jung-hesse letter

[Carl Jung’s letter to Hermann Hesse on “Demian.”]

To Hermann Hesse

Dear Herr Hesse, 3 December 1919

I must send you my most cordial thanks for your masterly as well as veracious book: Demian.

I know it is very immodest and officious of me to break through your pseudonym; but, while reading the book, I had the feeling that it must somehow have reached me via Lucerne.

Although I failed to recognize you in the Sinclair sketches in the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

I always wondered what sort of person Sinclair must be, because his psychology seemed to me so remarkable.

Your book came at a time when, once again, I was oppressed by the darkened consciousness of modern man, and by his hopeless bigotry, as Sinclair was by little Knauer.

Hence your book hit me like the beam of a lighthouse on a stormy night.

A good book, like every proper human life, must have an ending. Yours has the best possible ending, where everything that has gone before runs truly to its end, and everything with which the book began begins over again-with the birth and awakening of the new man.

The Great Mother is impregnated by the loneliness of him that seeks her. In the shell burst she bears the “old” man into death, and implants in the new the everlasting monad, the mystery of individuality. And when the renewed man reappears the mother reappears too-in a woman on this earth.

I could tell you a little secret about Demian of which you became the witness, but whose meaning you have concealed from the reader and perhaps also from yourself.

I could give you some very satisfying information about this, since I have long been a good friend of Demian’s and he has recently initiated me into his private affairs-under the seal of deepest secrecy.

But time will bear out these hints for you in a singular way.

I hope you will not think I am trying to make myself interesting by mystery-mongering; my amor fati is too sacred to me for that.

I only wanted, out of gratitude, to send you a small token of my great respect for your fidelity and veracity, without which no man can have such apt intuitions.

You may even be able to guess what passage in your book I mean.

I immediately ordered a copy of your book for our Club library. It is sound in wind and limb and points the way.

I beg you not to think ill of me for my invasion. No one knows of it.

Very sincerely and with heartfelt thanks,

C.G. Jung ~C.G. Jung, Letters Volume 1, Pages 573-574.

The Psychology of C.G. Jung in the Works of Hermann Hesse by Emanuel Maier