Trees:
An Anthology of Writings and Paintings

Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate Hermann Hesse

Selected by Volker Michel

Translated from the German by Damion Searls

Praise for Hermann Hesse

“Hesse’s award … honours a poetic achievement which presents throughout the image of a good man in his struggle, following his calling with rare faithfulness.”

—From the award ceremony of the 1946 Nobel Prize in Literature presentation to Hermann Hesse

“As long as people struggle with the need to be themselves, and the difficulty of doing so, he will be a living presence—which is even better, perhaps, than being a great writer. ”

—The New Yorker

This elegant collection of Hermann Hesse’s essays, poems, and passages on trees, accompanied by thirty-two of his hand-painted watercolor illustrations, reveals his sacred understanding of trees as symbols of transcendence and rebirth. Trees mirrors landscapes as Hesse experienced them, both artistically and spiritually, and reminds us that the life of a tree is also a metaphor for our own life of perseverance, happiness, and purpose.

Hermann Hesse was born in 1877 in Calw, Germany. He rose to become a celebrated author and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. As the son of missionaries, he developed a fascination with self-discovery and spiritual explorations, an interest also likely due in part to his lifelong struggle with depression, which led him to study Sigmund Freud and, later, to undergo psychoanalysis with Carl Jung. In 1912 he moved to Switzerland, where he wrote his best-known books, including the classic Siddhartha; composed poetry; and painted landscapes. He passed away in 1962 in Montagnola, Switzerland. Hesse is one of the most widely translated authors of the twentieth century; his work continues to have influence worldwide.


Volker Michels, the world’s foremost authority on Hermann Hesse’s work, manages the Nobel laureate’s literary and artistic estate. Damion Searls is the translator of more than fifty books, including Hermann Hesse’s Demian, and the recipient of numerous awards.

Hardcover | cloth
5 x 7 inches | 136 pages | 32 full-color watercolors painted by Hermann Hesse
ISBN-13: 978-1-7378327-1-3
Price: US $28.00 | Nature
May 2022