With characteristic insight and penetration, Hermann Hesse explores the destructive nature of human love. As a sensitive, disabled young composer, the narrator is drawn to a sensual singer named Gertrude through their mutual love of music. Gradually he becomes engulfed by an enduring and hopeless passion for her but, because of his fear of arousing sympathy instead of passion, he loses her. When Gertrude marries his friend, a famous singer, he is compelled to stand by and watch passively as their obsessive relationship disintegrates into tragedy.
Counted among the leading thinkers of the twentieth century, HERMANN HESSE was born in 1877. Rebelling against a stern monastic education, he worked as a locksmith and a bookseller before embarking on a 65-year writing career. Having travelled as far as India, he settled in Switzerland in 1911 in opposition to German militarism. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1946, he died in 1963 aged eighty-five.