Random Treasures #1: Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse

Published in 1930, Narcissus and Goldmund, was Hermann Hesse's tenth novel. Like much of his work before, it is a tale of the quest for meaning in one's life. Goldmund is a young student at a Catholic monastery, where he meets and befriends an influential teacher, Narcissus. After a sexual awakening, Goldmund leaves the monastery and his mentor, to wander the world in search of experience. The work juxtapositions the Apollonian and Dionysian philosophies of purposeful existence. I first read this novel in my early twenties and was charmed by its allegorical as well as psychological aspects. The story illuminates the Jungian premise of the attraction of polar opposites, or the masculine vs. the feminine mind, how opposing qualities collaborate and affect one another to influence our global culture.