Tübingen

The flight from Kloster Maulbronn is followed by stays in Bad Boll, the mental hospital in Stetten, a final period at school in Cannstatt, and an eighteenth-month period as a trainee in the mechanical workshop of the Calw-based tower clock manufacturer Heinrich Perrot. Between October 1895 and June 1899, Hermann Hesse completes a three-year apprenticeship as a bookseller in Tübingen, following this with a further year in which he works as an assistant bookseller. His place of work is the Heckenhauerische Buchhandlung, Holzmarkt 5, and he lives as a lodger at Herrenberger Straße 28. He derives a certain satisfaction from the work as a bookseller, tiring though he often finds it. He respects the erudition of his superiors. Having since broken free of parental supervision, the eighteen-year-old begins to teach himself literature with a remarkable degree of self-discipline. He reads the classics, most notably Goethe, whose discovery acts as a kind of literary epiphany, and then goes on to study the Romantics. He spends long hours in his room, keeping the outside world at a distance, considering the happy-go-lucky life of the student to be nothing but a waste of time. One exception is his friendship (from 1897) to law student Ludwig Finckh, who will later also make his mark as a writer, and with whom he forms a small circle of like-minded friends, the Petit Cénacle. To the displeasure of his parents, Hermann Hesse also soon begins to produce his own literature. November 1898 sees the publication of his self-financed Romantische Lieder, and these are followed by the prose volume Eine Stunde hinter Mitternacht. Furthermore, he also manages to get some poems published in magazines. There are relatively few traces of Tübingen in Hesse's work, yet the town on the Neckar features as a literary backdrop in two works in particular. One is the historical novella Im Presselschen Gartenhaus, the other a chapter in Hermann Lauscher (Die Novembernacht), which is subtitled Eine Tübinger Erinnerung.