Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse, takes me back to my college days when I first was introduced to the likes of him, Knut Hamsun, Celine, Nikolai Gogol, and Ken Keesey. Even reading it today, I’m taken back to collegial times.
Some years ago the Steppenwolf, who was then approaching fifty, called on my aunt to inquire for a furnished room. He took the attic room on the top floor and the bedroom next it, returned a day or two later with two trunks and a big case of books and stayed nine or ten months with us.
He lived by himself very quietly, and but for the fact that our bedrooms were next door to each other—which occasioned a good many chance encounters on the stairs and in the passage—we should have remained practically unacquainted. For he was not a sociable man. Indeed, he was unsociable to a degree I had never before experienced in anybody. He was, in fact, as he called himself, a real wolf of the Steppes, a strange, wild, shy—very shy—being from another world than mine.
Hermann Hesse was a German-born poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Find out more about Herman Hesse…