December 28, 2016 Growing-up novel, Novel

Demian is a philosophical novel, gloomy and mystical. We can consider it autobiographical as well – it is said in the foreword to the novel. It is a famous work, which had a huge impact on the writer’s further work, and the great Thomas Mann compared this book with The Sorrows of Young Werther. It is the story about a human being and how he is growing up and becoming a young man, who step by step moves farther away from the hypocritical norms of public morality and more and more reveals for himself his deep, dark personality. He is assisted by a mysterious friend of Demian – either the devil, or the mysterious deity, or just  the product of the imagination of the main character…

In the book, in theory, there are two main characters, as well as those who appear only for a couple of chapters, but also plays an important role and makes some changes. But missing the fact that the narrative is conducted only from one of the main characters – my attention was definitely focused on the second one. In any case, the title of the novel is his name – Demian. Who is Demian? Who knows. From the first pages he is a mystery and the word “demonic” is consonant with surname of this person for a reason. For a reason, because  this demonic side of Demian that so much subjugated the hero-narrator that he was already unable to think and make independent decisions, wondering what Max did at this moment, whether he was far away, trying to explain and determine for himself the essence each of his actions. Hesse is a genius for me after this book – is it possible to describe a person’s emotional experiences and his inner confrontations better? Perhaps Max Damian is worked better than these descriptions. Max Demian is a man to whom a whole half of the narrative is dedicated. His appearance is sometimes described to the smallest detail. Max Demian is a man who think in unusual way. Unusual thoughts and views of Demian are of great importance. A lot of attention is paid to them. Finally, Max Demian is a man who, after all this, still remains incomprehensible person to me, the image of which I do not want to parse, because the mystery and sometimes demonic mood of him is his charm. It is really a good novel that I want to recommend to all fans of Herman Hesse.

About the author

Jonathan Schindler: