Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Linehan, Uschi
Department of German research seminar series
Knecht’s changing concept of Self in Hermann Hesse’s Das Glasperlenspiel
University College Cork
Invited Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
During 1931-1942, Hesse wrote his magnum opus Das Glasperlenspiel. In 1943 it was published in Switzerland and subsequently in Germany in 1946 after the Second World War ended. The novel is a product of over ten years’ work and reflection, representing the culmination of his literary career and is widely regarded as his greatest novel. Its long genesis is reflected in the complexities of structure and its narrative perspectives as well as his distinctive narrative style. Three years after the initial publication of the book in 1946, Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. After almost thirty-five years of being groomed inside the walls of the elite, fictional, pedagogical province school Castalia, Knecht masters Das Glasperlenspiel (which appears to stand for Knecht's ideal model of the Jungian static concept of the Self archetype) and attains the highest position as Magister Ludi or Master of the Glass Bead Game. Having conversed with the various characters in the novel who could be perceived as his Jungian archetypal images, Knecht decides to leave Castalia and become individuated by experiencing the Nietzschean concept of Dionysian self-excess.