Hermann ‘Gangster’ Hesse


I am reading Steppenwolf. A bright orange Penguin version. But the pages are rough and the ‘wolf haunts me and that is how I like it. I’ll be honest, I haven’t quite finished reading it yet but I found this one paragraph that I feel I need to share with you. I read this paragraph as though Bob Dylan has just morphed in to Hesse’s Steppenwolf’s version of Mozart – mainly due to the lyrical nature of the paragraph. Boring, you say? Well, look out kid, there’s another literary gangster in town.

“Mozart laughed aloud when he saw my long face. He turned a somersault in the air for laughter’s sake and played trills with his heels. At the same time he shouted at me: ‘Hey, my young man, you are biting your tongue, man, with a gripe in your lung, man? You think of your readers, those carrion-feeders, and all your typesetters, those wretched abetters, and sabre-whetters. You dragon, you make me laugh till I shake me and burst the stitches of my breeches. O heart of a gull, with printer’s ink dull, and sorrow-full. A candle I’ll leave you, if that’ll relieve you. Betittled, be tattled, spectacled and shackled, and pitifully snagged and by the tail wagged, with shilly and shally no more shall you dally. For the devil, I pray, will bear you away and slice you and splice you till that shall suffice you for your writings and rotten plagiarizings ill-gotten.'”