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Steppenwolf Mass Market Paperback – 1969

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Book (1969)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000H01VP6
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #143,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Malli on April 18 2002
Format: Paperback
The idea of the divided man is Steppenwolf. If one is to understand what Hesse tries to potray through this character, some basic tenets of Buddhism help..
a) The fundamental problem with man is avidya-ignorance. Because of this he identifies with everything. That which is relative he takes for the absolute. Through grasping and ignorance he identifies with the 'I' and 'Mine'. Thus he creates the ego. He assumes that he is an unity but actually its the ego or 'not self' that gives him this false sense of integrity.
This is the state of Harry Haller before he became Steppenwolf. His being cultured, well-read, scholarly gave him this false sense of the ego. In Mahayanist principles, he is looking at the world with his 'eye of flesh' only.
b) The first step towards enlightenment is to realise the duality of the ego, the I, the mine.
Harry Haller as Steppenwolf - Here Harry realises that infact he is not one. That which is not him he calls as Wolf. He sees in him both man and wolf, kindness and cruelty, love and hate, passion and compassion. But his classifying and categorising mind again divides all these emotions into 'man like' characteristics and 'wolf-like' characteristics.
Though steppenwolf's state of existence cannot be envied, it must be realised that its still better than his false sense of oneness. Here, Hesse is using the concept of the 'Deva eye' - the vision that helps one discern the dualistic aspect of the world because of identification with the ego.
c) Then Harry meets Hermine and Maria, that seedy musician and a gallery of characters. He is thrown into a vortex of sex, debauchery, mundanities. These experiences of Harry are completely different from what he thought of himself as - Man and Wolf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Newman on March 12 2001
Format: Paperback
When I was thirteen and went to many barmitzvahs, chugging down little cups of Manischewitz in a back room was considered exciting and daring. We hardly cared that it was incredibly sweet and not relished by many adults. Manishewitz was wine and the "alcoholic experience". By drinking it, we were participating, we were engaging in adult activity. I seldom drink any of that wine now, though a sip or two over the years keeps me convinced I'm not missing much. As with wines, I think it's fair to say that some books belong to different parts of life. Children's books give way to those meant for teenagers. Then there are some that seem to be exactly right when you've left home, maybe gone to college. Among the latter are Ayn Rand's works, Khalil Gibran, maybe "Catcher in the Rye", Kerouac's "On the Road", and the works of Hermann Hesse. You're young, you're looking for meaning, for the "real you", perhaps for a counterpoint to what you perceive as your parents' suburban inanities. I didn't go through this phase (though I did read Hesse's "Siddhartha")---not because I was so clever, but because I just happened to read other things. That's why now, at the advanced age of 58, I just read STEPPENWOLF for the first time, and that's probably why it reminded me of literary Manischewitz.
Hesse's portrayal of the two sides of one man, a disillusioned intellectual who imagines himself a lone wolf of the steppes amidst the crassness of the bourgeoisie, is carefully executed and probably autobiographical. It is full of philosophizing, fantasies, and dream-like sequences. STEPPENWOLF is a freshman literature teacher's dream---there is endless material for tutorial discussions, for essay topics too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 20 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a product of pure literary and psychological genius. Throughout the course of the last century this work influenced and changed many lives at different levels. I think the key to understanding this book is thinking of it as the Magic Theatre and the Chess Game presented in it: a collection of allegories of life, characters and situations that may be interpreted and arranged by the reader in an almost infinite array of orders, just like the Chess Game in which Harry Haller is taught to control the many aspects and natures of his life and psyche. For example, the character of Hermine could be seen, among other interpretations, as both a symbol of decadence and unsatisfied needs of the flesh and also as a symbol of an introduction to society for the lonely Haller. Her death at Harry's hands could be read as the triumph of the Man part in which Harry rids himself of his frustrated desires and decadent tendencies in order to continue a life of contemplation and self-study, but it could also mean a triumph of the Wolf part in which Harry severs his awakening ties with society and "normal" life. I believe that this infinite array of possible interpretations demonstrates that this book does not contain a whole truth, but a particular kind of truth determined by each reader's experience and personality, in direct link to the aspects of Freudian psychology that Hesse carries out through the story. This makes it the perfect triumph of union between Author and Reader at a profoundly personal level, and a masterful testimony to Hesse's genius. He gives us the pieces of our own little Chess Game, and he gives us the doors of our own Magic Theatre.Read more ›
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