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"The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
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Author:  Murrill [ Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

hesse wrote:
Murrill wrote:
hesse wrote:
Just as a footnote to the introduction, and to help you understand the world Hesse had recently experienced, it is necessary to understand the reference to Pope Pius XV is actually aimed at Pope Pius XII, please do a search....


Thanks for the clue. I did a search, and I can understand why the author might have taken aim at Pope Pius XII: He refused to publically condemn Germany for atrocities against the Jews, and he deferred to the teaching authority of the Church. It seems he believe the soul, or essence, came first and was followed by being. I've read only the Introduction, but from what I've read in other posts I suspect these themes will feature prominently as the story unfolds.


Think of Pius's character, and then read that he was an avid GBG player at one point....this should dispel any notion that this game is some divinely driven mechanism....

The first question to be asked is "What is Castalia and who put them in charge"....


There seem to be dichotomous reports of Pius' treatment of the Jews and others involved in WWII. It seems that he changed from when he was a cardinal---when he was an avid GBG player, perhaps?---until he was the pope & outlawed the game. I did not think of the GBG as divinely inspired. Rather it seemed more abstract....sort of a "think tank," if you will. Isn't one of the characteristics of the game that its essence, the point of departure, is timeless, unchanging, though it may be enhanced & developed with time as other influences become involved?
As for Castalia: I don't think I am "there" yet, but I appreciate the cue.

Author:  hesse [ Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

The reference to Pius went right by me the first time I read this book...upon rereading it (many times now) it dawned on me that perhaps Hesse was ever so slightly nudging the reader to "read between the lines"....

Author:  Aqueda_Veronica [ Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

I picked out the book from my local library with a hint of hesitation. I don't know that much about German literature and figured that TGBG would be a challenging read. Usually I don't even read introductions, but now all I can say is "Oh wow!". Pleasant surprise :)
If the novel itself will be as fascinating, I am in for a compelling read.

I absolutely LOVED the paragraphs about classical music and music appreciation. Back in college my roommate's major was musicology, so I think I understand the points stated by the narrator.

I was shocked to notice TGBG was written in 1930s/40s cause all the critique of the Feuilleton era sure sounded pretty up to date to me. Do we really need to look any further than reality tv, tabloids, university education depreciation and so on?

Oh, and I don't care what Hesse says, I do love my crossword puzzles ;)

Author:  hesse [ Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Quote:
Oh, and I don't care what Hesse says, I do love my crossword puzzles


Blasphemy! :lol:

Welcome Veronica.....

Author:  hesse [ Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Following a hunch I looked into the latest iteration of the novel and I see they have failed to reprint the Foreword from Theodore Ziolkowski that is contained in my 1970 copy....it is must reading....

http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgu ... seludi.rtf

Author:  Murrill [ Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Aqueda_Veronica wrote:
I was shocked to notice TGBG was written in 1930s/40s cause all the critique of the Feuilleton era sure sounded pretty up to date to me. Do we really need to look any further than reality tv, tabloids, university education depreciation and so on?

Oh, and I don't care what Hesse says, I do love my crossword puzzles ;)


Veronica,
Welcome to the conversation. I am fairly new to this group, and this is my first book discussion. I agree that GBG is pretty intimidating at first glance, and I've made it only a little past the introduction. I keep finding references that I missed at first, things that I suspect will be important. It seems that the novel can be enjoyed on several levels, and I want to drink in all of them.
I, too, was struck by how current were the themes of the Feuilleton era. I was thinking how amused Hesse would be at our culture. Quite prophetic of him, wasn't it?

hesse wrote:
The reference to Pius went right by me the first time I read this book...upon rereading it (many times now) it dawned on me that perhaps Hesse was ever so slightly nudging the reader to "read between the lines"....


I missed it too. I think I need to read the Intro again as I might be more alert to some of the symbolism and veiled references. I wonder why Hesse called the pope Pius XV when it was Pius XII who was the object? There was no Pius XV, was there? I wonder if there is any significance to his choice of numerals.

hesse wrote:
Following a hunch I looked into the latest iteration of the novel and I see they have failed to reprint the Foreword from Theodore Ziolkowski that is contained in my 1970 copy....it is must reading....

http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgu ... seludi.rtf


I agree with Hesse (the forum member): This is in my 1990 edition that I purchased on Amazon. Lots of good insight and historical perspective.

Author:  hesse [ Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Quote:
I missed it too. I think I need to read the Intro again as I might be more alert to some of the symbolism and veiled references. I wonder why Hesse called the pope Pius XV when it was Pius XII who was the object? There was no Pius XV, was there? I wonder if there is any significance to his choice of numerals.


This is an excellent question....and one I can only speculate on....

Pius was Pope when the book was released. I have a suspicion that Hesse was not looking to pick a fight with the Vatican at the time, but still wanted to make a point about the Church's apathy toward the Jewish plight of WWII....

Another curiosity, Hesse has been said to have been thinking that this book was taking place at some future date (24th century), however, references he makes to people and dates throughout the book always tie back to a book written in the then present day (1930's-1940's).......

Author:  lindad_amato [ Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Is anyone reading the 1989 version with the Foreword by Theodore Ziolkowski? He states that Hesse envisioned the narrator as "writing around the beginning of the 25th century." The thesis of this Foreword is that Hesse meant to be ironic and that modern readers should enjoy this and find the humor in the story.

Author:  Murrill [ Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

My edition has Ziolkowski's Foreward, which I found to be enlightening. The reference to Pius, though, is in the narrator's historical report of the development of the GBG. I think the narrator's tone is pseudo-patronizing--for effect--and it is successful.
@Hesse: I suspect you are correct that the author did not want to make an overt criticism of the Catholic Church, and I think he is too clever to make too literal a parody.

Author:  lindad_amato [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

I found the discussion of the Feuilleton Age quite amusing. Why do Justin Bieber's pontifications on American politics come to mind when I read, "In some periods interviews with well-known personalities on current problems were particularly popular." It seems we are currently in another Feuilleton Age; or we never left it.

Author:  Murrill [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

lindad_amato wrote:
I found the discussion of the Feuilleton Age quite amusing. Why do Justin Bieber's pontifications on American politics come to mind when I read, "In some periods interviews with well-known personalities on current problems were particularly popular." It seems we are currently in another Feuilleton Age; or we never left it.


I suspect taht you have identified an example of the author's point: The GBG really is timeless, without beginning or end. I would suggest that the more thing change, the more they remain the same. People are people, regardless of how you dress them.

Author:  lindad_amato [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Murrill,
The Foreword by Ziolkowski has given me an insight to Hesse's irony and I'm really enjoying it. Are you a Hesse devotee? I'd like to read something biographical on him. Do you have any recommendations?
I avoided Siddhartha in the sixties because it was taken so seriously and I'm glad to discover that reading Hesse need not be so.

Author:  Murrill [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

This is my introduction to Hesse, though I am not sure how I missed him. I also enjoy the GBG. The only biographical information I had read is from Wikipedia, which I read prior to beginning this book discussion. He couldn'y get GBG published in Germany. I think it is easy for me to read with too much seriousness, and I am finding that if I simply read without analyzing (at least the first time) that I can absorb it a little better.

Author:  hesse [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

Hehhehheh....nothing like learning how to swim by just diving in....the is Hesse's most complex work, IMO.... and yes linda, Siddhartha is also a must read....

Murill, I would agree with your plan to read with less seriousness, as you will undoubtedly read this book again...let it sink in of it's own merit.....

I'd like to hear reactions to the character Joculator (Losur) Basilieinsis, the 'creator' of the new and improved GBG....sounds like some kind of toxic joke to me.... :lol:

Author:  LanDroid [ Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman

I'm re-enjoying this book - read it first as a senior in high school 1974, so a little more than Mr. Tulip's time lapse - I gather the ringed gas giant Saturn isn't having an effect on me. I agree most of this introduction is surprisingly fresh, the cultural criticisms are spot on in our internet-addled and celebrity worshiping environment. Liked this especially:
Quote:
Since the end of the Middle Ages, intellectual life in Europe seems to have evolved along two major lines. The first of these was the liberation of thought and belief from the sway of all authority. In practice this meant the struggle of Reason, which at last felt it had come of age and won its independence, against the domination of the Roman Church. The second trend, on the other hand was the covert but passionate search for a means to confer legitimacy on this freedom, for a new and sufficient authority arising out of Reason itself. We can probably generalize and say that Mind has by and large won this often strangely contradictory battle for two aims basically at odds with each other.

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