Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hesse

Earlier today I finished Steppenwolf, which a friend and I are reading for our book club. It's a very resonant novel. When I first read it, about fifteen years ago, it reminded me of me in that its hero was a lover of classical aesthetics trapped in a tidy bourgeois world. That's how I felt, getting away from an isolated, TV-saturated childhood into the poet-quoting, port-swilling, culture-filled world of university. Now, fifteen years later, it reminds me of me in that its hero breaks out of the confines of a classical aesthetic and comes to appreciate to transient beauty and joy in popular culture. That's how I feel, as I've come to realise that if you stick to public broadcasters, classical literature and tweed, you sink into curmudgeonly paralysis and end up despising everyone around you. There's room in life for both the sublime and the ridiculous.


No doubt if I read it again in 2020, it will remind me of me once more, possibly in that its hero stabs his androgynous lover to death while in the grip of a drug-induced hallucination. Or, er, something like that.

2 Comments:

Blogger Toby said...

Great book, as are his Narziss and Goldmund and the Glass Bead Game.

bilious young fogey

7:49 PM  
Blogger MooCow said...

Didn't they do "Magic Carpet Ride?" I love that song...

12:48 PM  

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