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A young man leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. After conceiving a son, he becomes sickened by greed and lust and moves on again. Finally, he reaches a river, where he discovers the true meaning of suffering, peace, wisdom and life. Join us for an important and compelling story, integrating Eastern and Western spiritual traditions with philosophy and psychology.
About the Author
Hermann Hesse was born on July 2, 1877, in Wuerttemberg, Germany. He was a headstrong child, strong-willed and intelligent. The family lived in Switzerland from 1881 to 1887, before returning to Germany. Hermann studied at the Latin School in Goeppingen, then the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Malbronn Abbey. He enjoyed his first year there, then in 1892, began to experience a personal crisis, fleeing the Seminary and being found in a field a day later. In May, he attempted suicide and ended up in a mental institution. By 1893, he had finished his education and began smoking and drinking with older companions. In 1894, Hesse began apprenticing in a clock factory, but then switched to bookselling in 1895. This job allowed him to read Goethe and Nietzsche, and develop a literary background. By 1896, Hesse began writing poetry, then prose two years after that. By 1901, he had amassed enough money to travel to Italy, then switched jobs to another bookstore in Basel. His new employer even agreed to publish his works. By 1904, he was able to make a living as a writer. In 1904, Hermann married Maria Bernoulli and they had three sons. The marriage dissolved in 1919 and he married singer Ruth Wenger in 1924. That didn't last either, and finally, he married Ninon Auslander, an art historian in 1930. He had attempted to join the Imperial Army during World War I, but was rejected due to his health. They did allow him to care for prisoners of war. When the Nazis began to take power, Hesse opposed their suppression of art and literature, and his work was banned. His third wife was also Jewish, and he spoke openly against anti-Semitism. Hermann Hesse lived to the age of 85 however, dying on August 9, 1962, in Montagnola, Switzerland. He is buried there, near friend and fellow author, Hugo Ball and conductor Bruno Walter.