Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) was a German-Swiss poet and novelist. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, which explore the themes of the duality of spirit and nature, body versus mind and the individual's spiritual search outside the restrictions of the society. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is still one of the best-selling German writers throughout the world.
In his time, Hesse was a popular and influential author in the German-speaking world. World-wide fame came posthumously. By the 1950s Hesse's works were largely unknown for American readers. The situation changed in the mid of the 1960s, when Hesse's works suddenly became bestsellers in the United States. The English translation of Siddhartha in the 1950s became a spiritual guide to the generation of American Beat poets.
He died of cerebral hemorrhage in his sleep on August 9, 1962 at the age of eighty-five.