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The Reception of Hermann Hesse by the Youth in the United States

A Thematic Analysis


Carlee Marrer-Tising

Although Hesse's works are the product of an entirely different cultural tradition he was unexplainably popular with the Ameri- can youth during the period from the 1950's through the 1970's. Why was a German author the second most popular author, as in- dicated by a questionnaire sent to students of 91 universities and colleges in the United States in 1974? What did the students read into his works? What did they find in them? Did Hesse contri- bute to the «Counter Culture,» to the interest in exotic religions and the philosophies of the youth of the 50's to the 70's? The literary and sociological aspects of these and other questions are examined in this work.
Contents: Introduction - The Sociological Background - Hesse and Youth - Nature and Wandering - School and the Educational System - The Outsider - The Spirit of the East - Summary and Conclusions.