How to find Hermann Hesse in English?
September 25, 2012 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Hermann Hesse apparently published a book called Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte (Trees: Reflections and Poems) and I'm trying to find a version in English, because it sounds awesome. Look.

I say "apparently" because while the book is readily available in Amazon, it doesn't seem to appear in any of the bibliographies. Also, it was published a long time after the dude died, so it was clearly published by someone else. Mysteries, people. Our sort of thing, yes?
posted by Cobalt to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Worldcat lists the following editions along with what looks like editorial credits, so if looks like a posthumous anthology of sorts. Not a single reference to an English translation, and the only quote I find is the one referenced in your link. (rendered into English) has some further information a recent edition, along with a review.
posted by jquinby at 7:52 AM on September 25, 2012

For what it's worth, there are listed in the bibliography on the German Wikipedia entry for Hesse works called Gedichte and Betrachtungen, so maybe the one that webpage is referencing is an anthology of those two works - Reflections and Poems in English.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:15 AM on September 25, 2012

So the translation in the blog post is by the author of the blog?
posted by goethean at 8:26 AM on September 25, 2012

Best answer: Reflections was published 1971(1974 in English translation); so isn't this same book. I was just looking through it because I'd thought it might be. It's possible it may contain some of the content, though. It's a collection of short passages of a similar nature, though organized into topics like politics; reality and imagination; humor; happiness; etc.

There are a couple of other collections of non-fiction pieces from him that have fallen out of print(he's not well-maintained in English beyond the novels) that can be found used at pretty affordable prices, though. My Belief probably also fits here thematically, if again doesn't have the same actual content. If someone finds a section/chapter listing, I can check against the books I have.
posted by Su at 8:27 AM on September 25, 2012

Best answer: Hermann Hesse has never published a book like this. The referenced title is what is called a "Lesebuch", a collection of different works from the author on a topic selected by an editor. Essentially the editor took everything he could find about trees written by Hesse and bundled it together. There is no english translation.

The Brainpickings-source seem to just have copied the text from goodreads.
posted by KMB at 8:59 AM on September 25, 2012

Response by poster: Dammit, apparently that's all there is to that piece. Look.

I was hoping it was part of a larger essay.

Thanks, Gentle MefiFolk
posted by Cobalt at 6:34 PM on September 25, 2012

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