GERTRUDE publishes as part of Hermann Hesse Project

Front cover of Gertrude

Coyote Canyon Press has just published the first of two novels by Hermann Hesse, an endeavor we’re calling our Hermann Hesse Project. Just published is Gertrude. The text for this edition is taken from Adele Lewisohn’s translation of 1915, Gertrude and I, published in New York by The International Monthly.

Gertrude was the first novel by Hermann Hesse published in English and not part of an anthology. The novel deals with the destructive nature of love, its central theme the narrator’s enduring and hopeless passion for Gertrude, whom he meets through their mutual love of music. “Music was important to Hesse,” says Thomas Fasano, who wrote the Introduction to the book. “As a child he loved to listen to the church organ, learned to play the violin, and developed a passion for Chopin. His interest in music and painting and his lifelong association with musicians and painters greatly informed his writing.”

Fasano writes in the Introduction:

Hesse’s pre-World-War-I heroes are esthetes who live only in their own world of dreams, who shrink before bold action. Temperamental artists, they are paralyzed by their chronic indecision and consumed by loneliness—timid souls to whom the art of life and the art of love are forever unobtainable. They ask little of life and expect much. Such is the nature of the child of nature, Peter Camenzind, and the timorous composer, Kuhn. Such too was Hermann Hesse.

The second book in the Hermann Hesse Project will be a rediscovery of sorts: In The Old Sun, a novel published in English over one hundred years ago and essentially lost since then — until now. We’re planning a beautiful edition of the novel both in hardback and Kindle. In The Old Sun was actually Hesse’s first book published in English in the United States. It was part of an anthology called German Classics and has never been published as an individual book until now.


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