In Demian, one of the great writers of the twentieth century tells the dramatic story of young, docile Emil Sinclair's descent--led by precocious shoolmate Max Demian--into a secret and dangerous world of petty crime and revolt against convention and eventual awakening to selfhood.
"The electrifying influence exercised on a whole generation just after the First World War by Demian...is unforgettable. With uncanny accuracy this poetic work struck the nerve of the times and called forth grateful rapture from a whole youthful generation who believed that an interpreter of their innermost life had risen from their own midst."...Continua
-- From the Introduction by Thomas Mann
Trama lenta e noiosetta ma il romanzo è ricco di spunti di riflessione. Specie nella seconda parte dove anche le riflessioni interiori della formazione del protagonista prendono corpo.
Come comincia l'avventura umana di Sinclair? Col racconto, con una menzogna.
“Incontrai ancora molte volte la fanciulla che chiamavo Beatrice. Non provavo alcuna commozione, ma sempre una dolce concordanza, un istintivo presentimento: tu sei legata a me, ma non tu, soltanto la tua immagine: tu sei un brano del mio destino.”
“Fa tanto bene sapere che dentro di noi c’è uno che sa tutto, vuole tutto, fa tutto meglio di noi.”
“Io non ero al mondo per fare il poeta, per predicare o dipingere, né questi compiti erano assegnati ad altri. Tutto ciò è secondario. La vera vocazione di ognuno è una sola, quella di arrivare a se stesso. Finisca poeta o pazzo, profeta o delinquente, non è affar suo e in fin dei conti è indifferente. Affar suo è trovare il proprio destino, non un destino qualunque, e viverlo tutto e senza fratture dentro di sé. Tutto il resto significa soffermarsi a metà, è un tentativo di fuga, è il ritorno all’ideale della massa, è adattamento e paura del proprio cuore.”
“Se mi mettessi schiettamente a disposizione del destino senza pretese, sarebbe una cosa più grande e più giusta. Ma non posso. Forse un giorno potrà lei. È difficile, caro giovanotto, è l’unica cosa veramente difficile che ci sia. L’ho sognata di frequente ma non posso, ne ho orrore: non posso vivere così nudo e solitario, anch’io sono un povero diavolo che ha bisogno di cibo e di calore e qualche volta vorrebbe sentire la vicinanza di un suo pari. Chi realmente non vuole altro che il suo destino, non ha più i suoi pari, ma sta solo solo e ha intorno a sé soltanto il gelido spazio dell’universo.”
I could see that why starlet was so entranced in the book and thought so highly of it that she bought me a copy as one of her parting gifts. </p><p>Certainly not a book for everyone, this ostensibly coming-of-age novel should not be taken as the likes of The Catcher in the Rye, Norwegian Wood or Crocodile's note. Why those titles are all good they are fundamentally realistic, bu what is peculiar about Demian is not only that it travels further down into soulsearching, which most novels in the same genre do, but it touches the boundary of spiritualist and occultism and built its thoughts heavily on Jungian psychological archtypes. This was what I meant when I said its not a book for everyone. </p><p>At first it struck me that I might be a bit overaged in reading yet another book with a teenager protagonist, but then I realize the writer was 42 when he wrote Demian, (let alone my __ who is two years my senior). Deep down, perhaps, the soulsearching is a spiritual experience is a transformation from death to reborn and </p><p>- It was not the first time a sensation of this sort surge in me when I finish a title that deeply grasped me, but it was the fiercest time in which I feel acutely what Fr. Hyde said to me once, that writing gives life. </p><p>- Everything originates in the mind – my favorite example, Toru in The Windup bird Chronicle. Arguably a 600-pages of inaction indeed! And yet at the end of the day it was what originates in the mind that makes all the difference. Although one can never deduce from inaction a lack of mental struggles or inner conflict, conversely speaking, rare is the case that intense battling-within-the-self (if pursued resolutely enough) yields inaction. </p><p>At a certain point in the novel Sinclair, our 18 years old protagonist, laments, "I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?" It was certainly a lamentable sentiments and I am sure I am not the only one who felt struck by the line. But to one of those who had quoted, among other writers expressing similar sentiments, the very line I had the following respond: Sinclair, or Hesse himself, was essentially a moralist in his struggle against getting caught up by both 'the luminous world' and the 'world of darkness'. Though even he himself admit that in terms of temperament he resembles more to 'the world of darkness", and that there are certain things he loved simply because it is amoral, one could see how painstakingly he stick to assert his way while assimilate influences - both of which he avows and disown. I didn't know - I would never - what had you, if any at all, gone thru in the struggle which grapsed the both of us and more, but when it boils down to it inaction or indisicion is only a form of self deception that compromised your Self far more then you have realized. Amorality is never really amoral in itself. I certainly share your denunciation of the rigid definition of morality in the dogmatic sense, but at the same time I couldn't go as far as you did and mould morality simply upon an religious-aestheticism. Certainly your felt humilated rather than elated when your reverend si-fu once made you the indecent proposal, even though to him its the most harmoniously natural, even aesthetic direction things could have turned at the moment, I suppose? </p><p>Don't be offended, this is precisely how I wish to illustrate my point. Its unquestionable that perception is the only reality, henceforth everyone lives in his or her own world. This is exactly where morality plays its role - your reality isnt the only reality, and you just can't assert your own by smashing others, insofar as you are a decent person. </p><p>If you can't strike a win-win, the least you can do is not to strike at the expense of others. Minimize the harm of your action, however inevitable it is. This is my morality....Continua