Misfits to whom the art of life and the art of love are foreign

“[Herman] Hesse’s pre-1917 heroes [in his novels] are made of soft stuff. They are predominantly esthetes who live only in dreams, hopes and anticipation, and who shrink before realization. Self-preoccupied, temperamental artists or kindred souls, they are paralyzed by chronic indecision and indulge in romantic morbidity. They are outsiders consumed by their own loneliness, misfits to whom the art of life and the art of love are foreign, timid souls who ask too little of life and expect too much of it. They live in perpetual frustration and disillusionment. […] Such, too, was Hesse.”

– Joseph Mileck, Introduction to Steppenwolf, March 1963

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