cj (4)


Hesse, Hermann. Wandering: Notes and Sketches by Hermann Hesse. Translated by James Wright. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972.

Young, Deanna. House of Dreams. London, ON: Brick Books, 2014.

This collection of poems, prose, and sketches by Hermann Hesse is one of his favourite works, composed while he lived “as a hermit in nature” (1). This 1972 edition is the first English translation of Wandering. One prose piece called “Trees” strikes me in particular; it offers trees, who “preach the ancient law of life,” as a role model for humanity (57). Here is a small extract: 

“A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousands of children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. . . Out of this trust I live. . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all” (57-59). 

This piece in its entirety provides me a theoretical framework for exploring Hesse’s philosophy, which I have been thinking about (via his novels) for many years. I use this particular theory about home to manage my own family experiences and to proceed constructively in my writing. I must admit that Hesse’s sketches and watercolour paintings presented in this book pale in comparison to his writing. Nevertheless he claims, “I might still succeed in escaping literature entirely and making a living at the more appealing trade of painter” (1).