The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 2, 2016

July 2, 1877

Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 to August 9, 1962) won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946 and a major reason for this was his 1943 book, The Glass Bead Game. Therein we read about the miracles some men can perform. A traveler recalls this snippet overheard:

They can tame lions, I tell you. One of them was so holy that his tame lions actually dug him his grave when he died, neatly scraped the earth into a mound over him, and for a long time two of them kept watch over the grave day and night.

The possibilities for the human intellect is a theme that ran through Hesse's work. In
Steppenwolf (1927) referring to the effect of music on the German spirit he writes:

We intellectuals, instead of fighting this tendency like men and rendering obedience to the spirit, the Logos, the Word, and gaining a hearing for it, are all dreaming of a speech without words that utters the inexpressible and gives form to the formless.

And also of interest, elsewhere:

[N]one of us intellectuals is at home in reality. We are strange to it and hostile. That is why the part played by intellect even in our own German reality, in our history and politics and public opinion, has been so lamentable a one.

Hesse's good friend Thomas Mann  shared his concerns: their friendship extended over 50 years. Another reason for Hesse's Nobel was the fact  Mann (Nobel Laureate from 1929) kept nominating Hesse for one.

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