Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.
|Published (Last):||16 May 2018|
|PDF File Size:||20.99 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||17.90 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
He drew himself, as a wanderer, a lover, a fugitive, with reaping death hard at his heels… Narziss and Goldmund , page Narcissus and Gold Mouth might begin to sound too much like a fairy tale. Narziss and Goldmund is set in the Middle Ages and both narrative and dialogue are couched in an unobtrusive but persistent cod-medieval style which might irritate some modern readers.
I wanted to give you greeting — you, and the Master. It irks me sore to have to hear you. I can see you have had much sorrow. The first fifty or so pages describe in some detail how the pair first meet, as young novitiates at the ancient monastery of Mariabronn somewhere in North Germany.
Narziss is himself a junior monk but already skilled and educated enough to be put in charge of the monastery school. He never sees his father again. This will turn out to be centrally important because there is a sense, in everything that follows, right up until his death, that this missing mother, the search for the Absent Mother, is central to his psyche. Initially Goldmund is a good scholar. He is ragged by the other boys in fights and taunts which are presumably meant to reflect the bullying of schoolboys everywhere, in all times, but he fights back and establishes a place for himself in the hierarchy.
She takes a shine to Goldmund, who is fiercely attracted to her and fiercely tries to repress the impulse. They have many intense conversations. It is that kind of very intense psychological bonding between the pair which gives the book its title.
But fate is fate, or biology is biology, and Goldmund goes out walking, picking flowers and marvelling at the beauty of the world. He falls asleep and is woken in a half-dream, by a beautiful gypsy girl, Lisa, waking in her lap, as she leans down to kiss him and, to cut a long story short, she takes his virginity, which is described in flowery euphemisms appropriate for It is a revelation.
He packs his bags and leaves. With his blonde hair, good looks and slim figure, Goldmund is a ladykiller, a babe magnet. He quickly, comprehensively and intuitively becomes an expert at sex, a connoisseur, ready and able to give every woman what she wants, whether hard and fast, or slow and sensual, responding to all moods and needs.
Drawn and clasped to one another, they lost themselves within the scented night, saw the white, shimmering secrets of its flowers, plucking its fruits, for which they thirsted, with gentle, ever-grateful, hands. Never before had spielmann struck such a lute, or lute known fingers so strong and cunning.
Pages to describe his adventures at a castle. But the knight has two daughters, Lydia and Julia, and they are soon competing for his favours. Lydia is panicking when Goldmund overrides her and invites Julia to join them in bed. There follows a passage where Goldmund is kissing older, stiff Lydia on one side while with his hand he strokes and then begins to masturbate young Julia on his other side, who begins to make moans of pleasure.
See what I mean about a certain soft-porn s feel? The other is to see all these sexy passages as extraordinarily open, candid, honest descriptions of sex for their time , and to place them in the wider context of the books and their serious concerns with human psychology and spirituality. This soft porn sequence is, alas, interrupted when the older sister leaps out of bed and threatens to tell their father.
Both girls go. But Lydia goes to the knight and tells him everything. Goldmund is rudely awakened the next morning by the knight who is too angry to speak, who grabs his stuff in a bundle and marches him half a mile to the bounds of his land and then tells him never to return on pain of death.
It is snowing. Goldmund sets off into the freezing cold. An hour later, Hans a servant rides after him and delivers gifts from Julia — one golden ducat, an undershirt she has woven, and a side of bacon.
Goldmund comes to a village where he begs food and then is conscripted to assist as a villager gives birth, quite a traumatic experience for a young, sensitive mind.
He dallies in the village a while i. Victor is a seasoned, wily survivor, full of impressive stories of life on the road and Goldmund is taken under his spell. They travel on together for a few days but late one night in the forest, Goldmund wakes up to find Victor stealthily rifling through his clothes looking for the precious gold ducat Goldmund had told him about.
When he resists, Victor starts to strangle him, in earnest, so Goldmund finds himself with his last breaths fumbling for the small knife he keeps mainly to cut up bread and cheese, and in a final paroxysm, stabbing Victor again and again and again until the grip round his neck loosens, and the man falls away from him, bleeding profusely from multiple wounds and there and then, in the dark early hours, in a forest in winter, Victor breathes his last, leaving Goldmund staggered and appalled.
And this reader thinking, yet again, that these German novels have a special affinity for knife murder. On the outskirts he had come across an isolated chapel and been entranced by a sculpture inside it of the Mother of God. In the city he makes enquiries as to who carved it and discovers it is a certain Master Nicholas the sculptor. To cut a long story short, Goldmund asks to be his apprentice. Nicholas tells him to draw something, anything, on a piece of paper he gives him and the result impresses him enough to take him on.
Goldmund stays with Master Nicholas for two years while he works on this figure. All through this period he is tormented by the contradictions in art between the soul and the physical, despising little people who are happy with decorations, driven by a striving for the unseeable essence of the subject. Many lengthy discussions of the nature of true art. Meanwhile, Master Nicholas has been thinking and offers to make Goldmund his heir, bring him into his workshop and to marry him to his daughter, Lisbeth.
Nicholas goes white with anger when Goldmund embarrassedly turns down his offer, and makes it plain he must leave immediately. So Goldmund sets off on his rambles again, despite there being so many women in the city of whom he might have taken his leave p.
As he leaves the city, she offers him a drink of fresh milk and a crust of bread and, out of politeness, he leans down and kisses her.
She closes her eyes in bliss. Then he is back on the road. Goldmund hooks up with timid young Robert, a younger tramp. We learn it is ten years since Goldmund left the monastery p.
He now has a blonde beard p. The pair come to a plague village, whose villagers aggressively warn them away. But Goldmund goes in and finds a family dead in their beds, prompting characteristic Hesse reflections about Death. And the artist in Goldmund is attracted by their postures and positions…. As they walk on they discover that the whole countryside is ravaged, abandoned. Coming to an empty town, Goldmund notices a beautiful young woman of course leaning out a window and, as usual, picks her up.
Her name is Lene p. After much wandering they come across abandoned farm buildings, decide to settle there, fix them up and make a life, rounding up stray abandoned animals. One day Lene and Goldmund go hunting, get separated, he hears her screaming, runs and finds her being raped, grab the scrawny rapist, strangles him and dashes his head to a pulp against rocks.
Goldmund carries Lene home, washes her breast where it has been scratched and bitten so hard it is bleeding. But, somewhat inevitably, Lene gets the plague and dies in a matter of days. Goldmund tends Lene till she dies and then, characteristically, studies the face of death.
Then he sets fire to the hut, as a funeral pyre and to cleanse it, and hits the road again, wandering through a landscape of horror where the deserted villages and towns are surrounded by plague pits, passing processions of flagellants, watching the lynching of people scapegoated for the disaster, not least the burning alive of Jews in their houses in one town.
The Kingdom of Bones p. But he watches it all with fascination, soaking up the suffering and despair, never tiring of watching the Grim Reaper at work. Unsurprisingly, she is disgusted, says all Christians are alike, murderers and hypocrites and she might well have thrown in the accusation that all men are alike and runs off.
When he finally arrives back there he is overwhelmed by happy nostalgia of re-seeing all the familiar sights, the old churches, the market square, the clear purling river. But, inevitably, Master Nicholas is dead of the plague… and his beautiful, haughty daughter, Lisbeth?
She is now yellow-faced, gaunt and shrivelled. He offers help but Lisbeth and the raddled old servant Margret scorn him. They are honestly glad to see him. One day Goldmund is struck by the sight of a haughty beautiful rich woman riding by on a horse. He must have her. It is a challenge. He places himself at the town gates every morning as she goes a-riding. He appears under the trees near where she stops the horse for her daily rest. After a few days she deigns to talk to him.
She gives him a token, a gold necklace, which gives him admittance to the castle. He is allowed into the busy castle courtyard, full of horses and bustle. If you let yourself go along with this mood, it is a scene of exquisite sensitivity; if you are a little more jaded, it is like an extended Flake advert. But the next very evening, when he returns for some more soft-focus erotic goings-on, he is trapped and caught by the jealous husband, Count Heinrich. As the big angry knight opens the bedchamber door, Lady Agnes pushes Goldmund into her closet.
Here the knight discovers him but Goldmund is quick witted enough to pretend he is a thief who has broken in to steal the precious dresses and furs. The count believes him and says he will be hanged in the morning. As the churls are unlocking the door to the dungeon, two priests visiting the castle pass by, and one stops to ask if the prisoner is to be confessed and shriven, then tells the guards he will come at dawn to perform this service.
Goldmund spends the night trying to reconcile his soul to death, to never more see the sun or feel the wind or hear the birds. He also spends the whole night freeing his wrists from their tight cords, cutting himself badly in the process. When dawn comes, the door opens and a cowled monk descends the stairs into his cell. Imagine his amazement when the monk pushes back his cope and reveals the face of… his old, old, deepest friend, Narziss, now thin and gaunt with asceticism and the responsibilities of command.
For Narziss has now become the abbot at Mariabronn. Narziss raises Goldmund to his feet and says he spent a lot of effort the night before pleading with the angry knight for his life.
Result: Goldmund will not hang.
Narcissus and Goldmund
Published by Penguin rpt. Format: paperback. Postage is reduced on multiple orders. From: Mr. Price Mansfield, United Kingdom.
Narziss Goldmund by Hermann Hesse
He drew himself, as a wanderer, a lover, a fugitive, with reaping death hard at his heels… Narziss and Goldmund , page Narcissus and Gold Mouth might begin to sound too much like a fairy tale. Narziss and Goldmund is set in the Middle Ages and both narrative and dialogue are couched in an unobtrusive but persistent cod-medieval style which might irritate some modern readers. I wanted to give you greeting — you, and the Master. It irks me sore to have to hear you. I can see you have had much sorrow.
Narziss and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse (1930)
The translation I read was by Geoffrey Dunlop and was originally published in as Death and the Lover. The Penguin edition was first published in I had a rocky ride reading this book; after about fifty pages I wanted to throw it to one side with contempt, I continued for a while then it annoyed me for another reason, but I continued, and by the time I finished it I was enjoying the story and found it difficult to see why the beginning annoyed me quite so much. Goldmund is brought to the monastery, Mariabronn, one day by his father. Although he makes friends easily, he only becomes true friends with Narziss — opposites seem to attract.
Middle Way Society
Beginning in a cloister when Goldmund is a boy being taught by Narziss, the story unfolds in a medieval context of plague and political instability in an unnamed area of the Holy Roman Empire. But the story is not so much historical romance as fable, and gains greater universality from the relative vagueness of the medieval context. The psychological acuteness of the fable published in must owe much to the psychotherapeutic tradition, particularly the world-view of Jung. Narziss is a classic left-brain dominant intellectual, a classical scholar familiar with theology and philosophy. However, his abilities in understanding people also seem to have a strong intuitive element, and lead him into positions of teaching and leadership. Goldmund, however, has much stronger right-brain abilities: particularly a capacity to recall images vividly and in great detail. He has physical poise, confidence and resourcefulness, a strong sex drive with accompanying relationship to the archetypal feminine, and an acute sensitivity to suffering.