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The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse Paperback – October 11, 2011


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The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse + The Glass Bead Game: (Magister Ludi) A Novel + Demian (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583943137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583943137
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“These vital, essential poems could not possibly be appearing at a more crucial time in the history of our Western culture.… Hermann Hesse’s poetry is as eye-opening and as life-giving as his most famous novels. It offers the heartfelt, infinitely timely guidance of someone who lived at every step what he wrote and who leads his readers back to the simplicity of ‘what we knew in the beginning.’”
—Peter Kingsley, author of Reality and A Story Waiting to Pierce You: Mongolia, Tibet and the Destiny of the Western World

“Ludwig Fischer proves wrong all who claim that ‘poetry is what gets lost in translation.’ His English versions of sixty-eight poems by Hermann Hesse ring as if they had been first conceived in English. In addition to that, Fischer’s sensitive introductions to these poems make this book a rare treasure. Hesse … struggled with the dark side of life and grew strong. Therefore his poems—now at last in English—can help us find strength to come fully alive.”
—Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB, author of Deeper Than Words: Living the Apostles' Creed and Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness
 
“It is in his poems that you meet most intimately Hesse the man in all his emotional intensity, sometimes scalding self-knowledge, and fierce spiritual struggle, and so experience most completely the inner turmoil and revelations that led to his becoming
one of the philosopher-sages of our tumultuous transition.”
—from the foreword by Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism and Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism

"This collection of poetry reveals his inner journey, one that is often filled with inner turmoil and despairing, and yet unwavering in [Hesse's] devotion toward an intimacy with self/spirit. Commentary from the scholar and translator Ludwig Max Fischer enriches our understanding of Hesse's life context from which the poems were born." — New Consciousness Review

"The Seasons of the Soul offers valuable guidance in poetic form for those longing for a more meaningful life, seeking a sense of homecoming in nature, in each stage of life, in a renewed relationship with the divine." — Vitality Magazine

"A thoughtful work of literature, The Seasons of the Soul is a strong pick for any world literary studies and poetry collection." — Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Hermann Hesse’s novels include Demian, Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and The Glass Bead Game. The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, he died in 1962 at age 85. Ludwig Max Fischer, PhD, has been professor of German and comparative mythology for over forty years, most recently at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

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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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Highly recommend this book for any Hess enthusiasts.
JenningsMurphy
The biggest disappointment, however, was the fact that many poems which rhyme in the original German have not retained this feature in the English.
James Deirmendjian
Beautiful and inspiring collection that will certainly touch your soul.
T. Chapman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Deirmendjian on May 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was excited to purchase and receive this collection, especially after seeing good reviews on Amazon. Hesse has been perhaps my favorite author since reading Siddartha as a teenager, and I keep returning to Steppenwolf, Demian, along with Journey to the East, long after having read each of these for the first time. While there is no doubt, to my mind, that Hesse was one of the greatest writers of his time, the translation you will find here is severely lacking. What struck me as immediately telling about its quality was the sense that I was reading cheap new-age banter, comprised by the foreward and other exegetical material. This is divided into snippets from both the translator and another person, both of whom seem to offer some fine and accurate remarks, but also a good deal of exposition that is frankly overdone and sappy. The biggest disappointment, however, was the fact that many poems which rhyme in the original German have not retained this feature in the English. Nor have they retained their proper rhythm. I can acknowlege that this would have been no simple feat, but such is the work of good translation. For an example, consider "Stufen," one of Hesse's finest cosmic poems, the one which the collection ends in. Fischer translates the title as "Stages," which gets at the meaning of the poem, but it is precisely this sort of straying from the letter of the piece that illuminates the sort of liberties he's already taken to interpret for the reader. Here's the original German for you:

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Okas Ion on November 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An awaited translation of the Swiss- German writer.
It is a good translation with acceptable accomplishments on poems, where the translator has to forget the beuty achieved in the original language to a " creation" thah looks for balance. In this case many poems give the content, rhyme and beauty as perhaps Hesse would have likely approved.
The book is short and requires a slow reading to capture the longing of the poet and his lessons learned in life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Judy Croome on October 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This short book is well structured, with an informative and detailed introduction to each section of poems. Each of these excellent introductions give an intimate sense of Hesse the poet, his passions and his torments.

The poems that follow were, like most poetry volumes, made up of verses that resonated deeply with me, and others that were interesting to read. Each reader would, I'm sure, find their own favourite poem.

Some of the poems were, unexpectedly, less lyrical than I expected from a mystical poet. Perhaps some essence was lost in translation (always a difficult task) or perhaps this is Hesse's Germanic voice - rather sombre and heavier in tone than other mystical poets such as Yeats, Rilke, Kabir or Gibrain.

Overall, this book is very good. The introductory pieces followed by a selection of poems grouped into common themes (Love, Inspiration, Nature, Dialogue with Divine and Seasons of Life) made this easy to read and accessible. The poems in the section on The Seasons of Life and the Passage of Time are particularly moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tham on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure of reading this slim bound volume of Herman Hesse’s poems recently in the local library and simply had to purchase a copy of my own. I had read Herman Hesse when I was a teenager but it is the beautiful and sensitive translation of these poems by Ludwig Max Fischer that helped me to once more appreciate the depth and boldness of Hesse’s writing. The poems in this edition are divided into five sections roughly corresponding to the topics of love, inspiration, finding meaning, the divine and growing old. Each candid poem resonated deeply as now I read it not only admiring the beauty and power of the poems but from experiences encountered and memories accumulated. What is so moving is the poems speak a universal language of thoughts, emotions, questions, doubts, resolutions that transcend time, space and culture. I find this a book for those not only seeking inspiration but who enjoy the beauty of language and imagery as solace for the soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Chapman on January 6, 2013
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I heard one of Hermann Hesse's quotes on a TV program and just had to hear more from this author. Beautiful and inspiring collection that will certainly touch your soul. Puts many things into perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 4, 2013
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Bought this as a gift for my husband a few months ago and these are his words: Best poetry book I ever read, give it all the stars you can! He felt it spoke every word of his soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BB on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hesse is Hesse. Beautiful poetry. Was not aware of this work until I happened upon it on Amazon. Makes me want to re-read all of his books.
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