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Hermann Hesse Today / Hermann Hesse Heute

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In November 2002, an international conference was held at the Institute of Germanic Studies in London in order to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Hermann Hesse’s birth. Twenty distinguished speakers from North and South America, Russia, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom attended the three-day conference with the specific aim of exploring the continuing importance of this widely read German-language author. This volume brings together the various responses to the complex challenge that Hesse, whose sheer success is sometimes seen as detracting from his status, presents to literary scholarship around the world. The author’s current image among readers and scholars is approached from several distinct thematic and theoretical perspectives, with the objective of providing a concise overview of current research. The volume offers new readings of a number of Hesse’s seminal works and makes a significant contribution to academic research into his past and present standing as a global icon. As the title suggests, the focus is on ‘Hermann Hesse Today’. The book investigates his current significance for a modern readership, taking account of his importance in the lecture theatre and classroom, the multi-facetted applicability of his moral, ethical and aesthetic concerns in the context of a fragmented world, and the continuing relevance of his writings. With the ever-increasing importance of modern preoccupations such as the ecological movement or the growth of the internet, a fresh look at Hesse’s works is long overdue. The most obvious sign of this is the appearance of a definitive, historical-critical edition of his works (prose, poetry, and literary criticism), which will give access to much hitherto unpublished material and stimulate fresh debates on an author who ranks among the best-known and most influential figures of the twentieth century. This volume will be of interest to teachers of German in higher education and their students as well as researchers and the general readership that continues to take an interest in Hesse on both sides of the Atlantic.

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