vision is responsible for the subtle ostracism from the League and corresponds to the loss of a raison d'etre on the part of the erstwhile member. Coming across Leo, a member who had accompanied the League on the journey - an integral part of their lives - Hesse realizes that the journey which he had imagined terminated was going on all around him. The lack of faith had blinded his perception of it. Through a mortification of his ego, he is again accepted into the League. This mystical structure, the League, represents the spiritual community through which one gains happiness. Isolation, our common denominator, will never germinate into the fruits of a full life. One must join the brotherhood of man in their faith - not necessarily in God, or science - more appropriately, in their faith in each other. Only through involvement with others in a common vision can the solitude of a man be comforted and controlled. The vision while it is collective and, therefore, anonymous, still preserves the unique and precious design of the individual. Membership in the League will give meaning to his personal predispositions as well as comfort his isolation. This novel, written several years after Steppenwolf, has a market among intellectuals and college students. (Kirkus Reviews) --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Customer Reviews

Read it, sleep on it, and reread it.
E. M. Van Court
For if we are still capable of despair then we must still, deep down, still believe in innocence, virtue, and justice.
OAKSHAMAN
This book is short and an easy read for the avid book reader.
R. Schwartz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By "jprell" on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
In many ways, this book serves as a humble yet profound companion to Siddhartha and the Glass Bead Game (whose dedication reads: "To the Journeyers to the East"). It is another of Hermann Hesse's beautiful tales of searching. The story is that of HH, a member of an apparently long-dissolved League, a League of travelers who traversed space and time to absorb the wisdom, culture, and secrets of the ages to find peace and unity. As HH tries to recount this story, he reaches a great obstacle: the unexplained disappearance of League servant. He cannot go on. The rest of the book shows how HH deals with this encumbrance, only to find out that the truth he has been searching for is simpler than he though, and it is right in front of him.
What insight Hesse had, to be able to see that endless searching can blind us to what we already know, to be able to express the often-neglected value of humility and faithful servitude. Hesse's feel for communal and individual values shines forth in this brilliantly simple story, all of 117 pages.
And so I invite you to read this short tale in the hope that you, too, will find what you are looking for.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Calvert on December 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This allegorical book is made up of equal parts poetry and prose. On the surface it tells a simple tale of a man who starts on a journey with like minded souls in search of a mystical woman named Fatima. Part way through the journey he loses faith in his fellow travelers and their cause. The rest of the book is about the protagonist's attempt to write about his experience, and to discover the true nature of the league in which he had lost faith.
Almost from the beginning the reader is forced to conclude that neither the league itself, nor the attempt to write about it, can be taken literally. Clearly Hesse wants the league of travelers to the east to be seen in a symbolic light. But what is it meant to represent? Given that this is the author of Siddhartha, one might suppose that the league represents a group of individuals in search of eastern mysticism. Yet the book says little or nothing about Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam. The league could also be taken as an allegory for the community of artists, and though there are numerous references in the book to support this point of view, it seems too shallow an interpretation to explain the entire text. For instance, there are clear and repeated references to religion, usually in a Christian context. These references belie a simple interpretation of the book as being about the life of an artist.
The book also spends considerable time wrestling with the idea of whether or not it is appropriate to attempt to use a novel as means of exorcising one's personal demons, or whether such an undertaking is fundamentally selfish.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Williamson on March 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book, probably the most "mystical" of Hesse's works. Although I enjoyed it immensely, it is thick with references to Hesse's other works, and I can't recommend it as an introduction to his writing. If you've read a lot of Hesse, it may only serve to re-affirm themes from his other books. I however found it rewarding to read as a synthesis of his ideas to that point-- it is more than just a rehashing of old material.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Schwartz on September 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a great read in mysticism and personal journey that portrays the value in subjectivity alone that exists in value of the mystical experience. No other as a guide, or written accounts, or league documents will do. There must be faith in non-verbal, non-linguistic experiential consciousness that outweighs all other means in order to find what one is deep down searching for.

Here Hesse joins a league and journeys to the east in search of an ideal, the beautiful Fatima. In his journey he experiences poetics and symbols that appear greater than the poets and people themselves, something beyond linguistics and explanations, things that cannot be simply written down in books for others to interpret, but rather only with personal experiences can such come about. His feeble attempts to write down in words such explanations of his journey and experience prove entirely futile and so does the vast array of other accounts attempted in such, including all attempts to even describe the league itself. Hesse finds out that only in despair does one continue his journey of experience that eventually learns to disregard the intellectual mind and it's attempt at explanations. Ultimately, it is only the experiential and subjective nature that has any value at all and subsequently, the eventual dissolving of oneself into all others, a unity that brings forth personal experience, mystical awareness: nothing else will suffice. And such a dissolving of the self, Hesse witnessed symbolically in a melting of a self portrait candle figure into a self portrait candle figure of the league's president.

This book is short and an easy read for the avid book reader.
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More About the Author

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was born in Germany and later became a citizen of Switzerland. As a Western man profoundly affected by the mysticism of Eastern thought, he wrote many novels, stories, and essays that bear a vital spiritual force that has captured the imagination and loyalty of many generations of readers. In 1946, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for The Glass Bead Game.

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