Demian, The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth

Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Translated by N. H. Priday

Somewhat autobiographical, this "coming of age" novel unfolds an introspective boy's formative years in pre-World War 1 Germany, from grade school through college. Hesse likens this confusing process to a giant bird struggling to break out of its egg (the protective shell of home, family, social norms), to be reborn as an individuated adult with his own goals, ideas and ideals. Much importance is given to dreams and their interpretation, Fate vs individual choice, Gnosticism (particularly the god Abraxas), opening up to one's unconsciousness, all showing the influence of Carl Jung's psychology. One of the book's major themes is the existence of opposing forces (good vs evil, society vs individualism, God vs Devil, etc.) and the idea that both are natural and necessary parts of the Whole. Adjacent themes are about puberty, sexuality, bullying, loneliness, mentorship, the divine feminine, psychic connections, questioning religious dogma, and the herd mentality.
It is also a story of one soldier’s experience on the battlefield of WWI, feeling part of and being willing to die for a cause outside ones own control.
Due to its controversial themes, Demian was first published under the pseudonym "Emil Sinclair" (the narrator of the story) but Hesse was later revealed to be the author. - Summary by Michele Fry, Soloist

Genre(s): Fictional Biographies & Memoirs

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Introduction, The Story Of Emil Sinclair's Youth Michele Fry
Play 01 Ch 1.1 Two Worlds Michele Fry
Play 02 Ch 1.2 Two Worlds Michele Fry
Play 03 Ch 2.1 Cain Michele Fry
Play 04 Ch 2.2 Cain Michele Fry
Play 05 Ch 3.1 The Thief on the Cross Michele Fry
Play 06 Ch 3.2 The Thief on the Cross Michele Fry
Play 07 Ch 4.1 Beatrice Michele Fry
Play 08 Ch 4.2 Beatrice Michele Fry
Play 09 Ch 5 The Bird Fights Its Way Out of the Egg Michele Fry
Play 10 Ch 6.1 Jacob Wrestles With God Michele Fry
Play 11 Ch 6.2 Jacob Wrestles With God Michele Fry
Play 12 Ch 7.1 Mother Eve Michele Fry
Play 13 Ch 7.2 Mother Eve Michele Fry
Play 14 Ch 8 The Beginning of the End Michele Fry