First Edition in Publisher's Dust Jackets
HESSE, Hermann. Glasperlenspiel. Zurich: Fretz & Wasmuth Verlag AG , [1943].
First edition. Two octavo volumes (7 1/4 x 4 3/8 inches; 185 x 110 mm). [1]-451, [1]; [1]-441, [1]pp. Complete with half-titles. Each volume with publisher's dust jacket. Text in German.

Publisher's original light blue cloth. Front boards ruled in blind. Author's initials "HH" in gilt as center device on front boards. Spines stamped in gilt and black and lettered in gilt. Top edges dyed red. Jackets with some mild darkening to spines. Otherwise books and jackets are all about fine. Housed together in publisher's cardboard slipcase.

Das Glasperlenspiel was the final and longest novel written by Hesse and the last written before the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to him in 1946. This novel was cited in his award and is considered a Nobel Prize winning novel: "In Hesse's more recent work the vast novel Das Glasperlenspiel (1943) [Magister Ludi] occupies a special position. It is a fantasy about a mysterious intellectual order, on the same heroic and ascetic level as that of the Jesuits, based on the exercise of meditation as a kind of therapy. The novel has an imperious structure in which the concept of the game and its role in civilization has surprising parallels with the ingenious study Homo ludens by the Dutch scholar Huizinga. Hesse's attitude is ambiguous. In a period of collapse it is a precious task to preserve the cultural tradition. But civilization cannot be permanently kept alive by turning it into a cult for the few. If it is possible to reduce the variety of knowledge to an abstract system of formulas, we have on the one hand proof that civilization rests on an organic system; on the other, this high knowledge cannot be considered permanent. It is as fragile and destructible as the glass pearls themselves, and the child that finds the glittering pearls in the rubble no longer knows their meaning. A philosophical novel of this kind easily runs the risk of being called recondite, but Hesse defended his with a few gentle lines in the motto of the book, «...then in certain cases and for irresponsible men it may be that non-existent things can be described more easily and with less responsibility in words than the existent, and therefore the reverse applies for pious and scholarly historians; for nothing destroys description so much as words, and yet there is nothing more necessary than to place before the eyes of men certain things the existence of which is neither provable nor probable, but which, for this very reason, pious and scholarly men treat to a certain extent as existent in order that they may be led a step further toward their being and their becoming." (The Nobel Prize For Literature - 1946. By Anders Österling Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy),

HBS # 67972 $750