Books: The Outsider

With uncanny accuracy this poetic work struck the nerve of the times and called forth grateful rapture from a whole youthful generation who believed that an interpreter of their innermost life had risen from their own midst. . .

Who is the subject of that accolade? Allen Ginsberg? Bob Dylan? John Lennon? No; a German raveler of spiritual mysteries named Hermann Hesse, who died in 1962 at 85. His champion was Thomas Mann, and he was reflecting the impact of Hesse's 1919 novel, Demian, on German youth. Today Hesse is no longer so...