March 10th, 2010
“His (Steppenwolf’s) tendency is to explain Mozart’s perfected being, just as a schoolmaster would, as a supreme and special gift rather than as the outcome of his immense powers of surrender, and suffering, of his indifference to the ideals of the bourgeois,..”
Indifference to the ideals of the bourgeois – good stuff, isn’t it?
February 14th, 2010
Hesse slides in somethings with such subtlety that you can easily miss them, and you don’t want to blame him for that (Ha!). For you believe in the truest of your heart that he meant no guile in you missing that point – this isn’t a master story teller running a suspense job, but a fair person having a fair conversation.
The said element of interest here is metafiction. In the extended stage setting preface, the narrator describes Haller and then laments that he got too carried away in the description, and ended up disclosing more than he wanted to the reader, thus, subtly confessing to the reader that there is a reader and there is a writer, and such is the frankness and the directness of the communication between them that the writer is not willing to go back and tear away a page which he has written contrary to his plan. To quote Haller’s words from a bit later, “Is that not witty?”.
This reminds me of frequently written “PS” note in an email. Of course it was very meaningful in the olden paper times – if you thought of something after writing (post script) the main portion, it was easier to address the additional thought as a post script rather than rewriting. In electronic times, its utility is more doubtful, so it is almost never seen in electronic documents, but occasionally makes its appearance in emails. Now, if the sender thought of something before sending it, why don’t they go ahead and change the content anyway, rather than using a PS construct? Or perhaps the sender means it as “Post Sending”? The answer clearly lies in a metafictional sense as well – the sender of the email would really like to convey that this additional point is merely a PS, perhaps in an attempt to deemphasize it, even if it is the most important point the writer makes.
February 6th, 2010
Hesse remains my favorite author of all times. Here is one of the many lines from his writings that put me in an immediate trance.
“He had thought more than other men, and in matters of intellect, he had that calm objectivity,that certainty of thought and knowledge, such as only really intellectual men have, who have no axe to grind, who never wish to shine, or to talk others down, or to appear always in the right.”
From Hesse’s Steppenwolf
- page 9.