“Narcissus and Goldmund”

Better late than never. I finally read Hermann Hesse’s masterpiece, “Narcissus and Goldmund, ” and I am the better for it. As others who have read it can attest, this is an outstanding human story. While the bulk of the book focuses on Goldmund’s adventures, it seemed to me that a key question is what will the wise Narcissus do with what he has learned? I would like there to have been a sequel. Who can not love these two characters, so different yet both trying to find their ways in their own way. My only complaint with Hesse is that, when speaking through Narcissus, he seems to claim that there is a dichotomy among people wherein there are only two good types: the thinker (living in ideas) and the artist (living in images). He discounts the mystic (the thinker living in images) as evil or unhappy. I believe this is a lack of imagination and demonstrates a common error people make (especially today) – applying the specific (anecdotal) to the general. Who are we to judge the heart of another? And that is why Goldmund is so beloved by Narcissus in the first place.
A first class work of literature!

— Keefer

 

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