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Thread: The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse

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    Registered User Tyrion Cheddar's Avatar
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    The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse

    The Seasons of the Soul: The Poetic Guidance and Spiritual Wisdom of Hermann Hesse, Ludwig Max Fischer (translator) and Andrew Harvey (foreword)

    I just finished this not terribly long but moving and important book. As part of my ongoing quest to read more of Hermann Hesse's works and learn more about the man, I quickly grabbed this when I saw it listed. I hadn't known Hesse also wrote poetry or about his non-fictional prose. The book also consists of excellent commentary about Hesse and his poetry, smoothly interspersed with excerpts from the poems; in addition, poems presented whole.
    Whereas in Hesse's fiction, his lifelong journey inward towards truth and self-knowledge is depicted, hinted at or pointed to through characterization and dialogue, in these poems, Hesse talks directly to the reader. He speaks as guide, as one who has gone before, sharing knowledge gleaned from many footsteps taken down the path of understanding.

    The reading of this book itself felt like taking such steps, the sound of the language, the ring of its truth, the sense of the author as pilgrim casting thick and delightful aura around the reader.

    Highly recommended.
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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I just read it. In the poem "We Loaf through Life" there are these two lines which I thought were pretty good:

    Only in days of torment and desolation
    we sense the timeless ground of life

    The translator said that writing was a form or prayer for Hesse. I think the opposite could be said for Pablo Neruda whom I've read somewhat. I am amazed how different these two Nobel Laureates were.

    In "Like a Wave" there is this phrase: "mysterious sounds and magical rhymes / seizing the heart and kneading it over the land". Our subjective experience of the sound of a language is the deepest, most pleasurable part of a language. The ideas presented come second, but they are closer to an objective content which a translator can grasp and try to convey. Being able to translate some of the pleasure of the sound is more difficult.

    I enjoyed the book.

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