Stephen Bové - Art, Technology, Right Action

Friday, November 26, 2004

Timothy Leary on Herman Hesse

A fascinating essay by Timothy Leary on Herman Hesse:

Huxley, Hesse and The Cybernetic Society

(Part 2 of 2) By Timothy Leary and Eric Gullichsen


Editors Note: The following is the second part of an excerpt from Timothy Leary and Eric Gullicson's unpublished book The Cybernetic Society, written in 1987, which we began in our first issue of Island Views The first part focused on Huxley’s importance to the emerging cybernetic society and this final installment looks at the contributions of the novelist Herman Hesse.


Hermann Hesse, for his part, was born in 1877 in the little Swabian town of Calw, Germany, the son of Protestant missionaries. His home background and education, like Huxley's, was intellectual, classical, idealistic.

No question about it, Huxley was right. The life of H.H. exemplifies change and metamorphosis. If we accept Theodore Ziolkowski's academic perception, "Hesse's literary career parallels the development of modern literature from a fin de siecle aestheticism through expressionism to a contemporary sense of human commitment." To wit:

HESSE: VOICE OF ROMANTIC ESCAPISM?

Hesse's first successful novel, Peter Camenzind, 1904, reflected the frivolous sentimentality of the Gay '90s which, like the Roaring 1920, offered a last fun frolic to a class society about to collapse. Can we compare Hesse during this period with F. Scott Fitzgerald? With M.I.T.'s Huxley?

More here.



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