Hermann Hesse with his parents 1899

© Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin


Throughout his life, Hermann Hesse was a seeker. This is reflected not only in his outstanding literary works, which in 1946 won him the Nobel Prize, but also in his resume. In his home town of Calw, where he was born on July 2, 1877, he spent his youth in the bosom of his family - formative years that found their way into many of his books. Maulbronn, Tübingen and Basel were among the other places Hesse lived. In 1904, he moved to an old farmhouse in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance to embark on a career as a freelance writer. In 1911, he made a journey to India, and moved to Switzerland a short time later, living first in Berne and later in Montagnola (Tessin), where he entered his most prolific period as a writer, and where he also died in 1962. The task of overcoming personal crises is one of the defining elements of Hesse's work, though other issues such as religion and politics also feature prominently.