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Family Hesse, left Hermann

© Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin

Hermann Hesse is born on July 2, 1877 the second son of Johannes Hesse and wife Marie, née Gundert, in Calw/Black Forest. His father's family is of Baltic-German origin, his mother's of Swiss/Swabian extraction. After attending the grammar school in Calw, Hesse in 1891 becomes a seminarist at the Protestant theological seminar in Kloster Maulbronn, from which he flees after just a few months. After completing an apprenticeship as a mechanic at the Perrot Tower Clock Factory in Calw, he trains as a bookseller in Tübingen and Basel, subsequently publishing his first works (poems and prose). While living in Basel, he makes two trips to Italy. In 1904, after his first major breakthrough (Peter Camenzind), he marries Maria Bernouilli and moves to Gaienhofen on Lake Constance. It is in this rural seclusion that his three sons are born. In 1911, he travels to eastern Asia. From 1912, Hesse moves to Berne. In 1919, his famous novel Demian is published. Leaving the family behind, he moves to Montagnola (Tessin) the same year. The first marriage is annulled, and in 1923 Hesse marries Ruth Wenger. What is arguably his most famous work, Der Steppenwolf, is published in 1927 on his 50th birthday. Hesse marries his third wife, Ninon Dolbin, née Ausländer, in 1931. While the Second World War is still in progress - Hesse has been a naturalized Swiss citizen since 1924 - his programmatic work Das Glasperlenspiel (1943) appears. In 1946, Hesse is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He dies on August 9, 1962 in Montagnola.