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Farrell, D. (1987). The Forgotten Childhood of Hermann Hesse. Ann. Psychoanal., 15:247-268.

(1987). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 15:247-268

VI Applied Psychoanalysis

The Forgotten Childhood of Hermann Hesse

Dennis Farrell, M.D.

Hermann Hesse was one of the first writers of prominence to become acquainted with psychoanalysis. Familiar with the early writings of Freud and Jung, he also had a personal experience in Jungian therapy, as well as several consultations with Jung himself. Later, he wrote thoughtful articles on both Freud and Jung and on the relationship of the artist to psychoanalysis Hesse, 1918, 1919, 1931. It was a natural interest for a writer for whom self-exploration had become a central aspect of his creative work. Hesse knew he had chosen his path early in life, and as with every self-analysis, he went in search of the past quite consciously determined to understand his beginnings, but he was handicapped in his efforts by his amnesia for the crucial years of early childhood. Thinking back to his earliest memory, an incident from the later half of his third year, he could not conceal his chagrin (Hesse, 1901, p. 16): “what a rich and mysterious life must have come before that—and I cannot recall a single hour of that life!”

The contemporary biographer of Hesse, by contrast, confronts a huge amount of writing by and about his subject.

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