Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department or Program
This thesis aims to examine Hermann Hesse’s creation of the modern saint, a twentieth-century contribution to the hagiographical tradition. I assert Hesse’s Swabian Pietist upbringing inspired a unique lens for his refashioning of the Middle Ages, which Hesse establishes in his first novel, Peter Camenzind, with the protagonist Peter. Through Hesse’s hagiographical lens, I explore the emergence and evolution of Hesse’s modern saint who is shaped by Hesse’s quest to resolve his lifelong internal conflict between art and religion. In Hesse’s later novel, Narcissus and Goldmund, he finalizes his spiritual experiment with the modern saint who unifies sensuality and spirituality a figure whom Hesse represents with Goldmund. Whether this modern saint is merely an ideal, or if he is possibly a figure that can contribute to the spiritual life of the everyday individual will be answered in the conclusion of this thesis.
Westberg, Sarah, "Twentieth-Century Transformations of Medieval Hagiography: Hermann Hesse’s Creation of a Modern Saint in Peter Camenzind and Narcissus and Goldmund" (2017). Senior Theses.