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Introduction & Overview of Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Steppenwolf.
This section contains 204 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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Steppenwolf Summary & Study Guide Description

Steppenwolf Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse.

Introduction

Hermann Hesse's novel Der Steppenwolf (English translation, Steppenwolf [1929]), was first published in 1927. It is one of the major novels by the renowned German writer and was extremely popular amongst young people in the United States in the 1960s. The counterculture of that decade took inspiration from the fact that the protagonist of the novel, Harry Haller, makes use of sex and hallucinatory drugs as a means of fulfillment and self-discovery. Haller is a self-hating, fifty-year-old intellectual who despises the bourgeois culture in which he lives. Through encounters with various people, including two prostitutes and a drug-dispensing saxophone player, he embarks on a search for psychic wholeness and spiritual understanding. The novel combines realistic and surrealistic techniques and is strongly autobiographical, since between 1924 and 1926, when he was writing the novel, Hesse went through a crisis similar to that faced by Haller. Like Haller, whose initials the author shares, Hesse felt depressed and tried to shake it off by sensual indulgence. The protagonist of the novel resembles Hesse in other ways, too, including his temperament and his tastes in music and literature. In writing Steppenwolf, Hesse used the stuff of personal experience to create a dense novel that promotes uninhibited psychological exploration and spiritual aspiration.

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This section contains 204 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Steppenwolf Study Guide
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Steppenwolf from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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