Beneath the Wheel: A Novel (Paperback)
As a teen I was an avid reader of Hesse's novels. Recently I came across Beneath the Wheel, which I had never read, and was immediately drawn into the story. Hans Giebenrath is a young man from a small German town who shows great promise as a scholar, yet there is something dreary and soul-deadening in his pursuit of an intellectual life at the expense of the spiritual--even though he is studying to become a pastor. All this just to please his father and the larger community. This is a novel about conformity and non-conformity, a book that captures Hans's inner life with lyricism and grace, and questions the values of the bourgeois life and the way it grinds Hans down. Hesse is a writer of great distinction. I look forward to revisiting more of his work.— From Greg
In Hermann Hesse's Beneath the Wheel, Hans Giebernath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only with more crushing assignments. When Hans befriends a rebellious young poet, he begins to imagine other possibilities outside the narrowly circumscribed world of the academy. Finally sent home after a nervous breakdown, Hans is revived by nature and romance, and vows never to return to the gray conformity of the academic system.
About the Author
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a German poet and novelist. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. He was the author of works including Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Demian.
Michael Roloff contributed to Peter Camenzind from Picador.
“A remarkable mixture of affection, gentle humor, compassion, light irony, bitterness, and cold, angry indignation.” —The Sacramento Bee
“Can be read for sheer pleasure. Hesse's peculiarly supple lyricism, his brittle irony, and his stunning descriptions of nature are marvelously carried over into the English.” —The Saturday Review
“[A] Black Forest Catcher in the Rye, a work infused with that sense of homesickness that Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., quite rightly said was so prominent in Hesse's novels.” —The National Observer