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Tema: Herman Hesse ~ Herman Hese  (Pročitano 63144 puta)
02. Maj 2005, 11:51:05
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Sadržaj

Strana 1

- Ravena
- Zavodnik
- Biti sretan
- Magister Ludi

Strana 9

- The poems of knechht’s student
- The three

Strana 10

- Demijan

Strana 16

- Sidarta

Strana 17

- Narcissus and Goldmund

Strana 19

- Gertrude



Ravena

Sve gospe u Raveni kriju,
uz dobok pogled, ljupke kretnje,
u sebi sećanja na prošlost
tog grada, praznike i šetnje.

A plaču tiho, poput dece,
ko iz dubina bol da klija,
i kad se smeju, to izgleda
uz tužni tekst svetla melodija.

I molitve će, poput dece,
nežno, s uživanjem da kažu,
i ljubavnu reč kazivati,
ne znajući da samo lažu.

I poljupce će hteti da daju
i neobično i predano,
o tom životu znajući samo
da svima nam je umreti.
« Poslednja izmena: 26. Okt 2006, 13:25:30 od Makishon »
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Underpromise; overdeliver.

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Zavodnik

Pred mnogim vratima sam čekao,
Na mnoga uha šapnuo svoju pesmu.
I uvek kad se usta jedna predavala
i žeđ bila ugašena, jedna blažena iluzija u grob bi silazila…

Ostalo bi samo telo u prevarenoj ruci.
Poljupci koje strašno moljah,
duge noći koje grozničavo iščekivah…
na kraju behu kao zgažen cvet,
bez mirisa nestala lepota.
Iz mnogih postelja ustao bih tužan
kad je žudnja postala mi navika.

Bežeć' od užitka tražio sam san
opet novu želju i svoju samoću…
taj užitak moje je prokletstvo
jer nesrećnim me čini
da svaki san o njoj stvarnost uništava.

Oklevajući, ruku ka novom cvetu pružam,
da novom uhu svoju pesmu šapnem:

Brani se, najlepša moja, zakopčaj haljinu svoju,
opčini me, izmuči me nikad mi ne reci DA.
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Underpromise; overdeliver.

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Biti sretan

U životu ne postoji nikakva dužnost
osim dužnosti: biti sretan.
Samo smo zato na svijetu,
a sa svim dužnostima,
svim moralom
i svim zapovijedima
rijetko činimo jedno drugoga sretnim,
jer i sebe time ne činimo sretnima.
Ako čovjek može biti dobar,
može to samo onda
kada je sretan,
kada u sebi ima sklada
dakle kada voli.
To je bilo učenje,
jedino učenje na svijetu.
To je rekao Isus,
To je rekao Buda,
To je rekao Hegel.
Za svakoga je na ovome svijetu
jedino važno
njegovo vlastito najunutarnjije,
njegova duša,
njegova sposobnost da voli.
Ako je ona u redu,
onda je svejedno
jede li se proso ili kolači,
nose li se dragulji ili rite;
onda svijet zvuči zajedno s dušom,
onda je dobro.
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Magister Ludi
(The Glass Bead Game)

Hermann Hesse

Translated from the German
Das Glasperlenspiel
by Richard and Clard Winston

with a Forword by
Theodore Ziolkowski





Back Cover:

   This is Hesse's last and greatest work, a triumph of imagination which won for him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Described as "sublime" by Thomas Mann, admired by André Gide and T. S. Eliot, this prophetic novel is a chronicle of the future about Castalia, an elitist group formed after the chaos of the 20th-century's wars. It is the key to a full understanding of Hesse's thought.
   Something like chess but far more intricate, the game of Magister Ludi known as the Glass Bead Game is thought in its purest form, a synthesis through which philosophy, art, music and scientific law are appreciated simultaneously. The scholar-players are isolated within Castalia, an autonomous elite institution devoted wholly to the mind and the imagination. . .
   
"Part romance, part philosophical tract, part Utopian fantasy. Its theme is one that preoccupied Hesse earlier: the conflict between, and the need to synthesize, thought and action, intellect and the flesh. . . A fascinating novel, well translated at last."
   -- Book-of-the-Month Club News
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Foreword
By Theodore Ziolkowski

   THE GLASS BEAD GAME, Hermann Hesse's last major work, appeared in Switzerland in 1943. When Thomas Mann, then living in California, received the two volumes of that first edition, he was dumbfounded by the conspicuous parallels between Hesse's "Tentative Sketch of the Life of Magister Ludi Joseph Knecht" and the novel that he himself was writing, Doctor Faustus (1947). For all their differences in mood, style and theme, both works employ a similar fiction: a pleasant though somewhat pompous narrator recounts, with a sympathy matched only by his pedantry, the life of a man whom he loves and admires. Since in each case the narrator is incapable of fully comprehending the problematic genius of his biographical subject, an ironic tension is produced between the limited perspective of the narrator and the fuller vision that he unwittingly conveys to the reader. Both authors were obsessed, in addition, with the self-destructive course of modern civilization, and this concern pervades both novels. But Mann's view is more immediate. His narrator, Serenus Zeitblom, can see and hear the exploding bombs of World War Two as he writes, and the spectacular career of the composer Adrian Leverkühn parallels with ominous precision the history of Germany from the declining Empire through the shortlived brilliance of the Weimar Republic to the raging madness of National Socialism. In Hesse's novel, in contrast, that same period is described with the detachment of a narrator looking back at the "Age of the Feuilleton" from a vantage point in the distant future. Unlike Mann's Leverkühn, Hesse's Joseph Knecht succeeds in analyzing the dangers of an excessive aestheticism and acts to avert the catastrophe of intellectual irresponsibility. In both novels, finally, the authors slyly weave their experience of our culture into a pastiche of hidden quotations and characters à clef.
   Thomas Mann, immediately sensing that the serious theme of Hesse's novel was enclosed within "a cunning artistic joke," recognized the source of its humor in "the parody of biography and the grave scholarly attitude." But people won't dare to laugh, he wrote Hesse. "And you will be secretly annoyed at their dead-earnest respect." Hesse was pleased that his friend had put a finger on the comic aspect of the novel, but Mann's prediction was correct. In the quarter-century since its publication, The Glass Bead Game has enjoyed the adulation customarily awarded to literary "classics." Indeed, largely on its merits Hesse received in 1946 the Nobel Prize for which Mann, among others, had repeatedly nominated him. Hesse's opus magnum was one of the first works by a distinguished emigré to be published in Germany after the war, and it has been regularly reprinted there since 1946. The book was dutifully translated into English, Swedish, French, Spanish, Italian, and other languages. But the novel, whose title has supplied us with one of those imagistically suggestive catchwords for our age, like "the Waste Land" or "the Magic Mountain," has suffered the fate of many classics -- it is less frequently read than cited, more often studied than appreciated. In Germany many readers, blandly ignoring the implicit criticism in the novel, tended to see in Hesse's cultural province nothing but a welcome Utopian escape from the harsh postwar realities. More discerning European critics have usually been so preoccupied with the fashionably grave implications that they have neither laughed at its humor nor smiled at its ironies.
   In part these one-sided readings are understandable, for the humor is often hidden in private jokes of the sort to which Hesse became increasingly partial in his later years. The games begin on the title-page, for the motto attributed to "Albertus Secundus" is actually fictitious. Hesse wrote the motto himself and had it translated into Latin by two former schoolmates, who are cited in Latin abbreviation as the editors: Franz Schall ("noise" or Clangor) and Feinhals ("slender neck" or Collo fino). The book is full of this "onomastic comedy" that appealed to Thomas Mann, also a master of the art. Thus Carlo Ferromonte is an italianized form of the name of the author's nephew, Karl Isenberg, who assisted Hesse with the music history that is interwoven with the history of the Glass Bead Game. The "inventor" of the Game, Bastian Perrot of Calw, gets his name from Heinrich Perrot, the owner of a machine shop where Hesse once worked for a year after he dropped out of school. The figure of Thomas von der Trave is a detailed and easily recognizable portrait of Thomas Mann, who was born in the town of Lübeck on the river Trave. In the person of Fritz Tegularius, Hesse has given us his interpretation of the brilliant but unbalanced character of Friedrich Nietzsche. And Tegularius' spiritual opponent in the novel, Father Jacobus, borrows some of his words and most of his ideas from Nietzsche's antagonist, the historian Jakob Burckhardt. The reader who fails to catch these sometimes obscure references is not only missing much of the fun of the book, he is also unaware of its implications in the realm of cultural history and criticism.
   The reception of The Glass Bead Game in this country has been affected by other factors as well. The book has been available since 1949 under the misleading title Magister Ludi. But if it failed to make an impact, this was due equally to the translation by Mervyn Savill, which fails to bring out its irony, and to the fluctuations of Hesse's reputation in the United States. Although Hesse's stature was recognized in Europe (where he was praised by such admirers as Thomas Mann, André Gide, and T.S. Eliot) for some thirty years before he received the Nobel Prize, Time magazine noted in 1949 that his works were still virtually unknown here. His eightieth birthday, widely celebrated abroad, passed unnoticed in the United States in 1957. And when Hesse died in 1962, a New York Times obituary stated that he was "largely unapproachable" for American readers. This neglect is due in part to the introspective, lyrical quality of his novels, which depart radically from the more realistic tradition that dominated American fiction between the world wars. But another circumstance is probably more important in accounting for the lack of interest in his works for a good fifteen years after he received the Nobel Prize. Hesse's novels fictionalize the admonitions of an outsider who urges us to question accepted values, to rebel against the system, to challenge conventional "reality" in the light of higher ideals. For almost two decades after World War Two our society was characterized largely by the button-down-collar mentality of a silent generation whose goal it was to become a part of the establishment and to reap its benefits as rapidly as possible. Such ages have little use for critics of the system and prophets of the ideal.
   But times have changed, and Hesse has suddenly become -- to use a current shibboleth -- relevant. But relevance resides in the mind of the perceiver, and the under-thirty generation that has embraced Hesse in the sixties as an underground classic is better known for its rebelliousness than for its sense of irony. As a result, the Hesse cult in the United States has revolved primarily around such painfully humorless works as Demian and Siddhartha, in which readers have discovered an anticipation of their infatuation with Eastern mysticism, pacifism, the search for personal values, and revolt against the establishment. Those who have gone on to Steppenwolf have greeted it as a psychedelic orgy of sex, drugs, and jazz, but have conveniently overlooked the ironic attitude through which those superficial effects are put back into perspective by the author. It was partly as a reaction against such self-indulgent interpretations, which he encountered as much as forty years ago, that Hesse undertook The Glass Bead Game.
   What is the "Glass Bead Game"? In the idyllic poem "Hours in the Garden" (1936), which he wrote during the composition of his novel, Hesse speaks of "a game of thoughts called the Glass Bead Game" that he practiced while burning leaves in his garden. As the ashes filter down through the grate, he says, "I hear music and see men of the past and future. I see wise men and poets and scholars and artists harmoniously building the hundred-gated cathedral of Mind." These lines depict as personal experience that intellectual pastime that Hesse, in his novel, was to define as "the unio mystica of all separate members of the Universitas Litterarum" and that he bodied out symbolically in the form of an elaborate Game performed according to the strictest rules and with supreme virtuosity by the mandarins of his spiritual province. This is really all that we need to know. The Glass Bead Game is an act of mental synthesis through which the spiritual values of all ages are perceived as simultaneously present and vitally alive. It was with full artistic consciousness that Hesse described the Game in such a way as to make it seem vividly real within the novel and yet to defy any specific imitation in reality. The humorless readers who complained to Hesse that they had invented the Game before he put it into his novel -- Hesse actually received letters asserting this! -- completely missed the point. For the Game is of course purely a symbol of the human imagination and emphatically not a patentable "Monopoly" of the mind.
   The Game, in turn, is the focal point and raison d'être of an entire province of the spirit called Castalia (from the Parnassian spring sacred to the Muses) and located in an unspecified future. (Hesse has indicated that he thought of his narrator as writing around the beginning of the twenty-fifth century.) But again Hesse makes it clear that he is not predicting a specific utopia but, rather, trying to represent the model of a reality that has actually existed from time to time in such orders as the Platonic academies or yoga schools. It is "a spiritual culture worth living in and serving," he explained to one correspondent. Castalia, in other words, represents any human institution devoted wholly and exclusively to affairs of the mind and imagination. As such, the spiritual province of the novel constitutes the goal of a search upon which Hesse had been embarked for many years. But this last novel is at the same time the document of an intense personal crisis, for it depicts not only the fulfillment of a long sought ideal, but also its ultimate rejection.
   Hesse's literary career parallels the development of modern literature from a fin de siècle aestheticism through expressionism to a contemporary sense of human commitment. Born in the Black Forest town of Calw in 1877, Hesse in his youth reflected the neo-romanticism then prevalent among many writers of his generation in England, France, and Germany. The misty yearnings of his earliest stories and poems display the frank escapism of a young man who is not at all at home in the bourgeois reality of Wilhelmine Germany and who projects his dreams into a romantic kingdom that he locates, according to the title of one work, "An Hour beyond Midnight." But the success of his first major novel, Peter Camenzind (1904), reconciled the young writer, at least temporarily, with a world that was prepared to bestow upon him the material rewards of literary fame. From aestheticism he shifted to the melancholy realism that marked his next poems and stories as well as the novels Under the Wheel (1906), Gertrude (1910), and Rosshalde (1914). Putting aside his romantic longings, he assumed the role of a settled family man who advocated in his fictions a bittersweet doctrine of renunciation and compromise.
   But the war brought a radical change. Hesse, who had been living in Switzerland since 1912, found that his outspoken pacifism alienated many of his former friends and readers, who succumbed to the wave of martial exhilaration sweeping over Europe in August of 1914. Meanwhile, family and marital difficulties shattered the illusion of a happy life that he had carefully sought to preserve for some ten years. A lengthy psychoanalytic treatment at the hands of a disciple of Jung in 1916 and 1917 completed his disillusionment with his present state and the process of psychic re-evaluation. Hesse came to the conclusion that he had been living a lie and denying the authentic impulses of his own being. In 1919 he moved to the village of Montagnola, near Lugano in southern Switzerland, where he lived in relative seclusion until his death in 1962. Here he wrote most of the major works for which he has subsequently become famous and in which he sought to discover a more mature ideal of the spirit to replace that "reality" with which he had become disenchanted.
   In several essays that he wrote around 1920 -- most notably in pieces on Nietzsche and Dostoevsky -- Hesse argued that men must seek a new morality that, transcending the conventional dichotomy of good and evil, will embrace all extremes of life in one unified vision. A later essay, "A Bit of Theology" (1932), outlines the three-stage progression toward this goal. The child, he says, is born into a state of unity with all being. It is only when the child is taught about good and evil that he advances to a second level of individuation characterized by despair and alienation; for he has been made aware of laws and moral codes, but feels incapable of adhering to the arbitrary standards established by conventional religious or moral systems since they exclude so much of what seems perfectly natural. A few men -- like the hero of Siddhartha or those whom Hesse calls "the Immortals" in Steppenwolf -- manage to attain a third level of awareness where they are once again capable of accepting all being. But most men are condemned to live on the second level, sustained only by a sense of humor through which they neutralize oppressive reality and by an act of the imagination through which they share from time to time in the kingdom of the Immortals, the realm of spirit.
   Hesse's novels trace this struggle in the lives of heroes set against backgrounds from different ages of civilization. In each case the triadic rhythm of development is the same; only the historical circumstances differ. In Demian (1919) the milieu is that of the student generation of the turbulent years immediately preceding World War I. The hero of Siddhartha (1922) progresses through the three stages in the classical India of Buddha. Steppenwolf (1927) ironically depicts the dilemma of a European intellectual confronted with the tawdry pop culture of the twenties, while the dual protagonists of Narcissus and Goldmund (1930) act out their individuation in the waning of the Middle Ages. In the thinly veiled symbolic autobiography of The Journey to the East (1932), finally, the hero joins a League of Journeyers to the East in a timeless present set sometime after "the Great War." Each novel postulates the possibility of a spiritual kingdom toward which the hero strives, whether he reaches it or not.
   Castalia is clearly another attempt, this time projected into the future, to represent this same ideal: a symbolic realm where all spiritual values are kept alive and present, specifically through the practice of the Glass Bead Game. In this sense, then, the novel was originally envisaged as yet another variation in Hesse's continuing search for a spiritual dimension of life, for it depicts a future society in which the realm of Culture is set apart to pursue its goals in splendid isolation, unsullied by the "reality" that Hesse had grown to distrust.
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   The Glass Bead Game was a continuation and intensification in another sense as well. Hesse was aware of the fact that his earlier novels had employed the same basic pattern of individual development against different historical backgrounds. He now decided to incorporate this structural tendency into a single new novel. The idea that came to him, he wrote to a friend in 1945, was "reincarnation as a mode of expression for stability in the midst of flux." Long before he began writing, he remarks, he had in mind "an individual but supratemporal life. . . a man who experiences in a series of rebirths the grand epochs in the history of mankind." The novel, in other words, was to consist of a number of parallel lives, ranging through time, presumably, from the prehistoric past to the remote future. But the emphasis was to be distributed evenly among the parts. "The book is going to contain several biographies of the same man, who lives on earth at different times -- or at least thinks that he had such existences," he wrote to his sister in 1934. Around this time Hesse wrote and published separately three such biographies: one about a prehistoric rainmaker; one set in the Golden Age of India; and a third depicting an episode from the patristic period of the early Christian church. (A fourth life, set among the Pietists of eighteenth-century Swabia, occupied Hesse for almost a year, but was never published during his lifetime.)
   As we now read the novel in its final form, of course, the arrangement of the parts is different. The biography of Joseph Knecht, which was to have been but the last in a long series of parallel lives, has grown to comprise the twelve central chapters of the book. The history of the Glass Bead Game and the organization of the cultural province are sketched in a lengthy introduction, and the three parallel lives, along with some poems, are added in an appendix as school exercises of young Knecht. Why this shift in plan, which seems to have taken place in the mid-thirties after parts of the book had already been written and published? At first it was simply a matter of expediency. Hesse found that he could best render "the inner reality of Castalia" through the figure of a dominating central figure. "And so Knecht stepped into the center of the narrative." In fact, in the first three chapters of his biography we get a far clearer idea of the Castalian ideal at its finest than in the narrator's more abstract introduction.
   But Joseph Knecht ends by defecting from Castalia, a conclusion that was far from Hesse's mind when he first dreamed of this new version of the spiritual kingdom and when he wrote the first of the lives. At least two factors contributed to change Hesse's attitude toward the ideal which he had been striving to portray in so many works for almost twenty years. First, the sheer reality of contemporary events -- the disintegration of the Weimar Republic, the rise of Hitler, the horrors of Nazism -- opened Hesse's eyes to the failure of the intellectuals and convinced him of the futility of any spiritual realm divorced wholly from contemporary social reality. His ideal had to give way, he wrote, "under the pressures of the moment." This is the meaning that emerges clearly from young Knecht's debates with that emissary from the outside world, Plinio Designori, who argues that a life consecrated exclusively to the mind is not only unfruitful, but also dangerous. Fritz Tegularius, the brilliant scholar who is totally unfit for any position of responsibility in the order, is the living example of the excesses of an aestheticism cultivated in isolation from reality. Secondly, Hesse's growing uneasiness regarding an absolute spiritual kingdom was substantiated by his study of Burckhardt's writings. It is Burckhardt, in the person of Father Jacobus, who convinces Knecht-Hesse that even the most perfect spiritual institution, in the eyes of history, is a relative organism. In order to survive it must adapt itself to the social exigencies of the times. The central chapters of the biography, therefore, recapitulate in fictional form Hesse's own shift from his original belief in a haughty Nietzschean elitism to a more compassionate social consciousness -- shaped by Burckhardt's historicism. The ideological tensions between Knecht, Plinio, and Father Jacobus reflect on the level of character the areas of Culture, State, and Church, whose complex interrelationships Burckhardt investigated in his Observations on World History (a course of lectures delivered in 1870-1871 and posthumously published in 1905).
   Seen in this light and put into the contemporary idiom, Knecht's life represents typologically the radicalization of the intellectual, who moves from the vita contemplativa not to the opposite extreme of the vita activa, but to an intermediate position of responsible action controlled by dispassionate reflection. It is essential to understand that Knecht's defection from Castalia, far from implying any repudiation of the spiritual ideal, simply calls for a new consciousness of the social responsibility of the intellectual. Knecht remains true to his name, which means "servant." Now his service takes on a fuller meaning. By quitting Castalia, Knecht fulfills two functions. He serves Castalia by warning it, through his example, to forsake its posture of arrogant and self-indulgent autonomy, which can lead ultimately only to its destruction. And he makes a commitment by putting spirit and intellect at the service of the world outside in the person of his pupil, the youth Tito. Knecht's death has been variously interpreted, and certainly that final scene has symbolic overtones that expand its dimensions. But Hesse made its basic meaning quite clear in a letter of 1947. "He leaves behind a Tito for whom this sacrificial death of a man vastly superior to him will remain forever an admonition and an example." The spiritual ideal, once attained, has now been put back into the service of life.
   The Glass Bead Game, then, is indispensable for a complete understanding of Hesse's thought. It is possible to read Siddhartha as a self-centered pursuit of nirvana, but Joseph Knecht gives up his life out of a sense of commitment to a fellow human being. It is possible to see in Steppenwolf a heady glorification of hip or even hippie culture, but Joseph Knecht shows that the only true culture is that which responds to the social requirements of the times. The Glass Bead Game, finally, makes it clear that Hesse advocates thoughtful commitment over self-indulgent solipsism, responsible action over mindless revolt. For Joseph Knecht is no impetuous radical thrusting non-negotiable demands upon the institution and demanding amnesty from the consequences of his deeds. He attains through disciplined achievement the highest status in the Order and commits himself to action only after thoughtfully assessing its implications for Castalia and the consequences for himself. Above all -- for the novel is not a philosophical tract or a political pamphlet, but a work of art -- Hesse suggests that revolt need not be irrational and violent, that indeed it is more effective when it is rational and ironic. This is the value of the temporal distance, the double perspective vouchsafed by the fiction. In the Introduction, looking back at our own civilization from the vantage point of the future, we see it in all its glaring self-contradictions. At the same time, we look ahead to the Castalia of the future, where the problems of our age are displayed in a realistic abstraction that permits us to consider them rationally and dispassionately. Castalia has more than a little in common with the intellectual and cultural institutions of the sixties, to the extent that they have become autonomous empires cut off from the social needs of mankind and cultivating their own Glass Bead Games in glorious isolation. And Knecht's conviction that a State ruled without the tempering influence of Culture is doomed to brutishness reflects a prevalent contemporary concern: our computerized society has become so bureaucratically impersonal that it is no longer guided sufficiently by forces that are in the highest sense humane. The longer we consider Hesse's novel, the more clearly we realize that it is not a telescope focused on an imaginary future, but a mirror reflecting with disturbing sharpness a paradigm of present reality.
   All of these considerations justify a new translation of Hesse's late masterpiece. Our society has caught up with his vision. And Richard and Clara Winston have produced a translation that is eminently usable for this age. I do not mean merely that their translation is "correct" in avoiding the many mistakes of the earlier English version. More important: they have succeeded in catching the sense and style of the book. They realize that with this last novel Hesse shifted his focus from the individual to the institution; hence they have not made the mistake of calling it Magister Ludi, which would suggest that it is simply another German Bildungsroman, a pretty fiction of personal development unrelated to the more general concerns of society. Instead, they have reinstated the title that Hesse gave to the original (Das Glasperlenspiel), which sums up in a word the glory and tragedy of culture in our time. By capturing the monkish tone of the narrator, who repeats himself with clerical pedantry, the translation opens up the irony of the work. For the Castalian self-obsession from which Knecht defects is nowhere more evident than in the smug complacency of the narrator in the Introduction and opening chapters. Ironically, as he learns to appreciate the meaning of Knecht's life by writing his biography, the narrator assumes a more humane and, in the finest sense, "spiritual" tone, thus vindicating Knecht's action.
   Perhaps even the worst translation could not conceal the "message" of Hesse's novel. But only a subtle, sensitive one can render what Thomas Mann called "the parody of biography and the grave scholarly attitude." It is easy, too easy, to be sober and grave. That is in fact the most serious shortcoming of Hesse's most ardent admirers at present. This new translation of The Glass Bead Game offers the American reader the opportunity, as Thomas Mann suggested, to dare to laugh. If parody alone can adequately render the reality of our times, only irony offers us the freedom and detachment that are the essential condition of responsible analysis and action. This is the final aesthetic meaning of The Glass Bead Game.

May 1969
THEODORE ZIOLKOWSKI
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THE GLASS BEAD GAME
A tentative sketch of the life of
Magister Ludi Joseph Knecht
together with
Knecht's posthumous writings
edited by
HERMANN HESSE


dedicated to
the Journeyers
to the East





CONTENTS

The Glass Bead Game: A General Introduction to Its History for the Layman

The Life of Magister Ludi Joseph Knecht

      1     The Call
      2     Waldzell
      3     Years of Freedom
      4     Two Orders
      5     The Mission
      6     Magister Ludi
      7     In Office
      8     The Two Poles
      9     A Conversation
      10   Preparations
      11   The Circular Letter
      12   The Legend


Joseph Knecht's Posthumous Writings

   The Poems of Knecht's Student Years
   The Three Lives
      1     The Rainmaker
      2     The Father Confessor
      3     The Indian Life
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THE
GLASS BEAD
GAME:
A GENERAL
INTRODUCTION TO
ITS HISTORY
FOR THE
LAYMAN



   . . .Non entia enim licet quodammodo levibusque hominibus facilius atque incuriosius verbis reddere quam entia, veruntamen pio diligentique rerum scriptori plane aliter res se habet: nihil tantum repugnat ne verbis illustretur, at nihil adeo necesse est ante hominum oculos proponere ut certas quasdam res, quas esse neque demonstrari neque probari potest, quae contra eo ipso, quod pii diligentesque viri illas quasi ut entia tractant, enti nascendique facultati paululum appropinquant.
ALBERTUS SECUNDUS
tract. de cristall. spirit.
ed. Clangor et Collof. lib. I, cap. 28.

   In Joseph Knecht's holograph translation:

   . . .For although in a certain sense and for light-minded persons non-existent things can be more easily and irresponsibly represented in words than existing things, for the serious and conscientious historian it is just the reverse. Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.



   IT is OUR intention to preserve in these pages what scant biographical material we have been able to collect concerning Joseph Knecht, or Ludi Magister Josephus III, as he is called in the Archives of the Glass Bead Game. We are not unaware that this endeavor runs, or seems to run, somewhat counter to the prevailing laws and usages of our intellectual life. For, after all, obliteration of individuality, the maximum integration of the individual into the hierarchy of the educators and scholars, has ever been one of our ruling principles. And in the course of our long tradition this principle has been observed with such thoroughness that today it is exceedingly difficult, and in many cases completely impossible, to obtain biographical and psychological information on various persons who have served the hierarchy in exemplary fashion. In very many cases it is no longer even possible to determine their original names. The hierarchic organization cherishes the ideal of anonymity, and comes very close to the realization of that ideal. This fact remains one of the abiding characteristics of intellectual life in our Province.
   If we have nevertheless persisted in our endeavor to determine some of the facts about the life of Ludi Magister Josephus III, and at least to sketch the outlines of his character, we believe we have done so not out of any cult of personality, nor out of disobedience to the customs, but on the contrary solely in the service of truth and scholarship. It is an old idea that the more pointedly and logically we formulate a thesis, the more irresistibly it cries out for its antithesis. We uphold and venerate the idea that underlies the anonymity of our authorities and our intellectual life. But a glance at the early history of that life of the mind we now lead, namely, a glance at the development of the Glass Bead Game, shows us irrefutably that every phase of its development, every extension, every change, every essential segment of its history, whether it be seen as progressive or conservative, bears the plain imprint of the person who introduced the change. He was not necessarily its sole or actual author, but he was the instrument of transformation and perfection.
   Certainly, what nowadays we understand by personality is something quite different from what the biographers and historians of earlier times meant by it. For them, and especially for the writers of those days who had a distinct taste for biography, the essence of a personality seems to have been deviance, abnormality, uniqueness, in fact all too often the pathological. We moderns, on the other hand, do not even speak of major personalities until we encounter men who have gone beyond all original and idiosyncratic qualities to achieve the greatest possible integration into the generality, the greatest possible service to the suprapersonal. If we look closely into the matter we shall see that the ancients had already perceived this ideal. The figure of the Sage or Perfect One among the ancient Chinese, for example, or the ideal of Socratic ethics, can scarcely be distinguished from our present ideal; and many a great organization, such as the Roman Church in the eras of its greatest power, has recognized similar principles. Indeed, many of its greatest figures, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, appear to us -- like early Greek sculptures -- more the classical representatives of types than individuals.
   Nevertheless, in the period before the reformation of the intellectual life, a reformation which began in the twentieth century and of which we are the heirs, that authentic ancient ideal had patently come near to being entirely lost. We are astonished when the biographies of those times rather garrulously relate how many brothers and sisters the hero had, or what psychological scars and blotches were left behind from his casting off the skins of childhood and puberty, from the struggle for position and the search for love. We moderns are not interested in a hero's pathology or family history, nor in his drives, his digestion, and how he sleeps. Not even his intellectual background -- the influence upon his development of his favorite studies, favorite reading, and so on -- is particularly important to us. For us, a man is a hero and deserves special interest only if his nature and his education have rendered him able to let his individuality be almost perfectly absorbed in its hierarchic function without at the same time forfeiting the vigorous, fresh, admirable impetus which make for the savor and worth of the individual. And if conflicts arise between the individual and the hierarchy, we regard these very conflicts as a touchstone for the stature of a personality. We do not approve of the rebel who is driven by his desires and passions to infringements upon law and order; we find all the more worthy of our reverence the memory of those who tragically sacrificed themselves for the greater whole.
   These latter are the heroes, and in the case of these truly exemplary men, interest in the individual, in the name, face, and gesture, seems to us permissible and natural. For we do not regard even the perfect hierarchy, the most harmonious organization, as a machine put together out of lifeless units that count for nothing in themselves, but as a living body, formed of parts and animated by organs which possess their own nature and freedom. Every one of them shares in the miracle of life. In this sense, then, we have endeavored to obtain information on the life of Joseph Knecht, Master of the Glass Bead Game, and especially to collect everything written by himself. We have, moreover, obtained several manuscripts we consider worth reading.
   What we have to say about Knecht's personality and life is surely familiar in whole or in part to a good many members of the Order, especially the Glass Bead Game players, and for this reason among others our book is not addressed to this circle alone, but is intended to appeal more widely to sympathetic readers.
   For the narrower circle, our book would need neither introduction nor commentary. But since we also wish our hero's life and writings to be studied outside the Order, we are confronted with the somewhat difficult task of prefacing our book with a brief popular introduction, for that less-prepared reader, into the meaning and history of the Glass Bead Game. We stress that this introduction is intended only for popular consumption and makes no claim whatsoever to clarifying the questions being discussed within the Order itself on the problems and history of the Game. The time for an objective account of that subject is still far in the future.
   Let no one, therefore, expect from us a complete history and theory of the Glass Bead Game. Even authors of higher rank and competence than ourself would not be capable of providing that at the present time. That task must remain reserved to later ages, if the sources and the intellectual prerequisites for the task have not previously been lost. Still less is our essay intended as a textbook of the Glass Bead Game; indeed, no such thing will ever be written. The only way to learn the rules of this Game of games is to take the usual prescribed course, which requires many years; and none of the initiates could ever possibly have any interest in making these rules easier to learn.
   These rules, the sign language and grammar of the Game, constitute a kind of highly developed secret language drawing upon several sciences and arts, but especially mathematics and music (and/or musicology), and capable of expressing and establishing interrelationships between the content and conclusions of nearly all scholarly disciplines. The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colors on his palette. All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual property -- on all this immense body of intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number. Theoretically this instrument is capable of reproducing in the Game the entire intellectual content of the universe. These manuals, pedals, and stops are now fixed. Changes in their number and order, and attempts at perfecting them, are actually no longer feasible except in theory. Any enrichment of the language of the Game by addition of new contents is subject to the strictest conceivable control by the directorate of the Game. On the other hand, within this fixed structure, or to abide by our image, within the complicated mechanism of this giant organ, a whole universe of possibilities and combinations is available to the individual player. For even two out of a thousand stringently played games to resemble each other more than superficially is hardly possible. Even if it should so happen that two players by chance were to choose precisely the same small assortment of themes for the content of their Game, these two Games could present an entirely different appearance and run an entirely different course, depending on the qualities of mind, character, mood, and virtuosity of the players.
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   How far back the historian wishes to place the origins and antecedents of the Glass Bead Game is, ultimately, a matter of his personal choice. For like every great idea it has no real beginning; rather, it has always been, at least the idea of it. We find it foreshadowed, as a dim anticipation and hope, in a good many earlier ages. There are hints of it in Pythagoras, for example, and then among Hellenistic Gnostic circles in the late period of classical civilization. We find it equally among the ancient Chinese, then again at the several pinnacles of Arabic-Moorish culture; and the path of its prehistory leads on through Scholasticism and Humanism to the academies of mathematicians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and on to the Romantic philosophies and the runes of Novalis's hallucinatory visions. This same eternal idea, which for us has been embodied in the Glass Bead Game, has underlain every movement of Mind toward the ideal goal of a universitas litterarum, every Platonic academy, every league of an intellectual elite, every rapprochement between the exact and the more liberal disciplines, every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion. Men like Abelard, Leibniz, and Hegel unquestionably were familiar with the dream of capturing the universe of the intellect in concentric systems, and pairing the living beauty of thought and art with the magical expressiveness of the exact sciences. In that age in which music and mathematics almost simultaneously attained classical heights, approaches and cross-fertilizations between the two disciplines occurred frequently. And two centuries earlier we find in Nicholas of Cues sentences of the same tenor, such as this: "The mind adapts itself to potentiality in order to measure everything in the mode of potentiality, and to absolute necessity in order to measure everything in the mode of unity and simplicity as God does, and to the necessity of nexus in order to measure everything with respect to its peculiar nature; finally, it adapts itself to determinate potentiality in order to measure everything with respect to its existence. But furthermore the mind also measures symbolically, by comparison, as when it employs numerals and geometric figures and equates other things with them."
   Incidentally, this is not the only one of Nicholas's ideas that almost seems to suggest our Glass Bead Game, or corresponds to and springs from a similar branch of the imagination as the play of thought which occurs in the Game. Many similar echoes can be found in his writings. His pleasure in mathematics also, and his delight and skill in using constructions and axioms of Euclidean geometry as similes to clarify theological and philosophical concepts, likewise appear to be very close to the mentality of the Game. At times even his peculiar Latin (abounding in words of his own coinage, whose meaning, however, was perfectly plain to any Latin scholar) calls to mind the improvisatory agility of the Game's language.
   As the epigraph of our treatise may already have suggested, Albertus Secundus deserves an equal place among the ancestors of the Glass Bead Game. And we suspect, although we cannot prove this by citations, that the idea of the Game also dominated the minds of those learned musicians of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries who based their musical compositions on mathematical speculations. Here and there in the ancient literatures we encounter legends of wise and mysterious games that were conceived and played by scholars, monks, or the courtiers of cultured princes. These might take the form of chess games in which the pieces and squares had secret meanings in addition to their usual functions. And of course everyone has heard those fables and legends from the formative years of all civilizations which ascribe to music powers far greater than those of any mere art: the capacity to control men and nations. These accounts make of music a kind of secret regent, or a lawbook for men and their governments. From the most ancient days of China to the myths of the Greeks we find the concept of an ideal, heavenly life for men under the hegemony of music. The Glass Bead Game is intimately bound up with this cult of music ("in eternal transmutations the secret power of song greets us here below," says Novalis).
   Although we thus recognize the idea of the Game as eternally present, and therefore existent in vague stirrings long before it became a reality, its realization in the form we know it nevertheless has its specific history. We shall now attempt to give a brief account of the most important stages in that history.


   The beginnings of the intellectual movement whose fruits are, among many others, the establishment of the Order and the Glass Bead Game itself, may be traced back to a period which Plinius Ziegenhalss, the historian of literature, designated as the Age of the Feuilleton, by which name it has been known ever since. Such tags are pretty, but dangerous; they constantly tempt us to a biased view of the era in question. And as a matter of fact the Age of the Feuilleton was by no means uncultured; it was not even intellectually impoverished. But if we may believe Ziegenhalss, that age appears to have had only the dimmest notion of what to do with culture. Or rather, it did not know how to assign culture its proper place within the economy of life and the nation. To be frank, we really are very poorly informed about that era, even though it is the soil out of which almost everything that distinguishes our cultural life today has grown.
   It was, according to Ziegenhalss, an era emphatically "bourgeois" and given to an almost untrammeled individualism. If in order to suggest the atmosphere we cite some of its features from Ziegenhalss' description, we may at least do so with the confidence that these features have not been invented, badly drawn, or grossly exaggerated. For the great scholar has documented them from a vast number of literary and other sources. We take our cue from this scholar, who so far has been the sole serious investigator of the Feuilletonistic Age. As we read, we should remember that it is easy and foolish to sneer at the mistakes or barbarities of remote ages.
   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.
   Has the gain been worth the countless victims? Has our present structure of the life of the mind been sufficiently developed, and is it likely to endure long enough, to justify as worthwhile sacrifices all the sufferings, convulsions, and abnormalities: the trials of heretics, the burnings at stake, the many "geniuses" who ended in madness or suicide? For us, it is not permissible to ask these questions. History is as it has happened. Whether it was good, whether it would have been better not to have happened, whether we will or will not acknowledge that it has had "meaning" -- all this is irrelevant. Thus those struggles for the "freedom" of the human intellect likewise "happened," and subsequently, in the course of the aforementioned Age of the Feuilleton, men came to enjoy an incredible degree of intellectual freedom, more than they could stand. For while they had overthrown the tutelage of the Church completely, and that of the State partially, they had not succeeded in formulating an authentic law they could respect, a genuinely new authority and legitimacy. Ziegenhalss recounts some truly astonishing examples of the intellect's debasement, venality, and self-betrayal during that period.
   We must confess that we cannot provide an unequivocal definition of those products from which the age takes its name, the feuilletons. They seem to have formed an uncommonly popular section of the daily newspapers, were produced by the millions, and were a major source of mental pabulum for the reader in want of culture. They reported on, or rather "chatted" about, a thousand-and-one items of knowledge. It would seem, moreover, that the cleverer among the writers of them poked fun at their own work. Ziegenhalss, at any rate, contends that many such pieces are so incomprehensible that they can only be viewed as self-persiflage on the part of the authors. Quite possibly these manufactured articles do indeed contain a quantity of irony and self-mockery which cannot be understood until the key is found again. The producers of these trivia were in some cases attached to the staffs of the newspapers; in other cases they were free-lance scriveners. Frequently they enjoyed the high-sounding title of "writer," but a great many of them seem to have belonged to the scholar class. Quite a few were celebrated university professors.
   Among the favorite subjects of such essays were anecdotes taken from the lives or correspondence of famous men and women. They bore such titles as "Friedrich Nietzsche and Women's Fashions of 1870," or "The Composer Rossini's Favorite Dishes," or "The Role of the Lapdog in the Lives of Great Courtesans," and so on. Another popular type of article was the historical background piece on what was currently being talked about among the well-to-do, such as "The Dream of Creating Gold Through the Centuries," or "Physico-chemical Experiments in Influencing the Weather," and hundreds of similar subjects. When we look at the titles that Ziegenhalss cites, we feel surprise that there should have been people who devoured such chitchat for their daily reading; but what astonishes us far more is that authors of repute and of decent education should have helped to "service" this gigantic consumption of empty whimsies. Significantly, "service" was the expression used; it was also the word denoting the relationship of man to the machine at that time.
   In some periods interviews with well-known personalities on current problems were particularly popular. Ziegenhalss devotes a separate chapter to these. Noted chemists or piano virtuosos would be queried about politics, for example, or popular actors, dancers, gymnasts, aviators, or even poets would be drawn out on the benefits and drawbacks of being a bachelor, or on the presumptive causes of financial crises, and so on. All that mattered in these pieces was to link a well-known name with a subject of current topical interest. The reader may consult Ziegenhalss for some truly startling examples; he gives hundreds.
   As we have said, no doubt a goodly dash of irony was mixed in with all this busy productivity; it may even have been a demonic irony, the irony of desperation -- it is very hard indeed for us to put ourselves in the place of those people so that we can truly understand them. But the great majority, who seem to have been strikingly fond of reading, must have accepted all these grotesque things with credulous earnestness. If a famous painting changed owners, if a precious manuscript was sold at auction, if an old palace burned down, if the bearer of an aristocratic name was involved in a scandal, the readers of many thousands of feature articles at once learned the facts. What is more, on that same day or by the next day at the latest they received an additional dose of anecdotal, historical, psychological, erotic, and other stuff on the catchword of the moment. A torrent of zealous scribbling poured out over every ephemeral incident, and in quality, assortment, and phraseology all this material bore the mark of mass goods rapidly and irresponsibly turned out.
   Incidentally, there appear to have been certain games which were regular concomitants of the feature article. The readers themselves took the active role in these games, which put to use some of their glut of information fodder. A long disquisition by Ziegenhalss on the curious subject of "Crossword Puzzles" describes the phenomenon. Thousands upon thousands of persons, the majority of whom did heavy work and led a hard life, spent their leisure hours sitting over squares and crosses made of letters of the alphabet, filling in the gaps according to certain rules. But let us be wary of seeing only the absurd or insane aspect of this, and let us abstain from ridiculing it. For these people with their childish puzzle games and their cultural feature articles were by no means innocuous children or playful Phæacians. Rather, they dwelt anxiously among political, economic, and moral ferments and earthquakes, waged a number of frightful wars and civil wars, and their little cultural games were not just charming, meaningless childishness. These games sprang from their deep need to close their eyes and flee from unsolved problems and anxious forebodings of doom into an imaginary world as innocuous as possible. They assiduously learned to drive automobiles, to play difficult card games and lose themselves in crossword puzzles -- for they faced death, fear, pain, and hunger almost without defenses, could no longer accept the consolations of the churches, and could obtain no useful advice from Reason. These people who read so many articles and listened to so many lectures did not take the time and trouble to strengthen themselves against fear, to combat the dread of death within themselves; they moved spasmodically on through life and had no belief in a tomorrow.
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   For there was also a good deal of lecturing, and we must briefly discuss this somewhat more dignified variant of the feature article. Both specialists and intellectual privateers supplied the middle-class citizens of the age (who were still deeply attached to the notion of culture, although it had long since been robbed of its former meaning) with large numbers of lectures. Such talks were not only in the nature of festival orations for special occasions; there was a frantic trade in them, and they were given in almost incomprehensible quantities. In those days the citizen of a medium-sized town or his wife could at least once a week (in big cities pretty much every night) attend lectures offering theoretical instruction on some subject or other: on works of art, poets, scholars, researchers, world tours. The members of the audience at these lectures remained purely passive, and although some relationship between audience and content, some previous knowledge, preparation, and receptivity were tacitly assumed in most cases nothing of the sort was present. There were entertaining, impassioned, or witty lectures on Goethe, say, in which he would be depicted descending from a post chaise wearing a blue frock-coat to seduce some Strassburg or Wetzlar girl; or on Arabic culture; in all of them a number of fashionable phrases were shaken up like dice in a cup and everyone was delighted if he dimly recognized one or two catchwords. People heard lectures on writers whose works they had never read and never meant to, sometimes accompanied by pictures projected on a screen. At these lectures, as in the feature articles in the newspapers, they struggled through a deluge of isolated cultural facts and fragments of knowledge robbed of all meaning. To put it briefly, they were already on the verge of that dreadful devaluation of the Word which produced, at first in secret and within the narrowest circles, that ascetically heroic counter-movement which soon afterward began to flow visibly and powerfully, and ushered in the new self-discipline and dignity of the human intellect.
   It must be granted that many aspects of the intellectual life of that era showed energy and grandeur. We moderns explain its concomitant uncertainty and falseness as a symptom of the horror which seized men when at the end of an era of apparent victory and success they found themselves suddenly confronting a void: great material scarcity, a period of political and military crises, and an accelerating distrust of the intellect itself, of its own virtue and dignity and even of its own existence. Yet that very period, filled though it was with premonitions of doom, was marked by some very fine intellectual achievements, including the beginnings of a science of music of which we are the grateful heirs.
   But although it is easy to fit any given segment of the past neatly and intelligibly into the patterns of world history, contemporaries are never able to see their own place in the patterns. Consequently, even as intellectual ambitions and achievements declined rapidly during that period, intellectuals in particular were stricken by terrible doubts and a sense of despair. They had just fully realized (a discovery that had been in the air, here and there, from the time of Nietzsche on) that the youth and the creative period of our culture was over, that old age and twilight had set in. Suddenly everyone felt this and many bluntly expressed this view; it was used to explain many of the alarming signs of the time: the dreary mechanization of life, the profound debasement of morality, the decline of faith among nations, the inauthenticity of art. The "music of decline" had sounded, as in that wonderful Chinese fable; like a thrumming bass on the organ its reverberations faded slowly out over decades; its throbbing could be heard in the corruption of the schools, periodicals, and universities, in melancholia and insanity among those artists and critics who could still be taken seriously; it raged as untrammeled and amateurish overproduction in all the arts. Various attitudes could be taken toward this enemy who had breached the walls and could no longer be exorcised. Some of the best tacitly acknowledged and stoically endured the bitter truth. Some attempted to deny its existence, and thanks to the shoddy thinking of some of the literary prophets of cultural doom, found a good many weak points in their thesis. Moreover, those who took exception to the aforementioned prophets could be sure of a hearing and influence among the bourgeoisie. For the allegation that the culture he had only yesterday been proud to possess was no longer alive, that the education and art he revered could no longer be regarded as genuine education and genuine art, seemed to the bourgeois as brazen and intolerable as the sudden inflations of currency and the revolutions which threatened his accumulated capital.
   Another possible immunization against the general mood of doom was cynicism. People went dancing and dismissed all anxiety about the future as old-fashioned folly; people composed heady articles about the approaching end of art, science, and language. In that feuilleton world they had constructed of paper, people postulated the total capitulation of Mind, the bankruptcy of ideas, and pretended to be looking on with cynical calm or bacchantic rapture as not only art, culture, morality, and honesty, but also Europe and "the world" proceeded to their doom. Among the good there prevailed a quietly resigned gloom, among the wicked a malicious pessimism. The fact was that a breakdown of outmoded forms, and a degree of reshuffling both of the world and its morality by means of politics and war, had to take place before the culture itself became capable of real self-analysis and a new organization.
   Yet during the decades of transition this culture had not slumbered. Rather, during the very period of its decay and seeming capitulation by the artists, professors, and feature writers, it entered into a phase of intense alertness and self-examination. The medium of this change lay in the consciences of a few individuals. Even during the heyday of the feuilleton there were everywhere individuals and small groups who had resolved to remain faithful to true culture and to devote all their energies to preserving for the future a core of good tradition, discipline, method, and intellectual rigor. We are today ignorant of many details, but in general the process of self-examination, reflection, and conscious resistance to decline seems to have centered mostly in two groups. The cultural conscience of scholars found refuge in the investigations and didactic methods of the history of music, for this discipline was just reaching its height at that time, and even in the midst of the feuilleton world two famous seminaries fostered an exemplary methodology, characterized by care and thoroughness. Moreover, as if destiny wished to smile comfortingly upon this tiny, brave cohort, at this saddest of times there took place that glorious miracle which was in itself pure chance, but which gave the effect of a divine corroboration: the rediscovery of eleven manuscripts of Johann Sebastian Bach, which had been in the keeping of his son Friedemann.
   A second focus of resistance to degeneration was the League of Journeyers to the East. The brethren of that League cultivated a spiritual rather than an intellectual discipline. They fostered piety and reverence, and to them we owe important elements in our present form of cultural life and of the Glass Bead Game, in particular the contemplative elements. The Journeyers also contributed to new insights into the nature of our culture and the possibilities of its continuance, not so much by analytical and scholarly work as by their capacity, based on ancient secret exercises, for mystic identification with remote ages and cultural conditions. Among them, for example, were itinerant instrumentalists and minstrels who were said to have the ability to perform the music of earlier epochs with perfect ancient purity. Thus they could play and sing a piece of music from 1600 or 1650 exactly as if all the subsequent modes, refinements, and virtuoso achievements were still unknown. This was an astonishing feat in a period in which the mania for dynamics and gradazione dominated all music-making, when the music itself was almost forgotten in discussions of the conductor's execution and "conception." When an orchestra of the Journeyers first publicly performed a suite from the time before Handel completely without crescendi and diminuendi, with the naïveté and chasteness of another age and world, some among the audience are said to have been totally uncomprehending, but others listened with fresh attention and had the impression that they were hearing music for the first time in their lives. In the League's concert hall between Bremgarten and Morbio, one member built a Bach organ as perfectly as Johann Sebastian Bach would have had it built had he had the means and opportunity. Obeying a principle even then current in the League, the organ builder concealed his name, calling himself Silbermann after his eighteenth-century predecessor.
   In discussing these matters we have approached the sources from which our modern concept of culture sprang. One of the chief of these was the most recent of the scholarly disciplines, the history of music and the aesthetics of music. Another was the great advance in mathematics that soon followed. To these was added a sprinkling of the wisdom of the Journeyers to the East and, closely related to the new conception and interpretation of music, that courageous new attitude, compounded of serenity and resignation, toward the aging of cultures. It would be pointless to say much about these matters here, since they are familiar to everyone. The most important consequence of this new attitude, or rather this new subordination to the cultural process, was that men largely ceased to produce works of art. Moreover, intellectuals gradually withdrew from the bustle of the world. Finally, and no less important -- indeed, the climax of the whole development -- there arose the Glass Bead Game.
   The growing profundity of musical science, which can already be observed soon after 1900 when feuilletonism was still at its height, naturally exerted enormous influence upon the beginnings of the Game. We, the heirs of musicology, believe we know more about the music of the great creative centuries, especially the seventeenth and eighteenth, and in a certain sense even understand it better than all previous epochs, including that of classical music itself. As descendants, of course, our relation to classical music differs totally from that of our predecessors in the creative ages. Our intellectualized veneration for true music, all too frequently tainted by melancholic resignation, is a far cry from the charming, simple-hearted delight in music-making of those days. We tend to envy those happier times whenever our pleasure in their music makes us forget the conditions and tribulations amid which it was begotten. Almost the entire twentieth century considered philosophy, or else literature, to be the great lasting achievement of that cultural era which lies between the end of the Middle Ages and modern times. We, however, have for generations given the palm to mathematics and music. Ever since we have renounced -- on the whole, at any rate -- trying to vie creatively with those generations, ever since we have also forsworn the worship of harmony in music-making, and of that purely sensuous cult of dynamics -- a cult that dominated musical practices for a good two centuries after the time of Beethoven and early Romanticism -- ever since then we have been able to understand, more purely and more correctly, the general image of that culture whose heirs we are. Or so we believe in our uncreative, retrospective, but reverent fashion! We no longer have any of the exuberant fecundity of those days. For us it is almost incomprehensible that musical style in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries could be preserved for so long a time in unalloyed purity. How could it be, we ask, that among the vast quantities of music written at that time we fail to find a trace of anything bad? How could the eighteenth century, the time of incipient degeneration, still send hurtling into the skies a fireworks display of styles, fashions, and schools, blazing briefly but with such self-assurance? Nevertheless, we believe that we have uncovered the secret of what we now call classical music, that we have understood the spirit, the virtue, and the piety of those generations, and have taken all that as our model. Nowadays, for example, we do not think much of the theology and the ecclesiastical culture of the eighteenth century, or the philosophy of the Enlightenment; but we consider the cantatas, passions, and preludes of Bach the ultimate quintessence of Christian culture.
   Incidentally, there exists an ancient and honorable exemplar for the attitude of our own culture toward music, a model to which the players of the Glass Bead Game look back with great veneration. We recall that in the legendary China of the Old Kings, music was accorded a dominant place in state and court. It was held that if music throve, all was well with culture and morality and with the kingdom itself. The music masters were required to be the strictest guardians of the original purity of the "venerable keys." If music decayed, that was taken as a sure sign of the downfall of the regime and the state. The poets told horrific fables about the forbidden, diabolic, heaven-offending keys, such as the Tsing Shang key, and Tsing Tse, the "music of decline"; no sooner were these wicked notes struck in the Royal Palace than the sky darkened, the walls trembled and collapsed, and kingdom and sovereign went to their doom. We might quote many other sayings by the ancient writers, but we shall cite here only a few passages from the chapter on music in Lü Bu We's Spring and Autumn:
   "The origins of music lie far back in the past. Music arises from Measure and is rooted in the great Oneness. The great Oneness begets the two poles; the two poles beget the power of Darkness and of Light.
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