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Hermann Hesse 1877- 1962

Born in Calw, Württemberg, to a pious and missionary family that moved for six years to Basel before returning to Calw, Hesse experienced a troubled early life and could not settle to regular employment. He profited from his employment at a bookseller, however, by studying German and Greek literature, publishing his first poem, Madonna, in 1896. His early work met with little success but on moving again to Basel, he was able to benefit from intellectual acquaintances whilst remaining solitary and withdrawn but his dedication to poetry and writing led to recognition in the early 20th century. He married in 1904 and continued writing to acclaim but the marriage suffered from his isolationism.

After volunteering for army duties in 1914, he became disillusioned and was demobilized in 1916 after which he turned to psychoanalysis although continuing his considerable writing output.

With the failure of his marriage he moved to Lugano where painting was added to his artistic accomplishments. He acquired Swiss citizenship in 1923 and remarried. He continued to write and, after publication of Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1946.

He subsequently turned to shorter works and died in Italy in 1962.