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The Ideal of «Heimat» in the Works of Hermann Hesse

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Andreas Kiryakakis

This analysis of the ideal of Heimat in Hesse's Demian, Siddhartha and Steppenwolf is a significant contribution to Hesse scholarship, as well as a fascinating re-evaluation of the culture-bound concept of Heimat itself. Kiryakakis shows how the three novels form a trilogy, with each successive hero expanding upon and benefitting from the experiences of his precursor, and draws parallels between the novels and Hesse's own tenuous relationship to his Heimat. Using both textual and biographical analysis, he examines the three novels within the framework of a continuum, which reflects various developmental stages in the heros' search for the lost ideal of Heimat. Thus he shows how, ultimately, the trilogy not only depicts the development of an individual, but epitomizes the very nature of twentieth-century existence.
Contents: This study analyzes the ideal of Heimat in three thematically linked novels. It depicts the attempts of an individual trying to orient himself in an increasingly hostile and unknowable environment.