Hermann Hesse and Latvia





Romanticism, neo-romanticism, synthesis, novel of education, pietism, Moravian Church, vagabund, faustian soul, Platonic Academy, homo ludens, game


Hermann Hesse has kindred relations with Latvia. His grandmother from the father‘s side Jeanette Agnese Lass (1807–1851) was born in Courland. Interesting Hesse’s relation with father’s cousin Monica Hunnius (1858–1934), who wrote a book about writer’s grandfather Carl Hermann Hesse (1802–1896) “My Uncle Hermann. Memoirs about Old Estonia”.

Hesse’s name and creation in Latvian literature appears enough early, at the beginning of XX century. At 1907 the first translation of Hesse’s text was published in Latvian language. Novel “Steppenwolf” has most interesting fate in Latvia. This novel two times was staged in Latvian scene. Hesse is related by the close typologic relations with Latvian Neo-romanticism. One of the most famous neo-romantic poets is Fricis Bārda (1880–1919) for his collection „Earth Son” (1911) as a epigraph selects Hesse‘s verse “I Love Women who Thousand Years ago...” (“Ich liebe Frauen...”). At this context it makes sense to comparison Jānis Poruks (1871–1911) story “The Pearl Fisher” (1895) and Hesse‘s novel “Peter Camenzind” (1904). In both works continue the traditions of the novel of education (Bildungsroman). Poruks and Hesse are related with the Herrnhuters‘ Culture (Moravian Church). Jānis Plaudis (1902–1957) novel “Lynx” by the genre features and the treatment of game reminds Hesse‘s novel “The Glass Bead Game”.

Author Biography

Silvestras Gaižiūnas, Baltoscandian Academy

Aukštaičių g. 3-7, 36208, Panevėžys, Lithuania


Hesse H. Igra v biser [The Glass Bead Game]. Available at: http://lib.ru/GESSE/biser.txt (accessed 1 November 2016). (in Russian).

Hesse H. Peter Camencind [Peter Camenzind]. Available at: http://www.hesse.ru/books/read/?book=peter (accessed 1 November 2016). (in Russian).

Hesse H. Stepnoj volk [Steppenwolf]. In: Sobranie sochinenii : v 8 t. Moscow, Kharkiv, 1994, vol. 3, pp. 223–400. (in Russian).

Meier P. Paracels – doktor i providec [Paracelsus – Doctor and Prophet]. Moscow, 2014, 560 p. (in Russian).

Bārda F. Zemes dēls [Son of the Earth]. In: Raksti divos sējumos [Selected works in two volumes]. Rīga : Liesma, 1990, vol. 1, pp. 19–222. (in Latvian).

Darvina R. Hermaņa Heses pasaulē [In the World of Hermann Hesse]. Rīga, 1987, 286 p. (in Latvian).

Freinberga S. Garīgās enerģijas avoti [Sourse of the Spirituel Energy]. Padomju Jaunatne, 1982, 21 September. (in Latvian).

Hesse H. Geleitwort [Introduction]. In: Mein Onkel Hermann. Erinnerung an Alt-Estland [My Oncle Hermann. Memoirs about Old Estonia]. Erlangen, 1955, pp. 7–8. (in German).

Hesse H. Sämtliche Gedichte in einem Band [Selected poems in one volume]. Frankfurt am Main, 1992, 848 p. (in German).

Hunius M. Mein Onkel Hermann. Erinnerung an Alt-Estland [My Uncle Hermann. Memoirs about Old Estonia]. Erlangen, 1955, 125 p. (in German).

Plaudis J. Sila Runcis [Lynx]. Rīga, 1989, 332 p. (in Latvian).

Poruks J. Pērļu zvejnieks [The Pearls Fisher]. In: Raksti trīs sējumos [Works in tree volumes]. Rīga, 1971, vol.1, pp. 402 – 509. (in Latvian).

Spertāle D. Stepes vilks Dailē [“Steppenwolf” in Daile]. Padomju Jaunatne, 1982, 24 January. (in Latvian).



How to Cite

Gaižiūnas, S. “Hermann Hesse and Latvia”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 94, Dec. 2016, pp. 91-107, doi:10.31861/pytlit2016.94.091.



Poetics. Historical Poetics