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Demian Hardcover – September 16, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel presents one of the finest depictions to be found in all of literature of a certain sort of conflict: the struggle between the individual, whose spiritual growth posits him as an Outsider to bourgeois society (Demian describes these as having "the mark of Cain"), and the herd, the common run of humanity who seek not growth but unreflective contentment.Read more ›
As a prepubescent boy, Sinclair recognizes the realm of good and light, symbolized by his God fearing parents and innocent younger sisters, as separate from the realm of evil and dark, symbolized by Franz Kromer, an older, opportunist who extorts Sinclair into fibbing and petty thievery. Another older boy, Demian, rescues Sinclair from Kromer's clutches, and then sows a new perception of the light and dark realms with an inverted interpretation of the parable of Cain and Abel. Demian perceives the mark on Cain's forehead not as a curse, but as a badge of courage, character and power.
Tainted by his experience with Kromer, Sinclair cannot entirely reject Demian's heroic characterization of Cain, and Demian nurtures this upset of clarity, muddling Sinclair's once clear distinction between the realms of good and evil. Demian then plants the alternative perception that the individual must delve into the self to discover his peculiar fate and destiny, a unique purpose apart from the mundane consensus, the mores of the hoard. Hesse then projects Sinclair's turmoil into a characterization of, or perhaps a reflection of, the mass psyche of prewar Europe.
I first read "Demian" forty years ago, shortly after years of total immersion in university studies. Then younger and perhaps arrogant with intelligence, I felt armed and charged for the uncertain challenges ahead.
For some reason I saved "Demian," packed it away along with my complete set of Ayn Rand's novels, trig tables and "100 Master Games of Modern Chess.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3 Stars? How dare you! This is the pinnacle of Hesse's philosophical musings on youth and self!
Well, it started off kind of slow (the whole first bully part was a bit... Read more
I began not to like the book about half way through. It is a coming of age piece about a young man. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nazianzus
An excellent book which has somewhat changed my consciousness, and the way I see the world.Published 4 months ago by Timothy D. Stoltenburg
A very compelling, entertaining and insightful book on the human condition with a surprising twist. A quick read too. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rod