Literary Birthday – 2 July – Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse was born 2 July 1877, and died 9 August 1962.


  1. Every experience has its element of magic.
  2. Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.
  3. Without words, without writing, and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
  4. If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
  5. Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
  6. To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.
  7. When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.
  8. The mind is international and supra-national … it ought to serve not war and annihilation, but peace and reconciliation.
  9. People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
  10. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
  11. Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself
  12. To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning. It is a very serious task, young man, and possibly a tragic one.

Hermann Hesse was a German poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.

Source for image: Unknown author, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 2nd July 2013