The Glass Bead Game

The Glass Bead Game

Summary

In the remote Kingdom of Castalia, the scholars of the Twenty Third century play the Glass Bead Game. The elaborately coded game is a fusion of all human knowledge - of maths, music, philosophy, science, and art. Intrigued as a school boy, Joseph Knecht becomes consumed with mastering the game as an adult. As Knecht fulfils his life-long quest he must contend with unexpected dilemmas and the longing for a life beyond the ivory tower.

Reviews

  • One of the truly important books of the century, in any language
    The Times

About the author

Hermann Hesse

HERMANN HESSE was born in Calw, Germany, in 1877. As a child, he lived for a time in Basle. He spent a short period studying at a seminary in Germany but soon left to work as a bookseller in Switzerland. From 1904 he devoted himself to writing. After a first volume of verse (1899), Hesse established his reputation with a series of lyrical romantic novels-Peter Camenzind (1904), Unterm Rad (The Prodigy, 1906), Gertrud (1910) and the short story, Knulp (1915). After a visit to India in 1911 he moved to Switzerland and worked for the Red Cross during the First World War. He was denounced in Germany and settled permanently in Switzerland, where he established himself as one of the greatest literary figures in the German-speaking world. His humanity, his searching philosophy developed further in such novels as Siddhartha (1922), Der Steppenwolf (1927), Narziss and Goldmund (1930) and Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game, 1943), while his poems and critical writings won him a leading place among contemporary thinkers. Hesse won many literary awards, including the Nobel Prize in 1946. He died in 1962, shortly after his eighty-fifth birthday.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more