Hermann Hesse Quotes on Writing: The Complete Collection

hermann hesse quotes on writing
by CJ McDaniel // February 9 // 0 Comments

Hermann Hesse is a German-Swiss novelist and poet whose works emphasized spiritual development and the search for self-knowledge. His popularity soared in the German-speaking world during his time, his worldwide fame following shortly after. However, his influence doesn’t end with his contribution to the fiction and poetry genre. Nobel Prize-winning author Hermann Hesse quotes on writing are as timeless as his works, as countless others from the present generation still benefit from his words.

German-born Swiss writer, poet, and painter Hermann Hesse was born in Calw, Germany, on July 2, 1877. Hesse initially ventured the poetry, releasing a collection of poems in 1899. He then became a freelance writer in 1904, where his first novel, Peter Camenzind, helped him achieve a literary breakthrough. The mentioned novel became well-loved by many young Germans because of its concept of a more “natural” way of life. Since then, writing has become his means of living while reflecting his thoughts and ideas. Apart from his works, he exemplified a high quality and unique writing style, earning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.

Hesse’s writing style involves using his personal experiences, figurative language, and symbolism to depict a theme. His works usually explore an individual’s search for identity and a spiritual quest outside society. These aspects help enhance the reader’s perspective while reading his written pieces. His legacy includes the following Hermann Hesse quotes on writing: something many people, writer or not, will draw inspiration from whenever they need one.

Hermann Hesse Quotes About Writing

The depth and power of Hermann Hesse’s writing were never left unrecognized. Although many considered him an author of crisis, he was a prolific writer turned literary icon with a unique writing style. From his personal experiences to the use of detailed imagery and symbolism, it’s safe to say that he deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.

Many philosophers influenced Hesse and his writings, as he confessed. Soon enough, Hermann Hesse was the person many people look up to, and the list of his quotes about writing below remain significant to writers today.

For even the most childish intoxication with progress will soon be forced to recognize that writing and books have a function that is eternal. It will become evident that formulations in words and the handling on of these formulations through writing are not only important aids but actually the only means by which humanity can have a history and continuing consciousness of itself.

Hermann Hesse

Among the letters my readers write me, there is a certain category which is continuously growing, and which I see as a symptom of the increasing intellectualization of the relationship between readers and literature.

Hermann Hesse

Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.

Hermann Hesse

If my life were not a dangerous, painful experiment, if I did not constantly skirt the abyss and feel the void under my feet, my life would have no meaning and I would not have been able to write anything.

Hermann Hesse

Once it happened, as I lay awake at night, that I suddenly spoke in verses, in verses so beautiful and strange that I did not venture to think of writing them down, and then in the morning they vanished; and yet they lay hidden within me like the hard kernel within an old brittle husk.

Hermann Hesse

Painting is marvelous; it makes you happier and more patient. Afterwards you do not have black fingers as with writing, but blue and red ones.

Hermann Hesse

When a writer receives praise or blame, when he arouses sympathy or is ridiculed, when he is loved or rejected, it is not on the strength of his thoughts and dreams as a whole, but only of that infinitesimal part which has been able to make its way through the narrow channel of language and the equally narrow channel of the reader’s understanding.

Hermann Hesse

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.

Hermann Hesse

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.

Hermann Hesse

Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse Quotes About Books

German-Swiss writer Hermann Hesse once talked about reading and books in one of his publications. He mentioned the different attitudes and personalities readers have when reading: the naive reader, the imaginative investigator, and the non-reader who’s a dreamer and interpreter. Hence, it’s safe to say that he was a fan of books and reading.

Scroll over the list below if you’d love to see more of Hesse’s words about books!

A house without books is a poor house, even if beautiful rugs are covering its floors and precious wallpapers and pictures cover its walls

Hermann Hesse

All the books of the world full of thoughts and poems are nothing in comparison to a minute of sobbing, when feeling surges in waves, the soul feels itself profoundly and finds itself. Tears are the melting ice of snow. All angels are close to the crying person.

Hermann Hesse

I do not consider myself less ignorant than most people. I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books. I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me. My story is not a pleasant one; it is neither sweet nor harmonious, as invented stories are; it has the taste of nonsense and chaos, of madness and dreams — like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves.

Hermann Hesse

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.

Hermann Hesse

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.

Hermann Hesse

I shall begin my story with an experience I had when I was ten and attended our small town’s Latin school.

Hermann Hesse

The day had gone by just as days go by. I had killed it in accordance with my primitive and retiring way of life.

Hermann Hesse

The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.

Hermann Hesse

There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.

Hermann Hesse

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse Quotes About Literature

Hesse received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 speaks a lot about his fame and influence in literature. Although his impact soared the most among his German readers, the English-speaking world embraced his appeal afterward. Whether it’s his essays, published letters, poems, stories, or novels, his depth and power continue to become an inspiration in the literary world. The collection below shows Hesse’s quotes about literature—words of wisdom that everyone will enjoy.

Among the letters my readers write me, there is a certain category which is continuously growing, and which I see as a symptom of the increasing intellectualization of the relationship between readers and literature.

Hermann Hesse

As a body everyone is single, as a soul never.

Hermann Hesse

Here and there in the ancient literature we encounter legends of wise and mysterious games that were conceived and played by scholars, monks, or the courtiers of cultured princes. These might take the form of chess games in which the pieces and squares had secret meanings in addition to their usual functions.

Hermann Hesse

If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do.

Hermann Hesse

Only the ideas that we really live have any value.

Hermann Hesse

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.

Hermann Hesse

The truth is lived, not taught.

Hermann Hesse

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.

Hermann Hesse

What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.

Hermann Hesse

Within us there is someone who knows everything, wills everything, does everything better than we ourselves.

Hermann Hesse

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse Quotes About Passion

Hesse was passionate about writing ever since he discovered his love for it. Although he faced a personal crisis, he used his experiences and the things he learned to create the masterpiece many of us can read up to this day. Hence, if you’re talking about passion, Hermann Hesse is one of those who demonstrated this concept with ease. Furthermore, some of his words subtly discussed this idea, defining and explaining it using his style.

Check out the following list for Hesse’s quotes about passion!

We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.

Hermann Hesse

He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without judgement, without an opinion.

Hermann Hesse

I am a star in the firmament that observe the world, despises the world and consumed in its heat. I am the sea by night in a storm the sea shouting that accumulates new sins and to the ancient makes recompense. I am exiled from your world of pride polite, by pride defrauded, I am the king without crown. I am the passion without words without stones of the hearth, without weapons in the war, is my same force that make me sick

Hermann Hesse

It taught him how to listen — how to listen with a quiet heart and a waiting soul, open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinion.

Hermann Hesse

Passion is always a mystery and unaccountable, and unfortunately there is no doubt that life does not spare its purest children; often it is just the most deserving people who cannot help loving those that destroy them.

Hermann Hesse

What I am in search of is not so much the gratification of a curiosity or a passion for worldly life, but something far less conditional. I do not wish to go out into the world with an insurance policy in my pocket guaranteeing my return in the event of a disappointment, like some cautious traveller who would be content with a brief glimpse of the world. On the contrary, I desire that there should be hazards, difficulties and dangers to face; I am hungry for reality, for tasks and deeds, and also for privation and suffering.

Hermann Hesse

What you call passion is not spiritual force, but friction between the soul and the outside world.

Hermann Hesse

When all the Self was conquered and dead, when all passions and desires were silent, then the last must awaken, the innermost of Being that is no longer Self – the great secret!

Hermann Hesse

Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse Quotes About Dreams

Like most writers, Hermann Hesse’s popularity and influence didn’t prosper overnight. He led a traumatic life: a personal crisis becoming an obstacle from time to time. Despite this, he rose to the literary icon status, a dream that many writers today want to achieve. Whether it’s about a goal or aspiration, or a vision in your sleep, Hesse has quotes about dreams.

Here is a collection of Hermann Hesse quotes about dreams.

I have always been a great dreamer; in dreams I am more active than in my real life, and these shadows sapped me of health and energy.

Hermann Hesse

I live in my dreams — that’s what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That’s the difference.

Hermann Hesse

You must find your dream, then the way becomes easy.

Hermann Hesse

You must find your dream…but no dream lasts forever, each dream is followed by another, and one should not cling to any particular dream.

Hermann Hesse

German-Swiss writer and poet Hermann Hesse earned himself worldwide fame through his unconventional writing style, the literary qualities of his works, and quotes about writing. Many people relate to his short stories, novels, essays, and poems, while others use them to widen their reading experience. Either way, Hermann Hesse’s legacy, and quotes on writing will remain for future generations to explore.

Need more inspiration on writing other than these quotes of Herman Hesse? Check out our collection of quotes on writing from other authors here.

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!