Roberts, P., From West to East and Back Again An Educational Reading of Hermann Hesse’s Later Work, (Sense Publishers) 2012
Of all the great Western novelists of the twentieth century, the German writer Hermann Hesse is arguably one of the most important for educationists. Paying particular attention to Hesse’s last novel, The Glass Bead Game, and its immediate predecessor, The Journey to the East, this book suggests that Hesse was a man of the West who turned to the idea of ‘the East’ in seeking to understand himself and his society. From these later texts a rich, complex theory of educational transformation emerges. From West to East and Back Again examines the role of dialogue and uncertainty in the transformative process, considers utopian and ritualistic elements in Hesse’s work, and explores the notion of education serving as a bridge between life and death. Hesse’s novels address philosophical themes and questions of enduring significance, and this book will appeal to all who share an interest in human striving and growth.