B.O.S.S. Spiritually Structured Simultaneum #0000000014
Naturally he could have simply acquiesced. But to whose inner reality? To what extent was this evenly contained? Accessible? For a time, he sat and thought. He did not answer the calls of nature’s beckoning, nor the sharp knocks at his door. How deep was this ongoing consolation? The fact that it could indeed be ongoing troubled him. Could it have been one consolation, immeasurable and long reaching, or a series of consolations, each sequentially linked? Yet even if it is not a single consolation infinite in duration, is it possible to have but a single consolation at a single moment in time? No, he thought, this consolation is not distinct, but a sum of all existent consolations, leaving a geometric array sprawled against the axes of centuries, bloating and tightening amidst the push and pull of specific generations, slackening when convenient, contracting when necessary. The next morning he would isolate his individual consolation, his true point of intersection. He closed the window, slept, and discovered:
The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
And reading it is going to be cool for the following reasons:
Herman Hesse might be the archetypal Author of Some Substance. Siddhartha, in little blue paperback form, has landed on pretty much everyone’s school reading list at some point in time. Steppenwolf mixed the indictment of social norms with enough drug use and psychoanalysis to become an easy favorite of the ‘60s. And Demian was the ur-text for youth in revolt, albeit far more spiritual and introspective than America’s beloved adventures of Holden Caulfield.
The arc of Hesse’s writing style is also substantial, ranging from the early romanticism of Peter Camenzind, to the analytical yet inspirational Narcissus and Goldmund, to the deeply ontological tones of The Glass Bead Game. All are delivered through Hesse’s strict prose, sometimes carrying a reputation for being dry and austere, though always working to enact beauty via dedicated detail and conceptual brilliance.
The Glass Bead Game, also widely published under the title of Magister Ludi, is commonly labeled as Hesse’s masterpiece and is known to be an intellectual beast—rightfully so, as it is culmination of a career of self exploration by one of literature’s best.
The Glass Bead Game is by no means an easy read, but I, for one, am certainly pumped to tackle it. Let’s go with a mid-point sometime in February and a finale in late March. Give it some ample time early on, and if we need to adjust the schedule, we’ll do just that.
With studious bellicosity,
B.O.S.S. Host of the Search Party for Self
For our short selection, we’ll be checking out Klingsor’s Last Summer, a story that showed up at the juncture between Hesse’s earlier romantic pieces and his later eastern-influenced philosophical works. It is widely published in paperback form, typically in a package with a few other shorts, so it should be easy enough to track down.