Steppenwolf Hermann Hesse 1927

Reviewer: Rebecca; 16 April 2020

I read this book in March 2020 at the beginning of the Corvid 19 hysteria outbreak. I had read it many years before as a teenager, and remembered the basic premise, that society contains certain troubled outstanding individuals who are outside the lumpen pack of humanity, they suffer, are different and outcasts, but pull the safe, secure, majority along with them. I got it off the shelf again because I thought it would explain some of the madness of spring 2020, and for me it did. There is much more to it than the idea above. Hesse has a loathing for the middle classes, the bourgeoisie for its longing for safety, comfort and self interest and I believe in his own life was forced to leave Germany because of the unthinking views expressed by educated and working people alike. He could do nothing to bring people to their senses and so left. Steppenwolf is full of Hesse's anguish, his struggle to make sense of what was happening and he produces profound ideas to explain it. I found strong parallels, it was a relief to 'speak' to someone who had thought more deeply, but facing his stark truth made me unhappier. If there was somewhere to go where the population had resisted the madness and used sense, like Hesse, I would go there.