On This Day

Hermann Hesse

Nobel Laureate Novelist Hermann Hesse

Profession: Nobel Laureate Novelist


Biography: Hesse was a poet and novelist best known for his novels, particularly 'Steppenwolf' and 'Siddhartha.' These deal with themes of self-becoming. These can be seen to parallel Hesse's own experiences, with him showing signs of a serious depression even in his early school-years.

He was encouraged by his grandfather to read, and given access to his library—through which he found some sense of himself in the world. This would continue when, in 1895, he came to work at a bookshop.

After each day, and on Sundays, he would dedicate himself to reading theology and the writings of Goethe, Greek mythology, and in particular, Nietzsche.

After publishing an initial poem in 1896, and then a collection in 1901, Hesse came to see a way forward as a writer. He married Maria Bernoulli and settled down to start a family.

From this point, he continued his reading—finding influences also in the German romantics, Schopenhauer, theosophy, Indian philosophy, etc. Throughout, he continued to write and search for an authentic spirituality in his own life.

Born: July 2, 1877
Birthplace: Calw, Württemberg, Germany
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: August 9, 1962 (aged 85)

Married Life

  • 1904-08-02 Novelist Hermann Hesse (27) weds Maria Bernoulli
  • 1924-01-11 German-Swiss poet and novelist Hermann Hesse (36) weds Swiss soprano and painter Ruth Wenger (26); divorce in 1927

Historical Events

  • 1946-12-10 German/Swiss novelist Hermann Hesse wins the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style"