My First Blogcritique

How Herman Hesse Changed My Life Forever

Posted by Alienboy on March 20, 2005 09:33 PM (See all posts by Alienboy)
Filed under: Books, Books: Philosophy, Books: SFScroll down to read comments on this story and/or add one of your own.

The Glass Bead Game : (Magister Ludi) A Novel
Hermann Hesse
Book from Picador
Release date: 06 December, 2002

As a callow 16 year old virgin, forced by circumstances beyond my control to take premature control of my life, I had many romantic ideas about the world.

Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game completely revolutionised the way I saw the world, showed me the limitations of fixed beliefs and committed me to a life of transcending the usual life options. Or so it seemed at the time, lol

This is a great, if lengthy, book which repays the persistent reader with a wonderful work of fiction, science fiction, a tantalising concept, the Glass Bead Game itself, and a profound understanding of human nature. Great stuff!

I can’t better the writeup at Amazon, so i’ll quote it

“The final novel of Hermann Hesse, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, The Glass Bead Game is a fascinating tale of the complexity of modern life as well as a classic of modern literature

Set in the 23rd century, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).”

The really great thing is that Knecht (German for servant, I suspect), despite his intellectual brilliance, never forgets the importance of simple human life, indeed comes to value it more highly than intellectual perfection.

Many people are fascinated with the game itself and there many sites devoted to it, notably

More fine reading at

(Magister Ludi) A Novel/Hermann HesseThis post originally made to Blogcritics

2 Replies to “My First Blogcritique”

  1. Ah ha ha, I find it rather funny that you have written this piece since you’ve seem to like to pick my postings apart in rather obnoxious but easily handled fashion. However, you must be a decent fellow if you like Hesse. I’ve read a lot of his stuff, inc. Beneath the Wheel (which I read in 6th grade), Siddartha (which I loathed), Damian (my fave), Steppenwolf (my second fave), Journey to the East and Narcisscus and Goldmund. The one I haven’t yet read but have wanted to forever is The Glass Bead Game. Thanks for reminding me about it. I think 2005 will be the year I finally embark upon it. Have you ever played the game? Have you read any of his other works?

  2. hi mpho,

    this is my first ever comment on a comment on a post on my blog. phew!

    I believe over the years I’ve read every book written by Herman Hesse, but for me this remains his finest work.

    As to the game itself, I suspect I don’t have the necessary discipline to concentrate enough to understand it, let alone play it.

    Hope you manage to read it this year.

Leave a Reply