Rediscovered Novel by Hermann Hesse, In the Old Sun, published by Coyote Canyon Press

Hermann HesseHermann Hesse’s early novel, In the Old Sun, has been reissued by Coyote Canyon Press.

One of Herman Hesse’s earliest novels, In the Old Sun (In der alten Sonne) was completed in 1904. The story is of novella length and comes long before the novels that were to make Hesse famous in the decades after World War II.

In the Old Sun

Paperback cover

In his early years as a writer, Hesse turned memories of his childhood home of Cawl—called “Gerbersau,” after a favorite fishing spot on the Nagold River—into a steady flow of Novellen, which kept his coffers replenished; and the ranks of his reading public kept growing. “In der alten Sonne,” one of these recollective tales, was first published in Hesse’s Nachbarn (1908), a collection of five works of fiction about the natives of his birthplace.

The novel was first published in English in 1914 in Volume XIX of The German Classics: Masterpieces of German Literature by the German Publication Society. The twenty illustrated volumes in the series were edited by Kuno Francke. The publishing house, which was created specifically for this series, went bankrupt soon after the German U-boat sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania in 1915. One outcome of the Great War was that America’s taste for German literature and culture dissipated overnight.

The translation by A[lexis] I[renée] du P[ont] Coleman is fairly modern. However, the text contains one slight error that merits correcting: the reference to one of the main characters, Heller, as a “sailmaker” is inaccurate; in the original German he is referred to as a Seiler, a rope maker. In addition to this correction, antiquated punctuation has been silently modernized.

Coyote Canyon Press is proud to bring back into print this “lost novel” by Hermann Hesse.

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