Butterflies: Reflections, Tales, and Verse

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Butterflies make only one imposition on our senses: the sense of vision. Whether in words or images, their beauty enchanted German-Swiss author, and winner of the Nobel literature prize, Hermann Hesse, throughout his life. Titled simply Butterflies, this anthology is a selection of his writing, brief essays and poems, a change from his several novels. Generously interspersed with copper engravings, the artistry of nineteenth century entomologist Jakob Hubner. The author found their brilliant colors and detail superior to modern reproductions, treasuring their guidance to add to his collection.

In Butterflies, the author introduces profiles of people he has known. Most are amusing encounters with friends, though the memory of destroying a young neighbor’s butterfly collection, as a means of vengeance, a confession that lastingly shamed him.

Far more entertaining, in a mildly malicious way, his entrapment by Victor Hughes in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), an English-speaking “travel guide,” who recognized Hesse as a likely customer and who could not be shaken off, despite repeated schedule changes. The annoyance was compounded by the guide’s attempt to sell a series of butterfly collections that Hesse simply did not want.

This anthology is an exquisite tribute to a popular species of the natural world.

Reviewed By:

Author Hermann Hesse, Volker Michels, Elisabeth Lauffer
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 144 pages
Publisher WW Norton
Publish Date 13-Jun-2023
ISBN 9798985955859 Buy this Book
Issue July 2023
Category Science & Nature