Hermann Hesse

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Hermann Hesse (German pronunciation: [ˈhɛɐ̯man ˈhɛsə]) (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) was a German and Russian-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (also known as Magister Ludi), each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.



Family background

Hermann Hesse was born on 2 July 1877 in the Black Forest town of Calw in Württemberg, Germany. Both of Hesse's parents served in India at a mission under the auspices of the Basel Mission, a Protestant Christian missionary society. Hesse's mother, Marie Gundert, was born at such a mission in India in 1842. Hesse's father, Johannes Hesse, the son of a doctor, was born in 1847 in the Estonian town of Paide (Weissenstein). Since Johannes Hesse belonged to the sizable German minority in that part of the Baltic region, which was then under the rule of the Russian Empire, his son Hermann was at birth both a citizen of the German Empire and of Russian Empire.[2] Hesse had five siblings, two of whom died in infancy. In 1873, the Hesse family moved to Calw, where his father worked for the Calwer Verlagsverein, a publishing house specializing in theological texts and schoolbooks. Hesse's grandfather Hermann Gundert managed the publishing house at the time, and Johannes Hesse succeeded him in 1893.

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