Augustus is a short fairy tale by Hermann Hesse that deals philosophically with “The Dorian Gray syndrome”, a cultural and societal phenomenon characterized by a man's extreme pride in his personal appearance accompanied by difficulties in coping with the requirements of psychological maturation, with relationships, with growing up and with aging.
"Dorian Gray syndrome" refers to the protagonist of Oscar Wilde's novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” where an exceptionally handsome man discovers that hedonism and excessive self-love can be detrimental to his personal, social, and emotional growth.
In Hermann Hesse's Augustus, Elisabeth, a poor but lovely young woman is faced with her young husband's death shortly after discovering that she is pregnant. After giving birth to her fatherless child, an old neighbor of hers offers to grant her one single wish that she can make with regards to her child's future. Elisabeth makes the wish that everyone who meets her child should love him.
Augustus, Elisabeth's son, develops symptoms of Dorian Gray syndrome and becomes narcissistic in his character and emotionally immature. He later falls into depression and attempts to commit suicide. Luckily for Augustus, his godfather, who granted his mother her wish, saves him and offer to grant him another wish to correct his life path.
In this 1913 short philosophical fiction, Hermann Hesse is clearly influenced by Oscar Wilde's 1890's classic “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, however Hesse treats the evolution of the story, its progress and its ending in a somehow spiritual light.
The short fairy tale, which appeared in Hesse's 1919 Fairy Tales collection “Märchen” has acquired a cult following in the German speaking world over the years, similar to that of Oscar Wilde's classic inspiration.
This work is a new translation of the original short fairy tale classic.
Contos / Fantasia