Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews

I can recognize it as the intellectual and literary tour de force that it is, and still I found it dull, plodding, and tedious, with a character for whom I felt very little sympathy.
-Inverarity is not a Scottish village


Hesse's classic story, a potent combination of Eastern and Western insights into the human search for meaning, raises issues that are perhaps more important in our current cultural climate than ever before. Steppenwolf, first published in German in 1927, is given new life in this fresh translation.
Thomas Wayne presents a contemporary take on the lone individual lost in the ironic good fortune and security of bourgeois banality and cultural conformity. Harry Haller, the hero, has all the insight, all the leisure, all the material goods he needs, yet he is not at peace with his life and decides to commit suicide. Then Hermine and her friends open to him the countless pathways of self-discovery.
Basil Creighton's 1929 translation (revised in 1963 by Joseph Mileck) is the best-known version in English; it skips words, smoothes out long, involved passages, unnecessarily improves the text all things Thomas Wayne refuses to do. He emphasizes a strict adherence and reverence for the literal -- a Hesse for the 21st century, meaningful and faithful to the original.

About Hermann Hesse

See more books from this Author
Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 -- August 9, 1962) was a German poet, novelist, essayist and painter. His best-known works included Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Hess publicly announced his views on the savagery of World War I, and was considered a traitor. He moved to Switzerland where he eventually became a naturalized citizen. He warned of the advent of World War II, predicting that cultureless efficiency would destroy the modern world. His theme was usually the conflict between the elements of a person's dual nature and the problem of spiritual loneliness. His first novel, Peter Camenzind, was published in 1904. His masterpiece, Death and the Lover (1930), contrasts a scholarly abbot and his beloved pupil, who leaves the monastery for the adventurous world. Steppenwolf (1927), a European bestseller, was published when defeated Germany had begun to plan for another war. It is the story of Haller, who recognizes in himself the blend of the human and wolfish traits of the completely sterile scholarly project. During the 1960s Hesse became a favorite writer of the counter culture, especially in the United States, though his critical reputation has never equaled his popularity. Hermann Hesse died in 1962.
Published February 25, 1999 by Penguin Books, Limited (UK). 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Steppenwolf
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2


Reviewed by Cheryl A. Chatfield, Ph.D. on May 12 2010

This novel shows more than the importance of finding an equilibrium between the two parts of us, that is the "human" and the "shadow" within. This is a chance to enter and to get lost in a bizarre environment where you may find that other dimension of yourself.

Read Full Review of Steppenwolf

Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Below average
on Mar 01 2011

I can recognize it as the intellectual and literary tour de force that it is, and still I found it dull, plodding, and tedious, with a character for whom I felt very little sympathy.

Read Full Review of Steppenwolf

Above average
Reviewed by Bob Corbett on Dec 01 2001

While deeply moved by this book, there are still things to work out. Deeply moved and tempted. Yet I'm not fully converted to the Gospel According To Harry Haller.

Read Full Review of Steppenwolf

So Many Books

Above average
Reviewed by Stefanie on Dec 10 2013

Hesse later asserted that people largely misunderstood the book. I can understand why. It seems to be one of those books that, like Hermine for Harry, acts as a sort of mirror in which it is easy to see the things you want to see and disregard the rest.

Read Full Review of Steppenwolf

Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Andrew Giambertone

Andrew Giambertone 8 Nov 2014

Added the book to want to read list