Lecture 22

Grimms’ Fairy Tales

  • Hermann Hesse lived in the German Empire and won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1946 for his works.
    • A lot of his tales involve an individual’s search for individuality.
      • In an “orientalist” way.
  • Orientalism: Western culture fabricates a view of Eastern culture as something that’s static and monolithic, rather than as a huge number of dynamic cultures.
    • There’s no “The East”. People in Europe lump it togeter.
    • The idea of “The East” implies that it cannot develop without the rationality of “The West”, making it inferior.
  • Hesse fabricates a view of Eastern culture as undeveloped and the West as cultured. But! He hates the West, and values his fabricated version of the East over what he sees in Europe.
    • Hesse took a trip to India and wouldn’t shut up about it.
  • The tales we read were written around World War I (~1918).
  • Hesse didn’t like war, and was very vocal about it. He also wasn’t a fan of the nationalism that was driving the war, which made society around him not like him very much.
  • Hesse pushed back against the Enlightenment.