“We all share a common origin, our mothers; we all come out of the same gaping maw…”
–Demian, Hermann Hesse, trans. Damion Searls
So, Hesse’s attitude towards women troubles me on most days, but this is a bit beyond.
To be fair, I have to look at other translations. This is a new translation, first published in 2013. With a foreword by James Franco. Naturally.
Another version I found, which sadly didn’t bother mentioning the translator, replaced “gaping maw” with “abyss.” Not as vivid, at least. But to be really fair, I have to look at the original German.
Keep in mind I don’t know German and I’m relying on the dubious expertise of Google Translate (backed up by other online sources). But Hesse’s word is “Schlunde,” which does indeed mean “abyss” or “maw.” Without the “gaping,” it does at least seem more factual than unflattering.
[Image source: Penguin 2013 edition Demian cover]