Letter of Hermann Hesse to his father, written on 14th September 1892 while he stayed at the mental hospital in Stetten


As you appear to be so remarkably self-sacrificing, I might perhaps ask you to give me 7 M, or to go right on and pass me the revolver without further ado. Having brought me to the brink of desperation, you will no doubt be prepared to disencumber me of the same and to disencumber yourself of me without delay. I really ought to have perished in June.

You write, "We do not heap such dreadful reproaches on you" for having railed against Stetten. And this would, indeed, be something I, too, would find totally incomprehensible, for one may not deny a pessimist the right to rail and complain, it being his sole and ultimate right.

"Father" is such a strange word, I do not seem to understand it. It must be a term for someone that one is able to love and does love, from the very bottom of one's heart. How I long to have such a person! Could you not perhaps give me some adviceā€¦.Your relations to me appear to be becoming ever more strained. I believe that if I were pietist, and not a human, if I were to turn every trait and inclination within me into its contrary, then I might be able to harmonize with you. But I am no longer able, and never ever wish, to live this way, and if I am to commit a crime, the guilt shall, Herr Hesse, now that you have deprived me of any joy in life, be on your head as well as on mine. "Dear Hermann" has become a different person, a world-hater, an orphan whose "parents" are still alive. Please never ever write "Dear H." etc. again, for that is a wicked lie. The Inspector met me today twice while I was failing to comply with his orders. I hope that the catastrophe will not be that much longer in coming. Would that the anarchists were here!

H. Hesse, incarcerated at the Stetten penitentiary, where he is held "not for punishment".

I am beginning to wonder who is being asinine about this whole business. Incidentally, it would be appreciated for my benefit if you were to come here occasionally.