Book Review: The Walker of Hermann Hesse

The book The Walker of Hermann Hesse (Wanderung) is a group of stories about the “inspired wanderings” and whose geographical reference is the border between Germany and Switzerland and the alpine passage to Italy. It is a book that deals with being nomadic and is clearly against borders, of which Hesse says: “ there is nothing more hateful”. These prose describe the traveler’s feelings, their torments, and joys, their thinking, and perception of life, a vision that transcends the limitations of the concept of homeland and nationalities:

The Hermann Hesse Walker

To write these comments and review I have read an edition of El Caminante de Hermann Hesse of 1986 published by Editorial Bruguera de Barcelona. It is a small book 10 cm wide by 17.4 cm high from the old Amigo Book collection.

This edition is generous in quality and at the same time economic, the paper should be 150 or 170 grams and has a series of illustrations that are possibly from Hesse itself. I was convinced that I had read that Hesse had made these watercolors, so I went back to find where I had found it and I could not. They may not be yours, but there are no references in the book about the authorship of the watercolors.

The Walker of Hermann Hesse was published for the first time in 1920, after the author’s participation in the First World War.  This is a beautiful book, with a mild flavor, the Hesse walker has already decided to walk everywhere, it has already been accepted and from this acceptance, these texts have been born that are read fluently. The wandering that celebrates this book is the distancing of the founding principle of bourgeois life, accumulation. On the contrary, the walker has no belongings, has no attachment to the land or anything, “I am a nomad, not a peasant, “ says the book.


Surely it has an autobiographical touch. After his participation in the First World War, Hermann Hesse knew that nationalisms were a disease, perhaps because of this, he found in Switzerland a space that turned his back on European national problems.

The nomadism is present in the literature of Hesse and usually accompanied by the search and discovery of the inner being. Nomadism is an expression of freedom, of anarchism and of spiritual search. Hesse is agnostic. In the book says goodbye to Germany from the passage through the Alps.